Practice team digest

The whole practice team and the contact lens fit

With the whole practice team in mind, optometrist, owner of Hill Eyecare, and Johnson & Johnson Vision faculty member, Gemma Hill, answers: how do we utilise an experienced front of practice team to deliver a patient-focused post-fit contact lens education programme?

Man sitting having contact lens placement in eye by woman who is standing

My front of house practice team is my communication secret weapon when it comes to keeping new contact lens patients engaged post-fit. I highly recommend spending the time training them so they are confident in delivering an excellent application and removal (A&R), and letting them become the first point of contact with any troubleshooting advice the patient requires.

The teach

Often, I find patients can be nervous about their A&R appointment as they may feel that it dictates whether they can take the lenses away that day. During the process of booking this appointment, the front of house team can provide the patient with links to A&R videos to support them. A useful suite of A&R videos can be found on Johnson & Johnson Vision’s website, for example. This gives the patient a good head-start to their A&R training and can alleviate some of the nervousness they have around the whole process. 

Take the time to train your staff to deliver an excellent contact lens teach. This can often be supplemented by support from contact lens manufacturers, through online learning or face-to-face educational sessions. Teaches delivered by these trained staff are less rushed compared to those squeezed into a busy eye care practitioner (ECP) clinic. It also gives plenty of time for the patient to build a rapport with that member of your team.

At the end of a successful teach appointment, the staff member can reinforce the message that any issues should be reported. With the extra rapport that has been built up during the teach, I recommend that they put themselves forward as the first point of contact should any of these issues arise.


New contact lens wearers may encounter minor issues in their first few weeks of wear, and experience has taught me that they are usually unwilling to report these to their ECP as they feel like the issues are too trivial to bother them.

However, we may never know which small issue might stop them from wearing their new lenses and not returning to complete their trial. This makes it even more important that your front of house staff establish themselves as the patient’s point of contact and reinforce that no issue is too small. They will easily be able to talk the patient through these minor issues with patience and empathy and will be able to identify when the issues are more serious and require the advice of the optometrist or contact lens optician.

The follow up

By the time the patient has returned for their end of trial appointment, we should have a patient that feels well-educated, well-supported, and understands they have a clear point of contact within the practice whenever issues arise. However, we must appreciate that there are still issues within the first few months of new wear that can arise. A study into new contact lens wearers showed that 26% dropped out in the first year of wear, with nearly half (12%) discontinuing in the first two months of wear. Furthermore, handling and comfort were the two most cited reasons for discontinuing contact lens wear in the first year of wear but in many cases, the ECPs were unaware that patients had lapsed, and for nearly one in three dropouts (32%) the reason for discontinuing was unknown.

In order to combat this, your secret weapon staff member can make a well-timed follow-up phone call within the first two months to identify the patients that have started to struggle. An appointment with the ECP can be made so that any issues can be fixed before the patient loses motivation.

Gemma’s top tips

  1. Train staff to deliver relaxed and well-informed application and removal training
  2. Make one staff member the ‘point of contact’ for the patient
  3. Conduct a follow-up call one to two months after a patient’s trial period has finished.