The aftercare effect
Alistair Bridge on the GOC’s drive for eye care practitioners to review and improve how contact lens aftercare messages are delivered to patients
This year, Love your Lenses Week took place from 23–30 March with a focus on helping eye care practitioners to better communicate safety messages to contact lens wearers.
This follows research we conducted that uncovered a significant difference between how much aftercare advice eye care practitioners were reported to be providing and how many patients recalled receiving it (48%). This discrepancy suggests that aftercare advice is not being relayed in a memorable way to contact lens wearers. Results from other studies also raise concerns, with research showing that some contact lens wearers believe they are following aftercare advice but fail to meet safety standards in reality.
Managers and owners of optical businesses can consider assigning a member of staff to act as the practice Land the Message champion
To address this issue, we launched a set of experimental new tools to help eye care practitioners improve the communication of aftercare advice to patients. We developed them in conjunction with industry experts, academics, behaviour change experts and patient campaigners. The new tools – a visual aid, a pre-appointment questionnaire and lifestyle-based questions – were then tested in the field by eye care practitioners. Following the success of the pilot, we decided to make the tools available for all eye care practitioners during Love Your Lenses Week.
Finding a focal point
As part of this year’s campaign, we produced a short information video for practitioners, demonstrating how the tools can be used in everyday practice. The video is presented by Keith Tempany, contact lens optician and former president of the British Contact Lens Association.
During the week, we also held an interactive webinar to discuss the importance of landing the message and the behavioural science behind the tools. Participants were highly engaged and keen to learn how to improve patient compliance with aftercare advice.
We must make it clear to the patient that the symptoms mean there is a risk of sight threatening conditions that need review
While the week is the focal point of our campaign, we encourage all eye care practitioners to continue to champion the importance of following aftercare advice to their patients throughout the year. The contact lens patient profile of each practice is unique, so it is important for eye care practitioners to assess their patients and devise the best methods of incorporating the tools in the most effective way. The promotional materials in the toolkit and the Land the Message tools can therefore be adapted to suit the needs of each practice.
Managers and owners of optical businesses can also consider assigning a member of staff to act as the practice’s Land the Message champion; this staff member could train the rest of the team on how best to encourage patients to love their lenses. Training slides are available on the Love Your Lenses website.
Our ultimate ambition is to work with stakeholders to encourage eye care practitioners to review and improve how aftercare messages are relayed in their own practices with the aim of improving patient compliance and eye health.
- Download the GOC’s tools, training resources and Land the Message report online.
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