CooperVision has turned to contact lens wearers in new market research in a bid to better understand why some stick with the product and others drop out.
The 1001-person survey contains great advice for practitioners who are introducing patients to contact lenses and trying to boost retention numbers, said CooperVision senior customer marketing manager Caroline Rowe.
She told OT that: “Understanding people’s initial motivations gives us some really good insight into the aftercare and follow-up required. For example, if there’s a younger person who is looking to wear contact lenses for social occasions, overloading them with lenses will potentially nudge them into the drop-out risk category.”
Ms Rowe highlighted that one interesting finding of the survey was that wearers who drop out still had good things to say about contact lens.
She explained: “They still look at contact lenses as being convenient, allowing them to feel more confident. It may just be that the reality of it doesn’t align with their expectations, so we need to manage expectations and offer the right lens in the right modality to meet their lifestyle needs so people aren’t disappointed.”
As well as managing expectations, practitioners are advised to bring up the idea with their patients – before they go home with the first pair of contact lenses – that they may have to try a variety of modalities and products before finding the one for them, Ms Rowe said.
She added: “A patient might think that one lens must be right and if it doesn’t work there’s no point in going back. We need to tell them: If this doesn’t work, there’s other avenues we can try.”
Keeping a patient informed of their vision’s long-term changes, and what that might mean for their contact lens needs as they age, would also pay dividends, she advised.
Ms Rowe highlighted that the traditional hours that a practice was open may not align with the times that a new contact lens patient might want a practitioner’s advice. Help might be needed from the moment the patient puts a contact lens in at 6am in the morning, through to when they took it out at 10pm at night.
“We need to ask how we can be more available, providing information in a more modern format … in an interactive way,” she said.
Ms Rowe added that cost was an important consideration for patients who drop out. “This is when the value-for-money aspect comes to the fore.”
One limitation of the customer survey is that, not being a specialist, the wearers themselves are not aware of what else the practitioner could have done to address the problems that caused them to stop wearing contact lenses, Ms Rowe said.
“This is where practitioners can make a difference, which can result in word-of-mouth referrals and social media referrals.”
The full results of the CooperVision survey will be available online, after its launch by the end of the month.