Have you ever wrapped up a contact lens fitting
with a new wearer—in which you thoughtfully chose a lens brand, patiently taught lens handling techniques, and meticulously refined vision—only to have them ask if they can order their lenses from the latest online contact lens subscription service? This situation can be frustrating, but is understandable in a world where nearly everything can be delivered to your home with a finger tap.
Many subscription-based contact lens services offer some form of daily disposable lens. Why? I would guess that the same person who is interested in lenses being delivered to their doorstep each month is also interested in the convenience that daily disposables offer. I would also wager, however, that this savvy consumer prefers products that are modern and innovative. Appealing advertising and smooth ordering processes may signal to a wearer that a service is innovative.
In most cases, however, these subscription lenses are made from materials that are no longer commonly prescribed and don’t offer the cutting-edge technology of the daily disposables
that have been produced in recent years by major contact lens manufacturers. The average contact lens wearer is unlikely to recognize that, though, unless we educate them.
If you feel like you are competing with subscription-based services that offer products inferior to what you provide, use the selection of daily disposables available to you to differentiate your practice and the services it offers. While many contact lens wearers initially view the annual contact lens evaluation as a nuisance, daily disposables provide a unique opportunity for ECPs to illustrate how they can make the annual evaluation a concierge-type experience.
Offering in-office alternatives to online subscription services
Unfortunately, these health benefits aren’t always particularly motivating for wearers who may view contact lenses
as more of a commodity than a medical device. It’s the ECP’s responsibility, therefore, to find other ways to motivate patients to come in for their annual exams and seek out products that optimize their ocular health and overall contact lens experience.
First, focus on vision. ECP’s are experts in refraction and all things vision. Make sure the patient knows you are choosing powers based on their current refractive error, not an old prescription from years ago. It’s also important to consider parameters. Patients with astigmatism
and presbyopic needs
now have many daily disposable options available to them, but they will be most successful when evaluated and refined in office. Most subscription services, conversely, offer only spherical powers. When a patient understands that parameter selection has been customized to them, they see the value of coming in for the evaluation.
Next, acknowledge the cost. Online retailers
often break down costs of lenses into daily or monthly increments to emphasize their affordability. The daily, monthly, and annual costs of most daily disposables made by one of the major contact lens manufacturers, however, is typically the same or less than those subscription services when things like rebates and insurance coverage are taken into account. As well, most manufacturers have portfolios that include daily disposable options at varying price ranges, so patients don’t always need a budget that supports a premium lens brand.
Finally, emphasize comfort. Daily disposable options, in general, are more comfortable than regular replacement modalities.8
Each brand offers unique physical characteristics that aim to make it most comfortable for the wearer. While most ECP’s have a “favorite” lens for comfort
, it’s safe to say that some patients prefer one brand over another for comfort. Once you know what type of daily disposable parameters you need and the general price range your patient is aiming for, you may want to select more than one brand for the patient to trial. This incorporates added value to the examination by allowing the wearer to compare lenses and recognize that not all lenses feel the same on the eye.
Showcase your expertise
Using daily disposables to showcase your expertise as a contact lens fitter and the value of in-office examinations will benefit your patient and your practice. Throughout the fitting process, communicate clearly the steps you are taking and thought processes you are using to select a lens that will most effectively serve the patient’s unique visual
, comfort, and lifestyle needs. When the patient feels like they received an individualized evaluation and service, they won’t ask you how they can order from that subscription service as they are walking out of your door.
- Orsborn G, Dumbleton K. Eye Care Professionals' Perceptions of the Benefits of Daily Disposable Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses. Cont Lens Anterior Eye 2019;42:373-9.
- Chalmers RL, Hickson-Curran SB, Keay L, et al. Rates of Adverse Events with Hydrogel and Silicone Hydrogel Daily Disposable Lenses in a Large Postmarket Surveillance Registry: The Tempo Registry. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56:654-63.
- Chalmers RL, Keay L, McNally J, Kern J. Multicenter Case-Control Study of the Role of Lens Materials and Care Products on the Development of Corneal Infiltrates. Optom Vis Sci 2012;89:316-25.
- Steele KR, Szczotka-Flynn L. Epidemiology of Contact Lens-Induced Infiltrates: An Updated Review. Clin Exp Optom 2017;100:473-81.
- Dumbleton K, Richter D, Woods C, et al. Compliance with Contact Lens Replacement in Canada and the United States. Optom Vis Sci 2010;87:131-9.
- Morgan PB, Efron N, Toshida H, Nichols JJ. An International Analysis of Contact Lens Compliance. Cont Lens Anterior Eye 2011;34:223-8.
- Rueff EM, Wolfe J, Bailey MD. A Study of Contact Lens Compliance in a Non-Clinical Setting. Cont Lens Anterior Eye 2019;42:557-61.
- Bishop MJ, Sun CK, Coles-Brennan C, Gallois-Bernos A. Evaluation of Daily Disposable Senofilcon a Contact Lenses in a Symptomatic Population. Cont Lens Anterior Eye 2022:101574.