Published in Contact Lens

Harnessing the Potential of Contact Lenses in My Optometry Sublease

This is editorially independent content supported by advertising from Johnson & Johnson Vision
10 min read

Learn how optometrists practicing in corporate subleases can optimize the potential for contact lenses to drive practice growth.

Though doctors who opt for a corporate sublease modality have the freedom to practice full-scope optometry and generate revenue from patient services, they may be restricted from generating revenue through optical and contact lens sales.
These restrictions can present a challenge—how can a doctor in a sublease modality continue to grow their practice each year?
While some sublease arrangements allow doctors to collect a portion of optical sales, this is not always the case. In such situations, the sublease doctor must focus on methods to increase patient retention in order to raise practice revenue.

Strategies for promoting practice growth

This can be achieved by providing phenomenal service in the exam lane and in the hand-off to the optical staff. Patients’ contact lens (CL) needs must be met during the exam.
The optical staff will then provide an annual supply price quote, explain the savings involved, and preschedule the patient for their next annual exam. This allows practices to keep patients in their appointment and sales system for marketing as well.
Exceptional service is a key factor in preventing another common obstacle to practice growth: contact lens dropout. By uncovering the details and offering the best solutions to a patient's contact lens concerns or challenges, you can help prevent contact lens dissatisfaction. Focusing on a contact lens patient’s journey is often critical to the success of your practice.

The value of a contact lens patient

The value of a contact lens patient extends far beyond material sales, influencing the financial health, reputation, and growth of your practice. With the successful integration of contact lens services, your practice can benefit from enhanced patient loyalty, increased revenue streams from professional fees, and word-of-mouth referrals.
The partnering optical will gain revenue from the optical sales. Research shows that contact lens patients typically return for more frequent eye exams and also pay higher fees for exams.

How to achieve practice growth with CLs

In order to provide an excellent experience, we focus on optimizing every step of the patient journey. This journey usually begins with appointment booking and ends with the follow-up, if needed.
The key steps within the patient journey consist of:
  1. Appointment booking
  2. In-office experience
  3. Contact lens assessment and selection
  4. Application and removal training
  5. At-home support
  6. Follow-up
Each step within the journey provides a touch point to deliver an outstanding experience while growing the practice.

1. Appointment booking

The first opportunity to grow your contact lens practice is at appointment booking. Patients can call the practice to book an appointment or do so easily online using our TAB (The Appointment Book) system.
We emphasize active inquiries about contact lens wear, taking a proactive approach to generating awareness. This provides a chance to continue this conversation with the patient when they present to the office.

2. In-office experience

By displaying marketing materials, the practice can emphasize their contact lens expertise and showcase news in lens innovation. At the time of contact lens selection and evaluation, doctors reinforce conversations using these materials.
During the pre-screening, the optometric technician inquires if the patient is a contact lens user or, if not, if they would like to try them today. In addition to providing the patient a moment to ask about contact fitting, this guides the course of the pre-screening process depending on their response.
Subsequently, during the exam with the doctor, the individual is asked again if they are interested in trying contacts. As patients are often unaware that contact lenses, such as multifocal lenses or high astigmatism, are made in their prescriptions, it is important to educate them on the latest options.
With specialty contact lenses, like sclerals, orthokeratology (ortho-K), and myopia control lenses, doctors can assess the need to fit certain patients. The revenue from specialty contact lens fittings and materials is an advantageous source of income.

Note: These lenses are not sold through the optical, but rather through the doctor's personal point of service.

3. Contact lens assessment and selection

Lens selection and assessment are best approached in a personalized manner. Lens assessment begins by asking patients about their existing contact lenses and whether they meet their visual needs.
For patients who may be new to lens wear, practitioners may ask targeted questions to understand their goals, lifestyle, hobbies, and what they hope to achieve from contact lens wear. Patients can then be offered lenses that practitioners believe will best meet their needs and expectations.
The key to providing an optimal patient experience at this stage in the journey is to thoroughly explain to the patient the reasoning behind your choice. This includes introducing the science and technology behind the lens, emphasizing how it will optimize vision, best meet their unique needs, and improve their quality of life.

Introducing patients to new contact lenses

When practices promote a forward-thinking approach to contact lens wear and encourage patients to try new lenses, they are able to experience the latest and greatest technology in eyecare.
For example, many patients in our practice believed they wore the most comfortable lenses possible until they were invited to try the ACUVUE Oasys 1-day MAX, which improved their contact lens-wearing experience. The improved comfort and enhanced vision provided by the latest lenses have led to a more positive wearing experience for many of our patients.
Operating a practice that does not generate revenue from contact lens sales presents an advantage: the approach to lens selection is not biased by revenue or profitability.

Honing the initial contact lens fit

For practices that do not generate revenue from contact lens material sales, the approach to lens selection is not biased by revenue or profitability. Rather, the focus remains entirely on prescribing what is believed to be best for the patients based on their unique needs. Through regular use of all brands and lenses, we ensure the patient’s best interest is our first priority.
The contact lens assessment and initial fit offer another opportunity to provide patients with an exceptional experience. Whether fitting spherical, toric, or multifocal lenses, discovering the fit right on the initial attempt reduces chair time and follow-up visits, creating a more positive experience.
The use of fitting calculators and digital fit guides assists us in achieving high first-time success rates and providing an enhanced experience for both new and existing contact lens wearers.

4. Application and removal training

The application and removal of contact lenses may be an intimidating moment in the contact lens journey for new wearers and is a major reason new contact lens wearers drop out of lens wear. We focus heavily on providing a low-stress and supportive environment for patients who are new to insertion and removal.
Personally walking them through the process can help put them at ease before transferring them to staff, who continue the training process in the office until that patient is comfortable and confident with the process.

5. At-home support

New contact lens wearers need additional support after they leave the practice. Along with inviting patients to visit our office for extra training or support, we direct them towards a variety of digital tools and training videos for assistance as they continue to gain confidence.

6. The follow-up appointment

The contact lens patient journey typically ends with the follow-up, where practitioners can follow through with their commitment to patients, especially new contact lens wearers.
This is a moment to address their concerns or troubleshoot any problems with their new lenses in addition to providing positive remarks about their success.
Offering a window of time for complimentary follow-up care ensures any issues are solved and promotes continued healthy lens wear by taking an active approach.

How this drives practice growth

Even if revenue may not be generated from contact lens sales, focusing on the patient journey and providing an unmatched experience is key to preventing contact lens dropout, growing the practice, and satisfying our patients.
As a result, our practice is fueled by a loyal patient base who trust us with all of their eyecare needs, directly correlating to increased professional fees and word-of-mouth referrals from happy patients.
For any sublease arrangement—whether contact lens sales generate none of the revenue or all of it—focusing on the patient and optimizing their experience remains the best way to grow your practice through patient satisfaction and trust.
Laheqa Suljuki, OD
About Laheqa Suljuki, OD

I'm an optometrist who has been working for Luxottica since graduating. I am proud to own my own Luxottica-branded practice!

Laheqa Suljuki, OD
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