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How optometrists can cultivate positive contact lens culture

New research presented at the recent Vision Expo West in Las Vegas has revealed the factors required to create and maintain a positive contact lens culture within eyecare practices. The Contact Lens Institute, in partnership with The Vision Council, provided a glimpse of its forthcoming report.

The comprehensive “The Culture Calculation: Data-Backed Behaviors for Contact Lens Success,” report, due to be published in mid-October, offers pathways for patient and business success, according to the organisations.

In a joint effort, they surveyed 173 members of the US eyecare community, including optometrists, opticians, ophthalmologists and practice administrators. The survey featured questions on beliefs and behaviours regarding cultivating contact lens enthusiasm among colleagues and patients.

The report complements the Contact Lens Institute’s consumer research initiative, See Tomorrow, which encompasses consumer and professional perspectives on issues surrounding contact lens fitting and wear.

“Since 2021, our See Tomorrow initiative has uncovered valuable consumer insights for the eyecare community. The latest effort turned the lens inward, for the first-time quantifying what’s involved to create, nurture, and expand positive contact lens cultures,” Mr Stan Rogaski, executive director of the Contact Lens Institute said.

“Unlocking this knowledge has the potential to inspire better patient satisfaction and practice management outcomes alike.”

Product access and advancements, followed by education and training were most highly rated.

The survey found that 94% of respondents believe their practices are participating in positive contact lens culture with 84% of practices encouraging doctors and staff to recommend contact lenses.

Despite this, new data indicates that only 49% of practices discuss contact lenses with eligible, non-lens wearing patients. This supports the findings of See Tomorrow consumer research, in which more than two-thirds of patients did not recall contact lenses being discussed during their last two office visits. In a related survey earlier this year, 44% of glasses-only wearers expressed interest in contact lenses, but stated the possibility was never raised by their doctor or staff.

As part of the current survey, respondents were also asked to rate the importance of more than 20 factors that affect a positive contact lens culture. Product access and advancements were the most highly rated factors, followed by education and training, in-office advocacy, and the emotional and professional benefits staff receive by prescribing contact lenses.

Only 49% of practices discuss contact lenses with eligible, non-lens wearing patients.

The final data set within the preview addressed the financial upsides of contact lenses. It was found that only 47% of respondents quantify the business impact of contact lens patients as opposed to patients who rely on other forms of vision correction. Of those that do perform some type of assessment, 56% report that contact lens patients are more profitable. According to the organisations, this data suggests that there may be discrepancies in practices’ tracking and analysis methodologies and under-utilisation of strategies such as prescribing glasses to current contact lens patients.

“The golden thread across our culture research findings is opportunity – opportunity to have more patient conversations, opportunity to enhance certain practice elements to motivate colleagues, and opportunity to better measure the substantial economic value of contact lenses to the eyecare community,” Rogaski said.

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