Office space for some is a none issue

Oh, the envy I have when I visit friends with luxurious 10+ lane offices with so much space they have a Starbucks inside of them! In Brooklyn where space is typically around $100 sqft, it is a huge issue. Our office has to make decisions about what equipment and products to have on hand. That can be a tough task when all of the major contact lens companies have dramatically expanded their product lines in recent years.  A number of contact lens products that an office can have fitting kits for is staggering. Let me walk you through our decision-making process.

AOA Guidelines

Of primary interest for our practice is to adhere to high standards of care and follow American Optometric Associations guidelines. Have you read the AOA’s Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care of the Contact Lens Patient?

I’m betting based on my experience with dozens of ECP’s across the country, you probably haven’t in a while. Let me give you the pertinent info from this guideline right here. “An increase in complications is especially likely for patients wearing CLs made of materials having low, medium, and even what was formerly considered high oxygen permeability (less than approximately 35 Fatt Dk units).”

It’s right there in black and white, clear as crystal on page four. If you want to minimize complications, get that Dk to at least 35. Here is the link so you can reacquaint yourself with it. http://www.aoa.org/documents/optometrists/CPG-19.pdf Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care of the Contact Lens Patient

After reading that, do you feel the need to look up the Dk of the brands you are fitting? Want to make sure those brands are hitting 35 Dk? I can save you a lot of time. If it’s an old “plastic” material, it is not meeting this guideline. The newer products have Dk’s that are over 35. They also often have innovative technology that provides the patient with a better wearing experience.

Do What Works for Your Office

We don’t have fit kits for any low Dk reusable contacts. We have found there is no reason to keep them around. In over 9 years of practice, we have not had a single patient end up in a low Dk reusable contact.

Our daily disposable patient population is getting there. And you know what…..we have a heck of a contact lens practice that continues to thrive!  We still have a couple of brands for daily disposable torics but with the release of two new higher Dk daily disposable toric options, those old fit kits are slated to visit our local material recycling facility.

I get that the quickest way through the exam is to make sure things are “fine” then write the Rx for the same brand they have been wearing for the last decade plus.

However, I urge you to keep learning about the innovations in the contact lens world and provide your patients with options that will keep them and their eyes healthy and happy for years to come. Then simply get that product on your patients’ eyes as a trial.

A good rule of thumb is, if the contact lens technology you are using is older than your patient, it probably isn’t the best option for them. Get rid of those fitting kits that aren’t offering your patients the best experience. There will be some initial separation anxiety, but I promise you that going forward, you won’t miss them!