Building a healthy and growing contact lens business involves two key challenges:
- Finding new wearers
- Maintaining the business of existing wearers
Here are five actions you can take right now to help achieve these goals:
1. Recommend contact lenses to anyone who may benefit from them
According to the National Eye Institute and Glasses Crafter, only 11% of people in the U.S. wear contact lenses, yet over 75% need vision correction1. Given increasingly active lifestyles, contact lenses are more useful than ever to large numbers of people. Research shows that most contact lens wearers had to take the initiative to get them2. Recommending contact lenses to patients results in much higher rates of trial and fitting3.
2. Make it easy to trial lenses
Nothing compares with actually experiencing lens wear. Patients are surprised by the comfort and the clear, unrestricted vision – it can be genuinely exciting. Give patients that experience at once if they respond positively to your recommendation. It helps if practice staff can insert and remove contact lenses.
3. Fit more daily disposables
Daily disposables have proven clinical and convenience advantages and should often be the starting point4. Recommend daily disposables and give reasons for your advocacy. Respond to questions about price by quoting the cost per wear, the most accurate way of answering. This will usually be between $1 and $2. Allow the patient to decide if this represents good value for safe, clear, comfortable and convenient vision. If they decide it does, there is no need to present alternatives.
4. Sell bulk supplies
Make it cheaper to buy in bulk than the minimum quantity. Compliance improves if plenty of lenses are on hand and it saves patients unnecessary journeys as well as practice staff administration. Patients are less likely to seek alternative sources of supply if their next purchase coincides with their annual aftercare visit (i.e. try to sell a year’s supply).
5. Constantly seek to improve the wearing experience
“Happy” patients can be happier. Question them closely about their lens wearing experience: comfort throughout the day, ease of lens handling, etc. Ask them to score these areas with marks out of 10. Always look to achieve 9 or 10 grades. Patients should be educated to expect regular trials of the latest technology. This increases their likelihood of successful lens wear and reinforces that you are their trusted eye care professional always trying to improve lens performance.
National Eye Institute, Glasses Crafter, October 9, 2014.
CooperVision Austrailia New Zealand Channel Research 2014.
Hanks A. Proactive Versus Reactive Contact Lens Discussion. Contact Lens Spectrum. December 1991
Cho P, Boost M. Daily disposable lenses: The better alternative. Contact Lens & Anterior Eye 36 (2013) 4-12.