Doctor builds his contact lens practice by promoting one-day and one-month replacement, with one-year exams
When Jeremy Fowler, OD, graduated from optometry school 10 years ago, he went to work in an optometric practice where two-week replacement contact lenses were the norm. One day, he sat with a representative from Alcon who told him about the Power of One™ concept. “It seemed novel and simple to me, and being just out of school, I didn’t have any particular allegiance to one specific lens replacement strategy. So I followed their advice to promote one-month and one-day contact lenses, with an emphasis on one-year return visits for a comprehensive eye exam.” It soon became his most successful strategy and one he has used in practice ever since.
Dr. Fowler recently opened a practice in a new Walmart Supercenter in the Louisville, Kentucky area. “When I started this practice, I said I wanted to be on the cutting edge of technology, focused on giving my patients the best options for their eye health and comfort.”
His personal experience is a factor. He wears DAILIES® AquaComfort PLUS® contact lenses. “I have tried several different contact brands and lenses, comparing the comfort and vision in my own prescription. Some brands were uncomfortable and others I had to adjust the correction to get crisp vision; but with DAILIES® AquaComfort PLUS® lenses, the comfort and correction were just right,” he says.
His testimonial must make an impact, as about 70 percent of Dr. Fowler’s contact lens patients are in daily disposables. “They are comfortable, clean and convenient. For anyone who wears contact lenses part time, as I do, it should be the obvious choice. There is a huge untapped potential market for part-time wearers or those who have never considered contact lens wear,” he says. He explains that his status as a part-time wearer adds credence to the idea. “I have this option for you, and it’s one I personally use. If you want to wear something other than your eyeglasses – when you’re going out for dinner or somewhere for the weekend or working in the yard and you want to wear your sunglasses – these daily disposable contact lenses are a great option.” He’ll also plant the seed that many patients enjoy these lenses so much that they end up wearing them all the time. “So often, patients react by saying, ‘Why hasn’t anyone else offered me this?’”
Dr. Fowler also says that having a complete line of contact lenses in spherical, toric and multifocal designs in the same family is a big help. Recently, he had a patient whose job as a respiratory therapist presented challenges with contact lens wear. He works with patients on oxygen who must be in a very dry environment. “He told me that his eyes were constantly red and irritated, so I switched him from a monthly toric lens to the DAILIES® AquaComfort PLUS® toric. He called me two weeks later to say how much he appreciated the change in his comfort and appearance.’”
In most offices, when patients are happy with their vision and contact lens comfort, doctors don’t usually hear from them in between comprehensive exams. But unhappy patients may come in or call frequently with complaints – or they might just drop out of contact lenses altogether, and possibly the practice. “I’ve learned to think outside of the box with my patients,” Dr. Fowler says. “To bring them from unhappy to happy. That’s true for a patient like the respiratory therapist and it’s true for the presbyope who is frustrated with monovision.”
Whenever he moves a patient into a different lens design or material that he believes is a better match, the patient often expresses amazement – and some frustration – that no one else had suggested the option. “I’m not finding some unknown solution; I just listen to what they’re telling me.”
The monthly lens option
AIR OPTIX® Plus HydraGlyde monthly replacement lenses also play a role in Dr. Fowler’s practice. “Some patients prefer monthly replacement lens, and I want to provide them with an option that is designed for outstanding comfort from day 1 to day 30. The entire AIR OPTIX family of contact lenses is a great choice because they have lots of oxygen and the Smart Shield Technology resists deposits.”
Most importantly, Dr. Fowler doesn’t peg patients as either a daily or monthly lens wearer. “I often suggest to my AIR OPTIX® contact lens patients that they also try some DAILIES® contact lenses. It doesn’t have to be either-or. I tell them, ‘You might choose DAILIES® when you’re doing outdoor activities and wear your AIR OPTIX® lenses at work.’”
That’s the kind of customized, problem-solving recommendations that keep his patients coming back.