Do your patients expect a new pair of contact lenses to offer an instant fix? If so, you’re not alone. Many patients are unfamiliar with adaptation or adjustment periods, and consequently, they don’t wear their new eyewear consistently enough to overcome the initial hurdles. They complain, you remake. Here’s how to break the cycle:
Change your Vocab
Call it a “learning period” instead. Explain to the patient that lenses improve vision by affecting the signals that the eye sends to the brain. When lenses change, the brain needs extra time to figure out how to process this new information it is receiving. The brain was used to a certain type of input (old lenses); now it needs to get used to a different type of input (new lenses).
No one likes to confront the fact that they are aging, but a patient’s age has a real affect on their speed of adaptation. Patients who set their expectations according to past experiences will feel disappointed when new lenses fail to give them immediate improvement. Let them know that each fitting will feel different and may require more time for their eyes and brain to adapt, especially if those fittings are a few year apart.
Out with the Old
The temptation for patients to switch between their old, comfortable eyewear and the new eyewear they’re not used to is very strong. This only lengthens the learning period, increasing the likelihood that they will seek a remake. Help patients avoid the urge to “cheat on” their new eyewear by reiterating the fact that it better meets their current medical needs. Tell them it is as if their body was experiencing side effects from a new medication, or breaking in new shoes. With consistent wear, their new eyewear will become very comfortable.
Remember, there is no such thing as a free remake. Every remake costs your practice in time, materials, and patient confidence. Explaining and clarifying the adjustment period can eliminate the need for time-consuming investigation, retesting, and unnecessary remakes.