Now more than ever, patients need trusted information from doctors
An estimated 45 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses, according to CDC data. It is troubling that statistics also show that as many as 99 percent of contact lens wearers reported at least one hygiene behavior that puts them at increased risk of eye infection or inflammation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to educate your contact lens patients. Here are some tips to promote safety and encourage patients to come to you for their contact lens related needs.
Correct misinformation and reinforce good hygiene
Lots of confusing, conflicting, and inaccurate health information has circulated during the pandemic. Patients may even be afraid that wearing contact lenses will put them at greater risk for the virus. Reassure them that contact lenses themselves will not give you COVID-19, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).
However, let them know that it’s imperative that they practice proper hygiene since contact lens wearers touch their faces and eyes when inserting and removing lenses.
Remind them to continue washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, and advise patients who are ill or experiencing allergies or eye irritation to discontinue their use of contact lenses.
Share our new video, Do’s and Don’ts of Contact Lens Care, to encourage patients to have good habits and hygiene.
Rendia’s new video, Do’s and Don’ts of Contact Lens Care , is a great way to educate patients now. You can email the video to your contact lens patients or post it on your website and social media pages. If you have eliminated your waiting room during COVID-19 like many practices, you can send the video to patients when they check-in for their appointments so they can watch it on their phones in your “virtual waiting room” while they wait in their cars.
Masks linked to increased dry eye
Another issue that’s cropped up for many people during the pandemic—including people who wear contact lens, glasses, or no eye correction at all—is dry eye. Factors contributing to this include more time spent on screens and wearing face masks. In fact, there’s an acronym for this condition: Mask Associated Dry Eye (MADE), a term that was coined by longtime Rendia customer Darrell E. White, M.D.. Exhaled air escapes from the top of the mask, passing over the surface of the eye and causing tears to evaporate. This graphic from the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) in Ontario, Canada, can help explain it to patients.
Educate patients, especially those who wear contact lenses, on the proper way to wear a face mask to reduce dry eye symptoms.
Solutions for MADE include proper mask fit, which makes the mask more effective and makes it less likely that warm air will escape from the top and dry out the eyes. Consider sharing these tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology with your patients: “When putting on your mask, make sure to pinch the top of the mask to fit the shape of your nose. If your mask allows it, tighten the sides as well for a good fit. Use medical or athletic tape to close the gap between the bridge of your nose and the top of your mask.” An adhesive bandage works just as well.
Tell patients how you can meet their contact lens needs now
During the pandemic, many people have not kept up with their routine care appointments because of safety concerns. Reassure patients that it’s safe to come into your practice by sharing the increased safety measures you are taking, and let them know that regular, comprehensive eye exams by a trained provider are important to maintain their vision and eye health. During the pandemic, issues such as digital eye strain, dry eye, and myopia are on the rise—and you’re here to help.
Let contact lens patients know how you can serve them now—with online ordering or curbside pickup, if you’re offering that, as well as regular eye exams to maintain their vision.
And don’t forget to let patients know how they can get their contact lenses now—whether that’s online ordering through your office, no-contact curbside pickup, or another solution. Patients may not be aware that they can save money by ordering a year’s supply of contact lenses, or that as an eye care provider, you have access to special rebates and savings.