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Prescribing Contact Lenses to Younger Patients

Prescribing contact lenses for younger patients is different than prescribing for adult patients. It can change their lives by providing vision not possible with spectacles and brings along new responsibilities of compliance and hygiene. In polling practitioners about their contact lens prescribing habits, we found an overwhelming confidence among their younger patients (and a lack thereof in older teens and college students). One doctor said, “Daily disposables really limit poor compliance. Young kids tend to comply well; it’s the teenagers and adults who are the worst.” Another OD agrees: “Honestly, not many young children fail to comply”¦that happens when they get older.” But there are ways to boost compliance. Parental oversight is also important, but read below for other tricks of the trade.

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How ODs keep younger patients in compliance
“I show photo results of poor compliers. I have a poster that is quite effective.”
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“We warn them and their parents about potential risks of continued noncompliance.”

“I re-explain the risks, congratulate them on their good luck in avoiding complications so far and encourage better future compliance. Most will at least attempt to buckle down. Too much shaming will encourage them to switch doctors to what they hope will be a less “˜pushy’ fitter in the future.”

“Advise glasses.”

“Reeducate and retrain. If not compliant, then do not finalize their CL and document regularly to protect yourself from a potential lawsuit.”

“I switch the patient to daily contact lenses and go over the importance of being compliant. I explain that they may not be able to wear contacts if they insist on being non-compliant.”

“Do not renew Rx.”

“We make sure that the parents are responsible for compliance. We show anterior segment pictures to the young patient and the parent(s). If the non-compliance continues, we highly recommend that the patient should not be a contact lens wearer. We also send a letter to the patient and parent(s) stating that we do not want to continue to be involved in this dangerous non-compliance pattern.”

“Convert to daily disposables!”

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