Start with identifying patients, and then have an honest discussion.
The market for daily disposable contact lenses continues to grow. Consider: ABB Optical Group, a distributor of optical products, evaluated sales data from about 11,000 practices it serves across the country. Among the doctors that purchase lenses through ABB Optical, 47% of their contact lens purchases are daily disposables.
Also, during the first quarter of 2018, ABB found, same store sales for daily disposable lenses are up 14.6% compared to the same period one year ago. Looking at specific categories, sales of daily disposable toric lenses were up 22.4%, and daily disposable multifocals were up 31.6%. “We look at same stores sales data so we can understand practices and how they are growing,” said Aaron See, vice president of marketing for ABB Optical.
This, no doubt, is due to numerous benefits to patients and doctors. “The patients appreciate the numerous benefits of daily disposables, the doctors see better compliance and thus lower rates of contact lens-related disorders, and practice owners gain increased profitability and increased patient retention,” said Steve Rosinski, OD, of Charlotesville, VA. “In my practice, I try to switch every patient to them, as I believe that strongly in their benefits.
Where do daily disposables fit in your practice? If you want to grow this area, consider the following steps.
IDENTIFY THE PATIENTS
Make patients aware that they’re candidates for daily disposable lenses if the required prescription is available. Let this lead to a wider discussion about why you feel a daily disposable is in the patient’s best interests.
“I discuss it with all patients who are candidates for daily disposables,” said Mile Brujic, OD, Bowling Green, OH. “Fortunately, in recent years, we have had the advent of a wider range of daily disposable lens options providing more patients the opportunity to wear these technologies.”
See agrees. “For a long time, daily disposable spheres have outsold frequent replacement spheres,” he said. “The part that held back daily disposables are torics and multifocals. That’s what’s jolting the whole daily disposable share even higher.”
Consider the number of companies that introduced new products or expanded the parameters of existing ones:
• CooperVision introduced MyDay toric daily disposable contact lenses earlier this year and recently expanded the available parameters.
• Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson Vision announced expanded parameters for its 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST Brand Contact Lenses for ASTIGMATISM. These are in addition to daily disposables such as 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST Brand MULTIFOCAL, ACUVUE OASYS 1-DAY with HydraLuxe Technology for ASTIGMATISM, and ACUVUE OASYS 1-DAY with HydraLuxe Technology for ASTIGMATISM.
• Last year, Bausch & Lomb, whose offerings already included Biotrue ONEday and Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia, introduced Biotrue ONEday for Astigmatism.
And, if you were at SECO this year, you might have seen Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, promoting Alcon’s DAILIES AquaComfort Plus. The line includes DAILIES AquaComfort Plus OneDay Contact Lenses, DAILIES AquaComfort Plus Toric One-Day Contact Lenses and DAILIES AquaComfort Plus Multifocal One-Day Contact Lenses.
“I think that all optometrists should make their patients aware that they are candidates for a daily disposable lens if their prescription is available,” Brujic said. “This lends itself to a candid conversation about why the practitioner feels it is the patient’s best option as well.”
EMPHASIZE VALUE, NOT PRICE
But, how can you convince patients to try them, especially if they’re concerned that daily disposables will cost more? “I really stress the overall value to the patient and stress the benefits to them. It is amazing how taking the time to explain why I am prescribing the daily disposables over frequent replacement lenses really resonates with the patient,” Rosinski said.”I do always mention not having to buy solutions and cases. In addition I talk about that fresh lens feeling every single day.”
For individuals who are hesitant, Rosinski offers them a trial pack of daily disposable lenses to take home. “Even if they are not going to switch to daily disposable lenses this year it might plant the seed for years down the road,” he said.
Don’t shy away from the question of cost. “I have a very candid conversation about the cost of lenses so that they know what to expect,” Brujic said. “If I was to see any other physicians for a service or product that they are treating me with that would have an out-of-pocket expense, I would hope that they would explain my options and what the cost of the options are. I pay my patients the same level of respect.”
When Brujic discusses cost with the patients, he also factors the costs of solutions to care for the lenses as well as any savings available from rebates. “When all of these considerations are taken into account, it mitigates much of the perceived cost differences between daily disposable lenses and other frequent replacement modalities,” he said.
SHIP TO PATIENTS
Eyecare practices that ship more than 10% of their soft contact lenses sales directly to patients outpace the national average for dollar growth, according to ABB Optical’s research. By contrast, eyecare practices with little to no direct-to-patient shipping activity underperform the national average.
Specifically, the national average for direct-to-patient dollar share was 25%, and the national average for dollar growth in 2017 was 7.2%. Practices with more than 45% direct-to-patient dollar share grew 8.6% year-over-year, while practices with less than 10% direct-to-patient dollar share only grew at 6.3%.
Additional advantages of direct-to-patient shipment include freeing up your staff time and word-of-mouth referrals, according to See.
Options for direct shipment to patients include LensFerry from EyeCare Prime, a division of CooperVision; YourLens.com from ABB Optical; My CL Reorder from CLX System, and Sightbox. (For more on these, see “Competing for Contact Lens Patients,” June 2017.)
BELIEVE IN THEM
One of the most important steps to growing your dispensing of daily disposable lenses is to believe in them yourself. “If we don’t believe in them how are we supposed to explain the benefits to our patients? As a huge believer in daily disposable lenses and their benefits, I would talk to each and every patient about them,” said Rosinski.
Keep in mind, that you may require more exam time to do so. But, if you can grow this portion of the practice, “then you are only working smarter and not harder,” Rosinski said.
WHERE TO FIND IT
ABB Optical Group
800.852.8089 | ABBOptical.com
800.451.3937 | Alcon.com
Bausch + Lomb
800.828.9030 | Bausch.com
800.341.2020 | CooperVision.com
Johnson & Johnson Vision
800.843.2020 | JJVision.com