Focus Series: Daily Disposables Are Driving Business for One California Practice

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NEW YORK—Contact lenses provide a way for practitioners to complete their circle of services to patients, and today’s contact lens technologies, materials, modalities and vision correction solutions serve many functions for both patients and practices.

At Livermore Optometry Group, Livermore, Calif., the large practice covers a full scope of patient needs and offers a premium standard for vision care, whether fitting patients with eyeglasses or contact lenses, diagnosing cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases, or recommending lasik and other eye surgery procedures.

 
  Steve Faith, OD
Contact lenses, though, are a substantial part of Livermore’s total practice revenues, noted Livermore’s Steven Faith, OD, who tracks a number of detailed metrics about Livermore’s business and said that all contact lens products and services have amounted to about 15 percent to 16 percent of total revenue for the past five or six years. “We watch our numbers a lot and our CL revenues are up. Contact lenses are a vital part of our total messaging to patients. We view them as part of our mission to provide quality care to customers and patients in our community.”

Faith says the “economics” of contacts can be a challenge, when he factors in the average number of office visits, the time staff spends interacting with contact lens companies and following up with patients. “But we love ‘em, and we build solid relationships with customers and patients of all ages interested in contact lenses.”



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Daily disposables have been the most active growth area at Livermore of late, Faith said. “It’s easier to manage this business. Patients understand the concepts of ‘daily’ and ‘monthly’ wear, and it’s an easy discussion. Dailies are also bringing a lot of new patients into contact lenses. We’re finding that almost 60 percent of our new fits are dailies, including part-time users.”

Faith also observed, “We are finding that more patients are looking at contact lenses like they do pharmaceuticals—in the sense that they consider concepts like ‘generics’ and ‘name’ brands. So, we’ve turned our approach to staff and patients along those lines. We’ve aligned with certain contact lens companies to give us those options.

 
“This means a range of lenses that we can offer to patients which provide them a ‘value’ choice—manageable options for, say, a family with three kids who wear dailies, people on a budget, and so forth. And then on the branded, premium end, we would offer a series of choices for daily or monthly options like Proclear 1-Day, a Proclear 1-Day Multifocal or we’ve also had success with AirOptix or Focus Dailies, as an example.”

Faith and Livermore are also big believers in servicing the patients by making it easy for the patient to get their supplies of contact lenses online. “We send patients their CLs whether they buy a year’s supply or not. If they need or want to purchase only one box, we’ll send. If it’s a year’s supply, we’ll send. It’s actually more efficient for us to do this then ask them to come in and have our staff manage those in-office pickups. And our patients like that convenience; we’ve streamlined this over time and transitioned our patients into this.”

But, he pointed out, contact lenses, are being worn by an increasing number of kids, by teens, and by young people in their ‘30s. The advent of torics and multifocals is also widening the range of patients who are finding vision care solutions with contact lenses.

“We’re a big Proclear Multifocal office, we do a lot with Biofinity Multifocal and also the Alcon AirOptix multifocal. He estimated, “multifocals today represent just less than 20 percent of our fits, but that’s one in five and that’s pretty good. We set up the wearers today with discussions we had with them two years ago, when the first signs of presbyopia were hitting longer-term contact lens wearers. That set the stage and now it’s exciting to see people who are ready to try these and make the move.”

This is the third VM article in our editorial series, a collaboration between Vision Monday and Review of Optometric Business, which will explore the ways that contact lenses are contributing top and bottom line to modern optical practices. Visit VisionMonday.com to read the FOCUS series. To explore the content exclusive to Review of Optometric Business, visit www.reviewob.com and look for the Contact Lens Profitability series. ■
 
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