Why Do Patients Continue to Wear Progressive Lenses?

The majority of consumers-68%-who previously wore progressive lenses and continue to wear progressives say they do so because they were satisfied with the design, according to The Vision Council’s 2012 Progressive Lens White Paper. Of first-time progressive purchasers, 42% said they wanted something they could use for both distance and reading while 39% said they wanted something that did not have a line visible to others. Only 26% switched to progressives because their ECP recommended they do so. Of consumers who previously wore single-vision lenses and switched to progressives, the majority said they did so because their prescription changed.

If 68% were satisfied with the lens design and 32% were not, that’s a problem. Doctors and opticians need to better link lens design to patient lifestyle.  

So, how do you determine the patient lifestyle in your practice? As a group, eyecare providers have spent so much time trying to refine the medical history to meet reimbursement documentation requirements that we have ignored the lifestyle history questionnaire. So, let’s focus on the lifestyle history questionnaire today. Is it up to date? Does it include questions about tablet and smartphone usage? Does it question how much time the patient spends on near-work each day?  If not, today is the day you should initiate an update.   

The second issue here is lens design. We definitely need to make sure both doctors and opticians are matching patients’ lifestyles to the best lens design rather than just prescribing their favorite “safe” lens. This means taking the time to meet with lens manufacturer representatives, as well as in-depth discussions between doctors and opticians. Our goal is not to have a patient settle for an adequate lens design but rather to give our patients the best lens design for their unique lifestyle. Don’t forget to educate your patient about what you are doing and why.

Updating the patient lifestyle history questionnaire and making sure both doctors and opticians are matching the patient’s lifestyle history questionnaire with the best lens design are fundamental issues that need our immediate attention. Get this handled today and it will be a win for both your patients and your practice.


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