As practitioners we do an awful lot to keep our contact lens patient comfortable and staying in their lenses. We have tools that help us assess the integrity of the tear film like Tear Lab, Schirmers Test and various staining dyes. We have high powered devices like slit lamps, keratometers and topographers that help us assess lens fit and condition. We even have the latest technology in lens materials and solutions. But still, this isn’t enough for some people. A previous study in Optometry Vision Science looked to target yet another component that might be affecting our fits. A psychological one.
Apart from the basic findings of tear function, lens condition and compliance, researchers found that “lens awareness may also be determined by psychological factors such as motivation, high expectations for comfort, and sense of well-being”1. Results for this finding were obtained by reviewing contact lens articles related to dryness, comfort, and discomfort within PubMed.
As practitioners, what can we do with this information? It all goes back to patient education. When it comes to contact lenses, patients come into our office with certain expectations. It is very difficult to determine where those expectations derived from and even if they are realistic. It is for this reason that we have to be very clear when it comes to training and educating our patients. Part of the this has to involve questioning the patient and getting a sense of what they are looking for. It is here where we can determine the patients level of motivation and how aggressive we have to be to meet the patients needs. Ultimately, this will not only help keep the patients in their lenses, but coming back year after year.
Jason E. Compton OD FAAO
- McMonnies CW. Psychological and other mechanisms for end-of-day soft lens symptoms. Optom Vis Sci. 2013 Jun;90(6):e175-81