By Amy Hellem
As a specialty lens fitter, you already know the short answer to the question, “Are your soft toric patients as happy as they could be?” However, not all specialty lens fitters are comfortable pointing out the shortcomings of toric platforms to patients who seem happy enough wearing them.
What’s more, you could certainly maintain that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is suitable advice—provided astigmatic lens wearers are truly satisfied. Unfortunately, research shows that most toric lens wearers are not happy at all.
Un-Happier Than You Know
A recent study of 400 toric lens wearers revealed that patients feel irritated, hindered, frustrated, worried and helpless when lenses rotate.1 This in itself may not come as a surprise, when you consider the disabling visual consequences of lens rotation. What’s most surprising about this report is how many patients are experiencing these effects—presumably in silence.
In fact, 82% of toric lens wearers say they “frequently” experience issues with their lenses and 85% say they have to manually reorient lenses to regain vision.1 Make no mistake: this can be debilitating, particularly if vision cannot be quickly restored, which is often the case. A clinical study of patients wearing four leading toric lens brands reveals that 74% of misoriented toric lenses are still significantly misoriented after 60 seconds.2
Having stability is key, says Todd Pfeil, OD. “That’s what allows the patient to not just be fit, but to be fit successfully.”
The Duette Difference
The stable optics of a custom lens like Duette offers obvious benefits that could be enjoyed by nearly every toric lens wearer. Unlike a toric, the Duette optics are very stable, and it doesn’t matter if the lens rotates. The RGP center can rotate 360 degrees and will still deliver fantastic optics. This is meaningful, especially when a patient is driving at night or is engaging in dynamic sports. In such cases, it’s not only a question of satisfaction; it’s a safety consideration.
Duette is not only a clear alternative to toric contacts, it is also a much more comfortable alternative than an RGP, with less staining issues, says Joe Vansuch, OD. And you don’t have to worry about swings in the axis or blink variability. On top of that, patients get crisper vision from the get-go. “It is my favorite lens in the practice,” he adds.
“Duette is not your standard lens,” says Dr. Pfeil who adds that you therefore shouldn’t expect your outcomes to be standard either. “A superior product is going to deliver superior optics,” he says. Of course, some patients may express concern about price, but research shows that 73% of toric wearers say they would pay more for a lens that eliminates toric issues.1
Witnessing the Difference
Patients not only like Duette better—many of them will like you better too for having finally fit them in a lens that better suits their needs. In fact, as Brian Dembo, OD, PC, learned, your toric patients may be less pleased with you than you know. After convincing one of his presbyopic astigmats to try Duette Progressive, his patient put the lenses in, looked around the room, looked down to read something, and then turned to him and said, “You know what? I finally like you again.”
Dr. Dembo is not alone in winning patients’ hearts with Duette. Erin Sullivan, OD, says her Duette patients are elated—particularly when they discover that they can see their cell phones without readers.
It’s easy to assume that these things don’t matter much to patients, but you’d be surprised at how patients can be truly moved by a better optical experience. Dr. Pfeil recalls one such instance where a man in his mid-thirties put on a pair of Duette lenses and began to tear up, saying “Doctor, thank you for allowing me to experience this lens; this is amazing.”
“Better Than Before” vs “Good Enough”
Patients won’t always verbalize how subpar their toric contacts are, but if you go the extra mile, you’ll likely be surprised at how deeply they’ll be affected by an improvement. Dr. Pfeil suggests you ask yourself, “Can we take care of this patient better than we are right now?”
The Duette hybrid lens allows you to correct the astigmatism accurately while research clearly shows that this can be a tremendous benefit. In fact, fifty nine percent of toric lens wearers are convinced that there must be a better lens for astigmatism.1 As their doctor, you want to make sure they find it at your practice.
Amy Hellem is an independent writer and researcher who specializes in ophthalmology and optometry. Previously, she served as editor-in-chief of Review of Optometry and Review of Cornea & Contact Lenses and directed the custom publishing division for Review of Ophthalmology.
- Study of 400 Toric Wearers. Data on file.
- Non-dispensing clinical study of 38 eyes (leading 4 toric brands). After lens is rotated 45 degrees temporally. Data on file.