When was the last time that you offered cosmetic contact lenses? A recent Contact Lens Spectrum study determined that practitioners are anticipating growth in this area as compared to previous years (Nichols and Fisher, 2020). Implementing cosmetic contact lenses into the practice presents a great opportunity for eyecare professionals. These products allow practitioners to do something that they already do with spectacles on a daily basis—merge fashion with vision. Our patients not only want to see their best, they want to look their best as well.
If you are not currently focusing on cosmetic lenses, it will require attention to marketing materials, staff training, and a few other reasonable considerations. But as we know, fitting contact lenses during COVID has its challenges as well. Pay special attention when considering cosmetic lenses, because the use of trial lenses is a huge part of the fitting process. Fortunately, as we learn more about COVID-19, we understand that this can still be done in a safe and efficient manner. Let’s review three safe options when helping patients find the “right” color.
Under normal circumstances, soft lenses must be disinfected prior to storage. This step is that much more important in the COVID era. A soft lens disinfection protocol was developed in cooperation with the American Optometric Association Contact Lens & Cornea Section and the American Academy of Optometry Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies (Sindt et al, 2020); it is based on the recommendations within the 2018 standard from the International Organization for Standardization.
Step 1 Place a soft lens in a non-neutralizing case with 3% hydrogen peroxide for three hours.
Step 2 Transfer the lens to a neutralizing case and fill the case with fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide. Add a neutralizing disc or tablet as recommended by the manufacturer.
Step 3 Neutralize the lens for six-plus hours or as directed.
Step 4 Rinse the soft lens with multipurpose solution and then store it in a disinfected case with multipurpose solution.
It is good practice to log and monitor the disinfection history of each lens. However, if reusing disinfected soft lenses is outside of your comfort level, there are still other options.
Discarding Trial Lenses
Many manufacturers provide trial lenses of various colors, but there will not be an unlimited supply. If practitioners can be efficient about their patients’ color selection process, they can discard lenses after every use while still maintaining a sufficient supply. Refrain from asking “What color do you want to try?” Instead, provide color recommendations based on their hair and skin color.
After applying a clear lens on patients’ eyes to complete the fitting process, there are other ways to “test“ colors without having to use additional lenses. A few manufacturers offer web-based applications through which patients can “try lenses on” virtually. This presents an excellent opportunity to assess multiple colors without the use of additional lenses.
In my experience, while there may be some initial effort in selecting a color, patients rarely change colors during future visits. Once they find the color that they like, they are locked in for a very long time. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #304.