Stocking and maintaining GP lens-fitting supplies can be a tedious task, but it is critical to ensuring that a specialty lens-fitting practice runs smoothly. When done well, taking regular inventory can prevent a practice from running out of necessary supplies and using expired supplies.
It is advisable to have samples or demos of the GP lens care units that the practitioner recommends on hand. This prevents confusion when a patient goes to a store to make a purchase. It is also helpful for practitioners who want to demonstrate their use. Handouts with recommendations (as well as photos and/or written instructions) are also useful. Patient noncompliance with lens care is often unintentional and avoidable with clear instructions, particularly if the importance of using name brand, prescribed cleaning and disinfecting agents is emphasized.
Documents on Hand
In addition to diagnostic and care solutions, many specialty lens clinics stock patient handouts that cover numerous topics. These may include instructions for application/removal; care and compliance; office policies regarding fitting fees, lens exchanges, returns, and warranties; and any marketing materials regarding backup spectacle deals or other promotions. Keeping these documents up to date, accurate, and available requires frequent revision and replenishment efforts.
While it is easy for collections of brochures to fall into disarray, keeping the important or frequently utilized ones organized and readily available is helpful. Some specialty lens options, such as orthokeratology, GP multifocals, and myopia control, are often not mentioned to patients because of limitations to the practitioner’s or staff’s time. Having brochures available to quickly distribute can be a reasonable backup plan to introduce patients to specialty services.
THE SUPPLY SIDE
- General specialty lens supplies may include:
- Extra contact lens cases
- Cleaning solution/samples (for specialty soft lenses and GPs)
- Non-preserved saline
- Lens application tools (plungers, stands for sclerals, etc.)
- Lens removal devices/plungers
- Rewetting drops/samples
- 7x or 10x handheld measuring magnifier
- Measuring gauges for lens verification
- Disposable lint-free wipes
- Laboratory-strength lens cleaner
- GP lens polishing supplies
- Supplies specifically for examination rooms may include:
- Fluorescein strips
- Vital dyes
- Topical anesthetic drops (alone or in combination with fluorescein)
- Wratten filters
At the Ready
Annual or semiannual cleaning and calibration of specialty contact lens equipment is recommended. Slit lamps, topographers, anterior segment cameras, optical coherence tomographers, lensometers, and radiuscopes benefit from regular maintenance to ensure peak performance.
Any lens-care kits that are given to new wearers (such as orthokeratology starter kits) need to be regularly checked for expiration. It should also be a priority to regularly disinfect, verify, and organize trial contact lens sets.
If a practice has enough specialty lens patients, running out of basic supplies is a real possibility and can easily disrupt patient care. Having a system in place for specialty lens-care kit management can make this task more straightforward and help prevent a lapse in clinical availability due to employee turnover or negligence in ordering.
Performing this sort of comprehensive clinic supply inventory is often a low priority task in a busy practice and done only when shortages are noted. However, it is worth considering as a quarterly or at least biannual effort, preferably avoiding the busiest times of the year, like end of summer (back to school) and end of year. CLS