Carol L. Alexander, OD, FAAO speaks about innovation in the contact lens space.
Cara Moore: Hi everybody. Thanks for watching Optometry TV. I’m Cara Moore, joined now by Dr. Carol Alexander. Thanks for being here.
Dr. Carol Alexander: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Cara Moore: So we’re talking about the contact lens category and more specifically, let’s begin by talking about how Johnson and Johnson Vision is really innovating in this space.
Dr. Carol Alexander: You know, that’s one of the things I love to talk about with Johnson and Johnson Vision because they were the company that introduced the world to disposable contact lenses. So it’s a company that lives on innovation from the science side of things, always putting the doctor and patient first. And the most recent innovation that we’ve introduced in the last year is our Acuview Oasis with Transitions Light Intelligent technology lenses. So we’re very proud of that innovation and hope that the doctors are too.
Cara Moore: Tell us a little bit about it.
Dr. Carol Alexander: So this lens takes the Oasis contact lens and combines it with the Transitions photochromic molecule so that we can have a lens that goes from about 15% filtering when we’re indoors, up to 70% filtering when we’re outdoors, making it so that patients who are bothered by light don’t have to squint, shade their eyes, or turn down the illumination or the brightness of lights around them, making it seamless and comfortable all day long.
Cara Moore: And innovative.
Dr. Carol Alexander: Very innovative and the reason we did was because we learned that 64% of patients indicate that they’re bothered by light, but they rarely bring it up in an eye exam and frankly, a doctor wouldn’t either simply because we didn’t really have a solution. If we were going to ask you if you were bothered by light, so now knowing that it’s nearly two thirds of patients, it was really something that we thought was very important to bring to the market.
Cara Moore: Let’s talk about a trend that you say that you’ve been seeing, specifically in young people regarding contact lenses. That’s a bit surprising I think.
Dr. Carol Alexander: Yeah, I think it’s interesting to note that we’re seeing fewer young people being fit in contact lenses. Now, who knows what all the reasons for that are. But we know that there are, at least from our research, we believe that there are about two patients for every one that already wears contact lenses that are interested. And so if there’s that many people interested, and that becomes millions of patients. What is it about getting the contact lens that’s difficult, and what I surmise is that comes down to is this Doctors think with patients interested in contacts they’ll certainly ask about them. And patients on the other hand are a little bit more reserved when they’re in the office and oftentimes are waiting for the doctor to suggest them. Because if they were a candidate, certainly we would tell them about what technologies are available to them.
Cara Moore: So there’s a bit of a gap between what patients want and what they’re asking for.
Dr. Carol Alexander: Yeah, so I mean it’s, it’s always a little intimidating when you go to the doctor, right? Sometimes we forget the questions we want to ask and if it isn’t asked of us or brought up first, we could have forgotten or who knows what the reason might be. So how can Doctors work it out that this patient gets the information they need?
Cara Moore: And that was going to be my next question. So then what can practitioners do to sort of close that gap?
Dr. Carol Alexander: I think the easiest way would do is to think about the patient’s journey through the office. So they’ve made an appointment. Could we have asked right then? Do you wear contacts or would you be interested? So it’s starts the thought process. Then when they come into the office, as they’re going into the pre-testing mode, what specific questions do we train our staff to always ask? Are there times when your glasses get in the way? Are there are times when you might like to be glasses free? Just something that tells this patient, this is an office that offers contact lenses routinely. Anytime there’s a conversation with a staff member, that way, by the time this patient arrives to the doctor, they heard it, thought about it, and it will be easier to bring it up. And certainly easier for the doctor to bring up because his guest staff has discovered that desire.
Cara Moore: So practitioners have to be thoughtful. Not only to bring it up to their patients, but they have to have some staff sort of training or new way of thinking possibly.
Dr. Carol Alexander: I think that’s critical to the success of it because sometimes we take so much for granted, and I know when I had a practice and I did practice in a private practice for 20 years, whenever I took the time to think through my patient’s journey and then sit down with my staff, sometimes they came up with the great ideas of how we could do something. So I’ve never lost sight of the fact that the staff people could really help me, but we’d have to engage in conversation.
Cara Moore: Collaboration, exactly. Alright Dr. Alexander, thanks for being here.
Dr. Carol Alexander: Thank you so much. It was a delight.
Cara Moore: Thank you. And thanks for watching Optometry TV.