THE IMPACT OF PRESBYOPES ON YOUR CL PRACTICE

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ECPs can charge a slightly higher premium for specialty multifocals like SynergEyes Multifocal.

Multifocal cls can help a practice grow if the appropriate pricing strategy is incorporated.

As the population ages, many presbyopic patients are unwilling to give up the convenience they have gained from successfully wearing contact lenses. This means they will be seeking a practitioner that can provide the most current tech-nology without sacrificing the vision they are accustomed to. This scenario is a key element in the profitability of multifocal contact lenses.

Alan Berman, OD, one of the partners of Ridgefield Family Eyecare in Ridgefield, CT, has been extremely successful in fitting multifocals and creating revenue with these lenses. Some of his methods may be helpful to your practice.

ESTABLISHING FEES
Dr. Berman explains that setting your multifocal contact lens fee structure helps increase the profitability of these lenses if done correctly. Multifocals usually involve more detailed patient selection and discussion, a longer workup, and more extensive follow-ups, so charge accordingly for your time.

Many practitioners undercharge for services, thereby not making it cost effective to fit these lenses. “Most doctors I know charge anywhere from $50 to $100 more for their professional fees than a single vision fit,” said Dr. Berman. “By doing this, the fitting of multifocals can be quite profitable and successful.”

LENS PRICING
In order to stay competitive, accurately price your multifocal contact lenses. This may be a more significant issue than you realize, especially if you’re trying to be competitive with other big contact lens providers who have huge buying power and can sell lenses for a reduced cost.

“In our practice, we price soft multifocal contact lenses using the same formula we use for our single vision and toric lenses,” explained Dr. Berman. “Although multifocals are premium products, we try to stay competitive. Gas permeable and specialty multifocals (e.g., SynergEyes® Multifocals) are not usually available online and are more custom-designed, so we can charge a slightly higher premium for them.” In this way, practitioners can be extremely competitive with online retailers.

BY THE NUMBERS
To help illustrate how profitable multifocals can be, the table (at bottom) illustrates different kinds of lens prices and fitting fees. These “fees” are strictly hypothetical and do not reflect the fees of any office and should not be considered as recommendations. They are strictly to help illustrate the profitability of this category of contact lenses.

In the beginning, these lenses may require greater initial chair time, so it is essential to charge appropriately. As more fits are done, you will become more comfortable at fitting and troubleshooting, further decreasing chair time and increasing profits.

Practitioners should always look for ways to set their offices apart from others, develop and retain loyal patients, and bring in new patients. Establishing yourself as a multifocal contact lens fitting specialist will no doubt garner happy patients, plenty of referrals, bring diversity to your practice, and most importantly, become a strong revenue generating stream.

Jennifer L. Stewart is in private practice at Norwalk Eyecare in Norwalk, CT.

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