Patients have the choice to decide who provides their eyecare needs. As eye care professionals, offering an incredible experience and finding the right solutions to accommodate their lifestyles is imperative. So what brands are you partnering with to elevate the patient experience? In this episode, we cover how important it is to understand each demographic/generation and find ways to better fit their contact lens options.
We dug into the details with Dr. Ashley Roth, 3rd generation Optometrist, and Johnson & Johnson Vision, who partnered with Defocus Media on this episode. Their several unique Acuvue contact lenses are perfect for people of every generation — we’ll cover how.
MEET DR. ASHLEY ROTH
Dr. Darryl Glover: Today I’m super excited because I’m hanging out with another star in eye care and I’m also excited because we’re going to touch on something that’s going to improve your practice when it comes to seeing patients. We have to understand the patient that’s sitting in front of us – we have to know every generation that walks in and we have to make sure we have the right solutions for those patients. Today we’re going to talk about meeting the demands and making real max clarity when it comes to these patients that are sitting in front of us. Friends and family I’d like to welcome my colleague, Dr. Ashley Roth. How are you doing today, Dr. Roth?
Dr. Ashley Roth: Hi, I’m doing great! Thank you for having me here! This is actually my first podcast, so I’m really excited.
Dr. Darryl Glover: Well, I’m glad that I could be the first, and I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you. When I was having some conversations with my colleagues over at Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dr. Moody, in particular, really raved about how great you are when it comes to doctor-patient interaction, especially when it comes to fitting contact lenses but most importantly, just really understanding the patient demographic that sits in front of you.
So let’s get started, Dr. Roth I’d love to learn a little bit about you. Something cool about you, which is perfect for this podcast, is that you come from a long history a long or big family tree of several generations of Optometrists, so maybe if you can talk about what your background looks like and maybe even your why, how you got into high eye care before we get this party started today.
Dr. Ashley Roth: So for me, optometry, it’s been like a lifelong dream at this point, even when I was little. So let’s go back. It was my grandfather, my dad, and now me, so we do have three generations of rock Optometrists, and I probably decided I wanted to be an Optometrist when I was about, maybe 13 or so. I used to get dropped off after school at the office, and I remember seeing my dad, and my grandfather got to work together and it was just a pleasant environment, and people could see, and they were happy choosing their glasses, and I thought “wow, I’d really like to work with my dad one day” and I don’t know if anybody took me seriously at the time but I never changed my mind. I get to work with my dad, so I feel really fulfilled, fortunate, and lucky.
Dr. Darryl Glover: That’s amazing. I love that story, and that’s the thing, when you get exposure to the eye at an early age, it really changes your life. It really makes an impact, and you know what, your future may be because you see the difference that you make, right? You have someone come into your office that you have never met before, and you’re helping them with the most precious sense, sight, and you change their world tremendously. We need more of that. All [of] my colleagues out there, all those kids that walk into your office; let them sit, look behind a slit lamp, let them pick up a contact lens, do something so that we can get more Optometrists in the eye care industry. That way, we can help and serve more patients and start that family tree like Dr. Roth’s family, right? Let’s keep it in the family, baby!
CHOOSING CONTACT LENSES FOR YOUNGER GENERATIONS
Dr. Darryl Glover: Let’s take it from the top. Today I really want to dive deep into the importance of meeting the demands of our patients, in particular, when it comes to contact lenses. I don’t know about you, but in my office, I have patients from the age [of] five to about 105, so I see pretty much all walks of life. So today, I really want to take some notes. I got my pen, got my paper, and really learned from you, and I really want to start with Generation Z, these are your digital-born, post-millennials, that range in general. When these patients come into your office, what kind of dialogue do you have with them? Especially when it comes to contacts because I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity for all age groups. But let’s take it from the beginning and work our way to the more seasoned folks that are out there in the world.
Dr. Ashley Roth: If we’re talking about Generation Z, they will be coming in with their parents. A lot of times, I don’t think we’re presenting contact lenses as an option for kids. Sometimes the parents will come in and say, “oh, Johnny wants to play baseball,” and now we have that conversation. Or “my kids are always breaking their glasses,” or maybe they’ve even gotten to the point where they need readers. These kids are constantly on these devices, but they don’t want to wear bifocal. Contact lenses can actually be an excellent option for them. The risk of infection is lower, and it’s easy, they don’t have to clean them, or take care of them, so for a kid, it’s a no-brainer.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I love that. Two things that you stated that I really love: number one is not just talking to the parent but to the child. You have to create a partnership with the entire family because if the kid doesn’t understand where you’re coming from and that these are medical devices, you know it will be a nightmare, so really incorporating them into the conversation is a big deal. Now, even though you’re creating that partnership, you’re also putting your foot down and saying, “hey, we need to do dailies because it’s the healthiest bet, and I’m a firm believer that when you can connect with kids at an early age and put them in dailies, then they’re going to be set for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Darryl Glover: When it comes to actual lens products. Which lenses are your go-to for daily contact lenses for this generation?
Dr. Ashley Roth: If cost becomes a factor, then Acuvue Moist is a nice option. But for silicone-hydrogel contact lenses, besides being more breathable, a lot of patients find it more comfortable, so it’s like, why should I make these little kids suffer – they can have a premium contact lens as well. Even the handling, so that INR; those kids are the ones that need to learn how to put in that contact lens. We know with the hydrogel material, they’re kind of harder to insert, at least. So when you have a bit of that sturdiness, it makes their insertion training much easier. I reach for Oasys 1-Day, the majority of the time.
Dr. Darryl Glover: Now let me ask you this, Dr. Roth, because in my office – I don’t know if I do things similar to people [or] if I do it differently – but either way, I know my patients are happy, I’m doing something right. When it comes to insertion and removal, I usually put the contact lens on my patient’s eyes, and I check their vision, and then I take them out for insertion and removal and have one of my technicians do it? Do you do that yourself or do you have the kids go out to an insertion and removal place and learn how to do it first before you put it on their eyes?
Dr. Ashley Roth: No, I do like to put it on. You know, these first-time wearers whether it’s kids or not, they can see, “hey how does this feel in my eyes right now?” How is that vision? Do I like this? How is that lens fitting? [I] give them this moment, and I like to see the ah-ha moment, especially for kids. There’s something so exciting in the exam room, so it’s fun to kind of experience that with them.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I’m very similar, I do the exact same thing. I also get that thrill, that high, whenever the kids have the lens on, they look around and [they’re] like, “oh my goodness”, I mean that peripheral vision always gets [them], they’re sold.
Dr. Darryl Glover: Before we jump to the Millennials, because I am a seasoned Millennial, by the way. You mentioned premium lenses. Kids should have a premium lens, I believe every kid should have a premium lens. I believe it’s something that we shouldn’t have to try to sell, we should educate and tell them about the health benefits of it, and we have to keep in mind, when these kids come in, look at their sneakers. They’re wearing shoes that probably cost two, or three hundred dollars, so if the parents are willing to make an investment in some sneakers or an Apple phone, iPhone, or android phone, then you shouldn’t even let that be a barrier. Never judge anyone when they walk in, just fit them with the best option to make that experience tremendously more comfortable for them.
THE RIGHT CONTACT LENSES FOR MILLENNIALS
Dr. Darryl Glover: All right, so let’s jump into the next group here. We have the Millennials; Millennials are anywhere from 1981 to about 1996. Millennials are tech-savvy, they’re authentic, and they love diversity, so you want to make sure that when you have this patient base come in, number one, your office reflects diversity. You also want to keep in mind that they’re tech savvy, so more than likely they’ve been on their phone investigating you, or know the latest and greatest technology, and they also like to be authentic, so it’s very important to make sure that you kind of weave some of these things into what your office looks like, but most importantly that dialogue that you have in the office. I would love to learn a little bit more, maybe about some of the questions – some of the dialogue that you entertain – from your patients when they come in for millennials.
Dr. Ashley Roth: This is an interesting bunch, and I think they’re a lot more educated than we take them for. So, as you said, they grew up with these smartphones, and — although I am a millennial — I didn’t get an iPhone until college. I find a lot of my patients coming in and asking like, “hey, is there something new”, and there’s not always something new, but right now, there IS something really great and new. The Oasys Max 1-Day has definitely been a game changer, especially for this generation.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I love that you actually prescribe what you wear because we talked about millennials, they like for you to be authentic, and they like for you to be transparent. So when you can relate to them and say, “I wear this lens, my life is just like yours. I spend countless hours in front of digital devices, I go the entire day, and I pop them out before I go to bed.” That gets more buy-in that builds more of that trust factor. That’s game-changing. The other game-changing piece is truly that blue light protection – my patient base is just like yours – they come in educated, they’re asking me questions, and they’re looking for these things. So it’s very important to make sure that you’re always aware of the latest and greatest in innovation when it comes to contact lens technology and that you’re able to have that conversation because the last thing you want is for a patient to go in and you have no clue what they’re talking about, and you’re not educated about it.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I want to give a special shout-out to Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV) – I mean, I did this the other day on the podcast – these guys are innovative. Myself and Dr. Garlich and Dr. Lyerly were talking about all the technology they’ve done over the last years – the innovation. From the lens with transitions, for this Acuvue Max, to the lens to help with allergies, they’ve really changed the game and they’re really always cutting edge, so they’re doing a fantastic job. When you look at brands that have that complete portfolio to solve problems for any patients sitting in front of you, they have a strong case for being one of the best and not the best out there to make it happen.
MULTIFOCAL CONTACT LENSES FOR GENERATION X
Dr. Darryl Glover: Next up Generation X 1965 to 1980. This generation is known as the forgotten generation, the latchkey generation, and they wear contacts as well. Between this generation and the Baby Boomers, I think this is a great opportunity to tap into a market that we don’t really capitalize on because historically we wouldn’t have the right solutions for patients for multi-focal contact lens, but I know this portfolio that Johnson & Johnson Vision has, Acuvue, they have really changed the game with regards to that opportunity at least in my practice, but I love to know what these patients look like in your practice, what kind of dialogue, what kind of questions they may ask, so maybe if you can give us kind of an overview of what that looks like in your practice, Dr. Roth?
Dr. Ashley Roth: Sure, so with this generation, we’re getting into presbyopes – there are presbyopes there. I think that sometimes these patients, they’ve been wearing contact lenses for years, right? We’ve got reusable options, and we have the Max 1-Day Multifocal, which has been a game changer in my practice. Just yesterday in my office, I had a 42-year-old, and he was wearing – he was actually under-corrected in his contact lenses – it was his first time coming in. He’s like a 325, and he’s wearing a 250. So he could still read, and I told him like, “hey listen, the moment that I bring you up to that negative 3.25, or negative 3.25, which is actually what you need, that distance is going to be great, but I’m afraid that you’re not gonna be able to see your phone, your texts…” and so I get kind of get through these options and I said well there’s multifocal contact lenses. We went right into the Max 1-Day, and I put it on him, and I was like, “whip out your phone and like take a peek, can you see your watch? Your text? Pull up an email…” and I go, “does this look like it normally does? Does it look better? Does it look worse?” and he’s like, “yeah, this looks great, this looks this looks normal,” as if he didn’t realize he was in a multifocal lens at that point.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I’m a fan, I’m sold on it. The one thing that I love is that I now have an option for my patients that are on the border. I can give them something to let them know that they’ll be okay. The other thing I love about this Max brand is that I like to keep families. So if I have a patient that’s a single-vision lens option, I can tell them, “look, you’re gonna have that same comfort, we have a multifocal in that same brand” they’re like, “oh, I don’t have to change brands, but I’m going to see the distance in here?” Game changer. A lot of times, you’ll have different vendors out there, and all their contacts are other names. People are all about name recognition, even if you put them in a lens or see better, they still remember that name, and they’re like, “I want to go back to this brand over here because they’ve been awesome.”
Dr. Ashley Roth: What about the patient that comes in you’re like, “what are you wearing?” and say, “Acuvue,” and they’re not, it’s just such brand recognition. You can ask even a patient that doesn’t wear contact lenses or a person on the street, and they’re probably gonna say “Acuvue,” but there’s a reason for that, besides them being popular, their products are really great.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I agree, so tell me this. We’ve really touched on all these generations, from Generation Z to the Millennials, to the Baby Boomers; all these patients are great. We have resources and tools for all these patients but do you ever have any difficult conversations with these patients, especially regarding contacts, and you’re trying to get them into that option because you think it might be a great fit for them? If you run into these difficult conversations, what are you doing to make it easier to have that breakthrough?
Dr. Ashley Roth: Yeah, sometimes I find that I’ll have a patient that maybe is not asking about contact lenses but could improve. Maybe on their intake form, it says that they play tennis, or they’re playing golf, and it’s nice not to have to wear your glasses, or maybe you were wearing sunglasses that are distance only and whatnot, so if you can present contact lens to a patient that maybe either didn’t think about it or maybe their previous doctors didn’t tell them, they maybe don’t know if they can even wear them. They’re not even going to go ahead and ask you, so a lot of times I’ll ask like, “oh, are you interested in contact lenses? Have you ever tried?” And so I kind of like to have that conversation.
GIVING PATIENTS THE MAX EXPERIENCE
Dr. Darryl Glover: I want to kind of elaborate or dig into something that you mentioned because I’ve done that myself. Sometimes I’ll pop a lens on the patient’s eye just so they can see what they’re missing out and maybe change their life. Maybe I’ll get a little closer, and they might knock me over because they’re like, “you’re not coming near my eye!” But what do you say to those doctors that give kick back and say that’s too much chair time, I gotta get into my next patient? What’s your response to those doctors out there? Because we do have some colleagues out there that want to get in and get to the next patient, I feel like they’re doing a disservice, not just to their patients but to Optometry.
Dr. Ashley Roth: Yeah I think that some days are busier than others and you can see how many patients you’ve got waiting for you, but to ask a simple question like, “have you ever thought about contact lenses?” I mean that’s no time and the answer would be “yes” or “no” or “maybe” and you have this one minute conversation that may change that patient’s life. As I said, it may be the reason that they come back to you or they don’t.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I love it. Just go the extra mile, treat everyone like a loved one and you’ll never have anything to worry about. Give them that extra time, and you’ll be amazed that additional two to five minutes of chair time may give you a patient for the rest of your life.
It’s been a fantastic podcast – a lot of great information. I mean, we touched on everything from knowing the right lens for kids to handle, what to use for our tech-savvy patients, what to use for our seniors, or more seasoned, or more veteran patients that are out there. If you had to give one piece of advice for all the listeners [and] all the followers out there regarding how to meet the demands of the patient sitting in front of you, what would that one piece of advice be Dr. Roth?
Dr. Ashley Roth: Well, besides offering contact lenses to a patient as an option, not being afraid to present the patient with the best option. Also, multifocal lenses. With the multifocal having that initial lens selection, sometimes each brand has a different design, and one may work in this number but not that one. So I’ve been obsessed with the calculator since the Oasys 2-Week Multifocal came out. It’s been my best friend. I put it on the toolbar of all of my exam rooms, I forced the other doctors in my practice to use the calculator, and I think that besides finding that initial lens, it troubleshoots for us on the right-hand side. It’s like, okay, if we need to improve distance, try this one next. So that’s taking up chair time right there, right, and you’re impressing the patient. Do we need a little bit more reading? Not a problem, let’s pop this one on, and now the next one is the one that works.
Dr. Darryl Glover: I mean, with this information, this is something that your technicians can actually key into the calculator. Grab those contacts, place them on the patient’s eye, or have them pop them in. Check their vision, you could be seeing another patient, being able to see another patient, and then coming back in. I mean, we’ve got to think about how we’re practicing and leveraging our technicians. Are we leveraging technology? Are we really educating our patients? That fit calculator is the truth, and I’m glad that you brought that up. For those that are unfamiliar with it, just hit up jnjvisionpro.com, and you’ll see that business center, the calculator tools that they have and it’ll change the game for you. You don’t have to think you really plug and play and it’s a high percentage in regards to it being right on the first time, it’s rare that I don’t have a patient that likes it on the first shot, so I’m glad you brought that up Dr.
I want to thank you this evening for hanging out with me. This has been fantastic. I’ve learned so much from you; you are a rock star. I hope to have many, many generations of Optometrists in my family. If my son wants to be one, by all means, I will make sure he has all the tools and resources to succeed. You can see through Dr. Roth that she’s had the privilege to witness great Optometrists, and she will continue to carry that torch down the road.
Learn more about JJV Acuvue Products here.