Our 'Clinical Pearl of the Month' column is where we present a clinical pearl to provoke thought and discussion.
Optical dispenser: "Hey Optometrist, Mrs. Smith is having issues with his new glasses"
Optometrist: *knots begin to form in their stomach and they feel a sense of impending doom*
We all know the feeling.
Remakes are costly to a business and inconveniences the patient. Taking care of our patients is our top priority and we want to get it right each and every time. It isn't possible to eliminate remakes, but there are steps we can take to help reduce them.
1. What does the patient want to use the glasses for?
Show how much you care about your patients by listening to them and trying to understand what they want to use the spectacles for. A prescription is not just a jumble of numbers - it is also your recommendations. A prescription means nothing without recommendations. Does the patient need reading glasses, multifocals, split-seg bifocals with prism, extended focus lenses or a special set for their fine jewellery work? Clearly state your lens recommendations. Set aside some time to discuss realistic expectations in the consultation room.
2. Trial frame
Trial frame the prescription. Trial framing can tell you a lot about how the patient likes the prescription. After what I think are stellar refractions, I've been met with a humbling "oh my gosh that is way too strong!" or I feel nauseous" from my patients. Trial framing can save you a world of pain.
2. Make sure you correctly neutralise their current/favourite glasses (including heights, PD and check for prism)
Watch out for prism (of any orientation, up, down, in, out, yoked) or accidentally induced prism by the way the frame is sitting on their face. Lopsided glasses never did anyone any good... Check their cyl axis and don't make huge changes to their prescription without explaining adaptation.
3. Check their tear film
An unstable tear film is one of the biggest contributors to inconsistent refractions. If you suspect your patient has dry eyes affecting their refraction, instill a lubricating eyedrop before commencing. Long-term management of the dry eye issue is the goal.
4. Communicate with your optical dispensing team
The optical dispensing team is your greatest asset. Trust in your team and communicate regularly to ensure you are all on the same page. Ensure you clearly communicate what you would like dispensed for the patient. Has there been a prescription change?. E.g. Mrs. Wood has a +7.00DS prescription for reading. "Hi Dispenser, Mrs. Wood has quite a high script so it'd be great for her to have a smaller frame and custom (grind) high-index lenses to keep them nice and light for her."
Remember to communicate to the dispenser as to what vision the patient should be expecting with their new glasses. If the patient only reads N10, the dispenser will know not to ask them to read the N4 line when they pickup their new reading glasses (hopefully).
5. Remember, YOU are the expert
There will be times where the patient will need time to adapt to their new spectacles. It may be due to a new frame, material or change in prescription. Reassure them and give them time. However, some remakes may be due to unrealistic patient expectations. Pass on your expert advice without forcing your opinion on their decision.