In this blog, I’m going to share some frustrating episodes from the past couple of months. Strangely enough, they are all contact lens related.

I’d been fitting a woman with toric lenses for a couple of months. She had dry eyes and wanted monthlies then dailies then wasn’t happy with her vision with the dailies and then wanted to try the first lenses again.

I must’ve seen her six times.

Anyway, I get it all sorted, she’s finally happy and she comes in with a list of prices from a supermarket opticians. They have the lenses I’ve fitted her with, £5 a month cheaper. She’s going to go with them, unless I can justify why she should pay £60 more a year. I went through all the benefits and the free aftercares and discounts.

I wish she hadn’t come back – it’s not as if I could price match and I felt annoyed when she said, “The customer service here has been amazing. I couldn’t get an appointment at a reasonable time from Supermarket Optician but I was able to come here after work. You’ve spent so much time with me to get these lenses right. I really appreciate it but it’s £5 a month cheaper at Blah opticians so I’m going there.”

The same week, I had another patient wanting to try lenses. I spoke to him about dailies versus monthlies (he decided on dailies) then about wearing times (14-16 hours a day) then we talked about UV protection. He was going on holiday (this was the main reason for trying lenses) so he thought UV protection sounded good.

I told him the price for the dailies that I recommended (CooperVision MyDay) and he went off, seemingly happy.

I get an irate phone call a couple of days later from him: he’s angry because all his friends with contact lenses are paying half what he is (he hasn’t actually paid anything, it’s a free trial). Why did I make him get such expensive lenses?

In these situations, it’s best to ask some questions. What lenses are his friends wearing? Dunno. Dailies or monthlies? Dunno. How long do they wear them for and do they wear them everyday? Dunno.

For this man, all contact lenses are the same so I had to go through everything step by step and explain that I didn’t choose this lens because it was expensive, I chose it because it was the best option for him. It’s a lens that I wear, I explained, and I know they are comfy, even when someone has issues with dry eyes (which he did).

I ended by telling him that we could try something cheaper if it was the price that was bothering him but he might not find them as comfy. “Oh, no! You’re the optician, I’ll try the ones you recommended.”

What a change of tune.

I had a woman come in for an eye test and contact lens fit. She had been ordering her lenses from the internet and was over-wearing cheap hydrogels. 2/2.5mm neovasc inferior in each eye and a lot of desiccation staining in the mid-peripheral cornea where the lens was drying out. She had been wearing the lenses for years and reported no problems. Her FTBUT was less than a second in each eye.

I fitted her with some nice silicone hydrogel dailies and asked her to consider a monthly or an Oasys if she was wearing her lenses everyday. She asked for the contact lens specification (surprise, surprise) then left.

I get a phonecall about an hour later telling me that I’d gotten her contact lens prescription wrong. She was -6.00DS in specs and usually wore -6.50DS lenses but I’d written -5.50DS. Her contact lens power was ALWAYS higher than her spec Rx. I explained that for shortsighted people, it was the other way around: the lens didn’t need to be as powerful when it was closer to the eye. Well, she said she’d spoken to her local optician and they agreed with her (doubtful) and her friends are all short sighted and her higher prescriptions in their contact lenses than their glasses. I must be wrong.

She was complaining because she was ordering lenses off the internet and didn’t want to get the power wrong. She was currently wearing the lenses I had given her (she was 6/5 with these) but she’d thought they were -6.50DS and now wasn’t sure she was seeing as well with them.

Could she come back and get the powers double checked before she bought them on-line?