The General Optical Council (GOC) is launching a set of experimental new tools as part of this year’s Love Your Lenses Week (23 to 30 March), which is focusing on helping eye care practitioners communicate safety messages more effectively to contact lens wearers.
The new tools are the result of a GOC pilot project called Land The Message, which explored how contact lens practitioners could use behavioural science to increase the effectiveness of aftercare advice.
Now in its third year, Love Your Lenses Week 2019 is run by the GOC in collaboration with a wide range of industry partners and patient groups. The week is used as an opportunity to promote safe enjoyment of contact lenses to the UK’s 5 million contact lens wearers.
The GOC undertook the Land The Message project after research in 2015 uncovered a significant difference between how much aftercare advice eye care practitioners were reported to be providing, and how many patients recalled receiving it (48%).
The GOC worked with industry experts, academics, behaviour change experts and patient campaigners to develop three tools. These were then tested in the field by four eye care practitioners as part of their routine contact lens appointments. The initial results of the testing were promising, so the GOC is using Love Your LensesWeek 2019 as an opportunity to make the prototypes available to larger numbers of eye care practitioners to try them out for themselves.
The three Land The Message tools as well as a promotional toolkit for Love Your Lenses Week 2019 can be downloaded at loveyourlenses.com:
1. Visual aid
A visually engaging A4 poster that displays the key steps to contact lens aftercare. Used by eye care practitioners during their conversation with the patient to prompt and illustrate discussion about aftercare.
2. Pre-appointment questionnaire
A simple questionnaire for patients asking them about their care regimen and awareness of the ‘dos and don’ts’. Patients complete it just before their aftercare appointment (e.g. in the waiting room) and then eye care practitioners use it as a device within the session to get patients to cognitively engage with the issue.
3. Lifestyle-based questions
Simple lifestyle-based questions, such as ‘Why do you like wearing contact lenses?’ ‘Do you do physical activities in your leisure time?’ which are asked at the start of the session, so that the eye care practitioner can tailor their aftercare information to make it relevant and personal to the wearer’s lifestyle.
Alistair Bridge, Director of Strategy at the GOC, said
“This year we are using Love Your Lenses Week as an opportunity to help registrants help their patients to wear their contact lenses safely. We’re encouraging practitioners to use the awareness week to try out new ways of landing contact lens safety messages directly with the public during fittings and aftercare appointments. The new tools and training resources on the website are potentially a great way for our registrants to get the ball rolling.”
Keith Tempany, one of the practitioners that tested the prototype tools, said:
“I found it enlightening; this is a way of ensuring the safety of our patients. A lot of the patients have also found it very useful.”
Feedback after the trials showed that over 95 per cent of patients recalled receiving aftercare information, if one of the tools was used during the contact lens appointment. Eye care practitioners also commented that the tools were easy to adopt into practice and could lead to a better customer experience and customer loyalty.
Love Your Lenses Week 2019 takes place on 23-30 March.
The Land The Message tools and a training slide deck as well as the Love Your Lenses 2019 Promotional Toolkit can be downloaded at www.loveyourlenses.com