Most people have a morbid fear of something (eyedrops and contact lenses included) going into the eye. Seeing the contact lenses or someone else’s hand loom towards the eye sets off panic and distress. So, when these patients have no other visual option but to be fitted with contact lenses, the optometrist faces a daunting task. This requires a pro-active approach as well as intuition to fit a contact lens to an uncooperative or petrified patient.
Discussion of a novel method
Patient moving backwards and refusing to open the eyes can be a challenge. By making the patient rest in a supine position keeps the head fixed horizontally. Insert a drop of topical anaesthetic to reduce the eye’s sensitivity. The patient is then directed to look at the thumb that it is outstretched in front. Engage the patient in light banter, relevant to the patient, like school, sport etc. When the practitioner is ready to insert the contact lens, the patient is asked to fixate on the thumb nail and count the number of vertical lines. If more attempts are required to insert the contact lens, the practitioner can ask the patient to count the horizontal creases on the back of the thumb. The patient’s concentration on the thumb keeps the lids less taut and facilitates the practitioner’s task.
Distracting the patient during contact lens application is a useful technique to reduce anxiety and apprehension. The patient feels a sense of accomplishment and relief is felt when the lens is finally inserted.