Domiciliary eye care services put to test


Optician Magazine Editor, Chris Bennett, writes the story below detailing his experience of an eye test at home from The Outside Clinic:

Not everyone is able to visit a high street optician but often these are the people who need eye care more than most.

The Outside Clinic celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year so when it suggested sending an optometrist around to conduct a home visit eye exam, Optician was happy to accept. The company manages its visits through a national control centre and clients are made aware of the service through various marketing and advertising routes.

The central hotline takes the call, checks for eligibility and arranges for an OO covering that area to visit at an agreed morning or afternoon slot, the patient is sent a number of reminders in the days preceding.

Optician was visited by OO Rachael Huang who arrived bang on the appointed time on just the kind of rainy morning when no-shows tend to spike. She said about an hour was allocated for each of her seven or so daily visits and she phoned ahead to let her next patient know when to expect her and to collect any necessary paperwork in readiness.

Huang’s range of equipment was impressive and included a hand held focimeter, a hand held Nidek VersaCam fundus camera and an iCare contact tonometer among her armoury.

Visiting OOs have to be ready for everything and she said it was not unusual to conduct an examination for a patient who was in bed. In this case the curve ball was a lack of curtains in the main room. She easily set up her equipment in a cramped study that had the necessary blinds. The computerised chart was placed on top of the case used to carry the 400-500 frame options and the three-metre viewing distance was measured. The current spectacles were checked on a focimeter to attain the lens power, as many clients do not know their current prescription.

The exam itself would have been comfortable and familiar to any elderly patient – a thorough, yet friendly and efficient refraction using a trial frame and lenses. Very much like an eye examination in a practice, without phoropter heads.

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