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Welcome to question of the day #317

Eyetools question of the day #317

I’ve opened a community eye care practice. We have a steady stream of new patients but there are gaps in our appointment schedule. Do you have any suggestions?

When I opened a community practice, we too didn’t have a full patient schedule for a couple of years. So, we advertised that we would do home visits for people who couldn’t get to the practice. We had a poster in the practice and information leaflets on the receptionist’s desk. We also asked our patients if they had any relatives or friends who needed a home eye care visit. We also advertised online and put leaflets through people’s doors.

The equipment I used was simple but effective.

A portable letter chart that could be used at 3 metres

Portable focimeter

A box of trial lenses

Trial frame

Pupillary distance rule

Hand-held occluder

Retinoscope

Direct ophthalmoscope

Hand-held tonometer.

Around 20 frames.

Sometimes I had an assistant and sometimes I worked on my own.

I determined the optimum prescription, checked the eye health, selected the optimum lens form, and chose a suitable frame. The glasses were made and one of my clinical assistants delivered them around a week later and checked the fit.

The patients were very appreciative that I had taken the trouble to visit them and were happy to pay for new glasses. I charged a fee for the examination and our regular fees for frames and lenses.

Patients often had carers and/or relatives with them and they could see how I worked and how I tried to help the patient improve their vision. This frequently led to us making appointments in the practice for carers and relatives.

I felt good because I was providing a service none of my competitors were, I helped people who were unwell see better, I filled empty patient slots and we grew a prosperous practice.