Envisioning the Future of Eye Care: Tele-Optometry Offers Convenience and Quality Care
April 1, 2021
The current pandemic means many of us are trying out new ways of doing everyday tasks and experimenting with technology. While it has been a difficult period for everyone, there are some useful lessons and learnings we can take from the experience.
When we start to experience COVID-19 recovery, we won’t simply revert back to the previous ways. Though time will tell what the new normal will be, technology will play a big role. People are discovering that tele-optometry provides a viable alternative that delivers quality solutions without losing quality of service.
Telemedicine has already been embraced by the public. For issues like minor issues like cuts and scrapes or a renewal for prescription medication, remote doctor visits are convenient, simple, and effective. Now, tele-optometry – remote eye care – offers the same.
One online eye exam in development will allow consumers to get updated prescriptions, as well as renewals, from the comfort of their home. The exam requires a computer, a smartphone, and a credit card as a makeshift ruler. The test is almost like reading from an eye chart in a doctor’s office: the screen flashes a letter backwards, sideways or upside-down while the user types multiple-choice answers into their phone, which is synced up via text message. Positive encouragement comes via audio in a soothing voice. (“Good job! We’re moving along nicely.”) From start to finish, the exam takes about six minutes.
As convenient as a remote eye exam is, eye professionals are quick to remind that in-office visits remain the only means to get a truly comprehensive eye exam. There are fifteen visual skills people need. Visual acuity is just one. Others include depth perception, eye tracking, and convergence. None of these can be measured online - yet. Other factors like eye drops to dilate pupils or the “puff test” that measures ocular pressure - seem impossible in anything but an in-person setting.
Still, COVID-19 has accelerated every industry’s move toward e-commerce, and eye care is no exception. Remote eye exams will be play an important role in the future of eye care.
Whether your doctor does remote as well as in-person exams, the importance of vision insurance remains the same. Sign up for a Vision Plan through INRTA and AMBA today.
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