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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Leech

BACK TO THE BASICS IN OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE

“It is not just about testing eyes; it is about testing people”.


Woman having her eyes tested
“It is not just about testing eyes; it is about testing people”.

In the realm of optometric practice, where advanced technologies and innovative treatments often take the spotlight, it is crucial to remember that optometrists are not just testing eyes, they are testing people. In this article I would like to explore the essential role of human interaction in optometry, emphasizing why understanding the patient beyond their vision is fundamental to providing comprehensive eye care.


THE HEART OF OPTOMETRIC CARE

While diagnosing eye conditions and prescribing corrective lenses are undoubtedly vital aspects of my optometric role, the heart of optometric care lies in the interaction between myself and my patient. Beyond the lens charts and diagnostics machines, I believe it is the ability to connect with and understand each patient’s unique needs that truly sets an exceptional optometrist apart.


BEYOND VISUAL ACUITY

I do so much more than determining the vision of my patients. I assess the patient’s lifestyle, habits, as well as their individual circumstances to offer tailored solutions for their vision and eye health.


Here is why I think this personal touch matters:


HOLISTIC ASSESSMENT

Considering my patient’s general health, family history and any specific concerns or symptoms they may have, I know that this holistic approach can lead to the early detection of underlying health issues that might manifest in eye-related symptoms.


PATIENT CENTERED CARE

Recognizing that each patient is unique, I adjust my advice accordingly. Whether it is prescribing spectacles for a child who needs to excel at school or a professional who spends hours in front of their computer screen, I have realised that personalised care ensures the best outcome.


COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION

My approach to patient-centred treatment is based on effective communication. I do not only prescribe spectacles or refer to an ophthalmologist, but I also love to explain and educate my patients about their eye health. This includes explaining their condition, discussing various treatment options, and providing preventative measures or early warning signs. I am aware that patients who are well-informed about their eye health are more likely to make informed choices and maintain better eye care habits, for example returning for the annual eye examination to monitor their condition, such as cataracts, near-sightedness, or dry eyes.


BUILDING TRUST AND COMFORT

Patients must feel at ease during their consultation, knowing that their concerns are heard, and their questions answered. I have many patients that I foster a positive and long-lasting professional relationship with.


I am convinced that in an era of ever-advancing technology, an optometric practice needs to remain grounded in the fundamental principle of caring for the patient as a whole person, not just a set of eyes.


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