Madison eye clinic offers virtual exams to shorten wait time for patients
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Optical Center is offering virtual eye exams to improve wait times for patients while dealing with an optometrist shortage.
Lynne Derra owns the local eye clinic and said some patients have told her they’re waiting over a year for a routine checkup.
Patients still need to go into the store, but optometrists check their eyes from their home offices.
Instead of having only one licensed doctor in-house, Derra bought new technology and now has six on-staff who will Zoom in, work the equipment remotely and speak to patients via a television in the exam room.
”There’s a shortage of doctors, optometrists and everything else,” Derra said. ”So, it allows me to get more patients through the door, more convenient hours because you’re not working around a doctors schedule.”
A lead technician still takes the patient’s eye pictures and operates some of the equipment in-person and then emails the pictures to the doctor.
”It was great. It was just the same as any other eye exam,” Longtime Madison Optical Center Patient Bonnie Debroux said. “It actually was a little bit better in some ways because they take the pictures of your eyes and it’s all explained to you.”
Derra said the virtual eye exam option is a life saver for her business and a time saver for patients waiting on routine eye exams.
”If you’re a contact lens wearer and you have a job, and you need your contacts, you can’t refill your prescription until you get seen by a doctor,” she said. ”I’m told daily that they’re [patients] waiting up to ‘24 in the fall to get in for their eye exams. So this is getting people who need to be seen because their prescription contact lens expired. Anything like that.”
Derra said her store is the first in Madison to offer remote eye exams and the second store to do so in Wisconsin.
While complicated eye exams for pre-existing conditions like Glaucoma or serious eye trauma cannot be completed virtually, everything else is possible.
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