Do you find reducing patient anxiety to be your biggest challenge some days? According to Optometry Today, a study of 366 patients once revealed that practitioners “cannot assume that anxiety is reserved for one ‘type’ of patient,” but rather those patients that fall into a certain classification, such as high anxiety personality types, patients expecting to receive some bad news, and those who currently don’t wear glasses or contact lenses.
Anxiety can make an eye exam uncomfortable and very stressful for your patients. Optometry Today further notes that there is a distinct tie between patient anxiety and lower levels of satisfaction after their exam, which is why you should not only take the time to learn what makes patients feel anxious, but also learn how you can effectively use strategies to decrease anxiety. Below are a few suggestions outlined by Optometry Today:
Identify the Source of Anxiety – Talk with patients before the exam to see if they feel nervous about any aspect of it and then modify routines as needed to help reduce anxiety.
Computers and smart devices are a constant part of our daily lives. They offer a convenient way to stay connected with the happenings of the world, but too much screen time could be harming your patients’ eyes.
People who spend extended periods of time working at a computer usually experience several physical aches associated with hours of computer use. However, the American Optometric Association shares that the most prevalent issues of patients who spend long periods of time at a computer include eye-strain, blurred vision, and other computer vision syndrome symptoms.
As vision problems are the most commonly reported symptoms of computer vision syndrome, it’s important to encourage all patients, but especially those who work with computers for many hours a day, to adopt better computer use and eye care habits, such as the following:
Blinking regularly to wash the eyes with natural tears and using artificial tears as needed.
Incorporating the 20-20-20 rule into their daily routines – Take a 20 second break every20 minutes to look at something that’s 20 feet or further away.
The first retinal implant has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As reported by Reuters, this device will help replicate some of the functions of the retina that have been destroyed by retinitis pigmentosa.
The implant, called the Argus II, is composed of a special pair of glasses with a video camera and video processing unit, as well as a wireless receiver that is implanted in the eye. The entire device mimics the retinal functions that process what we see and relay it to the optic nerve. While the implant doesn’t provide total vision restoration, it can help patients with everyday activities like recognizing large letters or shapes.
The Argus II was first approved for use in Europe in 2011. Since the beginning of a clinical trial in 2007, the device has been implanted in 30 patients. Mark Humayun of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering shared with Reuters “In the patients that have been implanted to date, the improvement in the quality of life has been invaluable.”
Blurred vision in one or both eyes can be a sign of a simple change in vision or something much more serious, especially when it occurs suddenly and persists for a few days. A 36-year-old new patient of Dr. Paula Koch, OD, noticed a “blob-like, blurry-ness” in his left eye and knew a visit to the eye doctor was necessary to get to the bottom of the issue.
While the patient’s medical history was unremarkable, his ocular history included a high keratoconic prescription, partial albinism, and amblyopia. Based on his ocular history and current symptoms, Dr. Koch recommended an optomap exam. The patient agreed to the exam, which revealed a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment spanning the 11-to 7-o’clock region of the nasal retina OS, as well as a small tear at 9 o’clock and some chorioretinal scarring in the far periphery and Weiss’ ring inferior to the disc. Because of the patient’s partial albinism and other unusual aspects of the optomap’s finding, including the blister-like appearance of the detachment, Dr. Koch referred the patient to a retinal specialist within 20 minutes of the optomap exam.
When you’re driving to a place you’ve never visited before, a map is a helpful tool that can aid you finding the place you need to be. A street view provides you with an up-close look at where you’re going, but it may cut off certain signs or landmarks you’ll need to look for. A wider view of a map shows you more of what you need to see in order to arrive at your destination with ease.
Similar things can be said for an eye exam. In a standard eye exam, conventional equipment limits you to a 45-degree field of view of the retina, showing very small portions of the retina at a time. With such limitations, there is a good possibility that signs or symptoms of an eye or systemic disease are left out of your field of view.
Ultra-widefield retinal imagining provides you with a more complete picture of your patient’s eyes. Optos’ ultra-widefield technology allows you to see up to 200 degrees of the retina in just one capture. With a wider field of view, you have a better opportunity to detect issues like retinal detachment or tears you might have otherwise missed.