OT explores what is involved in working as a domiciliary optometrist – and hears about the rewards of providing eye care at home
10 June 2022
Each year, around 3.5% of all NHS-funded sight tests are performed where the patient lives.
Although traditionally the unsung heroes of optics – with many unaware that domiciliary optometry exists – an ageing population has heightened the demand for domiciliary services and increased awareness of the important role domiciliary optometrists play.
Locum domiciliary optometrist, Amandeep Nandra, began her career with Specsavers as an optical assistant before qualifying as an optometrist in 2016.
“It feels great helping people who are unable to attend appointments on the High Street,” she explained.
“Having new glasses or receiving a referral for cataract surgery can have a huge impact on their lives. It gives them the confidence to do things they may have been struggling with previously, such as using a mobile phone,” Nandra added.
She noted that domiciliary optometry can help to address the distress and isolation that can result from vision problems.
“Patients can benefit from a free NHS-funded eye test, a great selection of glasses to choose from and high standards of care – all from the comfort of their own home,” she said.
It feels great helping people who are unable to attend appointments on the High Street
Over time, the proportion of domiciliary sight tests performed in care homes has decreased, while the percentage performed in the homes of individuals has increased.
In 2002, there was an even split between the two settings, while in 2020, two thirds of domiciliary sight tests were performed in individual homes.
Nandra highlighted that she uses the latest technology while working as a domiciliary optometrist for Specsavers Home Visits, enabling her to provide the same quality of eye care as a patient would receive in-store.
“We use many of the same instruments, but specifically designed for use in the home,” Nandra shared.
Optometrists working for Specsavers Home Visits receive training on how to support the needs of patients with memory loss through the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative.
Locum life: practical tips for busy locums
Rebecca Rushton: “Keep on top of your accounts weekly or monthly. Don't leave it as a mammoth task to do at the end of the year”
Bhargavi Zinzuwadia: “Turn up 20 minutes before clinics, so you can talk to the staff and understand store dynamics. This will help ensure you are ready for the day. Remember to work as a team member and that each store works differently. Be open to learning store processes and be willing to be flexible based on store needs and dynamics.”