May 6, 2020
The clinical arm of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry has introduced telemedicine eyecare as a resource for patients. The new service is in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and allows patients to receive eyecare without leaving home, according to a report by Savannah Koplon posted to UAB News.
The school is advising patients that a computer or smartphone with internet access is best for a telemedicine appointment, and that some care can be provided simply with a phone call.
“The clinic has remained open to provide emergency care for patients with urgent needs,” said Beth Steele, O.D., associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “With this new service, our team of doctors can provide care to a greater number of patients and to meet more needs.”
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There are a number of things the doctor can do in a teleconference, the clinic points out, including check vision, extend a contact lens prescription, assist with vision therapy and examine certain parts of the eye. Most importantly, the doctor will be able to ask vital questions regarding eye health to determine if there is a need to see a patient in person immediately or in the future. It is also an opportunity for patients to ask questions of their doctor.
The clinic has let patients know that most medical insurance policies are covering telemedicine services during the COVID-19 outbreak, and that some insurance carriers are waiving co-pays.