Voice of the Customer – The Virtual Optometrist: Paul Rose

7th October 2020

The last six months have seen a radical change in the way optometrists have been able to provide their patients with help and advice for eye problems.

The reluctance of both patients and practitioners to be face to face in a small and often windowless consulting room led us to embrace remote consultation techniques, with the approval of the regulatory bodies, that would previously have been considered inadequate at best and potentially even clinically negligent.

In my own practice I made extensive use of telephone conversations and emailed photographs sent in by patients, which were generally more useful than live video feeds as they could be enlarged to see the detail more accurately and it became clear to me that this method of triaging patients was here to stay.

I was, therefore, absolutely delighted to discover AOS Anterior software a couple of months ago and to be able to be part of the beta testing team. The ability to be able to analyse patients’ remotely supplied anterior eye images as though they were in my consulting room was a game changer.

Starting to use AOS happened to coincide with me selling my practice and so I decided to set up The Virtual Optometrist to provide remote consultations nationwide for anyone with an anterior eye health problem. Since I no longer have a patient base of my own, I have started an outreach program to pharmacies, GPs and care homes to raise awareness of the concept as well as utilising social media channels.

Currently, collecting and storing the patient images is somewhat clunky, but the upcoming web based version of the software addresses those issues as well as adding some more refinements to the image analysis tools.

It’s still early days, but the response from everyone that I have been in discussion with has been extremely positive and I remain convinced that in future remote consultations will be the first choice for the majority of patients and clinicians.

Paul Rose BSc(Hons) DOpt

The Virtual Optometrist