By: Michael R. Politzer, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D.

The issue of scheduling is a major concern for those doctors who are new to low vision practice. Their challenge is how to integrate low vision patients into a primary care setting. Scheduling will therefore depend upon the number of examination rooms and technicians available for providing low vision care.

My recommendation is to begin by designating one day per week for low vision care services. Assign one exam lane as the designated low vision room and train one technician as your primary low vision assistant. Schedule the low vision examination into two sessions; approximately one week apart. Allow 1.5 hours to complete session one and 1 hour to complete session two. The dispensing, training and counseling sessions will generally require 30 minutes to complete and should be scheduled separately from the examination sessions.

Suggested times for scheduling the first session are 8:30 and 10:00 AM. Times to schedule the second session are 1:00 and 2:00 PM and 11:30 AM and 3:00 PM for dispensing, training and counseling sessions.

If you have two or more examination rooms and technicians, primary care patients can be double scheduled at 8:30 and 10:00 AM for examinations, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:30 PM for office visits. This will allow for maximum efficiency and productivity.

By following this proposed schedule patients will have an opportunity to talk with one another as they wait in the reception or secondary waiting rooms. This interaction will help foster additional referrals as most of your primary care patients have friends, neighbors or relatives that can benefit from low vision services.