Specsavers has launched an online video consultation service

Specsavers has just launched a free nationwide sight and hearing consultation service offering access to vital advice and care from optometrists and audiologists, via video and telephone link. The service is designed to cover concerns ranging from eye health and changes in the quality of sight, to contact lens aftercare and audiology health and aftercare. Delivered through a secure platform, the new service is open to everyone, whether or not they are currently a Specsavers customer, and can be accessed from any digital device. If a customer is unable to use video, they will be able to get expert advice over the phone.

Specsavers is one of a number of organisations that are fast-tracking changes to their services to respond to the evolving needs of customers in the current crisis and the longer term. It plans to return to business as usual, as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

"With our stores currently only able to offer emergency care to a limited number of customers, we have been exploring innovative alternatives to in-person appointments. This is clearly significant given the present restrictions, but it is a service that we plan to continue for the long-term to ensure that everyone – especially those who are particularly vulnerable – can access the care and support that they need," says Kerril Hickey, optometrist and store director at Specsavers Ireland.

"Lockdown is affecting all of our lives and there are already fears that people are delaying accessing essential health services in the current situation. This solution removes a number of barriers, especially with health services already under immense pressure. We hope that Specsavers RemoteCare, our video consultation service, will in some way help people who might otherwise have gone to their GP or to the local A&E unnecessarily."

Audiologist and store director, Orla Walsh, adds: "Without access to expert advice and care from our audiologists and opticians, quality of life could be greatly impacted and wider health put at risk – this is of particular concern for older people."

Stores will also be able to advise customers on how they can locate their prescription and buy new glasses by directing them to Specsavers’ recently-launched online glasses store.

Ashbourne store partner, Darren Connolly, has also been able to support customers through the pilot. "Thanks to this service we were in a position to identify a painful eye abrasion on a patient," he says. "Using the video technology I could clearly see the issue that the patient was suffering from and reassure her that, while uncomfortable, it was not something to be overly concerned by. I advised to temporarily stop wearing contact lenses for a couple of weeks and use over-the-counter lubricant and anti-bacterial drops to help the eye heal. By seeing her virtually, face-to-face, she felt reassured that I was basing my advice on something that I could see."

For more information on eye and hearing health visit www.specsavers.ie