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New Report: How is Telemedicine Being Used in Eyecare?

Mature woman having video call with friends and family on digital tablet at home. Female waving to friends during a video call. Woman home quarantine during corona virus pandemic.

Latest research on use of telemedine among ECPs.

Sept. 27, 2023

The Vision Council released Focused inSights Telehealth 2023, a new report offering critical insights into the evolving role of telemedicine in eyecare. Despite its ability to provide quality care to patients whenever and wherever it is needed, the report found that telemedicine awareness and use for eyecare remains low.

“Telemedicine has become a part of daily life, giving patients the opportunity to access and receive care from home, yet many are unaware that virtual eyecare exists,” said Ashley Mills, President and CEO of The Vision Council. “We hope these findings will spur real conversations and increase awareness about the availability of vision tele-optometry and allow more patients to receive care when they need it and on their own terms.”

Patients can utilize digital or telemedicine services to receive care for many needs, including determining a glasses or contact-lens prescription, or diagnosing common conditions such as conjunctivitis, keratitis and corneal scarring. Telemedicine services can help alleviate existing barriers to care affecting those who may have mobility issues or difficulty traveling to appointments.

Despite the overwhelming benefits of telemedicine, awareness of its existence in eyecare remains low. In fact, the report found that only one-in-10 adults reported having used telemedicine services for eyecare. Similarly, Focused inSights Telehealth revealed that for 34 percent of American adults, the primary reason they did not seek telemedicine solutions for eyecare is because they had never heard of it.

“Telehealth services can help promote better vision for better lives, but only if we understand what barriers to care are holding people back from using the technology,” said Alysse Henkel, Senior Director of Market Research and Analytics at The Vision Council. “This report identifies that some patients simply lack awareness of available telehealth options for eyecare.”

Additional report highlights include:

Those who have used telemedicine services for eyecare say they did so because it was more convenient than an in-person visit (35 percent), it was recommended to them (30 percent), or it was covered by their insurance (29 percent).

Patients choose to use eyecare telemedicine for varying purposes. Adults who have used telemedicine services for eyecare are most likely to say they have done so to renew their glasses prescription (44 percent), receive an eye exam (41 percent), or renew their contact lens prescription (39 percent).

Although there is interest in using telemedicine in the future, there is also hesitation. While nearly one-third (29 percent) of adults who have never used telemedicine services for eyecare say they are interested in using it in the future, nearly half (46 percent) say they are not interested in using these services in the future.

This study was conducted from July 27 – July 29, 2023, in collaboration with Morning Consult. The full report is available in The Vision Council’s Research Download Center as a complimentary download for members of The Vision Council, with a paid option for non-members.

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