Eye Clinics should be more accessible for the visually impaired

A reception of an Eye Clinic

Eye clinics play a critical role in investigating, diagnosing and treating eye conditions affecting patients of all ages. It’s imperative they remain accessible to every single patient, accommodating their individual needs from the moment they cross the threshold.

This means following the proper precautions to keep every premises safe, welcoming, comfortable and convenient for those affected by impaired vision or blindness. What does this involve?

1. Staff Must be Trained to Deal with All Patients

Staff working in eye clinics are sure to be busy on a daily basis. They may become frustrated, tired and short of temper — but this should never interfere with their ability to provide patients with professional, compassionate care.

All members of staff should undergo effective training that equips them with the skills to do that. Patients may be challenging to deal with at times, especially if they’re frustrated by long waits or miscommunication, but staff must know how to handle these situations when they arise.

2. Consider the Role of Color in the Clinic Decor

It’s easy to overlook the importance of color when designing and decorating an eye clinic, just as with any other public site. But the wrong choices can lead to confusion and difficulties for people living with sight-related problems.

For example, think of the bathrooms in your eye clinic. Are the walls white? Are basins white? Is the ceiling, stall doors and flooring all white? If so, this could make using the bathroom incredibly tough — and potentially dangerous.

That’s why contrasting colors are important to help different surfaces and areas stand out to those with visual impairments. 

3. Use Smartphone Technology for Audio Assistance

Patients who arrive at an eye clinic alone, without knowing how to reach the right reception desk or testing room, could be late for their appointment. In turn, this may have a negative effect on the rest of their treatment. 

Take advantage of current smartphone technology by investing in an indoor orientation solution. RightHear works with sensors installed throughout the clinic to provide audio directions, helping users find their way in even the most complex interior safely. 

RightHear is an ideal way to improve accessibility in eye clinics while increasing patients’ independence. 

4. Make Steps Safe

Stairs can be dangerous for patients with low vision: if they’re unable to see individual steps clearly, or at all, do something to help them.

One cost-effective example is to apply bright paint or tape to the edge of each stair, ideally in a color that contrasts with the steps strongly enough to make them easily stand out. Do not forget to make sure all handrails are secure, smooth to the touch and span the entire flight of stairs. 

Every patient’s wellbeing, safety and overall experience at your eye clinic is paramount. Increasing accessibility for people living with impaired vision or blindness will leave patients more satisfied after visiting your venue than ever. 

Do you have any other ideas for increasing accessibility? Share them below!

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