Hybrid Practice in Eye Care: A New Scope

Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Ph.D.

Senior Business Adviser, Vision Science Academy, London, U.K.


Vision Science Academy Exclusive

With the pandemic in vogue, most of the clinics and hospitals are going online to provide outdoor patient facilities. This is known as telemedicine and is growing rapidly across various countries throughout the world. Many patients can now get checkups from the comfort of their homes. In this way, there is no need to physically endure the burden of travel to a hospital setting anymore.

What is Hybrid Practice?

Telemedicine helps in increasing the doctor’s accessibility to the patients to a very large extent. Still however, there are a plenty of medical procedures that need clinical correlation and cannot be done remotely. For that purpose, hybrid practice plays an integral role. It involves a combination of clinic-based practice and telemedicine. With the help of this approach, the patients have all their tests and reporting done by stand-alone laboratories or imaging centers. The lab and test results are then handed over to the patients who can now discuss them with their online doctor (Shah et al., 2020).

Hybrid Clinical Practice in Eye Care

Eye clinics and ophthalmology practices are not behind in transitioning to this modality of healthcare and are now offering telemedicine appointments along with in-person testing services (Li et al., 2020).

This type of practice mandates the physician to order the necessary investigations before the next checkup. The patient then gets his lab reports done. The most common ordered investigations related to the eye include visual acuity tests, ophthalmoscopy, retinoscopy, tonometry, and OCT scans. Almost all of these investigations are carried out by certified optometrists and don’t require the direct supervision of the ophthalmologist himself. The test results are then given to the patient or deployed directly to the doctor who advised them. The problems can then be discussed online with the doctor in a one-on-one scenario (Lu, Rahimy, & Miller). To make sure a patient receives top-quality eye care, optometrists can play a key role by triaging the patients initially and then referring them to the most suitable eye-care subspecialty.

Benefits of Hybrid Eye Practice

This practice has a lot of benefits keeping in mind the prevailing circumstances. Following are the main advantages of this mode of practice:

  1. People are already reluctant to visit hospitals due to the risk of them getting infected. This is a great alternative for them.
  2. Scheduling the patients for specific investigations minimizes the chances of cross-infection.
  3. Patients feel more connected with their physicians as they are in direct contact with them.
  4. Reduced costs for both the patients and hospitals as the things are managed in a more effective and timely manner.



The scope of hybrid practice is vast and it will replace the traditional style of clinical practice in the coming years. All the factors illustrated above ensure the growth of this field. The ease and the comfort it provides to both the patient and the physician are bound to make this approach the “new normal.”



Li, J.-P. O., Liu, H., Ting, D. S. J., Jeon, S., Chan, R. V. P., Kim, J. E., . . . Ting, D. S. W. (2020). Digital technology, tele-medicine and artificial intelligence in ophthalmology: A global perspective. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, 100900. doi:

Lu, E., Rahimy, E., & Miller, J. B. Telehealth implementation in retina practices during COVID-19.

Shah, S., Diwan, S., Kohan, L., Rosenblum, D., Gharibo, C., Soin, A., . . . Provenzano, D. A. (2020). The Technological Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of Education and Health Care Delivery. Pain Physician, 23(4s), S367-s380.

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