When autistic patients attend the appointment

1. Be aware of the patient’s special requirements

Relevant staff: All

  • Make sure you have seen the special requirements information that the patient provided when booking the appointment.
  • Think about how the patient’s special requirements may impact the different stages of the eye examination.


2. Minimise the number of staff involved in an autistic patient’s visit 

Relevant staff: All

  • Try and manage most of the tests and procedures between the optometrist and dispensing optician/an optical assistant.
  • The optometrist could conduct the eye examination, visual field assessment, fundus photography and intraocular pressure measurements.
  • The dispensing optician/optical assistant can manage the full dispensing procedure.


3. Minimise the number of rooms that need visiting during the appointment

Relevant staff: Optometrists

  • Complete as many of the tests (as is practically possible) in the eye examination room.


4. Prepare the autistic patient when they arrive

Relevant staff: Practice manager or reception staff

  • When the autistic patient arrives for their appointment, sit with them in a quiet space and describe what will happen during the appointment. Include details on visiting different rooms and meeting different members of staff. 


5. Establish a good rapport

Relevant staff: All

  • Introduce yourself and what you will be doing. For example: “My name is Ketan Parmar and I will be looking after your eyes today.”
  • Be kind and friendly in the way you speak and behave.
  • Be aware of the autistic patient being anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Be reassuring. 
  • Speak with a calm tone.
  • Be patient and avoid rushing procedures.