Technology and the market have provided today's ophthalmologist with not only advanced service opportunities, but the option to provide these services under one roof. This new total eye care concept expands conventional centers (diagnostic and treatment) to include a full service retail eyewear boutique with lab, a state licensed Ambulatory Surgery Center, and accommodations for elective cosmetic surgical procedures.
The advanced eye clinic now provides faster and more accurate computerized diagnostic testing to evaluate eye health, identify vision problems, treat eye conditions or ocular disease and prescribe vision therapy.
The improved retail eyewear boutique sells everything from budget to designer eyeglass frames, sunglasses, contact lenses, and sports vision glasses. This important service appeals to customers looking for one stop shopping and provides enhanced revenue for the practice through the sale of frames and contact lenses. The boutique's location, adjacent to the reception area, allows patients to shop for eyewear before and after their appointment. A sophisticated lens lab is connected to the retail area which allows prescription eyeglass lenses to be ground, polished, tinted, and fitted into selected frames on site.
The new surgery component (previously hospital based) accommodates in-house laser and surgical corrections such as Lasik, and Intralase, and vision enhancements for glaucoma, cataracts, and lens implants in a privately operated state licensed Ambulatory Surgical Center setting.
Some centers offer cosmetic services (eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty) and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures such as injectable fillers and Botox. Consistent with other medical practice models, these elective surgeries and cosmetic services provide a supplemental revenue stream and an expanded patient base; therefore, the suite design must appeal to those purchasing these upscale services.
Equipment and technology
Like many other medical specialties, equipment is the cornerstone of the space planning process as almost every space in an eye center is designed around it. Prior to seeing an ophthalmologist in an exam environment, patients progress through a systematic battery of computerized diagnostic tests which measure and evaluate eye conditions and vision capabilities. This data collection alone might include stops at five or more different diagnostic equipment stations. The size, order, and arrangement of these rooms and the equipment within them are critical to staff efficiency, data collection, and patient flow.
For ophthalmologists who now provide office-based surgical services, the cost of purchasing lower volume surgical equipment can be prohibitive and the equipment itself can become quickly outdated. Accordingly, new trends include leasing premium equipment on a days-per-week basis. To the designer, this can be a challenge. When laser or other equipment is routinely transported to a facility, accommodations must be made to allow the delivery, installation, and removal of expensive and heavy equipment without damaging the interiors or the equipment. Among other considerations, this mandates wide doors, straight pathways, a structurally sound slab, special flooring adhesives, and noncushioned flooring.