Improving Refraction Times
Refracting is a critical skill for any technician, and it often the longest part of a work-up. Refractions that are too long are not only trying for the refractionist but also for the patient. A patient can become frustrated with the process and in turn doubt the reliability of their glasses prescription. To increase accuracy and improve refraction times further training should be considered.
Once a new technician understands the basic steps of refracting and is refracting in clinic it’s time to take their training to the next level. At this point the technician should be able to review with the trainer the areas of refracting they find particularly difficult, perhaps it is locating the axis or refinement. Once the area of improvement is defined the lead trainer will formulate a plan based on the needs of that technician with clearly defined goals and timetable. The lead tech, experienced trainer or, if available, an optometrist should work further with the technician on specific dates/times. If possible, the technician can scribe or shadow an optometrist paying special attention to how the optometrist performs their refracting. During training the technician should be given the opportunity to ask questions after each refraction.
For example, a new technician is having a difficult time with refinement. At the initial meeting with the lead trainer the technician should be given a date and time that they will meet with an optometrist or experienced technician to review their refracting questions and tips for improvement. A follow-up meeting is then done once the technician has had an appropriate amount of time to practice refracting in clinic. This meeting should include examples of excellent outcomes as well as those that were confusing. At the follow-up meeting the lead trainer should be able to show the technician an improvement in refraction times and/or glasses remakes from their initial meeting. This process gives the technician the opportunity to improve their refracting skills/times and allows the lead trainer to gauge improvement.