Virtual platform gives patients direct access to eye care specialists

ByMartha R. Camara

Aug 24, 2022

Natalie Townsend, OD, is an Optometrist and Director of the Bascom Palmer Rapid Virtual Eye Care Clinic at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. For more information on virtual appointment scheduling, click here or visit the UHealth blog.


When Tony Etzel’s right eye became blurred by floaters, he knew something was wrong.

“I would describe it as Tetris, sometimes big black chunks were moving across my field of vision,” Tony says.

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Instead of waiting for an in-person appointment, Tony used Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s rapid virtual eye care clinic launched during the COVID-19 pandemic under the guidance of optometrist Natalie Townsend, OD.

“By creating a virtual platform, patients were able to connect with eye doctors here at Bascom Palmer virtually from the comfort of their own homes,” says Dr. Townsend.

With the click of a button, patients can have direct access to a Bascom Palmer ophthalmologist on the same day.

“As long as they have an electronic device, they will be able to connect with an eye doctor via a Zoom link that they will get once the appointment is booked,” says Dr. Townsend.

Tony had retinal detachment and had surgery the next morning. He says the Rapid Virtual Eye Care Clinic and the Bascom Palmer team saved his sight.

“I feel supported and protected to have a defender to keep my eyesight clean,” says Tony.

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For the 21st consecutive year, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been ranked the nation’s top eye care hospital by US News and World Report.

“To be recognized for this is a great feeling. I don’t take it for granted that I work with some of the brightest minds in ophthalmology,” says Dr. Townsend.


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