Dr. Bill Atkinson saw how some clients had real trouble coming into his office for eye exams so he now brings the eye exams to those who have trouble getting out to his Algonquin, IL, office.
ALGONQUIN, IL: There was a time when doctors made house calls. That time, of course, is over, right? Not so fast. Actually, there is one doctor who does make house calls — Dr. Bill Atkinson, O.D., of Algonquin-based Atkinson Eye Care. He and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Mihevc Atkinson, O.D., have provided eye care services to McHenry County area residents since 1994.
It wasn’t until 2012, however, that Dr. Atkinson began making house calls, though he came to providing the service indirectly.
“Probably 17 or 18 years ago, I gathered a lot of the (portable optometry) equipment and went down to Elgin to give eye exams to about 30 homeless people at a homeless shelter a friend of mine runs,” he said. “Now, my friend drives them up to my office.”
The portable equipment sat unused for a few years until his wife read about an eye doctor in Philadelphia who was making house calls to serve the elderly and those who have difficulty coming into the office. She suggested that Dr. Atkinson should make house calls, too. They both clearly recognized the need.
“We had elderly patients and patients who had difficulty with mobility,” he said. “It was a big ordeal for them to come into the office. They were just exhausted by the trip.”
He now provides the in-home optometry service for elderly and infirm patients within 50 minutes of his office — as far as Fox Lake and Hoffman Estates. He is able to provide full eye exams and let them know if they need glasses or adjustments to their existing glasses; or if they have signs of cataracts, macular degeneration or other eye disorders.
Many of his patients are in McHenry and Lakewood. Some are quite old.
“Within a week, I provided eye exams for one lady who is 103 and still lives on her own,” said Dr. Atkinson. “Then I did another eye exam for a woman who is 102.”
He said that the 103-year-old woman takes a lot of books out from the library. She reads a lot and has to use a large magnifying glass to read.
While he currently provides in-home eye exams for about four patients per month, he said he would like to increase that number.
“I’d like to designate a full day each week to in-home exams,” he said. “That would be fantastic, though I’d have to adjust my schedule.”
To learn more, visit Atkinson Eye Care at: http://www.atkinsoneyecare.com/