The College of Optometrists

Adapting your routine

Some people with autism may not like you within their personal space, so be prepared to adapt your routine accordingly (refer to COVID-19 guidance).
Some people with autism are very sensitive to light, so tell the patient when you need to shine a light into their eye and make sure they are comfortable with that. Be aware that pen lights may trigger seizures in some people.59
If you use a trial frame, keep it on for as short a time as possible, as some people with autism find this difficult to cope with.
Some people with autism may tend to repeat the last thing you say, so adapt your routine to repeat tests in a different order, such as saying ‘clearer second or first’. You may have to ask more than once.
If a person with autism engages in behaviour to help them deal with stress, such as rocking or flicking their fingers, do not try to stop this behaviour unless it is essential. Regularly reassure the patient.

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