The deaf population is not currently receiving adequate optometric care. In part, this is a result of the deaf patient's isolation from the health care system due to an inability to access the practitioner. An increased utilization of Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD's) by the private practitioner would largely alleviate this situation. Once in the health care system, the deaf patient often does not receive the same standard of care given a hearing patient. The quality of care can be improved if the practitioner has a better understanding of the etiology of deafness and the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods of communication available in the exam setting. While a professional interpreter will usually be the method of choice, individual circumstances will dictate which method is best for a particular patient.
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