Doctors of optometry a crucial component in cataract care
Optometry plays a central role in the concerted approach to cataract care, one emphasized in a global health magazine only months following ophthalmology's landmark reversal on co-managed care.
In a November 2015 article by Life Extension® magazine —a publication of the nutrition, health and wellness supplement retailer by the same name—titled, " How to Improve Your Odds of Successful Cataract Surgery," doctors of optometry were favorably highlighted for their crucial distinction as primary care eye doctors and patient advocates.
The article offers consumers tips for seeking quality cataract care, and the first recommendation? Find a doctor of optometry. According to the article:
But the assessment doesn't stop there; the article continues with, "a good optometrist is your best source for finding the best surgeon." While it clearly highlights the important primary care role that doctors of optometry play in health care, the article fails to understand or convey that doctors of optometry do perform surgical procedures in many states.
Doctors of optometry, and ophthalmologists, are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for their patients, which is why a postoperative, co-managed care model has been around for many years, yet it's only recently that organized groups have acknowledged this option.
Ophthalmology: Co-managed care an "appropriate" option
In a substantial policy shift likely reflecting optometry's effectiveness in delivering quality care, an ophthalmology position paper recently deemed co-managed cataract care an "appropriate" course of action.
This position paper, released jointly by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) on Sept. 9, 2015, reverses 15-year-old guidance that originally emphasized ethical concerns for co-management and concluded such models of care should be an exceptional occurrence.
The revised AAO/ASCRS guidance encourages ophthalmologists to exercise "professional judgement" when deciding on co-management or transfer of care, acknowledges that the model serves legitimate patient interests and eliminates most references to the ethical concerns of the original document.
Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., AOA vice president, said this complete reversal likely stems from the cooperative, co-managed care already provided by doctors of optometry and ophthalmology.
"This is a very positive acknowledgement of what has become standard practice," Dr. Quinn said after the position paper's release. "It's a reflection of the many years of successful patient care and good work that our members provide."
Read more about the AAO/ASCRS joint position paper and revised co-management guidelines, and learn how doctors of optometry partner with other providers to bring quality care to their patients.
As Americans grow older, the eyes show their age, too. The lens loses elasticity, causing a slow decline of accommodation. And patients, in a sense blindsided by this natural sign of aging, head to their doctor of optometry to help preserve their quality of life at work, home and play. Doctors of optometry are in a unique position to help patients preserve their quality of life and independence as presbyopia advances. Fortunately for patients and doctors, there have never been more options for managing presbyopia.
The American Diabetes Association® (ADA) reported, in time for National Diabetes Month in November, that total annual costs of diabetes in 2022 was $412.9 billion, most of it in direct medical costs. How can doctors of optometry help in the fight to lower the prevalence of diabetes?