It takes a village: Optometry’s Meeting® courses emphasize doctors’ roles on interdisciplinary care teams

February 9, 2022
Register now for Optometry’s Meeting®, June 15-18, to get your pick of 150 expert-led courses for doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometrics at the profession’s premier event.
Collaborative doctor care team

To help doctors elevate their practice, Optometry’s Meeting 2022 offers 200 hours of continuing education (CE), including courses on interdisciplinary collaboration.

That’s the forward-thinking philosophy behind a number of courses being presented at Optometry’s Meeting, June 15-18, in Chicago. For instance, take the courses “The Secondary Glaucomas: From the OD and MD Perspective” and “Laser Procedures from the OD to the DO Perspective.” The courses expand doctors’ opportunities to work collaboratively with other medical disciplines, according to members of the AOA Education Center Committee, which selects courses for the event.

“The number of patients with glaucoma in the United States continues on an upward trajectory,” says committee member Justin Schweitzer, O.D. “The care of these patients involves medications, lasers, drug delivery and surgical intervention. Doctors of optometry play a critical role in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. Surgeons will need to spend more time in the operating room to address increasing numbers of all ocular diseases, leaving them less time in the clinical setting.

“Due to that fact,” Dr. Schweitzer adds, “optometry needs to continue to embrace the care of glaucoma patients. Courses such as ‘The Secondary Glaucomas: From the OD and MD Perspective’ and ‘Laser Procedures from the OD and DO Perspective’ provide discussion on collaboration between doctors of optometry and ophthalmologists, which will better patient care. As importantly, though, these courses will provide the tools doctors of optometry need to continue to care for glaucoma patients and even elevate the care we provide for our glaucoma patients.”

Mahsa Masoudi, O.D., co-committee member, agrees.

Glaucoma, for instance, has long been in the “wheelhouse” of optometry, Dr. Masoudi says. And now, with doctors of optometry in Massachusetts finally getting the right to practice to the fullest extent of their scope, too, it’s vital the profession thoroughly embrace the opportunity, she says.

“There is extreme value in being able to have an interdisciplinary collaboration for the sake of the patient population,” Dr. Masoudi says. “Whether it is glaucoma or another pathology, when treatment reaches a refractory point or exceeds optometry's scope, by being the gatekeepers we should know what next steps are most appropriate for our patients.

“By establishing relationships across the professions, we can prepare our patients with education on the different options to come and ensure a proper handoff is available to direct them where they need to be,” she adds. “The stronger we make those interdisciplinary ties, not only do we help advance our patients to be seen sooner, but we can advance educational collaboration, so when opportunities for scope advancement arise, doctors of optometry also have more direct insight to perspectives from the MD/DO side. The AOA is again ahead of the game in terms of education, preparing doctors of optometry. What was once the essence of our profession does not diminish; it only grows to new heights, and as such we must cultivate, learn and grow with it for the sake of our patients.”

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