AOA comments on CDC’s Proposed Study on Traumatic Brain Injury Disparities in Rural Areas

On August 6, 2018, the AOA submitted a comment letter in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Proposed Study on Traumatic Brain Injury Disparities in Rural Areas.

The proposed study attempts to understand the challenges that rural healthcare providers face when diagnosing, treating, and managing traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to develop a knowledge base to address gaps in services to improve clinical care and TBI outcomes in rural communities.

Unfortunately, doctors of optometry were not included in the proposed study. In our comment letter, the AOA recommends that doctors of optometry be included (Click here for the comment letter).

This comment letter is part of AOA's larger advocacy efforts to support our members' role as primary eye care physicians and the importance of comprehensive eye exams. Specifically, the AOA is committed to ensuring that patients and the medical community understand:

  • All patients suffering from TBIs should be referred to an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam and treatment of TBI-related vision disorders ·      
  • Regular comprehensive eye exams are an important point of entry into TBI care, especially for patients who are unaware they may be suffering from a TBI
  • Doctors of optometry can provide essential data, such as baseline testing, for the entire managed care team and help improve the treatment of TBI sufferers ·       
  • Doctors of optometry are crucial to addressing healthcare disparities, especially in rural areas

In addition to raising awareness throughout the public and other healthcare professionals, the AOA is dedicated to helping our members to better serve patients with TBIs. The Sports & Performance Vision Committee and Vision Rehabilitation Committee will continue to provide TBI resources that help members incorporate basic TBI services to their practices and eye examinations, such as the newly released Concussion Fact Sheet (PDF)

Please continue to visit AOA's Neuro-Optometric and Concussion Care webpages for more concussion-related resources and information.