Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Why the ophthalmologist and optometrist conflict should concern patients

If you need laser eye surgery in the state of Kentucky, or a little cosmetic work around the eyelids, it now behooves you to ask your prospective surgeon the following question before signing the operative consent form:
“Say doc, did you go to medical school?”
Kentucky joined the company of Oklahoma earlier this year as the second state to conflate optometrists and ophthalmologists. Only ophthalmologists are the sort of doctors who graduated from medical school, did an internship, completed a three-year residency in eye surgery, possibly a fellowship after that, and have achieved and maintained national board certification through a program of lifelong learning in their specialty.

Optometry schools (four-year programs focused on optics to prescribe glasses and contacts and the diagnosis and management of certain eye-related diseases) have a tough application process too, and many of the same students going into optometry could have chosen medicine. But nobody ever really faces a clear-cut choice of going into optometry or ophthalmology. Even if you do exceedingly well in medical school, you could easily miss out on an ophthalmology residency slot. Ophthalmology is among the most selective specializations in medicine. Yet despite having earned a reputation within medical science as one of its most advanced and storied fields, these days ophthalmology is challenged with its branding, of all things. Perhaps it’s the funny spelling?
Nationwide, about 30 percent of consumers don’t know the difference between the two types of eye doctors, according to a survey conducted by the National Consumer’s League (the NCL designed the study independently, then applied for and received unrestricted funding from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which did not commission the study). Ninety-five percent of the 600 Americans surveyed wanted an M.D. wielding the scalpel or the laser if they needed eye surgery. Regular everyday people seem to sense that the eyes are part of the body, that serious disease might have something to do with the whole, and that at the very least, you might want a full-service clinician involved if something becomes complicated enough for an invasive procedure.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Welcome COECSA Young Ophthalmologists Forum

The COECSA Young Ophthalmologists Forum (YOF) is a long-term strategy to engage young ophthalmologists and guide them through the many stages of their professional life. The core purpose of this association is to mentor young or new-to-practice ophthalmologists, to become more involved in leadership and eye health advocacy in the region.
As more ophthalmology graduates enter into practice and the older ones retire from the practice, young ophthalmologists are quickly becoming the largest demographic group in the region. Unfortunately, many are facing difficult transitions from training to careers due to relatively few mentoring opportunities. It is hypothesized that, residents, fellows, and young associates in post-training are not sufficiently prepared for professional life after training.
Because of this lack of knowledge, many young ophthalmologists are faced with difficult choices involving practice style and management as well as general professional growth. Further, there appears to be a lack of awareness and participation by this group of ophthalmologists in leadership and decision making in matters related to eye health in the region.
That is why the idea of a Young Ophthalmologists Forum was coined to mentor the young ophthalmologists and encourage their involvement in eye health advocacy in the region, to proactively contribute to the development of the profession and an enabling environment.

The future is now, we are the future