Happy New Year from The Optometric Society !
Last Thursday a young 35 year old patient presented in our practice just before New Year’s Eve with an unusual complaint. She was complaining of blur at night and was hearing voices and seeing bats and beetles flying around her head. Her husband then shared her recent bipolar diagnosis and spoke of their experience with a primary care physician. She suggested the patient be seen by optometry to rule out glasses for the blur and a health check for floaters. The results of our exam showed numerous floaters in both eyes, mild myopia corrected with a simple night pair of glasses and a small punched out lesion in the mid peripheral retina of the left eye.
We showed the patient the retinal photos and shadows created by the three large new medium sized floaters. Since no holes, breaks tears or detachments were present, we asked the patient to return if the symptoms worsened. As she understood that the floaters were coupling with her active hallucinations, she was comforted and calmed that the events she was seeing were not all her imagination. We sent a report back to primary care and to the psychiatrist explaining our findings and realized that this scenario may not have been unique.
Many patients that present for their first eye exam at the perceived” healthy “ 18-35 year old stage of life may not present in a normal eyecare environment. For this individual, it was with a mental health care worker followed by a primary care physician. For others, their first encounter is a computer program or app on the internet or within an optical shop that may or may not contain an optometric physician yet are assumed to be eye exams. As healthcare continues to evolve, so does perceived access of care
As this perceived access becomes more convenient and available, creative endeavors have turned eyecare and other specialties into a large unregulated industry. Recent iterations of access to “eye exams” have taken place nation wide with the proliferation of so called “eye exams” offering users the ability to “skip the waiting room” and “receive a prescription in 5 minutes.”
As their unchallenged acceptance by Optometry boards becomes more common, folks such as our patient will ultimately present at these establishments believing an eye exam is the process of a refraction and frame delivery with lenses. Mental health and it's interaction with ocular conditions and pathology itself would be completely missed. Currently companies are leaning on small tag lines in small print, if at all, proclaiming their service is not an eye exam but an ocular exam. It is easy to see how semantics can mislead the public and has caused mis information, failure to diagnose and misappropriation of technology for the sake of financial gain over public good.
Optometry is the beginning of the medical partitioning of access to health care without complete follow through. Dermatology is also fighting apps that claim self diagnosis of skin lesions through photo comparison. (Skin Cancer Ap $2.99 https://youtu.be/uBYOwH8N3Lw
Yet, one must read the fine print of the app stating that the technology does not take the place of a full cancer screening. Like Optometry, most of these apps have been shown ineffective, dangerous and are a stand alone attempt to make profit through untested technology in the hands of non professionals. As more cases like our patient present, feel free to continue to submit cases to your Optometry board as you hear and meet patients that have been misinformed, harmed or taken advantage of by these companies and kiosks. We are calling on all Optometrists to protect the ocular health of every state’s citizens.
Encourage your local representatives and state boards to act faster before someone ultimately takes their life or losses their eyesight due to neglect of enforcing laws and promoting full comprehensive eye exams as eye exams.
TOS on the scene
This past year The Optometric Association was present at SECO, ARBO, the AOA, AAO and C&E conference speaking with ODs, networking and continuing to give Optometrists a voice in our profession. If you would like to contribute, become a member or volunteer to serve on our board, please visit our website at www.theptometricsociety.org or find us on Facebook at theoptometricsociety
Have a safe and joyous holiday season and here's to a productive and vigilant new year!
Making your voice heard…..
Join us for The Optometric Society Annual Meeting and Optometric CE next month in Las Vegas. This year, we are featuring 12 hours of COPE-approved CE featuring some of the country's most distinguished speakers.
- April 9-10, 2016
- Las Vegas Marriott (a no-smoking, no-gaming hotel, $119/night)
- $275 for TOS members through 3/31 (Use code TOS2016)
For more details or to register, please visit OptometricCE.org
We hope everyone had a good holiday season and a happy new year! As we kick off 2016, we wanted to give you an update to current actions at TOS. As per the guidelines of TOS by-laws the board would like to announce Dr. Michael Santarlas has been elected and named President. Dr. Santarlas is passionate about optometry, policy and practice concerning public health. He currently practices full scope optometry in California and is working towards an MPH in Health Policy.
During 2015, your TOS has represented you and your interests, ensuring that the Voice of the Individual Optometrist is heard. A brief summary of The Optometric Society presence includes:
1- SECO 2015 – Atlanta, GA - TOS introduced its Public Education Campaign, “Eye Before See” brochure, highlighting the importance of a Comprehensive Eye Exam.
2- Board of Directors Meeting at Optometric CE 2015 in Dallas and met with TOS members to hear their concerns and make certain their voices are heard.
3- Notified New York State Optometry & Medical Boards & Government Officials about the potential risk to the public with the Launch of EyeNetra’s Blink, which is currently available in NYC, where technicians provide at home refractions without eye health examinations.
4- Responsible for introducing a resolution at the CA House of Delegates in San Jose, CA regarding the inclusion of CME Level 1 and Osteopathic CE IA for CA license renewal. COA HOD defeated this resolution. The issue was presented to the CA State Board of Optometry, with TOS testimony, and CME Level 1 and Osteopathic 1A are currently in the final stages of adoption for CA CE credit.
5- Testified before the California State Board of Optometry meeting in Sacramento, CA about On-Line or Kiosk Based Refraction and that it is a serious issue that needs addressing. If not for the efforts of TOS members this never would have even been on their agenda or even discussed.
6- Attended and represented TOS at ARBO’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA.
7- Notified all States of Opternative’s launch in their state. (Opternative is an on-line refraction without an eye health assessment.)
Currently most Optometry State Boards have either not responded, feel these business practices are inevitable or have no control or authority to protect the public and our licenses.
As we start 2016, your TOS board will continue to work hard at the issues that affect our profession. These issues include:
1- The continued growth of On-Line and At-Home refractions, without a health assessment, performed by unlicensed individuals.
2- The responsible use of technology.
3- Vision Care Plans on-line presence, communication and direct sales of vision products to our patients.
4- Vision Care Plan partnerships with other entities.
5- Vision Care Plans ultimate future goals, decreasing reimbursements and more control over the way we practice and do business.
6- The governance of CE requirements.
7- The opening of new Optometry Schools.
TOS will continue to carry out its mission to be the Voice of the Individual Optometrist and listen to our members. We encourage you to contact any board member and we will do our best to listen to your concerns and address your issues.
We would also like to remind you that 2016 dues are currently due and membership is $150 per year and is available online at:
Or May Mail to:
The Optometric Society
PO Box 8288
La Jolla, CA 92038
If you have already renewed your membership we thank you. We invite you to become involved and make your voice heard. You may contact TOS at
*The Optometric Society released its newest brochure, “Eye Before See” at SECO 2015. The “Eye Before See” Initiative is a public awareness campaign emphasizing the importance of having an eye health examination, and not just refraction alone. The brochure highlights and educates the public that just because someone has 20/20 vision, it does not mean that they have a healthy eye. Copies of the brochure are available for purchase upon request, and can be distributed when speaking in your local communities, public service organizations, schools or have available in your office for your patients. You can view the brochure by clicking here.
The public often believes that refraction alone is an eye exam. This brochure and the Eye Before See Initiative is an easy way to educate the public on the importance of having a comprehensive eye exam to make certain their eyes are healthy for good sight now and into the future.
“Eye Before See: A healthy eye is needed to have and maintain good sight”.