Article Date: 2/1/2013

O.D. to O.D.
o.d. to o.d.

Becoming Whole

A seven-year-old can understand that O.D.s provide medical care, so why is it such a struggle to get this message out?


BY SCOT MORRIS, O.D., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor

Watching our Denver Broncos get it handed to them a few weeks ago on national television, my family also saw the State Farm Insurance commercial in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers tries to explain to a classroom of kids what he does for a living. My youngest son commented, “Don’t worry, Dad. I know that fixing people’s eyes is pretty important — not as important as Peyton Manning — but pretty important.”

His next statement is why I still smile at the ad: “Dad, eye doctors don’t just help people see better, they prevent bad things from happening.”

How is it a seven-year-old knows this and yet, as a profession, we continue to fight an uphill battle in getting society to understand?

More than a model

For the last 15 years, I have spent a lot of weekends away singing the praise of the medical model. However, lately I have taken a different approach: We are physicians. We do not have a choice about the medical model. It is what we do. It is our job; our duty to provide vision care not only through vision wear, but also through ocular health care and preventative medicine.

Pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, vision wear, surgery and vision therapy comprise our whole job. And we treat everyone, not only those whose insurance we accept.

Our failure

I think the disconnect for many is not that they don’t understand the importance of eye health, but that we, as eyecare providers, regardless of the O in our name, have failed to make it a center point of discussion in every patient interaction.

As the OM staff brainstormed this month’s theme, we wanted to provide a reference for the many parts of the medical side of each of our practices. Treating the medical issues that appear in your chair every day provides diversification of revenue centers, helps build referrals to your practice and patient loyalty. We have articles on how to incorporate allergies, blepharitis, dry eye, vision therapy and pediatric pink eye medical care into your practice. In addition, we include tools to help you build the business side of your practice with great articles on marketing, merchandising, medical coding and technology.

Thinking about care

But it doesn’t stop there. “Scriptopedia” includes a sample script you can “steal” to talk to your patients about dry eye. Our optical sections center around the medical model, as they discuss bandage lenses, UV protection and polarization. In summary, we want you to think about medical eye care; how to determine what your niche should be — and how to look to, talk to and treat your patients.

Also, Drs. Christine Sindt and Loretta Szczotka-Flynn discuss women in optometry, Jen Falik returns with more on fashion, Allergan’s Dave Gibson discusses the industry, and Dr. Kirk Smick talks about food and travel. In summary, we strive to give you the strategies, plans and tools to expand the scope of how you practice. OM

Optometric Management, Volume: , Issue: February 2013, page(s): 4