o.d. to o.d.
Scope of Healthcare is
a level playing field, the real winners are those who invest in expanding their
scope, not those who impose restrictions.
WALTER D. WEST, O.D., F.A.A.O.,
Chief Optometric Editor
the American Aca-demy of Ophthalmology banned optometrists from their meeting in
2004, many of us turned to the individual ophthalmologists that we're associated
with and asked, "Do you personally support the decision of the American Academy
of Ophthalmology to ban optometrists from its meeting? Do you personally see me
as a threat rather than a healthcare colleague?"
Of course most of the answers were something along
the lines of, "Of course I don't personally feel that way. Those old, out-of-touch
doctors in the academy were responsible for the ban. In fact, that's why the progressive
ophthalmologists don't bother with the academy. We are members of the enlightened,
forward-thinking American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS)."
What a surprise (said with my tongue firmly in
cheek) that the ASCRS recently decided that we as optometrists are no longer welcome
at their meeting either.
I have to admit the announcement really
didn't surprise anyone (I hope). Let's be honest, did any of us even those
who have lectured at these meetings really believe that we were ever truly
I wonder if it's time to go back and
ask the aforementioned ophthalmologists more questions? Or is it just time to turn
up the heat on ophthalmology and go beyond them rather than trying to go along with
them? I also wonder whether we need to busy ourselves in the least with what ophthalmology
is doing, thinking, wishing or wanting to any degree at all.
The world becomes flat
As the ASCRS made their announcement, I had just
finished reading a book that I found fascinating as well as timely. In the title
of his book, "The World Is Flat," Pulitzer Prize- winning author Thomas L. Friedman
isn't referring to the topography of the earth. Rather, Mr. Friedman refers to the
leveling of the business and commerce playing fields in our global economy as countries
around the world (previously not seen as competitive) increase their capacity to
compete through education, ability, a willingness to work and a determination to
succeed by improving themselves.
One example that Mr. Friedman provides
is the significant amount of computer software developed in India rather than in
countries historically recognized as the software developers of the world.
Investment, not restriction
I believe that optometry as a profession is doing
in eyecare what India is doing in the world market of software development. We
are moving our profession forward through the investment of our time and talent,
our interest in expanding our scope of practice as well as enjoying the satisfaction
that success brings us all.
Equally important is the fact that
all of us (optometrists and ophthalmologists) practice in a marketplace where today's
consumer is more focused on the quality of professional eyecare and the service
that they receive than which of the professions provide it.
Things are flattening in eyecare the
playing field is leveling and optometry's future is more promising than ever.
Optometric Management, Issue: September 2005