News From the AOSA
Is This the Golden Age of Optometry?
next time you reach for the dilating drops, remember the O.D.s who paved the
way for you.
By Tracy Jacobsen, AOSA
Vice President, Pacific University College of Optometry, Class of 2007
WHEN I WAS LITTLE, my
grandfather amused me with stories of the "old days." Whether he was describing
how he used to get in trouble as a kid or how he fought in World War II, his stories
seemed far off and incredible almost unbelievable. Recently I experienced
the same feelings after attending the Optometry 2020 Summit in Dallas.
While I was at the meeting, I spoke with doctors
and students of all ages and from all regions of the country. I was amazed at how
many O.D.s through the efforts of organized optometry lived through
and won important "battles" that gave our profession the scope of practice we all
know and enjoy.
The summit meeting left me inspired
but troubled. I was inspired by the O.D.s who worked with their fellow association
members to make optometry the profession it is today. However, I was troubled when
I thought about the many students and doctors who enjoy the profession our predecessors
built but are still reluctant to participate in organized optometry.
I want to motivate O.D.s to get involved
in organized optometry, not only while they're students, but also after they become
doctors. Here's one of my ideas.
One way to show students and practicing O.D.s
how far optometry has progressed would be to ask them to perform eye examinations
under the laws and regulations that existed 50 years ago.
They'd find they can't dilate the eyes
of diabetic patients because administering diagnostic pharmaceutical agents isn't
within their scope of practice. They wouldn't be able to prescribe antibiotics for
bacterial conjunctivitis because O.D.s didn't qualify for therapeutic pharmaceutical
agent certification 50 years ago.
placing limits on what people can do, even when they're fully qualified to perform
a task, can motivate them to make changes. This is what happened 50 years ago
when our predecessors used organized optometry to expand the scope of the profession.
Support the Profession
Motivating people to get involved can be difficult,
but it's necessary for the continued growth of the optometric industry. I believe
membership in organized optometry will grow when students and new O.D.s become aware
of the personal benefits they can gain by actively participating in optometric organizations.
Ultimately, the success of our profession
depends on the motivation and dedication of its members. Optometry would not be
the respected profession it is today without the hard work of those who fought
and won some important battles. Now, it's your turn to pick up the gauntlet.
Optometric Management, Issue: April 2006