Winter 2017 Newsletter

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.”

Smart Vision Telemedicine Not Your Parents Eye Exam Eye Exams For Home

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…..

 

Sincerely,

Your TOS