Interprofessional Eye Care: A Vision That Really Works

Interprofessional Eye Care: A Vision That Really Works

Corey W. Waldman (University of Texas-San Antonio School of Medicine, USA), Elizabeth Hoppe (College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences, USA), Ida Chung (College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences, USA), D. Joshua Cameron (College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences, USA), Naveen K. Yadav (College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences, USA), Christine T. Pham (College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences, USA) and Stephanie Bowlin (Western University of Health Sciences, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 36
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3066-5.ch011

Abstract

Doctors of Optometry and optometric students, interns, and residents are valuable members of the interprofessional team. Including both primary eye care and more specialized optometric care that can encompass elements of secondary and tertiary care in the collaborative care of patients ensures a holistic, whole-body approach to wellness and supports patients' quality of life. Doctors of Optometry play a vital role in ensuring optimal health throughout the lifespan, and in particular, for people with chronic conditions and complex health concerns. The authors explore examples of how optometrists participate in the healthcare team and describe how optometrists can make an impact for patients across the life span.
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Introduction

Doctors of Optometry and optometric students, interns, and residents are valuable members of the interprofessional team. Including both primary eye care and more specialized optometric care, that can encompass elements of secondary and tertiary care, in the collaborative care of patients ensures a holistic, whole-body approach to wellness and supports patients’ quality of life. Doctors of Optometry play a vital role in ensuring optimal health throughout the lifespan, and in particular, for people with chronic conditions and complex health concerns.

The American Optometric Association emphasizes the role of optometrists as independent primary health care professionals. The full definition of the profession with examples of the scope of practice and professional role is provided in Figure 1 (American Optometric Association).

Figure 1.

Definition of Doctors of Optometry from the American Optometric Association

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The National Academies of Practice expands on this definition to further elaborate how Doctors of Optometry are integrated within communities and different practice settings. This longer description, shown in Figure 2 (National Academies of Practice), also serves to highlight both the types of services and the kinds of patients for which Doctors of Optometry can be expected to serve as members of the care team.

Figure 2.

Definition of Doctors of Optometry from the National Academies of Practice

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Schools and Colleges of Optometry have been incorporating and assessing interprofessional education and collaborative clinical practice as well as the impact of integrating optometric education resources with other health professionals (Aravamudhan, Vitek, & Casser, 2015; Christian, MacIver, & Alfieri, 2015; McLeod & Bush, 2015; Sanchez-Diaz et al., 2015; Yumori et al., 2015).

Post-graduate optometric residency training has also proven to be an optimal setting for incorporating IPE into health professional education (Dowd & Smith, 2015). In addition to the formal didactic and clinical curricula, there are many opportunities to incorporate IPE and collaborative practice in the co-curriculum. Doctors of optometry and optometric students have found value in collaborating as a member of the health care team during international medical mission trips (Nehmad, Reynolds, & Anderson-Worts, 2015).

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is an institutional member of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), and in February of 2016 ASCO hosted its own Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice Summit, bringing together faculty members and administrators from optometric institutions, professional organizations, and partners from a number of other disciplines. The importance of interprofessional education in optometric education is exemplified in ASCO’s “Attributes of Graduates of the Schools and Colleges of Optometry” report. The expected competencies are shown in Figure 3 (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry).

Figure 3.

Interprofessional Attributes of Graduates (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)

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On every level, from associations and organizations, to schools and colleges, and in the community, optometrists have embraced the opportunity to engage in interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for engagement continue to evolve with many opportunities yet unexplored.

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