Dr. Ernie Bowling is Chief Optometric Editor of Optometry Times. He received his Doctor of Optometry and Master of Science in Physiological Optics degrees from the UAB School of Optometry. Dr. Bowling is a Diplomate in the Primary Care Section of the American Academy of Optometry. He practices in Gadsden, AL.
I recently had the opportunity to present at the Energeyes Association regional meeting in Atlanta. Energeyes, the association of corporate-affiliated optometrists, has been in existence for a year now. I was impressed at the energy in the room: everyone was very friendly, and the camaraderie was palpable.
Go down the eye care aisle at your local pharmacy or big box retailer and take a look at the contact lens care solutions. The choices can seem quite daunting to patients who have been given no recommendations before heading to the store.
I’m certain by now we’ve all heard a lot about the recent AOA manpower study from the Lewin group. What the study was not designed to do—and so did not answer—was the burning question we all have: are there too many optometrists?
Our profession has had to fight for the privilege of caring for our patients with ocular disease. With optometry as a legislated profession, these battles have occurred in every state and, as a result, optometric practice acts vary widely. Ophthalmology does not have to endure such travails. Ophthalmologists can do pretty much whatever is in their purview, as is their right.
Allergic diseases have greatly increased in industrialized countries. About 30 percent of people suffer from allergic symptoms, and from 40 to 80 percent of these have ocular symptoms.1 We all prescribe topical medicines for our patients with ocular allergies; their use has become almost second nature. These medications do a truly remarkable job of helping our patients who suffer from seasonal or perennial ocular allergies. I like to temper these pharmacologic recommendations with some common sense ideas that will complement the pharmacological treatment and greatly alleviate the patient’s symptomatology.
The profession has long awaited the release of the Eye Care Workforce Study. The project was jointly commissioned by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and was conducted by the Lewin Group. The date of the study is listed on the Executive Summary as April 25, 2014, and the results were made public June 10. Congratulations to the AOA and ASCO for commissioning the study. The last one by Abt was in 1999, so this was quite timely and in fact long overdue.
Heading to the American Optometric Association meeting in Philadelphia on June 25-29? Optometry Times Chief Optometric Editor Dr. Ernie Bowling will be at the Optometry Times booth #1433 from 5-6 pm Thursday; 3-4pm Friday; and 10-11am Saturday. Stop by and say hi!