Really…I mean reeaallyy…expanding scope of practice

In my 35 years in this industry, I’ve watched Optometry move from refractionists to first line of defense, medically focused, physicians.  Lots has been written about "scope of practice" in the interim.  The big question…is Optometry done?  Is Optometry all that it can be or is there more?

This article in Boston University’s Science and Technology e-zine offers some interesting insight into new opportunity for optometry (thanks to Cleinman Performance Network member Alan Bishop, O.D. for the lead). Take a look.

http://www.bu.edu/today/science-tech/2008/01/21/new-bu-prof-offers-hope-alzheimers

In this article about the work of Dr. Lee Goldstein, the authors provide some profound insight into a potential connection between optometry and Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.  Early detection, like that for Macular Degeneration, is BIG…really BIG.  This article and the underlying technology clearly signals a new wave of opportunity for optometry.  Are you ready? 

But what of other, more available opportunities?  One only needs to make a list of how we use our eyes to expand the potential scope of optometric practice.  As just one example, what about lighting ergonomics.  Increasing productivity is BIG BUSINESS.  I’m confident that there are thousands of employers who would welcome the opportunity to work with an expert consultant (read "optometrist") to help employees be more productive; more comfortable; through improved lighting. What a great evening workshop for employer groups.  Is lighting just the domain of lighting salesmen…or should optometry carve out a piece of this market (not to sell lighting…but to provide ergonomic lighting consulting services)? 

When contemplating "scope of practice"…optometry shouldn’t limit its thinking to the obvious or just the medical side of the house.

What other areas can you identify?  Let your mind wander and post your ideas.

 

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