Glaucoma Certification Helps California ODs expand their scope of care

On December 9, 2010, the Office of Administrative Law approved California Code of Regulation (CCR) Section 1571, Requirements for Glaucoma Certification. In surmmary, by Jan 8, 2011 the Board of Optometry will have new avenues to certify optometrists across the state of California for glaucoma care.  

Ever since AB 949 was approved in 1997 or so, glaucoma care has been constrained by an complex set of requirements and processes that led only 250 of the state’s optometrists to being certified, less than 10% of the state’s number of optometrists.  The new SB 1406 law that is the basis of the new regulations will vastly streamline this process and thus will expand the number of optometrists who can become certified to manage glaucoma.

There is a strong foundation for optometry and ophthalmology collaboration in the California and it is unlikely that this will change dramatically with the new regulations.

What has advanced technology given optometry?

​In the last fifteen or twenty years, advanced technology to assess the integrity of the retina and optic nerve head has literally transformed the ability of the optometrist to manage many chronic eye conditions at a level never before.  Optometrists who have the inclination, interest and education can now equal the detection of many, if not all, ophthalmologists for many of these conditions.

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When should an optometrist refer a patient for glaucoma?

​In the model of optometry that I had posted previously, the optometrist may either follow the “detect and refer” model and immediately refer the patient or attempt to discern whether there are additional findings that might further define this as a patient with a risk for glaucoma or one who has a high likelihood or even a diagnosis of glaucoma.

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What do optometrists do?

​What do optometrists do? Sounds simple and straightforward, right? Ask a dozen physicians and I would bet about a quarter will know what an optometrists is trained to do or is allowed or licensed to do. 

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Building trust between Optometrists & Ophthalmologists for patient care

​This is the second installment of continuing series about the cooperative relationship that may be possible with ophthalmologists and optometrists. But first, a backdrop needs to be in place. If either eye care provider (ECP), ophthalmologist or optometrist) reads their professional organization's public relations literature, you might believe that there are never any good working relationships between the two ECPs.  For many ECPs, that belief is so strong, that it might blind either side that the patient's well being is missed.

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Would ophthalmologists be less skeptical of optometric skill levels if imaging accompanied referrals or phone questions?

​"Would ophthalmologists be less skeptical of optometric skill levels if imaging accompanied referrals or phone questions?" --Richard Hom tweet from Sep 12, 2009

This tweet that Dr Hom posted this past week, and our exchange of responses that followed, is what inspired us to start this blog on how best to have Eye Care Providers (ECPs) work together. Although micro-blogging with Twitter can provide some instant feedback, many potential great learning moments can just go unnoticed in that medium. Hence, the chance to continue where we left off by having people add their comments.

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