What is an optometric expert? Tips4EyeDocs Weekend for 14-15 Jan 2012 No.26

The weekend is near and the normal things that I write about aren’t yet at the top of my “to-do” list. Of course, there are no shortage of controversial subjects, but whether they are “flaming out” or not, they don’t seem as important to the general optometric public. One area that I feel that optometry has not done well is recognizing optometric experts.

As far back as the 1980’s, an expert in optometry was anyone who had a talent in a particular part of optometry. In those days, that meant contact lens fitting, vision therapy or low vision rehabilitation. But in today’s world of optometry, it is much more complicated to call an optometrist an expert in something. Of course each of us know what we are good at and what we like to do. But we don’t quite yet know how to tell other people or other doctors what we’re good at.

Two indicators of experetise that seemed to be accepted by the profession were Diplomate status in in any of the American Academy of Optometry Sections or the completion of a postgraduate one year optometric residency. But that did not seem good enough.

A few years back, two factors combined to spur the further refinement of an optometric expert. First, expanded scope of practice in each of the fifty states had created a two-tiered system where some sought full scope and others were content to stay at their current level. Second, fears of health reform drove one or more of the profession’s organizations to create additional opportunities of expertise, called board certification.  As it stands, acceptance and adoption of optometric board certification has not been widespread.

As we go forward, how should we recognize expertise. How can that expertise be told to the buying public? Who controls the designation of expertise? These are questions that I think might require a more united effort of all areas of optometery.


  1. Kids are specific in what they want. “12 things that children want from their teachers http://bit.ly/xiRZum”
  2. Twitter keeps a thread of a conversation. Using the “reply” method rather than the “RT” method of replying will continue that thread. The “RT” method breaks that contextual thread. “RT @tweetsmarter: #Tip: Why You Shouldn’t ReTweet A Reply on Twitter http://bit.ly/zQv3kQ”


  1. Overview: There is a suggestion here that outdoors may be a better impetus to emmetropization than being strictly indoor.
  2. Cite:  Charman WN. Myopia, posture and the visual environmentOphthalmic Physiol Opt. 2011 Sep;31(5):494-501. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2011.00825.x. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

To reference this post, you can use http://bit.ly/zUb9OV

About Richard Hom OD, MPA

Dr. Hom holds Doctor of Optometry and Masters in Public Administration degrees and practices family eye care and consults on public policy, health information technology and program evaluation.
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