The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry have announced a joint initiative to work together to better prepare and support their members in delivering the highest quality eye care. The two organizations are continuing education leaders for ophthalmology and optometry, respectively. They are engaging with each other in an effort to foster a mutual approach to serving a growing population of patients in the United States who are expected to require eye health services in the near future.
This effort marks the first-ever large-scale, organized effort within the optometry and ophthalmology professions in support of joint educational initiatives. The two academies' leaders said that they believe that truly effective collaborative care requires coordination of education and standards of care between the professions of optometry and ophthalmology, which together cover the spectrum of eye care services that range from primary care through the most complex surgical management.
By working together, the two organizations anticipate being better positioned to assist their respective members in being able to efficiently manage the rapidly growing demand for eye care due to many chronic eye diseases increasing in prevalence in the U.S. related to the aging Baby Boomer population. They also expect that healthcare reform will result in a significant increase in the number of Americans seeking eye care.
"More and more ophthalmologists are practicing with optometrists in the same point-of-care environment and are seeking information and models that will optimize the impact for patients," said David W. Parke II, M.D., chief executive officer of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "The better prepared our two professions are and the more effectively they work together, the better care we will be able to provide for all patients."
"The professions of optometry and ophthalmology complement each other in many ways," said Bernard J. Dolan, O.D., M.S., president of the American Academy of Optometry. "It is refreshing to embark on this cooperative initiative in the area of continuing education to improve patient care in a collegial environment of mutual respect."
The academies are jointly informing their respective memberships to ensure that their members are aware of this collaborative strategic effort and have an opportunity to provide feedback to the organizations as they begin to create educational opportunities. The organizations anticipate that these programs will be developed over the next 12-18 months with a formal launch in 2015.