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Homemieditorialmivision Issue 195 November 2023

mivision Issue 195 November 2023

Forgive me for asking, but has there ever been a more exciting time for optometrists?

O=MEGA23 demonstrated the extraordinary technology now available, much of it multifunctional and increasingly affordable, that is expanding options for disease diagnosis and management.

With many of these devices now cloud-based and able to be integrated via software platforms such as Australia’s own agnostic Pliny, optometrists are better able to collaborate with other health professionals to ensure their patients benefit from shared care and the most appropriate expertise.

The technology available also means that now, more than ever, practitioners have an opportunity to develop specific clinical interests. And why wouldn’t you? As Dr Lyndon Jones articulated when I met with him at O=MEGA23, you can be a generalist, however “that means you’re going to be okay at lots of things, (instead) become really good at something”.

Doing so may mean you need to refer within the profession for services such as dry eye or myopia management. This is something Optometry Australia has been recommending for years now, however there is still a degree of distrust – will the optometrist you refer to ‘steal’ the patient? Will the patient decide it’s best to keep all their business with the optometrist you refer them to?

Perhaps it’s time to flip the thinking, to be confident that the service you provide (within your area of interest) and the eyewear you offer is so “next level” that your patient will return to you for everything other than the area of eye care you’ve referred them for.

Perhaps they will respect you for your integrity; for your demonstrated interest in them receiving the best care possible. And perhaps the optometrist you’ve referred your patient to will refer their own back to you for your area of specialist interest.

Alternatively, you could build your practice with optometrists who have specific and complementary areas of interest. To do this, you may need to expand the size of your team, but engage some on a part-time basis, at least initially. Or you may be able to expand your team and keep them full time by promoting their expertise to colleagues outside the practice.

So much to think about. So many opportunities.

Enjoy this issue of mivision.