American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Offers Program to Synergize Optometrists and Ophthalmologists

FAIRFAX, Va.—The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) will offer a new non-surgical educational program to advance an eyecare delivery model based on a synergistic collaboration between optometry and ophthalmology. The program was designed specifically to promote and advance the integrated eyecare model and will provide the opportunity for optometrists to earn continuing education credits and to attend a networking reception.

The Integrated Ophthalmic-Managed Eyecare Delivery Model (IOMED) was created by the ASCRS IOMED Task Force and the ASCRS Integrated Eyecare Program Committee, both of which include representatives from ophthalmology and optometry. A recent ASCRS member needs assessment survey revealed that 34 percent of members currently employ optometrists and 38 percent plan to employ optometrists in the future.

The IOMED model encourages arrangements in which optometrists employed by ophthalmologists, as well as optometrists employed by the military or industry, play a role in the delivery of non-surgical eyecare. This patient-centered model encourages greater efficiency and coordination of care with ophthalmologists and optometrists working together to meet the growing demands for service and address the pending changes in Medicare and health care delivery, and to meet the needs of the 77 million American Baby Boomers nearing retirement age.

The new integrated eyecare model track for optometry and ophthalmology will be offered at the ASCRS on Cataract, IOL and Refractive Surgery and American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators  Congress on Ophthalmic Practice Management, held jointly in San Francisco, April 19 to 23, 2013. Optometrists can register under this category only and must certify one of the following: employed by an ophthalmologist, employed by a medical school (not a college of optometry), employed by a managed-care provider, employed by the military, employed by industry/manufacturer or employed by a corporate center (TLC, LCA, etc.).

The IOMED Task Force has also launched an online job network on LinkedIn aimed to connect optometrists with ophthalmologists working in an integrated setting.