This past weekend, Virginia Eye Consultants‘ optometrists along with optometrists nationwide joined together for an American Optometric Association (AOA) continuing education conference in Washington, D.C. Our very own doctors, Dr. Whitley, Dr. Koetting and Dr. Kuc, lectured at the conference, each discussing ways to advance patient care and to educate our patients.
Continuing education conferences happen several times a year and are great ways to meet with colleagues and classmates while, at the same time, refresh on material and learn about exciting innovations in the field. I loved visiting beautiful D.C. and particularly enjoyed a lecture on neuro-ophthalmic emergencies as it was a good reminder on how to appropriately refer and treat certain ocular emergencies.
Likewise, on a yearly basis, the AOA organizes a meet and greet with legislators in Washington, D.C. to get to know the legislators and ask for their support for the profession. This year was a special year as the AOA meeting fell on the same weekend as this annual event. Many optometrists from across the country were able to participate in both events and advocate for optometry!
A common misconception in the community is that optometrists only prescribe contacts and glasses. However, optometrists are also able to manage and treat ocular diseases by prescribing medications. Our role is to educate the general population and legislators on what we’ve been trained to do. Optometrists undergo 4 years of training in optometry school, following a Bachelor’s Degree. As Dr. Janes mentioned in a previous post, many continue and undergo a 1 year residency program, which further provides training to treat and manage ocular diseases. This ability allows us to work closely with ophthalmologists and balance the medical and surgical needs of our patients.
~ Dr. Leanna Olennikov