The question of how to maintain quality healthcare standards while forging ahead into new discoveries and developments is baffling to many clinicians. Optometry’s success in the coming years will depend on the ability of ODs to overcome challenges like economic competitiveness and utilize and grow alongside technological advances that are changing the way business is conducted, like artificial intelligence. Diving into the approximately 5,500 publications of peer reviewed materials exchanged on the National Library of Medicine every day is a great place to start if ODs can come up with the energy and time expenditures to do so. AI is here to help.
With so much ground to cover in the areas of environmental medicine, public health, exercise physiology, nutritional medicine, epigenetics, geriatric medicine, anti-aging medicine and neuroscience, ODs may start to wonder:
– Will insurance pay for my research?
– Will pharmaceutical companies embrace new discoveries?
– Will governments support efforts if it means fewer customers and jobs?
In his book Deep Medicine, Eric Topol, MD, presents this idea: the physician of today is living in a world of insufficient presence, insufficient time, insufficient data, and “shallow medicine.”2
In his classic book, The Biology of Belief, neuroscientist Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, claims that one third of all healing is due to patient belief, not drug or nutrient chemistry.3
Whether you subscribe to this belief or not, all practicing clinicians should realize that there is no substitute for face-to-face time with our patients, regardless of the increasing prevalence of AI.
The US has world-class health care for individual segments of medicine such as emergency medicine, neurosurgery and, indeed, ophthalmology with all of its sub-specializations.
1. Topol E. Deep Medicine. 1st Edition. Hatchett Books, New York, NY. 2019.
2. Lipton BH. The Biology of Belief, Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles. 10th Edition. Hay House, Inc. Carlsbad, CA. 2016.
3. Lustig, R. Video: Sugar the Bitter Truth, https://youtu.be/ dBnniua6-oM. Accessed 1/29/20.
4. Lustig, R. Sugar the Bitter Truth. Plume, Penguin Group. New York, NY. 2014.
5. Richer S. Is there a prevention and treatment strategy for age related macular degeneration? J Am Optom Assoc. 1993;64(12):838-50.
6. Centers for Disease Control. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf. Accessed 1/29/30.
7. Richer S, Gelb K, Jaffe R. Windows into Wellness: Eight Biomarkers You Should Know. Rev Optom. 2018 Sept 15, 2018, pages 30-33..
8. Knobbe C. Ancestral Dietary Strategy to Prevent and Treat Macular Degeneration. 1st edition. Cure AMD Foundation. Boulder, CO. 2016.
9. Richer S, Poteet J, Ruskin D, Summerton S, Hitchmoth D. Wellness Essentials for Clinical Practice, 2nd Edition. Suppl Rev Optom. 15 October 2018.
10. Richer S, Poteet J, Ruskin D, Summerton S, Hitchmoth D. Wellness Essentials for Clinical Practice. 3nd Edition. Suppl Rev Optom. 15 October 2019.
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Optometrists. Available at: https://www.bls.gov/ ooh/healthcare/optometrists.htm. Accessed 1/29/20.
12. Chester W, Engfehr K, Gelb, K. Open your Eyes. https:// www.imdb.com/title/tt11487298/?ref_=nm_knf_i2. Accessed 1/29/20.