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AOA 2023: Integrating vision rehabilitation into primary care optometry


Janis Winters, OD, FAAO, shares insights from her case study that she copresented during the 2023 AOA Optometry's Meeting in Washington, DC.

Janis Winters, OD, FAAO, caught up with Optometry Times to tell us all about her presentation titled, "Vision Rehabilitation requires working with an interdisciplinary team for best practices," which she presented with Carl Garbus, OD, FAAO; Harvey Richman, OD, FAAO, FCOVD; and Maria Richman, OD, FAAO, at the 2023 AOA Optometry's Meeting in Washington, DC.

Video transcript

Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Janis Winters, OD, FAAO:
I am Dr. Janis Winters. I'm an associate professor of optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry. My job primarily is to work in clinic with the students. I work in the primary care clinic where I see a variety of patients. I also work in the vision rehabilitation clinic, also seeing a variety of patients.

When I went back to the genesis of the talk, the idea was to combine cases with coding because the one thing I always hear from fellow ODS is they're not quite sure how to code for these cases because they can be very time intensive. So my case was paired with coding.

My case was on a patient I'd been seeing for a number of years with Leber's congenital amaurosis, which is a rare condition. And one of the things I was—I know we always hear, it's not rare if it's in your chair. But I was hesitant in presenting a condition which is rare like that because I want to try to make it applicable. Leber's congenital amaurosis has similarities to RP [retinitis pigmentosa], so I tried to tie in a little bit of my findings in patients that I see with RP.

So when I see patients, I always think, "What's causing that vision loss?" So with Leber's congenital amaurosis, we have decreased vision, we have severe visual field loss, also significant contrast loss. So we worked for many years with this child to make sure he had the resources that he needed to succeed educationally and to do everything he wanted to do.

How I hope it trickles down to patient care is that people, optometrists, see that you can implement some aspects of vision rehabilitation in a wide variety of practice modalities. So you don't have to be a vision rehab specialist and only see vision rehab patients. You can be a primary care provider and try to serve the patients maybe with a more milder form of vision impairment, but still following the same principles that we illustrate in the people that have a more severe visual impairment.

There's a lot of resources out there to help assist practitioners, examine patients who are visually impaired. So while we have CE at the meetings, which is wonderful, there are many online resources, even through our AOA iLearn, where practitioners can obtain more information and education on this topic.

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