Applying injection basics to your optometric practice

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Jason Duncan, OD, FAAO, shares highlights from his AOA 2022 presentation, "Injection Basics," presented at this year's Optometry's Meeting in Chicago.

Jason Duncan, OD, FAAO, shares highlights from his presentation, "Injection Basics," which he presented at this year's 2022 American Optometric Association (AOA) Optometry's Meeting in Chicago.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity:

My name is Jason Duncan. I'm an optometrist in Memphis, Tennessee at the Southern College of Optometry where I'm also an associate professor.

I'm here to talk about optometric surgical procedures. And injections in optometry; the title is "Injection Basics."

These are classes that I like giving, and give across the country, because for 20 years I've been doing stuff like this. Tennessee is fairly progressive, although we're not the most progressive any longer, we have been historically, fairly progressive as far as scope goes.

So when I was a postdoctorate fellow, I was taught procedures somewhat and injection somewhat, and then of course, advanced, a little more on my own study. We've been doing it for 20 some odd years in Tennessee, my fellowship was in 1996. For the longest time, it was kind of just smoldering. There were a few of us doing it here and there, that I heard about.

For whatever reason, the whole area has gained traction over the past probably five years, even at the national level. So we have directives now to try to get the schools on board to help with this part of scope expansion. For me personally, it's a fulfillment issue. It's much more fulfilling for me as a physician to practice with these tools of injections and these optometric surgical procedures around the eyelid.

Are you going to get rich off of it? Maybe not, but it's not all terrible. The fulfilling thing for us is to capture the scope, presence or possibility that's out there. Someone else who can and will do these, if we don't pick them up, I think.

It's a huge convenience for your patient if you're well-versed in these minor procedures and injections, if for no other reason they don't have to travel to see someone. The appointments usually are much more readily available with us, and typically our wait times aren't quite as long for some procedures that we'll be able to knock out in probably five to 10 minutes tops.

So again, we're happy to be teaching the students — excited to be teaching the students — and hopefully a new wave of kids will be coming out that are ready to take these things on with a little postdoctoral training, perhaps, or just accumulating more experience.

We do give workshops for people that have already graduated or want more practice on the matter. And I can foresee in the future us being able to come to you individually in some form and coach you through a procedure or two to get you ready to go on your own. That's not here yet, but I can see that happening in the future.