Delivering his address during the ASCRS Opening General Session, Dr. Holland, professor of ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati, and director of cornea services, Cincinnati Eye Institute, outlined the recent efforts of the ASCRS Government Relations Committee and discussed the initiatives he launched with the support of the ASCRS Executive Committee and Governing Board.
One initiative focused on broadening physician involvement within the ASCRS, and Dr. Holland listed the accomplishments made toward achieving this goal. They included the creation of new positions in the Executive Committee and Governing Board, along with the addition of new members to ASCRS clinical committees, in part through establishment of four new cataract subclinical committees.
Another project fostered by Dr. Holland focused on increasing programs offered to residents and fellows, and there were achievements to report for this initiative as well, including the development of the inaugural Resident and Fellow Program at the ASCRS Symposium.
Dr. Holland concluded by discussing the controversial initiative he launched to support an integrated eye care practice model as a means to meet the future eye care needs of the rapidly growing elderly population. He noted that ophthalmology faces an impending crisis in its ability to deliver adequate eye care, but increasing the efficiency of ophthalmic surgeons offers a potential solution. Therefore, the ASCRS Executive Committee and Governing Board has endorsed an integrated eye care model to be directed by ophthalmologists and incorporating a gradual transition of nonsurgical eye care to optometrists.
Recognizing that the success of this model depends on appropriate education of ophthalmologists and optometrists, a decision was made to establish an optometric membership category within the ASCRS in order best to teach optometrists who desire participation in the system.
"In the coming weeks, ASCRS will finalize the details to make this new membership category and the integrated eye care model successful," Dr. Holland said. "This is a bold and aggressive step, but one that the Board agrees is the correct path."