Opening Session: Ophthalmology successfully overcoming challenges, but more on the horizon

October 19, 2014

Electronic Health Records, the Affordable Care Act, and Meaningful Use. The ophthalmology profession has seen its fair share of challenges over the past year, but Gregory L. Skuta, MD said despite these complications, the field has made great achievements and has had many successes.

Chicago-Electronic Health Records, the Affordable Care Act, and Meaningful Use. The ophthalmology profession has seen its fair share of challenges over the past year, but Gregory L. Skuta, MD said despite these complications, the field has made great achievements and has had many successes.

“I’ve been gratified to witeness, even through these very challenging times, the extraordinary level of commitment and ongoing service to our patients and our . . . profession,” said Dr. Skuta, president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Among the successes that came out of 2014 was the implementation of the Academy’s Intelligent Research in Sight (IRIS) Registry, he noted, which as been “enthusiastically embraced” by ophthalmologists.

“This represents a monumental achievement of ophthalmology and delivery of quality eye care,” Dr. Skuta said.

 

Because of the profession’s level of achievements this past year-despite facing heavy challenges-Russell Van Gelder, MD, PhD, said all ophthalmologists should be proud to do what they do in this day and age.

“Over the years, we have rose to the challenges the profession has faced,” said Dr. Van Gelder, president-elect of The Academy. “As clinicians, as scientists, we have risen to the challenges” to save those from blindness.

Ophthalmology has not nearly seen its last of challenges either, Dr. Van Gelder emphasized, as 2015 will hold its own set of struggles for the profession.

It will be important to address how the profession will face the challenges of increasing eye diseases with an aging population, he said, as there will most likely not be a gain in new ophthalmologists each year, while at the same time, over the next few decades, the number of patients will be twice as many as the baby boomers reach their Medicare years.

“(Nevertheless), we will meet these challenges and we will meet them how we met them in the past. We will meet them together as one Academy,” Dr. Van Gelder said. “We cannot shy away from addressing important issues.”

 

This will be done, he said, as The Academy is a “professional family, for all of us at this meeting, this is our professional home.”

“We work together to provide the greatest value for patients and communities,” Dr. Van Gelder said. “(We will) embrace the challenges and face them together.”