In this video interview, we talk to Dr. Ben Collins on working in an optometry ophthalmology practice.
Dr. Ben Collins is manager of clinical operations at a EYECON Eyecare, a surgery center in Colorado where he has worked for five years. As an optometry ophthalmology private practice, Dr. Collins’ job presents him with situations and challenges quite different than those one might encounter in other contexts, such as an OD-only private practice or retail. However, Dr. Collins views this as a positive thing, and appreciates the unique position that he is in. In the nine years since he’s graduated, he’s tried other modalities, but this one is his favorite.
One thing he appreciates about working in an OD-MD practice is the wide variety of diseases he gets to encounter and treat. He routinely deals with all sorts of conditions he likely would not see in a traditional O.D. private practice or in retail. “It really keeps you on your toes!” he says.
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Most of his day is spent seeing pre-op or post-op patients. Dr. Collins enjoys this, because it allows him to see the impact his interventions have on patients’ lives, on a concrete, personal level.
For those wishing to transition from an OD practice to a more medically-oriented OD-MD practice, Dr. Collins recommends getting to know the ophthalmologist you are hoping to work with.
“Let them see your work so they know you’re trustworthy.” While many might assume that such a career path is available only to those who’ve completed a residency program, Dr. Collins never did so and doesn’t think that doing so is necessary. “If you’re interested in eye disease and you focus on that throughout your schooling, you’re going to be pretty well prepared.”
When asked about the future of OD-MD practice, Dr. Collins notes the recent trend towards “physician extenders,” in which the optometrist and ophthalmologist work side-by-side – the optometrist sees the patient directly before the ophthalmologist as an integrated team in interaction with the patient.
Like many optometrists with experience in the field, Dr. Collins understands the importance of advocacy to the profession as a whole. The organized advocacy groups are the only ones forwarding the agenda of eye-care. “Without advocacy, optometrists would be nowhere,” Dr. Collins contends.
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