Department Of Veterans Affairs: Optometric Innovation And Education

Andrew Mick, OD, FAAO, an optometrist at the San Fransisco VA Medical Center, discusses the technologies that are supporting eye care for veterans.

Cara Moore: Hi everybody. Thanks for joining us here on Optometry TV, I’m Cara Moore joined now by Dr. Andrew Mick an American Academy of Optometry Board Member. Thanks for being here.

Dr. Andrew Mick: Thanks for the invitation.

Cara Moore: And you also work for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco. So let’s focus on that and tell me a little bit about how your involvement with the Academy really introduced you to some technology that you’re using for the veterans.

Dr. Andrew Mick: Our exhibit hall is massive that we have here at our meeting. It has all the newest and latest advances in diagnostic technologies. And by going to the lecture halls, seeing those instruments go into the lectures and seeing how those technologies are applied to the eye care of patients. All of us who come to the meeting can take it back. And we’re very fortunate at the Veterans Administration Medical Center that we’re, if we request it, make a good argument to have it, we often can get it. So coming here and being exposed to those new technologies, seeing it firsthand in our amazing exhibit hall, it’s the first step towards making your practice state of the art.

Cara Moore: And the Veterans Administration Medical Center has been one of the leaders really when you talk about state of the art technology, they have been one of the leaders really in telemedicine. Right?

Dr. Andrew Mick: Yes. So, a long time ago the Veterans Administration Medical Center started with their diabetic retina screening (teleretinal) imaging program in which diabetics were screened for retinopathy by taking fundus cameras. And it was really one of the first major large groups within the eye care sphere to be using that on a really systematic and large basis. And it’s great to see and come to the meeting and see that it’s being applied to many different sectors within eye care and seeing the advancements, you know, from those early initial things that the VA helped lead the way for.

Cara Moore: What do you want other optometrists, people in the field to know about veterans and this industry?

Dr. Andrew Mick: Well, the department of veterans affairs has a long history of educating optometrists. Almost anyone who graduates from a school or college of optometry in the United States trained for a part of their time within a Veterans Administration Medical Center. And so the Veterans Administration Medical Center is intimately linked to optometry because they trained so many or so many of us trained in the Department of Veterans Affairs and many of us go back and work. And so there’s a large contingency of fellows and optometrists that work within the Department of Veterans Care, caring for veterans and again, coming here and learning and so that we could take that back to the veterans to maximize care.

Cara Moore: And hopefully the VA will continue being in the forefront.

Dr. Andrew Mick: Oh yeah. I fully believe that, that the VA will continue to be in the forefront, just like they were with telemedicine in the next cutting edge, whatever that will be.

Cara Moore: All right. Very good. Dr. Mick, thanks for being here, appreciate it.

Dr. Andrew Mick: Thank you.

Cara Moore: Thanks for watching Optometry TV.

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