James Auran, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Trauma, lists potential solutions to bolster ophthalmic trauma care in the United States.
Emphasizing trauma care in existing ophthalmology fellowships is important, said James Auran, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Trauma.
What solutions can be implemented to address the shortage of providers trained to treat ophthalmic trauma?
I think the hospitalist movement, which is a brilliant introduction since I left medical school many years ago, has been expanded to ophthalmology. And there are eye doctors who do cover hospitals, and some of their care encompasses the emergency room and trauma. Also, we've established an ophthalmic trauma fellowship. But more importantly, I think, emphasizing trauma care in a lot of existing fellowships is important. Many anterior segment, microplastic, and retina fellowships, trauma is a key portion of that, and we hope to foster that.
Furthermore, I think training our colleagues—the first responders, the emergency room physicians and nurses, the PAs [physicians' assistants], or any doctor in the hospital—I think educating them is a big part of what we're doing. We're working with the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma to work with the general surgeons on this. Again, it's a matter of education. And it doesn't take that much of an effort to be up to speed. One of the issues is that your average ophthalmologist might not have seen a ruptured globe for years. Would you want to go have surgery with somebody who hadn't done the procedure for years? You wouldn't. But they can keep current. So recency is a concept, that everyone should make the effort if you're obligated to be on call, if your role is to cover a health care facility or emergency room, you really need to maintain your recency and that can be done with continuing medical education. We're exploring ways of not just offering continuing medical education, but offering it even if it's the same course every several years, so no one is rusty.