Alisa Sivak, MA(Ed), is Managing Editor of Contact Lens Update and Head of Knowledge Translation at the Centre for Ocular Research & Education, in the School of Optometry & Vision Science at the University of Waterloo.
Collaboration between pharmacists and optometrists is inconsistent despite significant overlap when it comes to concerns relating to patient needs. We know that much of the population does not seek regular eye care for a variety of reasons, including limited understanding of the importance of eye care1,2,3,4 and a lack of awareness that eye problems do not always have clear symptoms.5,6,7,8 In light of these patterns, it is not surprising that consumers often consult pharmacists when it comes to eye conditions.9,10 In some regions, pharmacists have direct prescribing authority.11,12,13
An interdisciplinary team of pharmacists, eye care specialists and curriculum designers from the University of Waterloo agreed that overlap between these two professions warranted the development of a continuing education program designed to share profession-specific knowledge to enhance patient care and improve health outcomes.14 As they are often the first point of contact for eye care questions, pharmacists would benefit from understanding an eye care perspective. As optometrists often recommend pharmaceutical products to patients, they would also benefit from a deeper understanding of the pharmacist’s perspective, including the specialized knowledge, awareness of common constraints to treatment adherence and potential drug interactions.
The resulting online course includes four COPE-approved modules focusing on:
- Interprofessional collaboration
- Contact lens red eye
- Contact lens solutions
- Dry eye
In addition to drawing on the most up-to-date information, including the most recent report from the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society’s Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS 2), this high impact course includes clinical insights from practitioners, scripted videos simulating interactions between patients and practitioners, the development of new frameworks incorporating optometrist and pharmacist perspectives, and high resolution ocular images. Click here for more information about registration and cost.
- Irving EL, Harris JD, et al. Value of routine eye examinations in asymptomatic patients. Optom Vis Sci. 2016;93(7): 660-6.
- Derk BA, Dapic NK, et al. Ophthalmologist in patients’ eyes. Coll Antropol. 2005;29(Suppl 1):85-9.
- Shickle D, Griffin M. Why don’t older adults in England go to have their eyes examined? Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2014;34(1): 38-45.
- Irving EL, Sivak AM, Spafford MM. “I can see fine”: patient knowledge of eye care. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2018;38(4): 422-31.
- Balasubramaniam SM, Kumar DS, et al. Factors affecting eye care-seeking behavior of parents for their children. Optom Vis Sci. 2013;90(10): 1138-42.
- Shickle D, Griffin M, et al. Why don’t younger adults in England go to have their eyes examined? Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2014;34(1): 30-7.
- Alexander RL,Jr, Miller NA, et al. Factors that influence the receipt of eye care. Am J Health Behav. 2008;32(5): 547-56.
- Pharmacy Practice+ 2016 survey on OTC counselling and recommendations. Pharmacy Practice+. 2017;4(3): 60
- Hardy N, Hodgkins P, et al. Counterprescribing for ophthalmic conditions: a survey of community pharmacists. Int J Pharm Pract. 1993;2(2): 104-6.
- Stewart DC, George J, et al. Views of pharmacist prescribers, doctors and patients on pharmacist prescribing implementation. Int J Pharm Prac. 2010;17(2): 89-94.
- Law MR, Ma T, Fisher J, et al. Independent pharmacist prescribing in Canada. Can Pharm J. 2012;145(1): 17-23.
- Emmerton L, Marriott J, et al. Pharmacists and prescribing rights: review of international developments. J Pharm Sci. 2005;8(2): 217-25.
- Canadian Inter-professional Health Collaborative. A National Inter-professional Competency Framework, 2010.