Scott A. Edmonds, OD, FAAO, focuses his blog on the role of the optometrist in health care reform – moving from primary eye care to primary health care. He is the chief medical officer of MARCH Vision Care, the co-director of the Low Vision/Contact Lens Service at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia and a member of the Primary Care Optometry News Editorial Board. 

Disclosure: Edmonds is a consultant for March Vision.

BLOG: 'Keeping an eye on your health'

In keeping with my new practice focus of primary health care, I present myself and gear my patient care to a more holistic attitude.

Starting with the history, I ask about family medical problems and do a review of systems to understand the patient’s total health profile. This sets the tone for a broader examination and provides a backdrop for my overlying health care philosophy that the eyes and the body are part of the same picture of overall health and wellness. The eye exam can reveal evidence of general medical problems, and chronic disease will ultimately affect vision and visual performance.

The title of this blog is a trademarked motto of March Vision Care.  I have been a senior member of this eye care company since it started as a concept in the dining room at the home of Drs. Glen and Cabrini March at the tail end of the last century. I currently serve as the chief medical officer of this company and have been proud to move their products away from the traditional “eyeglass plan” of last century and into a more medical, more holistic eye and vision approach to routine eye care.

The company focuses on government-sponsored health systems, with many of their contracted lives in the Medicaid and low-income space. Our holistic eye care is particularly important to this population, as the eye exam may be the only health care these people receive on a regular basis.

Last month, we published a clinical newsletter with an update on our quality assurance program. This program has always been progressive and includes a more rigid standard for pupil dilation and other medical examination points rather than just the refraction for eyeglasses. The recent issue included a new addition to the required elements of an eye examination, one for the collection and documentation of vital signs. This includes height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and the calculation of body mass index.