Prevention is possible with today’s technology

It’s 2017 and the prevention of eye disease is absolutely possible with early detection through technology. Medicine is advancing faster than we can keep up with it, but there is one thing that holds true.

The earlier you can identify a treatable disease or condition, the better the outcome.

Today we find almost unimaginable technology available to us. We can see things inside the eye and the body that we could never imagine seeing before.

At the most recent optometry convention, I had my OCT-A done for the first time. Thankfully, all looks good, but holy cow, I could never have imagined seeing vasculature that fine in my own eye when I was in school.

I continue to be so impressed with all this diagnostic technology.

My question is, how do I translate all this excitement and knowledge about this great technology to my patient? It is really hard to get them to listen and more importantly, get them in to identify disease at its earliest phase.

Messages that connect with patients

I recently saw a great YouTube video regarding curbing climate change and how to get the message out. Climate change expert Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, is Victor Alderson Professor of Applied Ocean Sciences and director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California, San Diego could never figure out how to get the message out regarding the prevention of climate change. 

Year after year he watched our earth deteriorate but no one was listening. That was until he got 2 minutes with the Pope, literally in a parking lot, to give his pitch. This time, he went with his heart and not his scientific brain.

He told the Pope that the wealthiest 1 billion were causing climate change problems that affect the lives of the poorest 3 billion the most.

This finally struck a chord with the Pontiff, and now today, because of that parking lot speech that connected with the Pope, climate change and being great stewards of planet earth is one of the Vatican’s main public messages. It has made a huge impact.

We need to engage our patients in conversation

To best utilize our skills and great technology, we need to speak to the patients and not at the patient. We need to connect to drive home the message that “prevention can only best be achieved through early detection”.

We need to help them understand that our eye examinations are no different than for diabetes, hypertension, breast, prostate and skin cancer.

Maybe we need to change the message…or maybe even the messenger. Anyone have the Pope on speed dial?