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PODS statement on inaccurate comments of an MD

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The Professional ODs Society, Inc. (PODS) notes with concern recent events surrounding a comment by a medical doctor on social media that optometrists are not doctors and that they only measure the grade of the eyes.

“Sumusukat lang sila ng grado ng mata,” the doctor erroneously claimed.

This remark and related inaccurate statements made by this doctor prompted numerous optometrists to comment on her post and cite the falsity of her statement, confronting her with the inaccuracies of her other related statements. As a result of the negative feedback she received, the doctor apologized for her “callous and irresponsible remark that optometrists are not doctors.” Her apology was affirmed by her professional group, Konsulta MD, which also made a separate social media statement.

All’s well that ends well? Not quite.

While PODS is elated at the positive resolution of this event, it also notes that the pernicious misconception that optometrists are not doctors is one that persists in the minds of many. The law, primarily the Revised Optometry Law of 1995 (RA 8050), is clear: optometrists are primary health care professionals (sec.2), and graduates of the six-year optometry curriculum are bestowed the title of Doctor of Optometry (sec. 19 ( c ).

Optometry counts among its practitioners those on the frontlines who are the first ones to be consulted about vision care issues. Their services are of such a critical nature that PODS successfully lobbied the IATF, at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country, to declare optometric services as essential, leading to the opening of optometric clinics. But the battle to win hearts and minds continues.

Opening people’s eyes (pun intended) to the fact that optometrists are eye care doctors, and to repose trust in them as such, will go a long way toward providing access to quality and affordable vision care.

Optometrists themselves have a significant role to play. They should conduct themselves with the highest degree of competence, professionalism and empathy so as to win people’s trust and confidence and dispel false information. PODS is committed to instilling such a positive mindset among its members and to upholding optometrists’ stature as eye doctors.