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The PODSter Issue 3 – Professional Autonomy

crop unrecognizable female ophthalmologist showing trial frame with lenses

One of PODS’ most ardent advocacies is professional autonomy, which has been variously defined as “the quality or state of being independent and self-directing, especially in making decisions, enabling professionals to exercise judgment as they see fit in performing their job.” (

We believe that protecting optometrists’ professional autonomy will redound to their patients’ benefit. How? ODs should be guided primarily by what’s in their patients’ best interest and should not be distracted by extraneous considerations when rendering their services. 

This means their professional judgment should not be overridden by business, financial and similar factors when they conflict with what, in the optometrists’ professional judgment, is in the patient’s best interest.

On the regulatory front, since it is the optometrist who has undergone training, obtained licensure and is the subject of strict regulation, he/she should be the one determining what’s best for the patient. Regulation and accountability would be thwarted if another unregulated entity is allowed to exercise this prerogative. In fact, in case of any violation of professional ethics or regulation, it will be the optometrist who will be subject to sanctions, not that other entity.

How is PODS advancing this advocacy? Primarily by supporting independent practitioners.

We presently provide training, mentorship and other resources to our members and prospective members that highlight the advantages of independent practice which we believe is the practice mode that best lends itself to professional autonomy. We are also trying to effect legislative change by lobbying to prohibit the indirect practice of optometry. This is a long-term undertaking.

We are aware that this advocacy for professional autonomy will not be an easy one. Forces within and within the profession favor the status quo. But we are firm in our belief and resolve that for Philippine optometry to continue effectively serving the vision care needs of Filipinos, professional autonomy must be secured and enhanced. 

Read more on our February newsletter:



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