In the years following graduation from optometry school, most optometrists rely on continuing education and journal articles to stay up to date with advances in research and technology, For 2S years, Terry Moehnke, O,D., M.S., FAAO, followed this ritual to both maintain his license and his clinical skills.
Advances in computer technology have greatly increased the diagnostic ability of the clinical practitioner, but it also has uncovered disease processes that were suspected but undocumented until instrumentation was developed to assist in the management of the patient.
Acknowledging that advancements in the practice of optometry were occurring at a rapid pace that sporadic educational sessions couldn't possibly cover, Dr. Moehnke enrolled in the Master's in Clinical Vision Research (MSCVR) program at NSU to help stay abreast with the professions advancements.
Challenged for the first time in several years to read, analyze, and participate in structured educational sessions was a rewarding experience that resulted in a research project looking at optic nerve changes associated with migraine patients, which was later published in a peer-reviewed optometric journal. Interacting with a top-notch faculty provided a stimulating educational experience that fulfilled the goal of staying current with the advances in optometry and patient care.
The pace of the MSCVR program is designed to keep the student enthused and interested in the educational progress. The weekly demands of reading and writing seem overwhelming at first glance, but with proper time management, practitioners can easily work it into their schedules. During the time frame that Terry was working on his degree, he remained in private practice and stayed involved in community activities.
Professionally, he became a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and serves as a COPE reviewer for continuing education. He also was the driving force behind the creation of Veterans Memorial Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and has been recognized as the club, district, region and national Sertoman of the Year 2009 for his work in the community.
In addition, he was recently named a Hero of the Heartland by the Red Cross for his community impact and is currently developing a Feeding America Backpack Program with the community school district to supply food to children on weekends when they are away from school. He also is researching juvenile macular disorders utilizing retinal tomography to detect the subtle retinal cell changes found in these disorders.
The goal of obtaining advanced education in optometry should be considered by all optometrists for their personal growth as clinicians. Dr. Moehnke feels the MSCVR program is an excellent method to achieve this goal and the rewards are worth the time invested to receive it.
I decided to start the MSCRV program when I was the president elect of VOSH International. VOSH International is in a transition phase. There is a need to transition from a short-term mission approach to public health approach. I wanted to learn more about public health and the on-line approach of the NOVA CVR program fit into my busy schedule.
I have a pull time private practice in the rural town of Willard, Ohio and have devoted a great deal of volunteer time to VOSH International. It would have been impossible to travel to and to take a traditional MPH approach. My thesis measured the patient satisfaction with ready-made equal sphereplus bifocals. The use of recycled glasses recently has been discouraged by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and VOSH is trying to develop alternative approaches. My thesis showed that although custom glasses are the best solution, ready-made bifocal spectacles provide adequate vision and are acceptable to over 80% of the patients in the study.
I am currently the Principle Investigator for a World Health Organization designed population study of Presbyopia in Nicaragua. The preliminary results were recently accepted for a poster presentation at the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Congress that will be held in India in September.
When I graduated from optometry school in 1984, I thought I was pretty smart. Unfortunately, I never had any classes on laser refractive surgery, Veg-F, or even cataract co-management. Therapeutics and even routine dilation were a future political dream. The World Wide Web wasn't even a consideration. As the future rolled passed me I knew that ongoing clinical education was extremely important if I wanted to practice state of the art eye care. Annual continuing education requirements are fine, but can't really be considered in-depth instruction. When I saw Nova Southeastern's program for a Master's in Clinical Vision Research I was intrigued. As I talked to faculty members I realized the course work would be challenging and clinically relevant. Instead of taking two classes per term, I was allowed to take one class per term, which worked out really well. While it was a time commitment, it was not so overwhelming I couldn't still have time for family and running a private practice. The varieties of courses were all interesting. Each course trained me to analytically read and analyze published data. This laid the foundation for designing a research project for my final thesis. I presented my research findings at the American Academy of Optometry annual meeting. The skill to critically read the current research in order to evolve my treatment procedures has been very useful in offering the proper evidence based treatment strategies to my patients.