I advocate on behalf of ophthalmology and the retina subspecialty. So that we can be effective in our work, ophthalmologists must help lawmakers and government officials — whose decisions impact ophthalmology — understand our issues and challenges. I firmly believe that the subspecialty societies can help the Academy, as the umbrella organization, be more effective in advocacy.
I have engaged in advocacy on behalf of my patients, so that they can have the very best: the best care provided by the most capable health care providers, and the best chance to protect and improve their vision. If we concentrate on our patients and consider what is in their best interest, then we will be guided by the most important principle.
I have a very close relationship with my congressman, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. Ted is an incredible advocate for ophthalmology as he understands our issues and our patients' needs. Ted and I were close friends before he became a member of Congress, and our friendship has flourished through my efforts to be involved in his work and in his campaign.
If everyone in ophthalmology were to do their part, we would be so much stronger. I encourage everyone to consider how you can be most effective. Your colleagues and patients will thank you.
Lawrence S. Halperin, MD, is a retina specialist in Boca Raton, Fla.