Dominic Brown, O.D., joined Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine in August as an optometrist. He specializes in low vision rehabilitation and primary care optometry. Brown sees patients at Wilmer’s White Marsh location and The Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center in East Baltimore.
What attracted you to the field of ophthalmology?
For the vast majority, sight is the primary way for someone to interact with the world. It is a sense that is highly utilized via an organ that is highly specialized. The visual process is fascinating and has meaningful implications for one’s systemic health.
How did you become interested in your specialty?
Low vision rehabilitation highlights the connection between ocular disease and functional visual impairment. Through this specialty, patients have an opportunity to experience a real-time change in how they can optimize their remaining vision to continue or resume activities of daily living, which is altruistically gratifying.
What drew you to Wilmer?
The Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center of the Wilmer Eye Institute is a comprehensive clinic that has low vision doctors, occupational therapists and certified low vision therapists. In-house access to interdisciplinary care is beneficial when guiding patients toward reaching their vision-related goals. I was a part of such a collaborative team back during residency, and I saw the immense value it offers.
What are your research interests?
I am interested in exploring methods to standardize low vision rehabilitation care. Much of the work in low vision is meeting the patient where they are (visually, physically, financially, emotionally and cognitively) to recommend the appropriate behavioral adaptation and device solution(s). The clinic sees a wide variety of disease states, including central impairment, peripheral impairment, stroke-related-deficits, cortical visual impairment and binocular vision disorders, which are not all tested the same way given both the variety of pathology and the variable expertise of low vision rehabilitation clinicians. There could be opportunities to standardize aspects of the low vision assessment to ensure we are addressing as many overt and covert functional deficits of our patients as possible.
What are you working on right now and how will it contribute to the advancement of ophthalmology?
My current research explores how the low vision rehabilitative plan of care effects attainment of vision-related goals. I seek to explore a standardized methodology in order to retrospectively determine if doctors are addressing goals through the plan of care, and if the patients are having their goals successfully addressed. Through my approach, I hope to gain and provide insight on how physician documentation effects successful goal attainment.
Where do you see opportunities for advancement or innovation in your specialty?
Low vision rehabilitation thrives on both interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary approaches to improve patient outcomes. There is a great opportunity to broaden the scope of accessible services for low vision patients by recruiting services from a variety of specialists, including social workers, case managers and mental health professionals. I also see an opportunity to expand insurance coverage for low vision services and device solutions, as more advanced but critically needed options are not often reimbursable by insurance plans.