Mental health and eye health are “closely related,” says a man who turned from OD to a psychotherapist.

November 3, 2023

1 minute read

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NEW ORLEANS — An optometrist turned licensed psychologist says optometrists are in a unique position to help patients identify mental health conditions. Dennis Pardo, OD, MPH, FAAO, LCSW, MSW.

“As optometrists, we are the PCPs of the eye and may be the first to notice a patient’s mental health,” Pardo told attendees at the Academy’23 plenary session. “Just like diabetes, mental health and eye health go hand in hand.”

As optometrists, we are the eye PCPs and may be the first to notice a patient's mental health." Dennis Pardo, OD, MPH, FAAO, LCSW, MSW

Pardo said collaboration between optometrists and other health care providers is essential to providing appropriate care to patients, and with mental health a public health crisis, collaboration with mental health professionals is essential. Establishing a relationship is essential, he said.

Pardo also pointed out that psychotropic drugs can have ocular side effects, which optometrists should be aware of.

“I would argue that it starts with ingestion,” Pardo says. “Alongside physical health, there should be a separate section for mental health. It needs to be front and center, it needs to be separated. Same goes for medications, but psychoactive We will have a separate section for medications because this will give us basic information about the mental health issues that patients in our chairs are facing.”

Pardo said antipsychotics like chlorpromazine can cause blurred vision, double vision, decreased mucus and tear production, and changes in eye pigment, while stimulants for ADHD can cause myokymia. He pointed out that there is.

Pardo also discussed the importance of understanding common mental health conditions such as anxiety, phobias, PTSD, ADHD, schizophrenia, substance-related disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and abuse.

“Are there any patients who are afraid to come to our hospital?” Pardo said. “Yes, we need to be aware of that.”

Additionally, Pardo discussed the link between certain eye conditions and mental health issues. He noted that patients diagnosed with keratoconus are more likely to suffer from depressive disorders, and those diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome or glaucoma are at increased risk for both depression and anxiety.

“We don’t just treat the eye. We treat the whole patient,” Pardo said.

Information source/disclosure information



Pardo D. Plenary Session: Mental Health in Optometry. Presentation location: Academy; October 11-14, 2023. new orleans.

Pardo does not report any relevant financial disclosures.

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