PINELLAS PARK, Fla.—The National Optometric Association (NOA) and Transitions Optical Inc. have released “Why Minority Eye Health Still Matters,” an educational paper summarizing highlights from a panel discussion earlier this year.

The panel discussion was held earlier this year during the 49th annual NOA Convention and CE Program in Portland, Ore., according to an announcement this week by Transitions Optical.

The paper explores the high incidence of eye and systemic diseases among the two largest U.S. minority groups, strategies for collaboration among health care professionals to improve physician-patient communication, common struggles that patients with diabetes may face and how ECPs can approach them, best practices and tactics related to cultural competency in eyecare, and the concept of the ECP serving as a steward of overall health to turn around the trajectory of what’s projected for vision impairment and blindness due to diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and glaucoma.

“Regardless of their years of experience, it’s important for all eyecare professionals to pause every once in a while and consider what else they can be doing to better serve their culturally diverse patients,” Dana Reid, marketing manager at Transitions Optical, said in an announcement. “The panelists and members of the NOA sitting in the audience not only helped to shed light on what issues health professionals might face when caring for African American and Hispanic patients, but also shared workable solutions for addressing them.”

NOA president-elect Sherrol Reynolds, OD, FAAO, moderated the panel, which included a mix of eye health and cultural experts, including:

• Charlotte Parniawski, RN-BC, MSN, CNE
• Edwin Marshall, OD, MS, MPH, professor emeritus of optometry and former vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, Indiana University
• Fayiz Mahgoub, Doctor of Optometry Candidate 2018, Western University College of Optometry
• Mila Ferrer, founder of Familias con Diabetes, Blogger

“Achieving cultural competency should be an industry standard, and Transitions Optical is helping to bring attention to this topic and educate on its importance,” Dr. Reynolds said in the announcement. “The NOA was honored to participate in this panel and help host the discussion as part of our annual convention and CE program.”

The paper can be found online at and within the My Practice/White Papers section on Videos featuring highlights from the panel event are also being shared on the Transitions Lenses: Healthy Sight Professionals Facebook page.