Diplomate Spotlight – Robert Duvall, OD

February 7, 2024

Robert Duvall initially sought Board Certification to ensure he had maximum accessibility to healthcare insurance plans. He discovered it is so much more! He says, “the emphasis on taking a deeper dive into everyday clinical topics has elevated my delivery of eyecare. I am a better optometrist because of my ABO certification experience, and my patients are the real winners.”

Dr. Duvall believes that Board certification has elevated the profession of optometry and that other medical professionals now see optometry more as an equal contributor to the healthcare delivery system. With significant overlap in areas such as neurology, endocrinology, cardiovascular disease, and nutrition, optometrists have proven over and over that optometrists are serious about improving the overall health of their patients, not just their eyes. He finds the ABO articles and continuing education opportunities to be of the highest quality and on target to help him provide the absolute best care for his patients. He has enjoyed serving as an ABO Ambassador since 2020, as it has given him the opportunity to educate colleagues on the value of being board certified. He says, “Anything we can do to elevate our profession and push people out of their comfort zone to be the best they can be is always a rewarding endeavor.”

After graduating from the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 1995, his externship experience included cutting-edge optometry practices along with a prominent retina practice in Louisville, KY. He has been practicing optometry for 29 years and currently owns Precision Eye Care & Optical in Bowling Green, KY. He is proud of the other doctors and staff, who have helped the practice receive the Best of Bowling Green Eyecare Award for the past four years. He believes, “If we truly value our staff, then we know that our patients will receive outstanding care. Then everything else falls into place.”

As a member of the AOA and the KOA he attends yearly advocacy events in Washington, D.C. and Frankfort, KY to help educate elected officials on the important role optometry plays in the lives of citizens.  During these meetings, he has engaged our legislators in policy discussions that will ultimately shape the future of our profession and healthcare. 

In 2022, he was the first optometrist elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives (the General Assembly.) He has always had an interest in politics as it relates to sound policy and is a firm believer that a single person does not have all the answers; therefore, the best decisions are achieved only when optometrists come together with their various experiences, personalities, and viewpoints. Dr. Duvall has been trained extensively in peacemaking and feels these skills have proven useful in arriving at the best outcomes. Through innovative legislation and meaningful health education, his goal is to help move the needle for better healthcare in the Commonwealth of KY.

Currently, he is the Primary Co-sponsor alongside the Primary Sponsor Rep. Kim Moser for House Bill 317 related to Prior Authorizations (PA). Their goal is to streamline the process for patients, providers, and pharmacists. He believes that the PA system creates too many barriers to efficient healthcare delivery and quality outcomes. Patients and providers spend hours and hours filling out unnecessary paperwork just to eventually get the originally recommended medications or procedures approved. Optometrists achieve great things when they all work together for creative solutions to our biggest problems. 

For the past 12 years, Dr. Duvall has co-taught an optics course through the Physics Department at Western Kentucky University introducing a class full of pre-professionals to all the amazing complexities of vision. They dig into topics such as astigmatic focal lines, Jackson Cross Cylinder, visual acuity calculations, refractive errors, lensometry, prisms, thick lens equations, lasers, chromaticity absorbance, curved mirrors, ocular diseases, and the biophysics of photoreception. This class provides a great foundation for those entering optometry school and creates a greater appreciation and interest in the eye for those majoring in pre-med, pre-dental, and pre-pharmacy.

He serves on the local AHEC (Area Health Education Center) board of South-Central KY where the goal is to cultivate interest in healthcare, train students in clinical settings, support continuing education for healthcare professionals, and retain a quality healthcare workforce.

With several states looking at scope expansion he offers some words of wisdom. “Building trust is always the key to accomplishing long term goals that benefit the greatest number of people. I encourage optometrists to build strong relationships with their state representatives and senators with the goal of educating them on all the amazing contributions optometry makes to our healthcare system including affordable, prompt, accessible, quality eye care which enhances the lives of their constituents. The optometric profession has much to offer the healthcare system, and it is up to each of us to make sure this information is communicated. We stand on the backs of giants in our profession, such as the late Jerald Combs, O.D. of KY. We owe it to them to build on the strong foundation they have laid. Their sacrifice must never be forgotten.”

He and his wife of 33-years, Amy, share three adult sons Alex, William, and Grayson, plus a 6-month-old granddaughter who he says is absolutely precious!  His son William is applying to optometry school and plans to practice with his dad! He enjoys serving in leadership in his church and family vacations to Florida including all the theme parks. 

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