TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE
LEGISLATION AND PROFESSIONAL
Explains Challenges Facing the AOA in the Coming Year
Thomas Crooks, III, O.D.
several vision-related bills before Congress and numerous public health initiatives
underway, 2007 may be a very busy year for the American Optometric Association (AOA).
In a recent interview, AOA President Thomas Crooks, III, O.D., discussed the challenges
the organization faces in the coming year as well as its goals for the future of
Legislative battles loom in 2007. Dr. Crooks says H.R. 5688, the
Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2006, is designed to discriminate against
optometrists and confuse the public. "The AOA has been urging members of Congress
to oppose this initiative and to reject organized medicine's efforts to misinform
patients, malign the integrity of optometrists and other non-M.D. providers, and
undermine the authority of the states to license health care providers," he adds.
The bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer
2480 and H.R. 5762 would amend the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA)
to require contact lens manufacturers make limited-distribution lenses available
through all channels of distribution. Dr. Crooks says the AOA has been working diligently
to combat these efforts. "The AOA has been on the front lines of ensuring that Congress
understands the prescription verification abuses that are being overlooked in these
attempts to rewrite the FCLCA. The AOA has worked with Congressman Ed Whitfield
(R-Ky.) to introduce H.R. 6117, legislation that would strengthen the contact lens
prescription verification safeguards intended to protect patients."
The AOA supports two bills that would ensure children get access
to vision care. S. 3685, the Vision Care for Kids Act of 2006, would provide federal
grants to states to provide eye exams and follow-up treatment services to children
identified through a vision screening or eye exam. It would also provide educational
materials on recognizing signs of visual impairment in children.
"This important legislation would ... bolster children's vision
initiatives in the states and [encourage] children's vision partnerships with non-profit
entities, including groups as committed to the cause of safeguarding the sight of
America's children as state optometric associations," says Dr. Crooks.
H.R. 2238, the Children's Vision Improvement and Learning Readiness
Act, would create a $75 million program to boost state children's vision initiatives.
Dr. Crooks says AOA-backed grassroots efforts succeeded in adding more than 200
co-sponsors to this legislation. "[The bill] would encourage the establishment of
programs to increase public awareness of vision disorders in children," he says.
The AOA also works to improve the outlook for optometrists. "Right
now, there seems to be a lack of opportunities, or at least the perception of a
lack of opportunities, in the private sector," says Dr. Crooks. "AOA is concerned
about doing what we can to insure that our graduates have as many opportunities
The AOA also moved quickly to provide aid to those who were affected
by last year's devastating hurricanes with the creation of the Optometric Disaster
Relief Fund. "In record time, we created, funded (with help from our industry partners)
and implemented the disaster fund and came to the aid of 113 doctors who were severely
affected. It is now time to replenish the fund to make sure that we are ready and
able to be of assistance when the next disaster strikes," says Dr. Crooks.
The AOA is restructuring its charitable organizations to come
under one entity in 2007, the American Optometric Association Foundation for Science,
Education and Charity, (AOA-FSEC) which will include The International Library,
Archives & Museum of Optometry, InfantSEE, Disaster Project Team, AOA Endowment
Fund, Vision Awareness Network, VISION USA, and the Council on Research.
TVCI Names Clompus Director
Vision Care Institute of Vistakon (TVCI) has appointed Richard Clompus, O.D., to
the position of director. Dr. Clompus will replace Howard Purcell, O.D., who has
been named senior director of new program development for Vistakon.
Dr. Clompus has experience in corporate and private practice as
well as educational settings. He served as vice president, professional affairs
for The Spectacle Lens Group of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Prior to
Johnson & Johnson, he managed his own primary care optometric practice. He has
been a clinical faculty member of The Eye Institute at the Pennsylvania College
Dr. Clompus has
received many honors and awards including "Best and Brightest Optometrists,"
American Optometric Association's National Recognition Award for Continuing
Education, and Optometrist of the Year Award.
Since March 2004, TVCI has hosted more than 2,000
students from all 19 of the schools and colleges of optometry throughout North
America. Located in Jacksonville, Fla., TVCI has sister facilities in Brazil,
Korea, Taiwan and the Czech Republic.
Lid Scrub Benefits
In a recent time-kill study conducted
by the lab Care BioPharma, OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Plus Extra Strength showed a 5.5 log
reduction of Staphylococcus epidermidis, while a competing scrub's rate measured
a 3.5 log reduction. The measurements were taken after both products were subjected
to the pathogen for 60 seconds.
A separate study on irritation by Tox Monitor Laboratories placed
Lid Scrub Plus in the "Practically Non-Irritating" category, an entire rating category
milder than the competitor. CYNACON/OCuSOFT expects to formally introduce Lid Scrub
Plus this month.
WHO IS WEARING WHAT?
Paper Targets CL Demographics
Contact lens distributor Imperial
Optical has published a white paper that reports demographic data from consumers
who have conducted online searches for branded contact lenses. David M. Pearce,
Imperial director of sales and marketing, says the information in the paper ("Marketing
Contact Lenses Contact Lens Demographics: A Guide to Who Wants Which Brands")
can provide optometrists with a tool to create more effective marketing campaigns.
"Armed with the knowledge of who, by sex and age, is conducting
online searches for branded contact lens products, contact lens fitters can significantly
improve campaign conversion rates, reduce acquisition costs and increase return
on investment," says Mr. Pearce.
The white paper is based on consumer searches on google.com during
July 2006 for leading contact lenses. It reports, for example, that of those who
searched for Acuvue Oasys lenses, 73% were female and almost 50% were ages 25-34.
However, 59% of those who search for PureVision continuous wear lenses (Bausch &
Lomb) were male and one-third were ages 35-44.
a free copy of the report, visit
IMPLEMENT GOALS OR BUDGETS
Independent O.D.s Show Financial Weakness,
Says MBA Survey
survey of business practices revealed that financial management is a weakness for
most independent optometrists.
The ongoing survey, conducted by the Management & Business
Academy (MBA) through its database of nearly 500 of the largest optometric practices
in the nation, reported that only 21% of the independent O.D.s surveyed develop
a written annual budget. Forty-seven percent do not define annual revenue goals.
And perhaps not surprisingly, 35% say they are "very" or "extremely" uncomfortable
with financial management. Only 14% are "very satisfied" with the net return of
Most independents report that the biggest management challenge
is staffing. In 2005-2006, the average staff turnover was 17%, or about one in six
employees each year. Fifty-four percent do not provide an annual written performance
appraisal and 89% do not develop written qualifications for each staff position.
One-third of those surveyed conduct staff meetings on a quarterly basis or less
The survey also reported that most optometrists invest little
in marketing and promotions. In fact, the median gross revenue spent for marketing
is 1.2%. Among those surveyed, only 11% continuously monitor patient satisfaction.
Of the 77% that have a practice Web site, 74% update the site infrequently
every six months or less.
by CIBA Vision and Essilor of America, the MBA offers staff management tools and
guidelines, available at no cost at
PATIENT CARE INCOME AND EXPENSE AREAS
Begin to Chart the Course for Your Practice
By Barbara Anan Kogan, O.D.
Chances are, you manage a practice
that is dynamic, continually offering new products and services to better meet the
needs of a diverse patient population. These changes directly affect your practice's
income and expense areas vital numbers that are easily identified through
practice management (PM) software programs.
With or without PM software, every optometric practice needs
to chart income and expenses. Here's how:
On a monthly basis, set aside an extra 20 minutes to identify
specific sources of your income from patients and the expense-related areas. Use
an Excel or spreadsheet program (or your PM software) to tally up these data:
1. number of new exams
2. number of re-exams
3. total dollars generated from contact lenses sold – either
from a patient exam or replacement/spare contact lens order
4. contact lens dollars by materials and modalities, such as:
disposable, frequent replacement, rigid gas permeable, bifocals, torics
5. total contact lens lab costs
6. number of frames sold and dollars generated
7. total materials cost, including frames, cases and lab bills
8. income from primary care (you may add specific lines for each,
such as dry eye and glaucoma)
9. income from specialty care modalities (such as orthokeratology,
sports vision, low vision and LASIK referrals). Again, you may wish to add unique
Looking at this information on a monthly, quarterly and annual
basis will provide you with an income/cost ratio and identify growth areas as well
as areas you would like to grow further in. It is further indicative of how effective
your recall system is and the number of new patients filling your exam slots in
the appointment book.
Carl Zeiss Meditec announced
the 2,600th GDx Scanning Laser Polarimeter installation. The GDx measures retinal
nerve fiber layer for the detection and management of glaucoma.
has filed patents for a series of "super-permeable" contact lenses made of polyacetylenes,
polymers that have oxygen permeability as high as 6000Dk. Legado will begin testing
Yearly and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) partnered to distribute over 40,000 vision
health kits to librarians at public and elementary school libraries.
manufacturer of retinal imaging products, announced a grant development program
and strategic alliance with optometric consultancy Cleinman Performance Partners.
Optos will host continuing education programs at Cleinman Performance Network meetings.
World Council of Optometry has named Robert Chappell, O.B.E., M.Phil., D.Sc., F.C.Optcom,
of the United Kingdom as its new president-elect.
The September OM "Reflections" column on
page 112 listed Anthony DeAndrea as the director of development at VSP. His correct
title and affiliation are the director of development at the Illinois College of
Optometric Management, Issue: November 2006