TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE
O.D.S CITE PATIENT CONVENIENCE AND CURRENT PRACTICE AS CATALYST FOR LEGISLATION
Tennessee Bill Seeks to Enable O.D.s to Give Anesthetic Injections
■ Tennessee O.D.s are pushing for legislation that would allow them to employ anesthetic lid injections. Currently, they can use topical anesthetic.
“This legislation would save our citizens precious time, money and duplication of insurance billing, including Medicaid,” explained David Talley, O.D., Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians (TAOP) president, during his House Health Subcommittee testimony on the bill.
The Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology (TAO) says the legislation would place patients at risk and threaten Tennessee’s quality of surgical care.
“Anytime a needle is placed near the eye, there are serious risks to the patient that require clinical experience and expert judgment,” says TAO president Ben Mahan, M.D.
“A surgical error of just a few millimeters can result in a punctured eyeball and catastrophic vision loss.”
He adds that lid conditions can be cancerous, warranting expertise that only “a multiyear surgical residency followed by years of clinical experience” can provide.
In response, Dr. Talley testified for Tennessee’s House Health Subcommittee that the state’s O.D.s already employ lid injections, such as steroids, that lid lumps and bumps are rarely cancerous, and that it isn’t possible for any clinician to determine with 100% accuracy whether a growth is cancerous, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
In related news, State Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D. (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would enable nurse practitioners, licensed optometrists and pharmacists to expand their scope of practice to “deal with the serious shortage of primary care providers in California,” says a press release issued by his office. Senator Hernandez says the Affordable Care Act, set to take effect next year, will exacerbate the shortage problem.
At press time, the specifics of this legislation have not been released.
LIGHTING PLAYS ROLE IN EMPLOYEE BEHAVIOR
Studies Shed Light on Workplace Honesty
■ Harvard Business School faculty have discovered through two studies that those in dimly lit rooms and who wore sunglasses in well-lit rooms were more likely to cheat and act less altruistically, respectively, reveals a Harvard Business Review blog.
In the first experiment, participants were divided into dimly or well-lit rooms, where the faculty members asked them to complete 20-timed math problems. For every right answer, they got cash from a money supply they received at the study’s start. To determine honesty, the faculty members directed the participants to score their own work and pay themselves. The result: Close to 61% of the participants in the dimly lit room cheated vs. 24% of those in the well-lit room. Further, eight added fluorescent lights decreased dishonesty by roughly 37%.
Can you imagine the outcome of wearing sunglasses on a dark night?
In the second study, some participants in the room wore sunglasses and others wore clear glasses to see whether the lighting levels caused the dishonest behavior or the perceptions of lighting conditions were responsible. The faculty members instructed both groups to divide $6 between him-/herself and a stranger in the room. The stranger could keep the rest of the unoffered cash. The result: The sunglass wearers gave 14% less vs. those wearing the clear glasses.
What this means for O.D.s: “ …This adds credibility to the need for a well-lit retail space as well as administrative space within the office,” says Brian Spittle, O.D., of Midlothian, Va. He adds that the findings give weight to the idea of sunglasses and a “poker face.”
THE ELDERLY AND CHILDREN ARE A PRIORITY FOR CERTAIN GROUPS
Minorities Have High Regard For Relatives’ Eye Health
■ Asian Americans, Hispanics, African Americans and American Indians place their relatives’ eye care above their own, says a Transitions Optical, Inc. survey.
To start, 54% of Asian Americans and 50% of Hispanics reported taking an elderly relative to an eye doctor within the past 12 months, while 42% of Asian Americans and Hispanics reported undergoing a personal eye exam within the past year.
Meanwhile, African American and American Indians across-the-board showed they placed a higher priority on their family’s eye care vs. their own. Specifically, 42% and 39% of African Americans and 41% and 44% of American Indians reported taking an elderly relative and one of their children, respectively, to an eye doctor within the past year. A total of 34% of African Americans and American Indians reported undergoing an eye exam within the past year.
The survey was conducted in February 2013. It was comprised of 2,600 Americans age 18 and older (including “oversamples of interviews among African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans and Hispanics.”)
What this means for O.D.s: Consider talking to caregivers about the importance of their own eye health during appointments with relatives.
PILOT PROGRAM TO EXPAND NATIONALLY
Vision Council Launches Eyecare Initiative
Due to the success of the Think About Your Eyes pilot program, which launched in nine test markets in May 2010 and increased eye exams by 7.9%, The Vision Council, which oversees the non-profit organization focused on public awareness of the importance of annual comprehensive eye exams, has decided to launch the program nationally in the second half of 2013, with support from the AOA.
“The first Think About Your Eyes campaign resulted in more than 3.4 million incremental eye exams in our test markets and more than 367,000 previously undiagnosed cases of eye disease were discovered,” says the Vision Council’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Greene.
Think About Your Eyes uses television, print, online advertising and social media to engage consumers. With its national launch, the program will focus on acquiring support from the eyecare community to become a long-term sustainable program.
Specifically, Think About Your Eyes members will be present at state and local optical association meetings to look for support via annual membership and advertising sponsorships to member O.D.s.
For additional information, visit www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com.
In other news, the Vision Council has launched whatislowvision.org, a website dedicated to educating consumers about low vision and low vision solutions.
COMPANY TO DISSEMINATE VISION - RELATED DATA
Essilor Launches Online Initiatives
■ Essilor has created a socioeconomic-related vision organization and an online newsroom to increase public and industry awareness regarding eye health.
The vision organization, Vision Impact Institute (www.visionimpactinstitute.org), seeks to increase knowledge regarding the socioeconomic consequences of poor vision and to encourage research in this area, especially in the corrective vision field.
The online newsroom (news.essilorusa.com) is designed to “serve as a platform for eye health information and industry innovation,” the company says. Examples of site content: Essilor products and tips for UV protection.