NOT D�J� VU ALL OVER AGAIN
Optometry Mulls over National Board Certification Once More
The last time optometry considered national board certification, things were
different. The American Board of Optometric Practice (ABOP), which was
established by the American Optometric Association (AOA) 1999, sought
certification, but it had the unintended effect of creating divisiveness among
optometrists and various organizations that represent O.D.s. In 2007, the
newly-established Joint Board Certification Project Team (JBCPT) will not even
attempt to develop board certification at first. Rather, it will ask the
question, �If there would be a board certification process for Doctors of
Optometry, what would it look like?� says Kevin Alexander, president-elect of
There are other significant changes to the ABOP model as well. The JBCPT project
team will not be a product solely of the AOA. It will consist of members across
a number of organizations including the AOA, the American Academy of Optometry,
the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, the National Board of
Examiners in Optometry, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and
the American Optometric Student Association. JBCPT seeks a process that is �open
and allows for plenty of input,� says Dr. Alexander. See �No ABOP Sequel� on
this page for additional information.
A NEW MANAGED VISION PLAN
VSP Goes Directly to the Consumer
VSP Vision Care will launch a direct-to-consumer eyecare plan beginning next
month. The expansion will allow VSP to enter a market that includes the
self-employed, retirees and former VSP members.
Calling the plan �a major step in increasing consumer�s access to comprehensive
coverage,� VSP President and CEO Rob Lynch said the plan will provide annual
coverage for a complete exam and eyeglasses or contact lenses. The plan will
cost enrollees about $180 to $200 a year.
VSP will market the plan through a direct-to-consumer Web site, ccaadvantage.com,
Web site banner advertising on health-related Web sites, direct mail and
targeted emails. According to VSP, more than 30,000 consumers expressed interest
in the coverage during a pilot program in 2006.
No ABOP sequel
Randolph E. Brooks, O.D., the chair of Joint Board Certification Project Team
(JBCPT), says the JBCPT will not be �ABOP 2.� He says, �We hope that all
political differences will be aired and that issues will be resolved at the
Dr. Brooks says that the profession is ready to consider the issue of
certification �in a comprehensive, inclusive manner.�
The JBCPT�s ultimate goal is to develop a program that would be endorsed by
optometric organizations. The program would be made available to O.D.s who need
to demonstrate advanced clinical competence to the public, third-party payers
and government agencies. �Board certification is the �common currency� of
continued and advanced competence in health care,� noted a statement released by
The JBCPT expects to have an actual �product� completed for evaluation within a
one- to two-year time frame.
VISUAL IMPROVEMENTS OF 20%
Action Video Games Improve Visual Acuity, Researchers Say
In a study that may someday dispel warnings by physicians to cease excessive
video game playing, researchers from the University of Rochester (UR), in N.Y.,
have found playing action video games improves visual acuity by 20%. These
findings are published in a recent issue of Psychological Science.
Two aspects of vision The researchers tested two aspects of vision � acuity and
region of special interaction � on 52 UR students, ages 18 to 29 who had at
least 20/20 vision.
To measure acuity, the researchers showed10 avid action-game players a �T� that
was either right-side-up or inverted and surrounded by a crowd of distracting
symbols. Participants were then asked to say �up� or �down� after viewing each
�T� for 100 milliseconds to determine the orientation of the �T.� Results showed
no difference in acuity between both groups.
Researchers then assessed the region of spatial interaction, this time keeping
the size of the target �T� constant (1.5x the individual subject�s acuity
threshold) and adjusted the distance between two flanking �T�s (one above and
one below) to find the center-to-center distance (between target and flankers).
The researchers administered this test on 32 non-game-players, out of the 52
students, who trained on one of two video games (16 played an action game, while
the other 16 played a non-action game as a control) for about an hour a day for
Researchers found no improvement in region of spatial interaction when compared
with one month prior to game play in the control group, while the action game
players improved by about 20%. None of the participants reported side effects.
So, is this 20% improvement long-term? �We don�t have any quantitative data on
that question,� says Shawn Green, a UR graduate student and one of the
researchers. �I think the general finding in the literature on perceptual
learning is that the rate that skills decay is proportional to the amount of
training (so someone who was trained on a task for five years would lose the
skills less rapidly than someone who was trained for only a week). But for our
specific findings, the answer is that we don�t know right now.�
Mr. Green says the group hopes to continue their research by attempting to
improve crowding performance in several groups of patients with severe problems
with crowded scenes. �For instance, amblyopes are known to have a very hard time
with crowded scenes (the size of the their crowding region is disproportionately
large compared to what would be predicted based on their acuity),� he explains.
�In this vein, we�ve actually received e-mails from several parents of children
with ambloypia who allowed their children to play video games while patching
(presumably as an incentive to patch) who saw improvements in their children far
beyond what their doctors had predicted (although obviously these e-mails have
slid pretty far down the slope toward hearsay.�
1-800 Signs Long-term Supply Agreements with CL Suppliers
1-800 CONTACTS announced it recently signed long-term supply agreements with its
three largest contact lens suppliers, CIBA Vision, CooperVision and Vistakon.
(The company has purchased directly from Bausch & Lomb (B&L), its fourth largest
supplier, without a written agreement since 2001.) �For the first time in the
company�s history, we can now purchase directly, as an authorized account, every
lens marketed by the four largest manufacturers,� said Jonathan Coon, Chief
Executive Officer. �We believe these four manufacturers represent approximately
98% of all soft contact lenses sold in the United States.� Mr. Coon also said
the company will no longer seek to amend the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers
Act (FCLCA), �In its most recent session, to ensure that consumers could fill
their prescriptions from the business of their choice, Congress considered
legislation regarding contact lens distribution practices. We supported that
legislation. However, we believe the market solution embodied in these recent
supply agreements is adequate to ensure a competitive market � making
legislation unnecessary at this time.�
�We expect the large amounts of our selling, general and administrative expenses
that have for years been dedicated to legislative and legal initiatives will
decrease,� added Brian Bethers, President of 1-800. �However, it will take time
to rebuild our business with customers we have not been able to serve for
NEWS FROM SECO
CIBA Vision Opens New Plant for O2OPTIX
This summer, CIBA Vision will manufacture O2Optix contact lenses at a new plant
in Johor Malaysia, Michael Kehoe, CEO of CIBA Vision told attendees at a press
conference held last month during SECO International.
Production will begin at the plant in mid 2007. The plant will ship lenses
internationally, although it will not ship to the United States until it
receives FDA approval.
CIBA Vision is now shipping the O2Optix contact lens from its domestic plant.
Henna Inam, president, CIBA Vision Americas Region, said the O2Optix �supply
constraints,� due to the recent recall of the lens (see OM, February 2007, p.
15), will end in the second quarter of this year. She said the recall does not
affect the new O2Optix Custom lens.
In other news released at the press conference, CIBA Vision announced that Clear
Care, a hydrogen peroxide-based solution, outperformed the leading multi-purpose
solutions in a recent clinical study among silicone hydrogel lens wearers.
CIBA Vision and Optometry Giving Sight announced today that Brian Spiller,
currently Marketing Director for CIBA Vision Australia and New Zealand, has
assumed the role of Optometry Giving Sight Corporate Fellow. OGS seeks to help
those with permanent low vision and to eliminate avoidable blindness and
impaired vision for people in need due to uncorrected refractive error.
OPTOMETRIST AND �YOUNG OPTOMETRIST� AWARDED
SECO International Awards Southern Optometrists
SECO International named Tom Griffith, O.D., as its Optometrist of the South,
the organization�s highest honor. Susan C. Cunningham, O.D., was named Young
Optometrist of the South. SECO presented both awards at its recent House of
Delegates meeting. The organization also named Kathy A. Disner as the
Paraoptometric of the South.
Dr. Griffith practices in St. Albans, W.V., where he specializes in low vision.
He is the administrator for Vision Source and has been active in SECO and the
West Virginia Optometric Association, serving in leadership roles. An avid
hunter and skier, he also plays guitar in a bluegrass band.
Susan Cunningham, O.D., practices in Columbus, Miss., in a private practice with
Dr. David Curtis. She has also practiced in a large private practice in Jackson,
Miss., that offered primary care and LASIK surgery. An active member of the
Mississippi Optometric Association, Dr. Cunningham was named Mississippi�s Young
Optometrist of the Year in 2006.
In the article, �Quantify RV Diameter� (January 2007), the figures for
arteriolar diameter and venular diameter should be reversed in figure 1, page
26, and figure 4, page 28. OM apologizes for any confusion.
In �What�s New� (January 2007, p. 58),OM incorrectly reported that the FDA
approved the CIBA Vision Pro-Guard Lens Case for use with the company�s Clear
Care contact lens solution. The Pro-Guard case was approved for use with CIBA
Vision�s AQuify multipurpose solution, not Clear Care. The Pro-Guard case should
not be used with Clear Care, a one-bottle hydrogen peroxide-based solution that
should always be used with the specially designed Clear Care lens case, says
Carol Alexander, O.D., F.A.A.O., has joined Vistakon as director, professional
affairs. Dr. Alexander is a private practitioner, with more than 20 years in
practice. She is a past president of the Ohio Optometric Association and has
also served on several national AOA committees in the areas of regulation and
Ophthonix, marketer of advanced vision correction products, announced that
Stephen J. Osbaldeston has joined the company as Chief Executive Officer. In his
new position Osbaldeston will be responsible for all strategic and operational
activities for the company both nationally and globally.
The American Optometric Association announced the Keeping Injuries Down in
Sports State Association Grant program. The grants will help fund projects that
support public education andawareness of the prevention of sports-related eye
injuries through the use of appropriate personal protective eyewear.
Lighthouse International now offers online CE and expanded face-to-face courses
in the area of low vision for healthcare providers. Additional information can
be found at www.lighthouse. org/ce.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, March is AMD Awareness
month. The AAO wants to remind people that although AMD is incurable, there are
new treatments that can usually recover lost vision and prevent further vision
loss. The Academy encourages those older than 50 to see an ophthalmologist for a
comprehensive, dilated eye examination every one to two years.
Alcon announced FDA approval of the AcrySof ReSTOR apodized diffractive aspheric
intraocular lens for the visual correction of aphakia following cataract surgery
in adult patients with and without presbyopia. It is the only FDA-approved
presbyopia-correcting intraocular lens that incorporates aspheric optics into
AIT Industries, a member of the INDO group and manufacturer of optical lab
edging equipment, recently launched a new on-line commerce store, which gives
customers the opportunity to order products from AIT 24 hours a day, seven days
DGH Technologies, Inc. (dghkoi.com), manufacturer of pachymeters, A-Scan devices
and diamond knives, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Transitions Optical named Toledo Optical Laboratory the 2006 U.S. Transitions
Lab of the Year during the 11th annual Transitions Academy. In the 16-year
history of the award, Toledo is the only U.S. laboratory to be chosen twice for
the Lab of the Year distinction.
Sauflon USA has launched a new patient retention program, Patient Direct. With
Patient Direct, patients receive a Sauflon starter kit and a pre-printed Patient
Direct membership card with their contact lens supplies. Patients can then
purchase their retail size solution through the Patient Direct Web site,
toll-free order line or a re-order card that is included with their shipments.
All profits are then returned to the prescribing practice.
Last month, sponsors introduced the bill H.R. 507, the �Vision Care for Kids Act
of 2007,� which would provide vision care services for children.
Refac Optical announced that subsidiary U. S. Vision entered into an amendment
to its agreement with J. C. Penney to operate retail optical departments in
select J. C. Penney department stores, including off-mall locations. U.S. Vision
operates 349 retail optical departments in Penney locations.
VSP has launched a company blog, vspblog.com, to promote an interchange of
ideas. The blog features an RSS feed to alert subscribers to new content.
Visit optometricmanagement.com and take the Quick Poll today.
Optometric Management, Issue: March 2007