Article Date: 7/1/2007

Practice pulse TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE

Practice pulse TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE

Top 10 Occupations that cause dry eye

Survey Reveals Dry-Eye Causing Jobs

■The National Women's Health Resources Center (NWHRC) has declared July "Dry Eye Awareness Month," and has identified the 10 job categories with conditions that are most likely to aggravate dry eye (See table).

The job listing is based on factors known to cause dry eye, such as prolonged computer use and exposure to allergens, as well as a nationwide telephone survey of 322 adults who suffer from dry-eye symptoms and work either full- or part-time. Conducted in April 2007, the survey found that over 34% of respondents experience dry-eye symptoms three or more times a day.

Office jobs
Construction/manufacturing
Healthcare/medical
Education
Retail/sales
Public/social service
Transportation/delivery
Agriculture/landscaping
Janitorial/maintenance
Food service

In addition, 77% of the respondents reported exposure to air conditioning and/or heating daily, according to results of the survey. Further, 67% of respondents reported prolonged computer use, and 40% reported on-the-job exposure to particles or dust.

As much as dry eye afflicts patients — one report estimates it affects more than 20 million people in the United States — 61% of survey respondents say they have never spoken to a doctor about their dry-eye symptoms. The NWHRC recommends anyone who uses over-the-counter drugs for dry-eye relief three or more times a day visit an eyecare professional. The NWHRC provides full information on its dry-eye campaign through its Web site, which is www.healthywomen.org.

In the Pipeline

Dry Eye Therapy Shows Promise

■ Phase IIb clinical trials of ecabet sodium, which is being developed as a treatment for dry-eye syndrome, yielded positive results, according to ISTA Pharmaceuticals, which acquired the U.S. rights for the drug.

The trial measured four primary efficacy endpoints: blink rate, corneal staining and two subjective symptoms (the patient's most bothersome symptom and response to the Ocular Surface Disease Index, or OSDI). Compared with patients taking a placebo for relief, patients who were administered ecabet sodium achieved a strong trend in blink rate, OSDI score and their most bothersome symptom. There were no reports of serious ocular adverse events.

A total of 112 patients were assigned randomly to receive either ecabet sodium or a placebo four times a day for 90 days.

Dryness and Drop Outs
According to a recent OM Quick Poll, 64% of patients drop out of contact lenses due to dryness. The online poll, based on 286 responses (in a multiple choice format), asked optometrists to tell us the number one reason their patients give for not wearing contact lenses anymore. The poll also reports that 20% of patients drop out due to inconvenience and another 8% quit due to lack of optimum vision. Only four respondents (1.4%) said their patients left contacts due to concerns over the safety of contact lens solutions. Cost discouraged another 4.9% to drop out and 2.1% listed other reasons.
This month's "OM Quick Poll" asks the question, How do you approach the subject of nutrition with your patient? We invite readers to participate in the poll at
www.optometricmanagement.com

Further analysis of the Phase IIb study results are ongoing. ISTA says it anticipates that Phase III studies will begin in 2008.

Correction: RTA 5 Features

■ In the May issue of OM, the article "Image is Everything," didn't list the correct features for the RTA 5-Series, from Marco. The device provides the following diagnostic modalities:

• a variety of scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) grid patterns provided through full peripapillary and perimacula fields.

The basic RTA exam takes only two to five minutes per eye and includes three scans of the macula (24 slit images per 20° x 10° scan) plus one 10° x 10° scan of the ONH/disc composed of 16 slit images.

The machine harvests more than 1,400 real retinal marker thickness measurements in the base-level exam that includes 88 real slit images — separated by less than 0.7 degrees. (Custom testing surpasses 3,100 thickness markers).

• quantitative stereometric measurement. This is achieved by projecting a 532nm laser beam onto the macula and calculating the thickness at 16 points along each vertical slit (between the inner limiting membrane [ILM] and retinal pigment epithelium [RPE]).

• the recording of all SLO slit image views. This includes 2-D retinal thickness and topography retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) measurement, optical cross sections and an overlay of a 2-D thickness map onto a patient's digital fundus image.

• CD graphics and ratio measures provided with RNFL/temporal, superior, nasal, inferior temporal (TSNIT) data.

• the comparing of all thickness and RNFL data with 920-patient normative pools.

• interactive 3-D anatomy imaging. This allows sectioning retinal and ONH volumes through each slit image, along three axes and with interactive 360° rotation of high resolution 3-D thickness maps

• up to 72° x 60° digital fundus imaging at maximum 9.4 mega-pixel resolution

• automatic registration of fundus images independent of patient fixation.

Its comprehensive assessment provides reports on detection, progression and wellness.

The theme of the Contact Lens Association of America's second annual Summer Management Conference is "Business and Fitting Strategies to Improve Contact Lens Practice Success." The meeting will be held August 10 and 11 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. You can contact CLSA at (800) 296-9776 or visit www.clsa.info.
Wilmer Eye Institute, a part of the Johns Hopkins Medical campus in Baltimore, has broken ground on a new seven-story, 200,000-square-foot facility. The $100 million project will house research and clinical facilities.
At the annual Vision Source National Meeting in Dallas, optometrists committed $200,000 to Optometry Giving Sight (www.givingsight.org), a global fundraising campaign. The campaign seeks to prevent blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error in those who do not have access to basic eyecare services.
O.D. NOTEBOOK
Fenway Partners, a middle-market private equity firm, has acquired 1-800-CONTACTS. The total transaction is valued at approximately $340 million. At press time, the Board of Directors approved the merger and recommended stockholders approve it as well.
Heidelberg Engineering has named Ted Newill vice president of Sales. Mr. Newill's initial focus will be on the introduction of new products, such as the Spectralis HRA+OCT.
Independent Doctors of Optometric Care (IDOC), a practice development group, has added CyberImaging, EyeCOR, Synemed and Carl Zeiss Meditec to its roster of more than 50 preferred vendor partners. These companies will now provide exclusive benefits and services to the 500+ members of IDOC.
Allergan and its Chairman and C.E.O., David E.I. Pyott, were awarded the Helen Keller Global Legacy Award at Helen Keller International's (HKI's) 2007 Spirit of Helen Keller Gala in New York City. Allergan received the award for its support of HKI, which combats blindness and malnutrition worldwide.
ClearVision Optical raised $35,000 for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, Inc. through sales of a limited edition "Breast Cancer Pink" version of the BCBG Max Azria Ceres sunglass, which was introduced at Vision Expo East.
Janice Scharre, O.D., the first female dean of an American optometry school (the Illinois College of Optometry) retired from her post as Dean/Vice President for Academic Affairs at ICO. At ICO's commencement ceremony, Dr. Scharre was the first recipient of the Dr. Joseph L. Henry Achievement Award, presented to individuals who exemplify extraordinary service and dedication to healthcare communities and healthcare advocacy.

Market New Eye Wear to "Same Prescription" Patients

No Prescription Change? No Problem

Sheldon H. Kreda, O.D., F.A.A.O.

■ Most patients present to an eye exam prepared to purchase new eye wear if their prescription changes. Yet women buy new shoes even though their feet don't grow. Similarly, men are usually eager to buy the latest driver (golf club) regardless of the fact that their swing dictates ball travel. Why? Because the employees of shoe and sporting good stores have perfected the art of marketing.

So, how can you get your "same prescription" patients to consider new eye wear? By following these five steps:

  1. Discuss the benefits of new lens technology during the exam. We practice in an era that is bursting with innovative technologies. Lenses are constantly getting thinner and lighter; anti-reflective coatings are stronger and clearer and hydrophobic treatments keep lenses cleaner. In addition, newer progressive lenses offer wider reading areas with less distortion, and there's a wide array of lens options for computer users. And, don't forget about frames. Each frame design has the ability to convey a message about its wearer, and frame companies are in constant competition to offer the best light-weight materials to ensure comfort. These are all strong incentives to purchase new eye wear.
  2. Have every patient visit your optical. Our optician inspects all patients' current eye wear regardless of whether they have a new prescription. Here's why:
  3. • Many patients who are made aware of problems with their current eye wear are more likely to purchase new eye wear.

    • Patients will sometimes buy new eye wear out of appreciation for this professional courtesy and/or because a new frame or lens catches their eye.

  4. Make sure your dispensary offers fresh and exciting new styles and technologies. Neither of the two aforementioned tips will help you unless you showcase the latest and greatest. In fact, one of the main reasons shoe shops sell so many shoes and sporting good stores sell so many golf clubs: The proprietors and employees of these establishments always offer the newest products, and they're sure to let consumers know by showcasing them. Therefore, to get "same prescription" patients to consider purchasing new eye wear, make sure your dispensary showcases new shapes, sizes, colors and technology.
  5. Determine what factors aside from a new prescription may motivate your patients to purchase new eye wear. Ask about the patient's work and lifestyle. For instance, if the patient works with computers, advise him about the benefits of computer-specific lenses with fatigue reducing tints and anti-glare coatings. Another example: If your patient tells you she spends a lot of time outdoors, and she doesn't currently use photochromic lenses, this is the perfect opportunity to explain their benefits.
  6. Inquire about your patient's healthcare insurance. If your patient doesn't realize he has unused benefits for new eye wear, let him know. This way, if the patient is interested in a new frame or lens, and either is covered by his insurance, he'll be more likely to make a purchase. "Use it or loose it" is the logical approach to take here. Helping patients maximize their benefits is a win-win situation.

By following these five tips, you'll not only increase your practice profits, but help your patients achieve the same ease, comfort, style and status as they do when purchasing shoes and golf clubs. OM

TVCI Opens Satellite Centers at Optometry Schools

DISTANCE LEARNING INITIATIVE UNVEILED

■ The Vision Care Institute (TVCI), a Johnson & Johnson company, opened satellite centers in June at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and New England College of Optometry. The centers extend TVCI's training opportunities and provide a "direct link" with the main campus of TVCI in Jackson-ville, Fla., says Richard Clompus, O.D., F.A.A.O., director, TVCI.

"Educational programming at the satellite centers will include distance learning programs for first- through fourth-year optometry students, using video conferencing technologies," says Dr. Clompus.



Optometric Management, Issue: July 2007