Article Date: 3/1/2008

Oregon Man Accused of Posing as O.D.
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Oregon Man Accused of Posing as O.D.

ALLEGED FAKE O.D. MAY FACE INCARCERATION AND STEEP FINE.

A grand jury has indicted Johnathan A. Rogers, 26, of Portland, with one count of making a false statement relating to a healthcare matter — a federal felony criminal offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. Specifically, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges that Mr. Rogers made a false claim for health-insurance reimbursement for an eye exam, as he's not a licensed optometrist.

Mr. Rogers has pleaded not guilty, according to Lance Caldwell, the assistant U.S. Attorney who will be the prosecuting lawyer. A court date is set for March 18.

The case against Mr. Rogers began on May 25, 2007, when a female patient phoned the Oregon Board of Optometry.

"The patient said she'd been told about Mr. Rogers at Hub Optix (a retail optical in Tigard, Ore.) and was going to make an appointment for an eye exam, though couldn't find him on our Web site's alphabetical listing of Oregon Optometric Physicians," says David Plunkett, executive director of the Oregon Board of Optometry, the state agency responsible for licensing, regulating and disciplining optometrists. "So, she called us to ask if he was a licensed O.D., and we were immediately able to confirm that he wasn't licensed with the Board. We then sent an undercover investigator to Hub Optix to determine whether he was practicing optometry. Sure enough, Mr. Rogers conducted an eye exam on the investigator."

Further investigation (alleged refractions, ocular diagnosis and treatment) prompted the Board to issue Mr. Rogers a Proposed Notice of Civil Penalty by certified mail, giving him 21 days to request a hearing or pay a $20,000 fine. Mr. Rogers never replied, prompting the Board to notify law enforcement. (Visit www.obo.state.or.us/rogersfinalorder.and.picture.0208.pdf.)

On Friday, January 18, Mr. Rogers was arrested at the Portland International Airport after he arrived on a flight from Namibia, Africa.

"We've been talking with some folks from Namibia, and they've told us that he'd allegedly been practicing there for three months," says Mr. Plunkett.

Neither Mr. Rogers nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.

"The message that I'd really like to convey, as a result of this situation, is that it's imperative optometrists check the resumes and credentials of the person or people they're interested in hiring," says Mr. Plunkett. "Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers' employment has caused several of his former bosses a great deal of disturbance."


FDA's Proposed Impact-Resistant Lens Guidelines Invite Criticism

INDUSTRY CRIES FOUL OVER DRAFT'S CALL FOR DROP-BALL TESTING.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is encouraging any person or organization that hasn't commented on its proposed impact-resistant lens guidance to do so by the end of May. (Visit www.fda.gov/cdrh/dsmica/guidance/23.html.) The issues:
1. If enacted, the new guidance would require those who edge lenses to drop-ball test a lens' impact resistance after the edging process (either themselves or via a third-party lab). In a letter to the FDA, the Vision Council of America said there's no reason for this, as edged lenses, regardless of the edging method, haven't failed at rates that differ from non-edged lenses.
2. The new guidance wouldn't allow tested lenses that have passed the FDA's impact-resistance testing process to be sold, as the agency contends that "drop-ball testing and other similar tests weaken plastic lenses due to stress…"

The Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) has also responded in a letter to the FDA. After collecting data on 2,550 lenses that passed impact testing in concert with the FDA's requirements, the OLA says it found that in all but 0.27% of cases, drop-ball-tested lenses passed impact testing a second time, meeting the FDA's safety standards.

In addition, such requirements would cost consumers, requiring dispensers to spend double on inventory to dispense exact replicas of the tested lenses.


Researchers Identify Gene That Plays Role in Glaucoma

SFRP1 ELEVATES EYE PRESSURE.

■ Researchers have found that a gene and a related signaling pathway play a role in the development of glaucoma, according to a study in February's Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study revealed that over-expression of the gene, sFRP1, elevates pressure in the eye. The study's researchers, which included Alcon Research LTD., say this could help improve glaucoma diagnosis and lead to the development of sight-saving treatments.

"This new discovery may allow researchers to develop therapies to treat the underlying cause of the disease," says Abe Clark, Ph.D., Alcon's vice president of discovery research and head of glaucoma research.

Jeffrey Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Center for Cancer Research, who was involved in the study, had previously discovered the sFRP1 gene. The team compared the genes that are expressed in the eyes of people with glaucoma to the genes expressed in people with healthy eyes. They saw that some genes, including sFRP1, are much more active, or "expressed," in cells from eyes with glaucoma.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
Accutome, Inc. reached an agreement with Canon Medical Equipment to carry their full line of digital retinal cameras and diagnostic equipment in the United States.

■ To reflect a new strategic vision, an evolving membership and a new era in its mission, the Vision Council of America (VCA) has formally announced a new name, The Vision Council.

Transitions Optical has named Soderberg Ophthalmic Services, Minneapolis, Minn., the 2007 U.S. Lab of the Year. \Transitions honored the lab at an awards ceremony held during the 12th annual Transitions Academy at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Optos has entered a partnership with Eyemaginations. With the partnership, Eyemaginations will offer their educational animations as quick links to all current and new Optos Partners as part of its evergreen software platform.

Editor's Note: In addition to the multi-focal soft lens Quattro, from Blanchard Contact Lens, Inc. listed in the sidebar of the article "Dispense Specialty Soft Lenses," (February 2008), Blanchard also offers the ESSential Soft Toric Multifocal and the ESSTech Soft Aspheric Multifocal lenses.



Optometric Management, Issue: March 2008