Article Date: 6/1/2011



EHR Users Begin to Receive Stimulus Payments for Meaningful Use

■ At press time, at least three optometrists and two ophthalmologists received federal stimulus payments of $18,000 for attesting to meaningful use of their electronic health records (EHR) systems. And you can expect other O.D.s to receive payments in the coming days, say industry analysts.

“Understanding all the ins and outs of meaningful use, such as all the quality reporting measures, how they interact with one another and how they interplay with PQRI (Physician Quality Reporting Initiative), is hard, but once you get past that, deploying the software and providing the care and submitting the data is a fairly easy process,” says Kim Castleberry, a Plano, Texas, O.D., who was among the three optometrist to receive the federal stimulus money.

Fellow optometrists Lorrie Lippiatt, of Salem, Ohio and Ryan Wineinger, of Shawnee, Kan. also received the $18,000 government check.

Practices must use a certified EHR system to receive the incentive money. Currently, five vendors offer optometry-specific systems with “complete” certification: Compulink, Eyefinity, Kowa, First Insight and Insight Software. For a list of all certified EHR products, visit For more information on meaningful use, visit Optometric Management online at


Survey Reveals Misconceptions and Discomfort Regarding 3D Content

■ A total of one quarter of parents falsely believe that 3D content will hurt their child's general health and/or vision, and adults report higher levels of discomfort than they say their children do upon watching 3D media, says a recent VSP survey.

“… 3D technology can actually help detect underlying vision problems, which are often the cause of the discomfort some 3D viewers experience,” says Justin Bazan, O.D. of Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, N.Y.

According to the survey, 70% of parents said they believed 3D content would negatively impact their child's short-term or long-term vision, 69% said they believed it would cause headaches or dizziness, 65% said they believed it would cause nausea, 64% said they believed it would negatively impact their child's visual development, 50% said they believed it would result in temporary double vision, 33% said they believed 3D content would result in dry eye, and 10% cited “other” concerns. A total of 6.5% of the surveyed parents said their children had experienced discomfort watching 3D content.

Meanwhile, almost one-third (28%) of adults said they experienced discomfort while watching 3D media, citing headaches (32%), dizziness (22%), nausea (14%) and blurry vision (10%) as the culprits for their discomfort. Of the respondents who had children, headache (39%), dizziness (24%), nausea (25%), eyes hurt (15%) and “other” (16%) were provided as reasons for their child's discomfort with 3D media.

The survey elicited 1,010 responses (298 from parents with children under 18 living at home). As a result of the sample size, the results are representative of the whole U.S. population, VSP says.

For advice on how to use 3D media to attract patients, visit


Long-term CL Wear Success Not Contingent on Patient Age

■ Age is just a number when it comes to successful contact lens wear, says a poster presented at this year's Association for Research and Vision and Ophthalmology meeting sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

“A growing body of research has already established the many benefits and safety of pediatric contact lens wear,” says co-author Jeffrey Walline, O.D., Ph.D., Ohio State University College of Optometry. “This study further demonstrates that fitting children at younger ages has no harmful long-term effects.”

The poster titled, “Comparison of Success in Contact Lens Wearers Fitted as Children vs. Teenagers” reveals that fitting children in contact lenses at age 12 or younger isn't associated with a greater frequency of current poor comfort, prior adverse events or poorer compliance post-10 years of soft contact lens wear.

Specifically, those fit as children reported 1.1 ± 2.5 hours per day of lens discomfort, and those fit as teens reported 1.2 ± 2.7 hours per day of lens discomfort (p = 0.92). Also, a red, painful eye that required a doctor visit since starting lens wear was reported by 21% of those fit as children and 19% of those fit as teens. In terms of compliance, approximately 32% of those fit as children reported currently rubbing their lenses, and 42% reported rinsing their lenses when cleaning them. Meanwhile, 35% of those fit as teens reported rubbing, and 45% reported rinsing. Further, often 53% of both groups reported replacing their lens case every six months.

These data result from a two-phase study comprised of an online survey and examination. The survey was answered by 175 individuals who were between age 17 and 30 and wore soft contact lenses for the past decade. A total of 86 were fit as children (71% female), and 89 were fit as teens (63% female).


Akorn to Acquire Advanced Vision Research

■ Akorn, Inc., which currently has a portfolio of more than 45 ophthalmic products, such as AK-Poly-Bac and Akwa Tears, has entered into an agreement to purchase Advanced Vision Research (AVR), maker of TheraTears and MacuTrition, for $26 million in cash.

“AVR is a great strategic platform to expand into the OTC eyecare market. We have had a relationship with AVR for several years as a primary contract manufacturer,” says Raj Rai, Akorn's chief executive officer. “With the acquisition, we can add value in future growth, as we have an existing sales infrastructure that markets products to ophthalmologists, optometrists and retailers nationwide complementing AVR's sales initiatives.”

Pending this acquisition, Akorn plans to launch a new Consumer Health Division to enter the OTC eyecare market. Specifically, Akorn says it plans to expand by licensing new products and developing private-labeled eyecare products for major retailers.

O.D. Creates Website

Over the years, many doctors suggested that Lou Catania, O.D., digitize his many lectures, texts and audio and video programs for online access. The website is the answer to these requests. According to Dr. Catania, the site, “a labor of love,” contains both COPE-approved educational programs and the Diagnostic Assistant, an in-the-chair differential diagnostic tool and interactive telemedicine consult.

Inventor of Color Filter Spectacles Receives Award

■ Shigeki Nakauchi, of Japan's Toyohashi University of Technology's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has received the 2011 Award for Science and Technology by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for inventing the Variantor. These are color filter spectacles that allow the non-colorblind to experience colorblindness, so they can understand the need for color universal design (CUD). The award is given for innovative research that can be used practically in society and enhances both the everyday lives and socioeconomic conditions of people worldwide.
Specifically, the glasses contain a filter that modifies the optical spectrum to recreate colorblind characteristics. When non-colorblind people wear them, they experience the perceptual color confusion of colorblind people. In addition, they can use the spectacles as a CUD tool, in that this simulated experience enables them to identify problematic color schemes in various situations.
Currently, the glasses are being used in Japan for color combination tests in industry and in public facilities for printing material, public signs and textbooks, including those used at CUD enlightenment seminars.

Ultra-wide angle imaging revealed a potential link between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and AMD and a “highly significant” link between AD and peripheral hard drusen formation, says Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology abstract 6683/D1170. These findings suggest that monitoring for the development and progression of pathological changes in both the macula and periphery may be a valuable tool in detecting and monitoring AD progression, the researchers say.
• In a Phase II dry eye study, SAR 1118, from SARcode Corporation, demonstrated improvements in corneal staining, it increased tear production and improved visual-related function compared with placebo. SAR 1118 is a topically administered small molecule lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 antagonist that inhibits T-cell mediated inflammation. The drug is also being investigated as a treatment for other ocular inflammatory conditions, such as diabetic macular edema.
Myopic patients younger than age 65 who have an axial length (AL) of at least 29.0mm and undergo uneventful cataract surgery appear to have a 39-fold increased risk for an IOP measurement greater than 28mm Hg and a 35-fold increased risk for an IOP measurement higher than 35mm Hg as compared with patients older than age 65 who undergo uneventful cataract surgery and have a normal AL, says April's Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery. Therefore, these patients may require more frequent IOP monitoring or alternative topical anti-inflammatory medications, the researchers say.
• A monocular bioptic telescope on one lens of a pair of spectacles doesn't appear to prevent fellow eye detection in the area of the ring scotoma under realistic and visually demanding conditions, says May's Archives of Ophthalmology. These findings should ease the concern that the monocular ring scotoma might cause blindness to traffic outside the field of the telescope, the researchers say.
• A Phase 1b study on oral QLT091001 from QLT, for the treatment of Leber Congenital Amaurosis, reveals it resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in either or both visual acuity and visual fields in eight of 12 LCA subjects who had either inherited deficiencies of lectithin retinol acyltransferase (six subjects) or retinal pigment epithelial 65 protein mutations (six subjects). QLT091001 is a replacement for 11-cis-retinal (an essential component of the retinoid-rhodopsin cycle and visual function).

■ Fashion Optical Displays announced that three long-time employees—Lori Estrada, Elizabeth Henton and Matthew Kiraly—purchased the company from retiring owners, Katherine Maxwell and Ed Muehlberger.
■ Carl Zeiss has made its lens and screen cleaning available for purchase in the United States and Germany through Lions clubs. A portion of the proceeds will be used to support the foundation's vision care activities.
■ Essilor of America announced the launch of its optometry student education day program where students will visit the company's training center in Dallas to learn about Essilor products, services and marketing programs.
■ Vistakon announced the “ACUVUE® 1•DAY Contest,” which will bring five winners to Los Angeles to be mentored by one of five top teen icons, including musician Joe Jonas, all-American actress Meaghan Martin, singing phenom Charice, World champion runner Allyson Felix and actor Sterling Knight. To enter, contestants should visit,
■ SP Vision Care and Vistakon announced an exclusive satisfaction guarantee on Acuvue brand contact lenses for VSP members. If members are not completely satisfied with the lenses, up to $60 of their benefit will be reinstated for use toward glasses or a replacement of their current contact lenses. For complete details, visit
■ While more Americans are taking part in their favorite outdoor activities, many are overlooking a simple safety and health precaution–protecting their eyes with sunglasses. According to a 2011 national survey conducted by N3L Optics, an Oakley company, only 66% of adults wear sunglasses consistently when they are outdoors, and only half of those ages 18 to 24 do so.
■ Bausch + Lomb announced the hire of Benjamin Chudner, O.D., as the training manager for the North America Vision Care, Learning + Development Team. Most recently, Dr. Chudner was an O.D. in private practice in the Seattle area.
■ The American Optometric Society (AOS) announced today that it begun the second in its series of radio messages promoting optometry and eye examinations through its Promote Optometry 2011 advertising campaign. The ads will appear on CBS stations in Los Angeles and New York, as well as across the United States on the syndicated Delilah show.
■ The World Council of Optometry recently named Tone Maraas-Maurdalen as its first female president. Ms. Maraas-Maurdalen is currently executive director of the Norwegian Optometric Association.
■ Recently, Bausch + Lomb and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) awarded the Tianjin Eye Hospital a $150,000 grant to finance a specialized, pediatric cataract training initiative. The grant is made possible through the Pediatric Cataract Initiative (PCI), and will be used for training, education, equipment and screening.

Optometric Management, Issue: June 2011