Article Date: 2/1/2012

Practice pulse

CUTTING - EDGE BINOCULAR VISION SERVICE PROVIDED

Optometry School Clinic Offers the 3D Exam Room

■ The Pacific EyeClinic Beaverton, part of the College of Optometry at Pacific University, in Oregon, looks like any other full-service storefront-style optometry clinic, but step inside and you'll soon learn that it actually houses the Nation's first 3D eye exam room.

The clinic employs active 3D shutter lenses that are synced with custom software to allow the practitioner to objectively test a patient's 3D response.

“ … This room allows us to take the testing protocols and customdesigned software developed in our research area and put them in to the clinical world,” explains Ken Eakland, O.D., professor and associate dean of Clinical Programs at the College. “We can objectively evaluate the 3D status of a patient, the accuracy of the perception, the speed at which it is obtained and the stability of system to maintain … ” He adds that the practitioners can then prescribe appropriate treatment, and evaluate treatment effectiveness.

The 3D exam room mimics the theater environment. A 50-inch HD plasma monitor and a pull-down, 90-inch high-definition projection screen hang from one wall. Also, all the walls and the ceiling are constructed with sound-absorbing material (sound is delivered via a fully integrated multimedia amplifier with a Dolby surround sound 7.2 speaker system), the primary lights are indirect LED, and theater wall sconces have even been incorporated. Further, a video game system capable of 3D is included, and the room houses an automated computerized refracting lane that includes an autophoropter and acuity-testing device as well as customized devices (left).

Currently, the 3D exam room is open four hours per week to allow for patient awareness of the room to build, time to assess the facility and accommodate the schedules of the optometrists who administer the exams, says Dr. Eakland.

“We have begun limited marketing efforts, but the excitement for this service is building,” he says.

When asked whether the clinic is currently overseeing any 3D-related research or tracking any specific trend with regard to 3D media, Dr. Eakland says, “not yet, but potentially in the future.”

MAJOR CHARLES ROBERT SOLTES, O.D., REMEMBERED
Blind Rehab Center Dedicated to Fallen Army O.D.

■ As we go to press, the Major Charles Robert Soltes, Jr., O.D. Department of Veteran's Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Facility was dedicated on the VA Long Beach Healthcare System's campus in Long Beach, Calif. Dr. Soltes is the first Army optometry officer killed in action while on active duty.
“Rob was well-liked and well-known among his colleagues for his commitment to his patients and his country. Sadly, though, he paid the ultimate price,” says Dori Carlson, O.D., American Optometric Association president. “ But, his sacrifice will not be forgotten. It is our hope that by naming this new blind rehab facility in his honor, that the memory of Dr. Soltes will provide both inspiration for its caregivers and renewed hope for its patients.”
Maj. Soltes was a public health officer in the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion, U.S. Army Reserves. In 2004, he was deployed to Mosul, Iraq to command a public health team in establishing seven hospitals for local Iraqi communities. A few weeks after his arrival, he was killed by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Maj. Soltes was 36.
The new blind rehab facility will provide out-patient care for an array of low vision conditions and offer in-patient rehabilitation programs. Further, Sally Dang, O.D., Dr. Soltes' widow, will serve as a low vision optometrist at the facility.
The Facility was named for Maj. Soltes after Dr. Dang, colleagues and veterans service organizations launched a nationwide grassroots effort to make it so. In April 2010, Congress made it official.


Dr. Dang (second from the right side of the plaque) celebrates the Facility dedication with fellow supporters.

DRS. LOMBART AND GOLDBERG SHARED AN UNCLE

Contact Lens Trailblazers Were Family

■ In December and January, the contact lens industry lost two of its architects: Adolph Lombart, O.D., Lombart Lens, LTD founder and Joe B. Goldberg, O.D., Conforma Labs and the Contact Lens Manufacturer's Association founder, respectively. Dr. Lombart was 89, and Dr. Goldberg was 91.

“My father and Joe actually have a common uncle. In fact, my father worked for this uncle in an optical lab as a teenager, which got him interested in optometry …,” explains Richard Lombart, Dr. Lombart's son and current president of Lombart Instrument. “So, they were family who became friendly competitors …”

Drs. Lombart and Goldberg were born in Norfolk, Va. and graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. They served in the U.S. Army during World War II and then opened private practices in Norfolk.

Dr. Lombart sold PMMA lenses through Lombart Lenses LTD, and son Kenneth joined him in the mid-1960s. In the 1970s, Dr. Lombart sold the company to American Sterilizer Company (AMSCO). Kenneth remained employed with AMSCO, which also sold ophthalmic equipment. Flash forward, and Kenneth and Richard, who later joined AMSCO, bought the ophthalmic equipment portion of the company, and Lombart Instrument was born.

Kenneth Lombard says his father's greatest lesson to him was, “The ability to think, analyze and make a decision.”

Richard Lombard adds, “His philosophy was always ‘price, quality and service.’”

Dr. Goldberg tackled challenging fits, such as keratoconus. After the 1957 baseball season, he fit then Pittsburgh Pirate catcher Hank Foiles, making him the first major league baseball player to wear contact lenses, says The Virginian-Pilot.

In 1961, Dr. Goldberg founded the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA). Kenneth Lebow, O.D., F.A.A.O., a Virginia Beach, VA. practitioner, was Dr. Goldberg's practice partner for 10 years.

“ … A lot of my understanding and ability to fit keratoconic eyes came from my relationship with Joe,” he says.

Dr. Goldberg sold Conforma Labs in 1977. In 1983, he formed GBF Inc. contact lens manufacturing. In 2003, he sold it to Aero Contact Lens, a Unilens Vision, Inc. subsidiary, The Virginian-Pilot says.

He was also the recipient of the Pioneer Award from the AOA's Contact Lens & Cornea Section.

Dr. Lombart is survived by his three children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Dr. Goldberg is survived by his three children and four grandchildren.

MANAGEMENT MEMO - Are Demographic Changes Impacting Your Practice?
Your middle income patients may be dwindling. Bob Levoy, O.D.

■ A new study from Stanford University and released by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University reports part of the country's middle class has slipped to the lower rungs of the income ladder, as manufacturing and other middle-class jobs have dwindled — while the wealthy receive a bigger proportion of the income pie. Put simply, there are fewer people in the middle.
The study identified this pattern in about 90% of large- and medium-size metropolitan areas for 2000 to 2007. Philadelphia, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Toledo, Ohio and Greensboro, N.C. are among those states that have a growing number of families that are mostly low-income or affluent. Due to this shift, several American companies have become convinced that the consumer market is bifurcating into high and low ends and eroding in the middle, says a recent article written by Ellen Byron in The Wall Street Journal. (See http://mb.com.ph/node/334943/a.)
Ms. Byron cites Procter & Gamble for example, whose growth strategy has for generations been focused on creating essential products for the American middle class. Instead, the maker of Crest toothpaste, among other brands, will be setting its sights on upscale consumers and conomically pinched consumers — with not much in between. Citigroup calls this the “Consumer Hourglass Theory,” according to the article, and has, therefore, urged investors to zero in on companies best positioned to meet the needs of the highest-income and lowest-income consumers.
“Firms catering to low-income consumers, such as Dollar General Corp., are posting gains boosted by formerly middle-class families facing shrunken budgets,” Ms. Byron reports. At the opposite end of the spectrum, “Luxury retailer Saks Inc. is bolstering its high-end apparel and accessories because its wealthiest customers — not those drawn to entry-level items — are driving the chain's growth,” the article says. Also, companies that favor the rich, such as Tiffany & Co., have reported continuously high sales.
“Companies have thought that if you're in the middle, you're safe,” Citigroup analyst Deborah Weinswig told Ms. Byron. “But that's not where the consumer is any more — the consumer hourglass is more pronounced than ever.”
Action step: If your practice has primarily catered to middle income patients whose numbers are dwindling and whom you are seeing less often, consider repositioning your practice to focus more on those sectors that are driving growth.

NEW PRODUCT, PROMOTIONS AND AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTS

Essilor Annual Meeting: Solutions for Presbyopia, Fog and Glare

■ The recent Essilor of America annual sales meeting promoted a broad range of spectacle lenses, from sunwear to anti-fog.

The company's Optifog lenses are designed to provide clear vision in environments where lenses often fog up, such as outdoor activities, work environments, during cooking and moving from cold to hot environments, etc. A recent survey commissioned by Essilor revealed that 73% of eyeglass wearers would be interested in learning about such lenses from their eyecare professional (ECP).

Essilor also announced a new generation of Crizal No-Glare lenses, which offer “Broad Spectrum Technology.” This technology virtually eliminates UV light reflection into the eyes while providing maximum visible light transmission for clear vision, according to the company. More than 40% of UV light exposure occurs when individuals are not in full sunlight and therefore, not wearing sunglasses, Essilor says.

To explain the importance of UV protection, Essilor introduced the Eye-Sun Protection Index, or E-SPF, which rates UV protection from light coming at both sides of a lens.

Essilor announced new trade print ads for Varilux lenses that will show how the progressive lenses, by offering a personal solution for each wearer, improve vision at all distances. The ads are part of a new video branding campaign, which includes a video that you can access at www.youtube.com/variluxlenses.

Also at the Annual meeting, the company announced the winners of its Independent Distribution Division Advantage Plan Annual Laboratory Awards. The recipients include: Walman Optical, Minneapolis, Minn.; VSP Labs, Sacramento, Calif.; Toledo Optical, Toledo, Ohio; LensTech Optical, Greenwood, Ind.; Three Rivers Optical, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Sunburst Optics, Syracuse, N.Y.



Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: February 2012, page(s): 12 15 16