Article Date: 4/1/2012

Irvin M. Borish, Father of Modern Optometry
Practice pulse

Irvin M. Borish, Father of Modern Optometry

JANUARY 21, 1913 – MARCH 3, 2012

■ Optometrist Irvin M. Borish, 99, died March 3, in Boca Raton, Fla. Regarded as “the father of modern optometry,” Dr. Borish “leaves a legacy that will continue to impact many generations of optometrists,” posted the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) on its Facebook page.

Dr. Borish was born Jan. 21, 1913 in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry (NICO) (now, ICO), in Chicago, Ill. in 1934 (See photo right). While attending NICO, he met his wife, Beatrice Silver. Soon after graduation, Dr. Borish qualified for a fellowship of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), leading to more than 70 years of dedicated service to the AAO and its affiliate, the American Optometric Foundation.

Dr. Borish moved to Indiana to start an optometric practice in Kokomo in 1944. Through the next seven years, he worked with a small group of Indiana optometrists to establish an optometry school at Indiana University (IU). In addition to his professional efforts, Dr. Borish took up painting and acting during these years.

Clinical refraction and fame

Dr. Borish wrote Clinical Refraction, through a seven-month period in 1947. First published in 1949, the book, and subsequent editions, made Dr. Borish famous throughout the world. The second edition of Borish's Clinical Refraction (Butterworth-Heinemann–Elsevier, 2006), is the seventh iteration of his venerable book, which has provided optometry with an intellectual foundation on which to build. Throughout his career, Dr. Borish published more than 80 articles and nine books, most as a private practitioner of optometry.

In the 1960s, Dr. Borish was one of a small group of dedicated optometrists who helped position optometry in the modern healthcare system by securing therapeutic privileges for the profession. In 1971, Rhode Island became the first state to allow optometrists to use diagnostic drugs.

After a near-fatal heart attack in 1973, Dr. Borish left private practice to join the IU School of Optometry as a tenured full professor where he created the school's first clinical research unit. The University of Houston, College of Optometry, in Houston, Texas, honored him in 1982 by appointing him to the Benedict Chair, the first chair in optometry in the United States.

Remaining active in optometry, Dr. Borish delivered his last lecture to IU optometry students in the fall of 2008. A year later, he judged his last Optometry Student Bowl and attended his last AAO meeting in Orlando. He delivered his last commencement address at the University of Houston, College of Optometry in 2010, at age 97.

A rewarding career

Dr. Borish was recognized through many prestigious awards, including the 1968 American Optometric Association (AOA) Apollo Award, an honorary degree from IU in 1968, the 1989 Distinguished Service Award from the AOA and the 2002 Eminent Service Award from the AAO. In 1996, the World Council of Optometry named Dr. Borish the Optometrist of the Year, and in 1998 he was the first inductee to the National Optometry Hall of Fame. He was presented the Herman B. Wells Visionary Award in 2002 for his creativity, perseverance and intrepid spirit.

In 1996, he endowed the AAO's Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award to recognize a young scientist or clinician-scientist who has shown exceptional promise to conduct independent research directly related to clinical ocular disorders.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: American Optometric Foundation, 6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 506, Rockville, Md. 20852; the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research, Indiana University Foundation, P.O. Box 500, Bloomington, Ind. 47402; or Irvin M. Borish Chair in Optometry, University of Houston, College of Optometry, 505 J. Davis Armistead Building, Houston, Texas 77204.


Bausch + Lomb to Acquire ISTA Pharmaceuticals

■ Bausch + Lomb (B+L) announced they've signed a definitive agreement with ISTA Pharmaceuticals to acquire ISTA for $500 million. The companies expect the transaction to close in 2012's second quarter.

“ISTA is an excellent strategic fit with Bausch + Lomb's rapidly growing pharmaceutical business… says Bausch + Lomb's president and CEO Brent Saunders.“…With this combination, we will significantly enhance our pharmaceutical pipeline, nearly doubling the number of mid-to late-stage innovations. We look forward to delivering the benefits of this combination to customers, patients, employees and partners of both companies.”

Ortho-K Pioneer and Founder of Contex Passes
Nick Stoyan, founder of Contex and developer of the OK3 and Contex E contact lens designs passed away at the age of 74 on March 8. “Nick, with Newton Wesley and Charles May … contributed mightily to the first 25 years of corneal reshaping,” posted Cary M. Herzberg, O.D., F.A.A.O., on the Orthokeratology Academy of America website ( Mr. Stoyan was known for his innovative concepts in contact lens design and fabrication. He was awarded the Academy's Excellence In Orthokeratology Award. The Stoyan family and Contex have set-up the “Nick Stoyan Memorial Orthokeratology Grant,” which will be awarded to a fourth-year optometry student for the most innovative Orthokeratology project at the annual Orthokeratology Association of America meeting. Grant donations can be sent to: c/o Nick Stoyan Memorial Orthokeratology Grant, Contex, Inc., 505 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA. 91403.

ISTA Pharmaceuticals' portfolio is comprised of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory, allergy, glaucoma and spreading agents. In addition, ISTA and Bausch + Lomb have complementary development pipelines, with ISTA developing treatments to treat ocular pain and inflammation and Bausch + Lomb working on IOP-reducing drugs for ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma patients and a class of ocular anti-inflammatory agents.

“ … ISTA's portfolio of prescription eye and allergy products is a natural extension of Bausch + Lomb's pharmaceutical business focus,” says ISTA Pharmaceuticals' president and CEO Vicente Anido, Jr., Ph.D. “Together, we create an impressive platform to commercialize new eyecare and allergy products already under development.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, such as the approval of ISTA's shareholders. Both companies will operate independently until the transaction is completed.

Practice Management Website Enhanced
The ODLean ( website, from The Vision Care Institute, LLC (Vistakon), a practice management consulting site, now offers easier navigation, published articles, videos, client and patient testimonials and links to Facebook and YouTube (providing the latest findings and trends from ODLean experts on productivity, marketing and patient experience), the company says. Also, the site provides information regarding upcoming events and conventions ODLean will be hosting or attending and a client portal, which is home to business analytics and is accessible to current ODLean members and alumni.

Hire Those Who Will Provide Service Excellence
Bob Levoy, O.D., Roslyn, N.Y.
■ In today's highly competitive environment, one of the keys to building a successful optometric practice is providing a positive experience for patients. But positive experiences don't just happen by themselves. They must be actively cultivated by building a culture of service excellence. The first step in achieving this goal is to get the right people on board — people who are passionate about serving others. Not everyone is.
The first interview with a job applicant can give you a sense of the candidate's ability to interact effectively with patients in any type of situation. Look for evidence of sensitivity to others' needs, a willingness to quickly resolve issues, the ability to put others' priorities first, a calm demeanor in the face of challenges and the willingness to recognize and correct mistakes or lapses in service.
In an effort to make objective comparisons, ask each job applicant the same questions, such as the following:
What do you think constitutes service excellence in a professional practice? Look for answers that mirror the needs of your patients, such as attention to detail, friendliness, promptness, courtesy, the ability to listen and respect. Also, look for an interest that goes beyond merely satisfying patients, but shows an interest in cultivating lasting relationships. (A good example would be how the job candidate answers the following question.)
How have you handled a difficult patient or customer in the past? What made the person difficult? Nearly everyone who's had experience dealing with the public should be able to recall at least one challenging situation. Pay attention to how each person describes the patient or customer involved. Does he or she show empathy? How did the candidate resolve the situation? What was the outcome?
Notice also how the applicant describes a “difficult to please” person. You may have many of these types in your practice.
Hard learned lesson: “When a patient leaves a busy medical practice, there is frequently pressure to hire a replacement as quickly as possible,” says Stanley M. Fineman, M.D., senior partner at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic in Atlanta, Ga. “Taking care to find the right person, someone who is service and patient oriented is invaluable.” OM

Eyecare Entities Create SUN Initiative

■ The American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Opticians Association of America (OAA), with sponsorship from Luxottica and The Vision Council, have created the SUN alliance to provide eyecare practices and businesses with the needed training and information to educate and prescribe appropriate sun protection.

“…It is the responsibility of optometry to educate the public about the dangers of the sun and the importance of prescribing proper protection,” says AOA President Dori Carlson, O.D.

The SUN training program begins this month with the COPE and ABO-approved educational series, Protect, Prescribe and Present, available via and Protect describes the health issues associated with UV and High Energy Visible (HEV) radiation exposure and provides a set of actionable steps for the O.D. to ensure patients understand the importance of quality outdoor eye protection. Prescribe affords an action plan for the O.D. and the optician to prescribe sun protection. For O.D.s this course provides examples of how to discuss with patients the research that proves the need for sun protection. Present discusses methods to communicate the benefits of prescribing and dispensing outdoor eyewear.

More Women Than Men Have Eye Disease
The Vision Problems in the U.S. study, from the National Eye Institute (NEI) and Prevent Blindness America, reveals that of the more than 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older who have visual impairment, such as blindness, 2.3 million are women.
The reason: longevity and hormonal factors, according to the NEI. To provide information on women's eye health to your patients, such as fact sheets on eye diseases, pregnancy and vision and safe cosmetic use, visit

Eyefinity Introduces Its eStores

Eyefinity, a VSPGlobal company, unveiled eStores by Eyeconic, a free online optical store for VSP practitioners who have an eWebExtra website, at the recent International Vision Expo East in New York City. (Non-VSP members can use the service for a fee.)

The store is an online extension of the private practice's brick-and-mortar optical dispensary connected to the VSP practitioner's eWebExtra site and customized to the practice, Eyefinity says. As a result, the practitioner controls product pricing and decides which contact lenses and Marchon/Altair products they'd like to offer. Also, Eyeconic provides optometrists with free electronic marketing tools to assist in making patients aware of their eStores. The eStores also include “virtual” frame try-on technology.

Once a VSP or non-VSP member selects a prescription product, he/she must enter their prescription to place the order. Eyeconic then contacts the optometrist to verify the prescription to complete the order. A total of 30-days post-order shipment, the optometrist receives payment, which is determined by deducting the cost of goods and an administrative fee from the final transaction. According to an Eyeconic brochure available at Vision Expo, the payment “depends on the type of product sold and the level of complexity required to fit and adjust the product.”

To learn more, contact Eyeconic at

Correction: In the “What's New” section of OM March (page 82), we mistakenly referred to a new tear, Refresh Optive Advanced, as Refresh Optive. It should be noted that Refresh Optive Advanced is a new formulation, one that is different from Refresh Optive.

■ According to the online survey of 755 eye allergy sufferers ages 18 and older who wear glasses, contact lenses, or both, 41% say they suffer from mild-to-moderate eye allergy symptoms on a daily basis. The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Vistakon, notes that about one-in-five say they either remove their contact lenses during the day or don't wear them at all due to eye allergy symptoms.

The Power Practice has named Jamie Cassidy, a veteran of Vision Source, CIBA Vision (Alcon) and Marcolin, to its newly created position of vice president of business development and dream management.

Bausch + Lomb announced the addition of Metro Optics, in Austin, Texas, as an authorized laboratory to manufacture B+L's KeraSoft IC silicone hydrogel contact lenses for patients who have irregular corneas, including patients with keratoconus.

CooperVision is a recipient of the eighth annual Manufacturing Leadership 100 (ML100) Awards for the company's supply chain initiative. In other news, CooperVision was recognized by REBRAND 100's Eighth Annual Global Awards with a “Best of” award for excellence in brand repositioning.

The American Optometric Society (AOS) called its third annual meeting and CE Seminar in Tampa, Fla. “a huge success,“ with more than 200 in attendance. The Society also reported its membership has added 155 optometrists since January 1 of this year.

■ On June 20, Prevent Blindness America will host “Focus on Eye Health: A National Summit” in Washington, D.C., to serve as a key launching pad for newly revised public health data on vision and eye health. For information, visit

Sonomed Escalon announced the release of its new iPad App for the AXIS Image Management System at the recent World Ophthalmology Congress, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Transitions Optical announced the 2012 Business Resources Guide, which provides an overview of the company's patient education resources. All the resources within the guide can be found on Transitions Optical's trade portal at

Optos announced delivery of the first shipment of 160 Daytona devices, the company's latest ultra-widefield imaging technology, to Luxottica's OPSM optometry stores in Australia and New Zealand. In other news, in recognition of his company's financial performance, Roy Davies, CEO of Optos, has been named “Fife and Central Scotland Regional Director of the Year” at the annual Institute of Directors Scotland Awards.

■ According to Reed Exhibitions and the Vision Council, co-owners of International Vision Expo East, the annual Expo drew a record 16,317 eyecare professionals, a 10% jump from 2011.

■ The Integrated Vision System from Vmax Vision is updated to include “subjective nighttime refraction,” a feature that allows the identification and correction of nighttime-specific visual problems. For more information, visit

■ Last month, The American Board of Clinical Optometry announced it is celebrating its second anniversary since beginning to take applications for board certification.

The Associations of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) announced that the winter/spring 2012 issue of Optometric Education can be found on the ASCO website: The cover feature discusses social media in optometric education.

■ Each month, The American Academy of Optometry website offers a preview of the journal Optometry and Vision Science. For information, visit, and click on the link to Academy News.

Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: April 2012, page(s): 12 - 16