Article Date: 8/1/2012

CooperVision Launches Multifocal Daily Disposable
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Keeping Me to My Word

I forgot about a promise I made nine years ago. But it was a promise kept.

From the Executive Director Jim Thomas

In the April 2003 issue of Optometric Management, we announced Dr. Walt West as our new chief optometric editor. My “Viewpoint” column for that month read “I'm confident we'll accomplish great things together” and like a seasoned politician on the campaign trail, I soon forgot those words. Walt probably forgot them too, but through his work with OM, he made sure I kept my word.

A one-of-a-kind visit

For example, at the height of the controversy regarding 1-800 Contacts (many called it the “enemy” of independent optometry), Walt and I visited the company's Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters, at the invitation of Jonathan Coon, co-founder and CEO. Mr. Coon gave us a tour of the company's facilities. He and his colleagues appeared very open, even discussing in detail how they attract contact lens buyers and make them loyal customers.

The great moment came when Walt wrote his “O.D. to O.D.” column and the accompanying article in the September 2004 issue of OM. Walt did not challenge the company with accusations. In fact, he wrote that the company places an emphasis on customer satisfaction — “a great example of what every business should do.”

In the same column, however, Walt criticized 1-800 for referring patients whose prescriptions were no longer valid “away from their current doctors” to offices that have a business arrangement with the company, as a “no-win situation.”

So, rather than attempting to “slay a dragon,” Walt presented an honest, level-headed discussion of the company's strengths and weaknesses so that both “sides” had the opportunity to benefit. Rather than point fingers, Walt pointed to a better way of practicing. It's the approach he takes with each controversial issue that optometry faces, be it scope of practice, managed care or online spectacle sales. And it's an approach that's all too rare today.

The time for change

His even-handed approach is just one of the many reasons we'll miss Walt as he enters a new phase in his career, joining Vision Source as the vice president of practice development. He leaves with the best wishes of everyone on the staff of Optometric Management.

Walt passes the baton to Dr. Scot Morris who joins OM as chief optometric editor, beginning with the September issue. Next month, we'll publish our official welcome to Scot, and you can expect more far-reaching promises that we intend to keep. OM

Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: August 2012, page(s): 4