Article Date: 3/1/2013

O.D. Scene

O.D. Scene



O.D. Scene creator, writer and editor Jack Schaeffer, O.D.

This month, I bring you Drs. Ed Benett, Louise Sclafani and Dave Hansen. Dr. Bennett has kept the sparkle in RGP lenses, and he’s the executive director of the GP Lens Institute ( Dr. Sclafani has played a leading role in the cornea and contact lens sections of both the AOA and AAO and is a founder of Women of Vision (www.wovon Dr. Hansen is a specialty contact lens practice pioneer now using his education and expertise at AMO. Kirk Smick, O.D., F.A.A.O., returns with restaurant tips for Aspen, Colo., along with a tasty salmon recipe. And Jenn Falik shares her wardrobe wisdom on men’s fashion.

The more I delve into this section, the more I realize how close our optometric family truly is. And, it’s a BIG family. I look forward to speaking with more family members in coming issues.

Key Opinion Leaders Weigh in…

Edward S. Bennett, O.D., M.S.Ed., F.A.A.O.
assistant dean, Student Services and Alumni Relations, University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry


Dr. Bennett, wife Jean, also an O.D., sons Matt and Josh and daughter Emily

Q: What changes have you seen in optometry schools?

EB: … Whereas it is admirable that we have made many beneficial additions to our curriculum, I feel the students have reached the point where information overload is impacting their ability to learn as well as their ability to have a life outside of optometry school. The bottom line is change is needed … soon.

Q: What is the latest research in which you are involved?

EB: A multicenter study comparing a small scleral design vs. soft toric lenses for astigmatic individuals.

Q: What has changed in the market of contact lenses?

EB: We are slowly moving toward daily disposables, and, of course, Fiona Stapleton and colleagues have found daily disposables and GP lenses to result in the least incidence of microbial keratitis… What we will see is the continuing increase in scleral lenses. Multifocal designs, in particular, have tremendous potential.

Q: Would you talk about the formation and the current status of the GPLI?

EB: The GP Lens Institute was formed in the 1980s and represents the educational division of the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA). Carl Moore asked me whether I would be interested in being executive director of the GPLI. It has represented the greatest professional decision I have ever made. The GPLI’s mission has always been to represent the primary source for GP education, and through the efforts of a very supportive CLMA Board of Directors and an outstanding 70-member practitioner advisory committee, this has been accomplished.

Q: Who is your favorite lecturer?

EB: I remember watching Bob Grohe give his presentation, and I thought “what a wonderful presentation style he had.” Today, I always love to watch Tom Quinn. Likewise, I would love to clone Christine Sindt’s passion when lecturing. Finally, I met Ron Melton when he was a fourth-year student from PCO… and I always learn form his presentations with Randall Thomas.

Q: Who has taught you the most in optometry?

EB: The story I love to tell is in the early 1980s I was trying to obtain approval for a book project (“Rigid Gas-Permeable Contact Lenses” with Bob Grohe). It was rejected by every publisher, basically, “Who has ever heard of Ed Bennett?” Finally, I went to Dr. Irv Borish to ask if he could contribute a chapter. He said, “Of course, Ed.” I resubmitted it to his publisher, and it was accepted. I had the opportunity to formally thank him a few years before he died. Anything I know about clinical research I owe to Alan Tomlinson. I’ve also had the privilege of collaborating with perhaps the greatest clinician-researcher that I know, Barry Weissman, as well as with a very good friend and role model, Vinita Henry. Finally, I lean on my wife, Jean, frequently for assistance in the management of anterior segment disease.

Q: What is your prediction for the future of the profession?

EB: Interest in the profession will continue throughout this decade due to the benefits of optometry, including the scope of practice, level of income, ability to improve the quality of life for your patients, potential flexibility in hours and opportunity to be in control of your practice. Optometry is very strong politically. Obviously, the efforts of the AOA will continue to grow the profession, increasing our scope of practice to allow injections and laser use.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

EB: I run or do [the] treadmill almost every day. A few years ago, I completed a program called “P90X.” My goal is to complete the 60 day “Insanity” program on my 60th birthday in July, but I suspect it will kill me long before then.

Q: What can you tell us about your family?

EB: I met my wife, Jean, when I was a fourth-year optometry student and she was a second year student, who was a subject in a soft toric contact lens study. The next year I joined the faculty at Indiana University; ironically so did Jean’s brother, Tom Loehr, O.D. We became good friends, and he encouraged me to “go out with his sister.” … We’ve been married 30 years and have two sons, Matt (26), Josh (22) and a daughter Emily (14). Our spare time has always been sports. The boys were both soccer players, and Josh just completed his final college soccer season. Emily plays soccer and volleyball.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

EB: … It would have been a privilege to have dinner with Jackie Robinson.


Dr. Bennett with his soccer team.

Q: What is the last book you read?

EB: Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember about major league pitchers Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina.

Q: What kind of music do you have on your iPod or iPad?

EB: I love country music, especially George Strait; however, I have many Reba, Brooks & Dunn, and Martina McBride songs. I also love the Eagles, Hall & Oates, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, the songs from “Glee,” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Louise Sclafani, O.D., associate prof. of ophthalmology & visual science director, Optometric Services, University of Chicago


This beverage, available in Wausau, Wisc., is not for ocular use.

Q: Where do you practice, and can you describe it and your typical day?

LS: University of Chicago Hospital for the past 20 years. I see primary care, specialty lens, post-op care and emergency patients. I see Nobel laureates and public aid recipients, professors and college kids, physicians and executives, cute little old people and babies.

Q: What is the latest research in which you are involved?

LS: Every lecture is research, and my focus is on KCN and the anterior segment. I am very excited about cross-linking and a new organization I am part of, the NKCI, or National Keratoconus Institutes, soon to launch in Chicago.

Q: According to ASCO, almost 65% of the student body at optometry schools is female. Why do you think women now make up most of the student body, and what is your advice for this powerful demographic postgraduation?

LS: Clearly, they have great role models. Optometry has been reported to be one of the best professions and has the lowest divorce rate. I like to think that more women are choosing professional medical careers, and it was just a matter of time when they learned how well optometry is suited for women. You need to be a good listener, empathetic, smart and nurturing in this field.

Q: What is your prediction for the future of the profession?

LS: Overall general predictions: I have a concern for saturation of the market as more optometry schools are opening and there’s the potential for less-than-qualified applicants getting accepted into schools that need to fill a quota. Working with both optometry and ophthalmology interns/residents for the past 20 years, there has been a trend toward entitlement and a diminished work ethic.

Q: What has being a “KOL” and O.D. relationships meant to you?

LS: It is my opportunity to learn from the best and make sure I don’t become complacent. I can also contribute to the field in a more global manner, as we gather to discuss what our patients’ needs are and how industry can assist.

Q: What do you do for fun?

LS: There is nothing better than experiencing a fine meal and wines with friends. I give awesome dinner parties, and I love to plan trips. I have done elegant multicourse meals with wine pairing, beach bashes with elaborate themes like “Pirates of the Caribbean” for my son’s birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary, fall festival weekends with skull decorating and chili cook-offs and family trips throughout the world..

Q: Can you tell us about your family?

LS: Jeff is my husband and works for Optos, North America, and my son, Liam, is 10 years old. My mother, Petrina, also lives with us, and she really she takes care of us like Italian moms should. … I am a hockey mom, and this season Liam’s team is undefeated. I like to do triathlons and sail. My husband crews on Providence and won the Mac Race in 2012, which is a 333 mile fresh water race.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

LS: Hilary Clinton and Sara Palin at the same time — what a hoot.


Dr. Sclafani with husband, Jeff, and son, Liam, celebrating Jeff’s Mac Race win.

Q: What is the last book you read?

LS: Probably one of Liam’s for school. I do enjoy reading the paper with my husband and a cup of coffee every morning…

Q: What kind of music do you have on your iPod or iPad?

LS: … Most recently “Wonderwall” by Oasis and Mumford & Sons tunes for our upcoming St. Paddy’s Day party.

Travel, Food & Wine

And the Bucket List Continues
Additional must-see places, tips for Aspen and another must-make recipe


Kirk L. Smick, O.D., F.A.A.O., Morrow, Ga.

This year’s travel schedule is in full swing. I just returned from a long week in Aspen, Colo. Much of my travel is associated with continuing education and optometric events. I encourage all my friends and colleagues to take advantage of optometric meetings to see the world while furthering their education. Of course, the big four are always special (Vision Expo East in New York City, Optometry’s Meeting in San Diego this year, Vision Expo West in Las Vegas and AAO in Seattle), but so many smaller specialty meetings are just as much fun and the key to seeing so many very special places. One such meeting is Ski Vision, which occurs every February in Aspen (Snowmass), Colorado. (


A view of Snowmass slope in Aspen, Colo.

Aspen, Colo.

Aspen is a town rich in history and has great shopping and fabulous restaurants. Matsuhisa is my favorite restaurant. It is part of the world famous Nobu group. Matsuhisa has creative sushi and sashimi as well as inventive beef, lamb and other seafood delicacies. I especially love the grilled Hamachi Kama Cheeks (right) and the soy infused lamb chops. For authentic French bistro, be sure to go to Brexi Brasserie. The steak au frites make you think you are in Paris, and the beef bourgogne is a hearty beef and red wine stew that warms anyone in this snow-studded mountain environment. Finally, for Italian specialties try Mezzaluna. The pizzas are really special, and the pasta is all homemade.


Another charm

Last month, I asked for reader suggestions for destinations in the USA where I may not have visited. Tom Wong, O.D., in New York, suggested Martha’s Vineyard for four days in mid-June. I have wanted to go to Nantucket for some time, and this year I am finally going to make it happen. Any restaurant suggestions for while I am there? Please drop me a line at

I love the Salmon Carpaccio with Grilled Lemon and Herbs from “For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking,” by Barton Seaver. Use wild Alaskan king salmon filets for the best nutritional value. I use fresh dill sprigs, flat-leaf parsley, frisée lettuce leaves, a little salt, some extra-virgin olive oil and some grilled lemon.

Fashion by FALIK


Jenn Falik is a style and beauty expert who has appeared on The View, The Today Show, The Rachel Ray Show and E! News. Each month, she shares the latest styles and beauty trends and how to incorporate them into your practice. This month: men’s wear from work to the weekend.

Must-Haves: “At least two great-fitting pairs of jeans — one casual, one in a dark wash — that can be worn for dressy occasions as well. On the town looks for men are more body conscious than in the past. Jeans fit slim (this doesn’t mean skinny though — step away from the jeggings), and layers thin and fitted, not oversized and draped. You should also have a tailored suit in navy and one in dark grey as well as two non-suit-related blazers — a corduroy with suede elbow patches is classic, and a navy sport coat with antiqued gold buttons will also go a long way. Have some tailored dress shirts — some basic, some bold — and follow this thought process for ties as well. A handful of bold statement ties is the best way for a man to make an accessory impact. In terms of sweaters, thin knits with zip-up necks layer nicely over button-down shirts and go well under blazers. Finally, solid crew neck t-shirts, both long sleeve and short sleeve, are good, but beat up old sports teams t-shirts or college memorabilia don’t count here.”

Shoes: “Sure, sneakers are a must, but don’t forget about the dressy and ‘kind of dressy’ shoes. Be sure to have something in black and something in brown, ideally a loafer style and a lace up; also a great pair of boots. Look for something with a pointed cowboy boot-inspired toe for maximum versatility.”

Workplace advice: “In the office, your suit doesn’t have to be the traditional hues of blue or grey. You can go with a dark cobalt, or add a fun burgundy pinstripe. Pop in a pocket square, and let a bit of your shirt cuff peek out from the sleeves. The look for men now is slightly more stylized than in years past — giving men the freedom to actually express themselves with fashion in the workplace as opposed to fit a pre-imagined menswear mold.”

Facial hair: “When it comes to facial hair, I always advise guys to use their best judgment. Depending on the way the hair grows in, and how it works with his overall lifestyle and wardrobe, a week of scruff could be sexy or slightly strange.”


Jenn recommends a tailored navy blue suit.

Key Industry Leader

Dave Hansen, O.D., F.A.A.O., head, Global Professional Services at AMO


Any comments about your company?

A: Abbott has been one of the world’s most successful companies for 125 years because it has continually adapted to the changing world around it — advancing practices in health care, nutrition, science and business to deliver new solutions that make people healthier.

What is your prediction for the future of the profession of optometry, in terms of market share and pharmaceutical dominance?

A: Presently, 78% of initial vision care in the U.S. is provided by optometry. This entry access shows that patients usually seek the level of health care they believe will manage their specific concerns. Many patients will continue to select optometric care for the traditional treatment options, such as spectacles, contact lenses, and children’s vision. Those who believe they have ocular medical challenges will choose between optometry and ophthalmology. The optometric pharmaceutical state laws starting in the late 1970s have provided increased patient confidence with ocular medical care within optometry, and therefore, have established patient/doctor relationships that will continue to grow in the new healthcare system.

What changes have you seen in the profession through the last five years?

A: The new optometry schools have provided integration of optometric education with allied medical professions. Advances in ophthalmic technology offer new diagnostic testing procedures which accelerate patient care, and have been embraced by the progressive practitioners. Practice management digital office systems will continue to streamline efficiency and continuity of patient information and business data. Digital patient records offer “co-management information” that provide seamless documentation for tertiary services…

What do you like to do for fun?

A: Sports, sports and sports — spectator and participant — golf now, and I formerly played tennis year round once a week.

Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: March 2013, page(s): 50 - 53