Article Date: 5/1/2013

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O.D. and Wife Just Escape Boston Marathon Bombing

Jennifer Kirby, senior editor

In a couple of the thousands of photos taken in the grisly aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, a mangled blue fold-up camping chair lays among shards of glass in front of a blown out LensCrafters. Runner Brian Lankford, O.D., of Tarboro, N.C., and wife Sandy, who came to watch, are pretty sure it’s her chair.

“My wife tied the container it came in to the back of the chair, which the chair in the photos has, and she said no one else had a chair,” Dr. Lankford explains.

Prior to the race, Dr. Lankford says he’d planned to meet his wife at the optical retailer to cheer on the remaining runners. But, by the time he’d walked the long finishing path after completing the Marathon at 1:20 p.m., he was “too tired to fight the crowds to get to the LensCrafters.” So, he says he called his wife and told her to meet him at their hotel, The Westin Copley Place, near the finish line. There, they would change clothes and get food. That call was made at 2:30 p.m., Dr. Lankford says, 20 minutes before the first of two bombs exploded, injuring 140 and killing three. Before leaving for the hotel, Mrs. Lankford gave her chair to a woman standing next to her whom she’d befriended.


Sandy Lankford’s blue spectator chair after the first explosion.

“When we got back to our room, we heard an explosion, followed by tons of sirens,” Dr. Lankford explains. “My wife and I had no idea it was a bomb until we went to an adjoining mall to get food and saw everyone crowded around the available TVs. We didn’t hear the second one go off.”

Within 15 minutes, he says the mall and their hotel were locked down, and everyone was ordered to leave. The couple spent the next five hours walking around a now police-state Boston among other refuge marathon runners. Dr. Lankford says it took them roughly three hours to get cell phone service and call family. At roughly 7:00 p.m., he says he approached a National Guardsman to ask whether The Westin Copley was allowing its guests to return. The soldier said it was.

“When we got back into our hotel, we immediately turned the TV on to get all the information we could,” he says. “My wife was focused on finding out whether the woman who had her chair and anyone else she’d chatted with during the race was hurt.” Fortunately, Mrs. Lankford didn’t recognize any of the injured on the news, Dr. Lankford says. He adds that the next day, the woman who accepted his wife’s chair sent Mrs. Lankford a Facebook message, saying she was fine, but that a gentleman behind her had lost both legs.

“What happened is just such a tragedy. I mean those people who were killed, hurt and maimed posed no threat to anyone,” Dr. Lankford says. “If I had had trouble during the marathon and not finished when I did, my wife could’ve been sitting there when that bomb went off.”


AOA Forms Integrated Eyecare Project Team

■ Citing fast-approaching healthcare reform, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has developed an “Integrated Eyecare Project Team” to identify the elements necessary to create an ideal “integrated eyecare system,” says an AOA press release.

“We will develop our model around what is best for the patient. At the cornerstone of what we propose should be first, the highest quality of care that makes the patient experience safe, efficient and cost-effective,” says project team member Clarke Newman, O.D. “Second, we need to focus on what best utilizes available resources to improve the value proposition of integrated eyecare services to the greater healthcare payers and service networks moving forward as the sea change of healthcare reform, new demographics and changing economic realities play out…”

The team also consists of Christoper J. Quinn, O.D. (chair), Cynthia Murrill, O.D., Jim Thimons, O.D., Samuel Pierce, O.D. (AOA trustee), Randy Reichle, O.D. and Robert Prouty, O.D. They will address questions, such as “Who are the members of the integrated eyecare team?,” and “Are there appropriate ratios of provider types (primary/surgical care) that promote the most efficient patient care?”


“Ambiverts” Best at Sales, Says Study

■ “Ambiverts,” or those who are equally outgoing and sheepish, are better sales people than extraverts, says a study in April 8’s Psychological Science.

The possible reason: “They naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening,” making them less likely to irritate and alienate the patron by appearing too excited or arrogant regarding the product or service they wish to dispense.

What this means for O.D.s: Consider giving your staff a personality test (see to see whether they fall under “extroverted,” “introverted” or “ambiverted.” If anyone falls under the latter, contemplate giving this person a try at your optical dispensary, if he/she isn’t there already.

FDA News

■ The New Drug Application for Bromfenac ophthalmic solution 0.07% (Prolensa, Bausch + Lomb) has received FDA Approval. The drug is a q.d. NSAID for the treatment of postoperative swelling and the decrease of ocular pain in cataract patients. It will be available in 1.6ml and 3ml bottle sizes.

■ The TECNIS Toric 1-Piece IOL, from Abbott Medical Optics, has received FDA approval. The IOL can correct a patient’s loss of focus resulting from preexisting corneal astigmatism of one diopter greater, the company says.


The Exchange Draws 3,100-Plus

■ The Exchange, the newly-branded annual Vision Source member meeting, drew more than 3,100 attendees to Las Vegas, Nev., in April. Along with sessions covering managed care, the ECP alliance introduced a national television advertising campaign with Transitions Optical, a new marketing tool kit for members and a doctor and staff educational series.

Vision Source launched its branded “Eco” frames through a new vendor, MODO, and a campaign where MODO will donate one pair of MODO frames to Optometry Giving Sight for every MODO frame sold by a Vision Source practice. The ECP alliance also announced an initiative in which both Optos and Vision Source are investing to drive the best patient care and experience possible through the use of the Optos Daytona retinal imaging technology in Vision Source practices.


PRIMA Eye Awards Dr. Bennett

■ Irving Bennett, O.D., F.A.A.O., often referred to as the “Father of Optometric Practice Management,” received Prima Eye Group’s Professional Achievement Award at the group’s conference held recently in Orlando, Fla.


Drs. Irving Bennett (center), Jerry Hayes (left) and Neil Gailmard at the Prima Eye Group meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Prima Group co-founders Neil Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., and Jerry Hayes, O.D., presented Dr. Bennett with a commemorative plaque in front of more than 200 optometrists and Dr. Bennett’s wife, Trude, his daughter and granddaughter, both of whom are also O.D.s, their husbands and his great granddaughter.

Dr. Bennett’s accomplishments include AOA’s The Optometrist of the Year Award, induction into The National Optometry Hall of Fame, the Irving Bennett Practice and Business Center at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, authoring two practice management books, and publisher and editor of Optometric Management magazine in the 1970s.

“To be acknowledged after so many years affirms that maybe my colleagues in the profession did not forget those bygone days when the reference of ‘business’ in the same breath with the profession of optometry bordered on heresy,” says Dr. Bennett.


New Sports-Related Concussion Guidelines Published

■ When a concussion is suspected, athletes should be removed from play immediately, say new guidelines for evaluating sports-related concussions in March 18’s Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). The guidelines also report:

► The greatest risk for another concussion occurs in the first 10 days post-initial concussion diagnosis.

► Athletes diagnosed with one or more concussions are at greater risk for being diagnosed with another concussion.

► Ongoing clinical symptoms (e.g. headache or visual impairment), concussion history and young age are risk factors for post-concussion impairments and a long recovery.

► Among the sports evaluated, the greatest concussion risk was found in football and rugby, followed by soccer and hockey. For females, soccer and basketball posed the greatest concussion risk.

► Evidence is lacking to support absolute rest following a concussion.

The AAN has published a “Sports Concussion Toolkit” online ( For optometry’s role in managing concussion patients, see “The How and Why of MTBI” in our June 2012 issue, or visit


• Researchers have discovered seven new loci linked with AMD: COL8A1-FILIP1L, IER3-DDR1, SLC16A8, TGFBR1, RAD51B, ADAMTS9 and B3GALTL, says March 3’s Nature Genetics. A genetic risk score, which bound all SNP genotypes from all loci, revealed a similar ability to differentiate cases and controls in all examined samples.

• Cholesterol-decreasing medications provided via eye drops may reduce the growth of ocular blood vessels, thereby helping to prevent AMD-caused blindness, says a study in April 2’s Cell Metabolism.

• Traditional ophthalmoscopy, in addition to the optomap (Optos), detected 30% more lesions when compared with traditional ophthalmoscopy alone, says February’s Eye and Brain.

O.D. Notebook

■ A new consumer report by the Vision Council finds that 40% of U.S. adults do not wear sunglasses outdoors, and nearly half the drivers do not protect their eyes while on the road. To learn more and download a copy of the report, visit

■ To help consumers better understand how to manage ocular allergies, CooperVision has launched an Allergy Survival Guide, which can be accessed through the company’s Facebook page,

Valerie Conrad, O.D., Illinois College of Optometry’s VP of compliance and community-based services, has been appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health. Dr. Conrad is the first O.D. to be named to the board.

Bausch + Lomb and Unilens Vision announced the companies have extended a licensing agreement that grants B+L an exclusive worldwide license to use Unilens’ multifocal technologies. Unilens will continue to develop, manufacture license, and market contact lenses.

QSpex Technologies has named Michael O’Connor vice president, manufacturing.

Topcon Medical Systems announced it has formed the Topcon Software Solutions division, which will focus solely on the company’s software product line.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America brochure, Eye Health and Allergies, is available with a free trial-pair certificate for 1-Day Acuvue Moist contact lenses at

The Orion Vision Group and Alden Optical announced a partnership supporting Orion Vision’s entry into the soft opaque tint segment with the launch of BioColors custom opaque tinted contact lenses.

■ GP contact lens vendor Boston announced a series of educational guides for the specialty lens fitter now available at

Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: May 2013, page(s): 12 - 15 82