Article Date: 1/1/2014

O.D. Scene
O.D. Scene



A new, informal group of leaders has formed within our profession. It is called the Coalition for Enhanced Eye Care (CEEC).

All members, three of whom are this month’s KOLs, are also members of the AOA, AAO and founders of other optometry-related societies, such as the Optometric Glaucoma Society, the Ocular Surface Society of Optometry and the Optometric Retina Society.

Speaking of our KOLs, I think you’ll find something for everyone in this month’s “OD Scene.” Our three doctors have excelled in private practice, academics, telemedicine and industry. They are all committed to selflessly promoting and educating our fine profession. And I think you’ll enjoy their interests outside optometry, which range from poetry writing to cooking to sailing and training as a Parliamentarian.

In addition to our esteemed KOLs, fashionista Jenn Falik returns with 2014 trends for female O.D.s. Ms. Falik includes tips on color, outerwear, fringe, ruffles and embellishments. And Kirk Smick, O.D., F.A.A.O., is back to report on adventures in France’s Loire Valley. His tour summary provides sound advice on transportation, hotels, food, sightseeing and of course, wine.

I am looking forward bringing you more of the social sides of our profession in 2014 and the leaders who shape our future. Thank you all for the support and feedback.

Key Opinion Leaders Weigh in…

Larry J. Alexander, O.D., F.A.A.O., Alan G. Kabat, O.D., F.A.A.O. and Clarke Newman, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Q: Can you describe your practice?

LA: Five years ago, I decided to leave full-time practice. I became senior director of Clinical Education for Optovue. That morphed into telemedicine consulting online, developing educational materials and business strategizing. Also, I developed a website for education,

AK: I’m currently a professor at Southern College of Optometry and a staff physician at The Eye Center. I split my time between the Adult Primary Care Service and the Advanced Care Ocular Disease Service. Advanced Care operates by the medical model… all exams are problem-oriented, and more than 90% of the patients carry medical insurance. It is an ideal setting for someone like myself who enjoys managing ocular disease.

CN: I own my childhood optometrist’s practice; I told him when I was fourteen that I would own the place one day. He thought I was crazy, but it became his idea when I was a third-year optometry student. We have been a specialty contact lens practice since the beginning, when we were a Vent-Air franchise. We do a fair amount of routine care as well.

Q: Why do you feel the CEEC is important?

LA: . . . The common thread of the individuals in the group is dedication to the provision of the best eye care possible. We believe education is the cornerstone of that concept. The CEEC is apolitical and is able to move quickly and decisively to address issues.


AK: The CEEC consists of KOLs who have close ties to industry, politicians and physicians in other disciplines. We remain vigilant against actions that would limit optometry’s scope and success.

CN: We are a large group of like-minded lecturers who believe that education across the spectrum, from the peer-reviewed literature, to professional meetings, to consumer advertising, should be truthful, accurate, unbiased and open. We believe knowledge gained by cooperative efforts is the only way for professionals to honor their respective oaths to their respective patients.

Q: What are your pastimes, hobbies, or recreation?

LA: I love to be outside for any reason. Walking, biking, hiking, working in the garden.


Dr. Newman with son Ian (far right) and friends.

With the advent of real retirement I am going to pick up my brushes and resume painting. My favorite thing to do is to learn new things and to take very difficult topics and try to make them understandable. How about that Helmholtz-Kohlrausch effect? I enjoy writing poetry and also want to write a romance novel.

AK: In my spare time (which isn’t much), I enjoy fishing and watching football. Having spent my formative years in N.J., I support my alma mater — Rutgers University — and the N.Y. Giants. Neither team is having a great year, but I still enjoy watching. And only a true fan has the right to complain.

CN: I have raced sailboats since I was four-years-old — I was sailing before I could ride a bike; I was racing my own boat at six. I have basically spent all of my free time competing at a pretty high level in small sailboats. This year alone, I have raced in a World Championship in Italy and a North American Championship on Long Island sound.

Q: Do any other interests occupy your time?

LA: I have recently seen how really awful it is to be a patient in an extended care facility. It appears that when I am in one of these facilities, I am not bad at making these people happy. As a society we are really great at keeping people alive, but don’t know what to do with them throughout their waning years. Perhaps I can assist in that change.

AK: I'm actually a pretty good cook. I love to barbecue and prepare authentic Italian and Asian cuisine.

CN: I am a trained Parliamentarian, I am a Supreme Court wonk and a student of this nation's founding — not the myths, the truth. I also read a ton of non-fiction.

Q: What person, living or dead, would you like to hear speak and why?

LA: Socrates. I believe in the Socratic method of education: “a process of discussion led by the instructor to induce the learner to question the validity of his reasoning or to reach a sound conclusion.”


Dr. Alexander, wife Lynn and grandkids Kathryn and Nate.

AK: Albert Einstein. I believe he had great insight into science and humanity.

CN: Albert Einstein. I would tell him how much he reminds me of Irving Borish, O.D.

Q: Who are the members of your family?

LA: Lynn is my wife of 44 years who is described by our son as the most covertly manipulative person he knows. She is a saint. Lynn is my soul and moral compass. Our sons are Matt and Dan and are compassionate, wonderful men. Our grandkids are Kathryn and Nate and are the children of Matt and Kari, our lovely daughter-in-law.


Dr. Newman competing in a race in Italy.

AK: I’ve been married for 23 years to my wonderful wife, Bonnie. We have two sons: Hunter is a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Austin is a senior at Ridgeway High in Memphis.

CN: I am divorced, and I have one son, Ian, who is twenty-three. He lives in Los Angeles, Calif,, and is beginning his career in entertainment. He is one of the funniest people I have ever met.

Q: What are your favorite . . . ?

LA: Restaurant: My house. I love to cook.

U.S. Hotel: Broadmoor Hotel & Resort, Colorado Springs, Colo. and Grant Street Inn, Bloomington, Ind.

Movie: Forrest Gump

Book: The Tao of Pooh (Penguin Books; 1983) and Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don’t (HarperBusiness, 2012)

Band: The Rolling Stones

Bottle of wine: The one that is open.

Adult beverage of choice: Coffee (addict)

Last app downloaded: Outlook for iPhone

AK: Restaurant: A little dive in Midtown Memphis called Pho Vietnam

U.S. Hotel: Ritz-Carlton

Movie: Probably a tie between Patton and Rocky

Book: Anything by Michael Crichton

Band: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (Jersey boy… what can I say?)

Wine: I’m partial to old vine zinfandels and primitivos, 2007 or 2009.

Adult beverage of choice: Belvedere Martini shaken, with gorgonzola-stuffed olives (who’s buying?)

Last app downloaded: “Relaxing Sounds of Nature.”

CN: Restaurant: Rise N° 1 Salon De Souffle in Dallas, Texas.

U.S. Hotel: The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Texas is hard to beat, but I will go with N.Y.C’s St. Regis.


Dr. Kabat with Hunter, wife Bonnie and Austin.


Dr. Alexander with wife Lynn, whom he calls his, “soul and moral compass.”

Movie: The Best Years of Our Lives

Book: The Catcher in The Rye (Little, Brown and Company, 1951) and Naked Lunch (Grove Press, 1964). Reading those two books back-to-back as a teen just about destroyed me.

Band: Red Hot Chili Peppers of course.

Wine: 2006 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles Reserve Paso Robles (I can’t get any more.)

Adult beverage of choice: Red wine

Last app downloaded: Windfinder Pro

Q: Any closing remarks?

LA: . . . If we rest on our laurels as a profession, we are dead in the water. We must further develop the primary care model and universally adopt the blueprint. Optical alone is not the answer, and if you stay in that camp you will go the way of the dinosaurs and Polaroid cameras. Optometry must continually re-invent itself to survive.

AK: In the words of Albert Einstein, “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”

CN: To quote author Stephen Chbosky, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” Optometry needs to love itself enough to demand the love of others, and fight bias and exclusion where ever we find it.

Optometric Management, Volume: 49 , Issue: January 2014, page(s): 38 39 40