Article Date: 11/1/2001

o.d. to o.d.
Check Yearly. See Clearly.
Kudos to VCA for developing a public information campaign.
BY NEIL B. GAILMARD, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Chief Optometric Editor

The public has grown to just accept some things as fact. "See your dentist twice a year" is a slogan that was advanced by the American Dental Association in a public information campaign many years ago. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is an adage started by a national pork association. These maxims were started by trade associations, and whether they were scientifically based or not, they saved a lot of teeth and sold a lot of bacon.

Farewell to a Colleague

All of us at Boucher Communications were sorry to learn that our much-respected Executive Editor, Larisa Hubbs, is leaving the company. This is her final issue of OM. Larisa was instrumental in bringing major improvements to this magazine during her tenure, so her concepts will continue on. I wish Larisa the very best in her new position with a dermatology publication, but she will be missed -- by me and by optometry. Next month, I'll introduce and welcome our new Executive Editor, Nanci Kulig.

I'm happy to see that the Vision Council of America (VCA) recently started a campaign to promote regular eye exams. It has a great slogan and logo that's clever, simple and memorable: Check Yearly. See Clearly. That pretty much says it all. The program will educate consumers via magazines, newspapers, outreach programs and office materials.

Free brochures, recall cards, decals, magnets and other neat promotional materials -- all with the program logo -- are available for you to distribute to your patients. You can order these items online at www.checkyearly.com.

VCA is somewhat misunderstood by optom-etrists, because we can't enroll as active members of this group. VCA is the non-profit trade association representing the ophthalmic industry. It boasts almost 1,000 member companies, many of which are manufacturers of frames, lenses and lab equipment. VCA's goal is to grow the eyecare market, and it does so through a variety of excellent programs. VCA hosts Vision Expo East and West, as well as EyeQuest, and it has an advisory board of eyecare professionals (all 3 Os), which is called the Better Vision Institute.

 

Low Vision Rehabilitation: Part II

My editorial last month focused on legislation (HR2484) that's currently before the House that would allow low vision rehabilitation services to be covered by Medicare. While I applauded the Academy of Ophthalmology for its role in supporting the bill, I neglected to give fair credit to the American Optometric Association (AOA) for the major work it did in crafting the language of this bill. I sincerely apologize to my colleagues who specialize in low vision and to the AOA staff who worked on the project for nearly 2 years for this oversight.

I did state that the AOA supported the bill, but it actually did much more than that. In fact, many AOA leaders (including Past President Harvey Hanlen, O.D., Executive Director Mike Jones, O.D., Washington Office Director Jeffrey Mays, the Federal Relations Committee and numerous members of the AOA Low Vision Section) put in hundreds of hours working with the Rehabilitation Co-op headed by the New York Lighthouse and the Academy of Ophthalmology to be sure that optometric interests were protected. The AOA was successful, and the result is a good bill for all eyecare professionals, but more importantly, for patients. It's nice to have optometry and ophthalmology work out their differences and come away seeing eye to eye on an issue.

The main focus of my column still stands, however. Low vision care could be the next optometric specialty that ophthalmologists decide to pursue. The need for low vision services is increasing with our aging population. Optometry currently enjoys a leadership position in this field, but practicing optometrists must embrace it by either offering low vision care or actively referring patients to O.D.s who do.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: November 2001