Article Date: 4/1/2003

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Kentucky Passes Positive Verification;
States Expand Prescription Authority
By Karen Rodemich, Managing Editor

As we went to press, we learned that Kentucky became the latest state to pass a contact lens release law. SB157 prohibits mail-order companies from mailing, sending, delivering or dispensing contact lenses before receiving: 1) a written or faxed prescription that is signed by the prescribing practitioner; or 2) an electronic or oral affirmative of the complete prescription from the prescribing practitioner. Changes to the prescription cannot be made without the direction of the prescribing practitioner.

SB157 requires that contact lens prescriptions include the manufacturer, lens series, lens material (if applicable) and all lens parameters and ophthalmic information necessary to accurately fabricate or dispense the lens. It must also include an expiration date and the number of refills or lenses allowed. In addition to this new contact lens release law, three states have also passed new laws -- regarding expansions in prescriptive authority. Here's a quick briefing and a rundown of the new laws.

States expand Rx authority

In the area of pharmaceuticals, only four or five states have their prescriptive authority laws in good form, says American Optometric Association State Legislative Analyst Sherry L. Cooper. Other states need to add drugs or clean up statutory restrictions, conditions, or other standard-of-care-type language, which is included in many optometry laws but not included in laws that regulate dentists, podiatrists or medical physicians.

To date, optometrists in all 50 states may prescribe medications to treat allergies and infections to some degree, whether using just topical drugs, just oral drugs or both.

South Dakota: Under law SB135, optometrists in the state may now prescribe any and all oral medications to treat eye problems. The bill, which amends part of the state's existing prescribing authority, does specify that "No optometrist may prescribe, administer or dispense any oral therapeutic agent to any child under 12 years of age, or any oral steroid to any person" without first consulting with ophthalmologists or other doctors.

Pennsylvania: SB831 allows O.D.s -- who are certified to administer and prescribe pharmaceutical agents -- to utilize the beta blockers and steroids that are approved by the Secretary of Health. The board anticipates that the Secretary of Health will approve specific steroids by early this month.

The law also allows O.D.s (who are certified by the State Board of Optometry to treat glaucoma) to treat open-angle glaucoma, exfoliation glaucoma and pigmentary glaucoma.

Michigan: The new state law adds oral drugs, including schedule 3, 4 and 5 controlled narcotic substances; and expands the definition of diagnostic drugs from two drugs to include all topically applied agents.

The law also allows Michigan O.D.s to diagnose and initiate treatment for glaucoma without consulting with an ophthalmologist first.

UAB Research Facility Gets Face Lift

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Optometry recently celebrated the completion of its enlarged, remodeled and re-equipped Clinical Eye Research Facility (CERF). According to William Benjamin, O.D., director of clinical research and head of the facility, the new and improved CERF will allow more faculty to participate in clinical research studies and will allow UAB researchers to investigate emerging eye products and to study how compatible those products are with the eye.

The new facility will also house the ongoing Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus study.

FDA Approves Nidek's New Instrument

The FDA has approved Nidek's MP-1 Micro Perimeter, which combines perimetry and fundus imaging in one instrument. According to Nidek, the MP-1 allows accurate and fully automatic assessment of macular/retinal functions. The company will introduce the new instrument in the United States and globally for the retina and glaucoma markets and says that eyecare practitioners can use the MP-1 to quantitatively assess/analyze fixation; subjective patient response to determine threshold levels and evaluate retinal therapies such as PDT, TTT and DEP. The instrument also features an all-in-one, compact, stand-alone unit; high-speed, online image tracking; 45-degree non-mydriatic digital fundus photography and more.

Army O.D. and PCO Help Afghan Children See

Army Captain James Eddis, O.D., is a 2001 Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) graduate who was stationed in Afghanistan. Dr. Eddis is involved in a U.S.-led humanitarian effort that conducts eye exams for
local residents of Kandahar, Afghanistan. With the help of PCO and the PCO Lions Club, Dr. Eddis collected more than 1,000 frames, donated by Modern Optical, Pearle Vision and Winchester Optical, and sent them to Kandahar to improve the lives of many children.


Novartis's new direct-to-consumer advertising campaign for Zaditor features a 60-second television spot and a print ad that show a golfer appearing to remove his itchy, allergy eyes and wash them to soothe the itch.

Florida Seniors Who Drive May Face Mandatory Vision Exams

Fueled by the support of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Florida Senator Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville) has made a tenth attempt to target older drivers since 1986 by drafting a bill (SB 52) that would require individuals to have their vision checked each time they renewed their driver's licenses after their 80th birthday. The proposed bill would prohibit applicants from renewing their license by telephone or electronic means. It includes the creation of a committee that will examine options for seniors who can no longer drive. If SB 52 passes, Florida will be the thirteenth state that has special licensing provisions for older drivers.



l Kimmich joins Paragon. Paragon appointed Dr. Richard Kimmich to its professional advisory board for its corneal refractive therapy (CRT) contact lenses. Dr. Kimmich will give seminars around the United States discussing the potential benefits of CRT lenses.

l Allergan appoints Ray. Allergan, Inc. recently announced the appointment of Russell T. Ray to its Board of Directors, effective this month.

l Transitions names new marketing director. Frank Reilly has stepped into the position of North America marketing director for Transitions Optical, Inc.

l O'Connell accepts VSP's invitation to board. Bill O'Connell has joined the Board of Directors for Vision Service Plan (VSP) for a two-year term.

l Novartis appoints new head of ophthalmics. Novartis Ophthalmics, North America has announced the appointment of Dennis G. Podlesak as the new head of ophthalmics, North America, for the company, effective last month.

Podlesak will also serve as a member of the Novartis Global Management Team and the Corporate Executive Group.


l Hydrogel Vision Corp. welcomes new distributors. Benz Research and Development subsidiary Hydrogel Vision Corp. has added four distributors (New Era Optical, One Inc., WeldCo and Wise Optical) to represent its Extreme H2O product line.

l PureVision faces suit in Ireland. Novartis AG has filed a patent infringement lawsuit on the behalf of CIBA Vision against Bausch & Lomb claiming that B&L's PureVision lenses infringe an Irish patent that protects the technology used to develop CIBA's 30-day Focus Night & Day lenses.

l Transitions gives eleventh annual lab award. Transitions Optical, Inc. has named 21st Century Optics its Lab of the Year for 2002.


Optometric Management, Issue: April 2003