Article Date: 5/1/2003

practice pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

Surveys Tell About Eye Health, Profits

The OM Quick Poll:
Billing Private Medical Plans

A recent survey conducted on Optometric Management's Web site asked, "How successful are you at direct billing of private major medical insurance plans (non Medicare)?" Nearly 32% experience poor results or don't bill major medical plans. Log on to this month's poll at to voice your opinion on samples.

Managed Care Companies Unite

The National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP) recently formed to provide a unified voice in legislative and regulatory policy development and input in the development of credentialing and standards.

The founding member companies are Cole Managed Vision, Davis Vision, EyeMed Vision Care, Spectera, and Superior Vision Services. New member companies include Vision Benefits of America, National Vision, Inc., and Opticare.

Vision Service Plan (VSP) chose not to participate. Although it agrees with NAVCP's goals, it is "already involved and engaged in a number of industry-wide associations and initiatives with similar objectives," says Kate Renwick-Espinosa, VSP's vice president, marketing.

Meet the Fourth Generation

Allergan's fourth-generation fluoroquinolone, gatifloxacin ophthalmic solution 0.3% (Zymar), last month won marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Zymar is indicated for the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis caused by susceptible strains of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

The company says that the drug offers complete solubility and effective tissue penetration against a broad spectrum of organisms; its dual mechanism of action gives it enhanced inhibition of DNA-gyrase and topoisomerase IV. Zymar is available now.

Last month Alcon received FDA approval for moxifloxacin ophthalmic solution 0.5% (Vigamox) to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The fourth-generation fluoroquinolone features a high solubility that allows it to be formulated at a higher concentration than other fluoroquinolones of its class, Alcon says; additionally, it shows "enhanced coverage" of Gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Streptococcus as well as chlamydia.

Vigamox is dosed t.i.d. for seven days and is safe and effective for adults and children as young as one year. According to Alcon, Vigamox will be available soon.

Will N.J. O.D.s Perform Laser Surgery?

The New Jersey Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee recently approved a bill (A-3364) that would allow O.D.s to perform laser eye procedures, including refractive procedures. The bill would give the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists the authority to credential and certify O.D.s for the laser treatments, and would allow them to prescribe drugs. A-3364 is currently before the full New Jersey State Assembly. A vote is expected in the next month. If the Assembly passes the bill, it will go to the state Senate. The original sponsor of an earlier version of the bill, Assembly Democratic leader Joseph Roberts, is a part owner of U.S. Vision. He withdrew the bill to avoid accusations of impropriety, but soon after, A-3364 came into being.

Contact Lens Recall

CIBA Vision is conducting a voluntary recall of all Glitter Eyes contact lenses. Layers of the lens can partially delaminate, causing the pigments encapsulated within the lens to smear or smudge. According to the company, it hasn't received any reports of adverse events with the lenses and the likelihood of such an event is low. It's closely examining the Glitter Eyes development and manufacturing process to address the issue.

CIBA is providing specific instructions regarding the return of Glitter Eyes lenses to eyecare practitioners and distributors that have received the lenses.

Fortune Names Top Companies to Work For

Fortune magazine released its 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which includes a handful of vision-related companies this year. Among them are: Pfizer (21), Merck (31), Alcon Laboratories (40), LensCrafters (63), Medtronic (65) and Welch Allyn (98). Using the Great Place to Work Trust Index, Fortune considered more than 1,000 firms and surveyed a random sample of 40,713 employees from 269 candidate companies. It also asked each of the companies to describe its HR policies and workplace culture and scored the employee responses as two-thirds of the total with the remainder being Fortune's evaluation of each company's benefits and practices.

AOA Encourages Registration for OCC

The American Optometric Association (AOA) announced the summer launch of Optometry's Career Center (OCC), a fully automated, online career-matching service and resource center sponsored by Marchon Eyewear, Inc., and Vistakon. Members can register for free; nonmembers can participate for a yet undetermined fee. For more information and registration materials visit or call (800) 365-2219, ext. 107.



l Nidek merges sister companies. Nidek Co., Ltd.'s two wholly-owned subsidiary companies, Nidek Technologies, Inc. and Nidek, Inc., merged together on April 1, 2003. The company intends the merger to harmonize and solidify Nidek's strong and growing presence in the United States vision care and ophthalmic industry.

l SOLA acquisitions. SOLA International, Inc. has purchased Siouxland Ophthalmic, Inc.; Kansas City Opthalmics, LLC; and Copeland Optical, Inc.


l Welch Allyn names new marketing manager. Jay Mangicaro was recently named marketing manager of integrated workstations for Welch Allyn, Inc. In his new position, Mangicaro will market software interfaces that enable the integration of digitized data forms captured from Welch Allyn medical devices into electronic medical records.

l All About Vision adds to advisory board. AllAboutVision. com has appointed David Castellano, M.D., to its Editorial Advisory Board.

l 2003 Heart of America award recipients named. The Heart of America Contact Lens Society named David A. Cockrell, O.D., as its 2003 Optometrist of the Year. It also named Bud Bargman as its 2003 Vision Service Award winner.


l ICO alumnus gives contribution. Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) received a $30,000 contribution from 1977 alumnus Dr. Irwin Azman. The gift initiates the Azman Scholarship for Excellence in Contact Lens/Private Practice, providing financial support to the college's third-year optometric students who want to enter private practice with an emphasis on contact lenses.


Optometric Management, Issue: May 2003