Article Date: 8/1/2003

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Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

Children's Vision Care Creates Buzz

U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) recently introduced the Children's Vision Improvement and Learning Readiness Act of 2003 (HR 2173). If fully enacted, HR 2173 would provide states with funding each year to increase the number of children that receive a comprehensive eye exam.

Vision Council of America (VCA) is urging O.D.s to ask their representatives in Washington to cosponsor HR 2173. At press time, 10 members of Congress had already agreed to cosponsor the Act. Also, according to VCA, 22 parents of children who have amblyopia sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging legislators to cosponsor this bill.

In related news, the American Optometric Association's (AOA's) House of Delegates recently passed a resolution that addresses the need for the early detection and treatment of children's vision problems by placing "added emphasis on the care of infants" and resolves "that the AOA encourages all doctors of optometry, where permitted by law and regulation, to participate in InfantSEE by providing a comprehensive infant eye assessment within the first year of life as a no cost, charitable public health service." This resolution is expected to become effective in September when the AOA Judicial Council rules on it.

The OM Quick Poll:
CL Rx Release Policy

A recent survey conducted on Optometric Management's Web site asked, "Which of the following best describes your contact lens prescription release policy? (Assume the fitting process is complete and the prescription is current." More than half of respondents (55%) said they would release a prescription to a patient if he requested it. Log on to to voice your opinion on and to view past survey results.

Consumers Aren't Keeping Annual Eye Care Schedule

According to a recent Vistakon survey of 164 vision-corrected consumers aged 18 to 59, only 53% have eye exams at least once each year. Of the people polled who typically don't go for annual eye exams, 27% think that annual exams aren't always necessary while 20% of people skip exams because of financial reasons or lack of insurance.

On the bright side, nearly 90% of those polled said that they recognize that eyecare practitioners can detect serious health problems by performing a thorough examination. But only 24% said they've sought out eye-related information on their own -- primarily through the Internet (46%) or medical publications (36%).

Study Links Cataracts and Death Among Older Adults

In a cohort study, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham compared the mortality experience of patients who have cataract and elect surgery, patients who have cataract but don't elect surgery and patients who don't have cataract independent of potentially confounding risk factors. Of the 384 study subjects, 286 had cataract, of whom 200 elected to have cataract surgery.

Patients who had cataract and did or did not elect surgery had significantly higher mortality compared to those who didn't have cataract. After adjustment for age, gender, race, education, chronic medical conditions, smoking drinking, depression and cognitive status, the no-surgery cataract group had an elevated mortality rate compared to the no-cataract group.

Revisions to 2003 Buying Guide

The listing for the Carl Zeiss Meditec Stratus OCT was missing from the retinal scanners section of the "Diagnostic Instrument Buying Guide," which was distributed with the July issue of Optometric Management. Following is the listing as it should have appeared.

Company: Carl Zeiss Meditec
Model: Stratus OCT
Price/Fee: $59,950
Warranty: 1 year
Type of Laser: Super-luminescent diode 820 nm
Field of View: 26° vertical x 20.5° horizontal
Area of Retina Analyzed: RNFL, retinal layers, posterior pole, peripapillary and optic nerve head
Printout Detail: Objective measurements of retinal and RNFL thickness; retinal volume; normative data comparison for RNFL thickness; macular thickness; optic nerve head printout with disk, cup and rim measurements and ratios.
Additional Features: Gives direct cross-sectional images of retinal layers with axial resolution of ¾ 10 µm and transverse resolution of 20 µm. Anatomical representation of retinal layer defects. Objectively measures retinal thickness and volume and RNFL thickness. Includes an RNFL thickness normative database acquired using an FDA-approved protocol.

The following listing corrects the information in the "Buying Guide" for Laser Diagnostic Technologies GDx VCC :

Company: Laser Diagnostic Technologies
Model: GDx VCC (Variable Corneal Compensator)
Price: $38,950
Warranty: 1 year
Type of Laser: Scanning Laser Polarimeter
Field of View: 20° x 20°
Area of Retina Analyzed: Peripapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer
Printout Detail: Simplified parameters. Deviation from normal and serial analysis.
Additional Features: VCC isolates RNFL, < 4 m reproducibility and 802 eye database provides superior sensitivity and specificity. Ease of use allows one-minute test times.


Optometric Management, Issue: August 2003