Article Date: 12/1/2003

Practice Pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

Hall of Fame Inducts Five O.D.s

Dr. Solan beside poster of inductees (top to bottom) Drs. Ewalt, Fatt, Mertz, Hopping and Solan

The National Optometry Hall of Fame recently recognized five men whose lifetime achievements advanced the profession of optometry. At a ceremony held in conjunction with the EastWest Eyecare Conference in Cleveland, the Hall of Fame inducted H. Ward Ewalt, O.D.; Irving Fatt, Ph.D.; Richard L. Hopping, O.D., D.O.S., DSc; George W. Mertz, O.D.; and Harold A. Solan, O.D., M.A., C.O.V.D.

Dr. Mertz guided industry scientists and contact lens practitioners towards safer wear of contact lenses overnight. His landmark publication, co-authored with fellow Hall of Fame member Brian Holden, O.D., Ph.D., OAM, described the minimum oxygen requirements of the human cornea. He served as president of the American Optometric Foundation and was appointed to the Working Group on Contact Use under Adverse Conditions/Committee on Vision of the National Research Council, National Academy of Science.

Dr. Fatt introduced the concepts of material permeability (Dk) and lens transmissibility (Dk/t) to the contact lens industry and the ophthalmic research community. Originally a chemist, he made possible the scientific evaluation and advancement of oxygen permeable and hydrophilic contact lenses with his work.

Dr. Ewalt paved the way for the recognition of optometry by the National Commission on Accrediting. He was instrumental in forming the AOA's Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. Dr. Ewalt served as the president of the AOA and as the first optometric consultant to the surgeon general of the U.S. Army.

Dr. Solan has contributed extensively to the area of visual perceptions and learning disabilities. An educator, researcher, author and clinician, he is chief emeritus of the State University of New York Learning Disabilities Clinic.

Dr. Hopping served as president of the AOA. He was dedicated to many areas of service to the profession, including his chairing of the AOA's Industrial Relations Committee and the Summit on Optometric Education conferences. He also served as the president of the Southern California College of Optometry.

For more information, visit


Don't Leave Patients in the Dark

According to a new study by the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), 40% of patients who have glaucoma didn't understand that the disease could lead to blindness, says Tom Brunner, GRF president.

"Thirty percent of the patients surveyed were told that glaucoma is serious, but if they took drops they would be fine," says Mr. Brunner. "Another 10% said that they weren't told anything about glaucoma."

The survey, which was sent to 22,000 subscribers of the foundation's GLEAMS newsletter, suggests that doctors need to improve communications with patients. For example, of the 4,300 respondents, 12% said that their eye doctors (O.D.s and M.D.s) didn't inform them of the seriousness of glaucoma and the importance of treatment.

Less than half of the respondents said that they understood the importance of keeping track of IOP readings. In addition, 17% changed eye doctors because they didn't receive a satisfactory explanation of glaucoma or glaucoma medications. Eye doctors are a primary source of glaucoma information for respondents.

Mr. Brunner says the study demonstrates that there is "a lot of room for improvement" in how doctors communicate with patients. He recommends that doctors educate patients and treat them as partners in therapy. "The more knowledgeable the patient is, the more likely he is to take medications, show up for check ups and participate in tests," he says.

The GRF provides patient education materials, available to doctors or directly to patients. For more information visit


Bausch & Lomb Celebrates 150 Years

Bausch & Lomb turned 150 years old this month and launched its year-long celebration by announcing three major initiatives.

1. The company donated $1 million to The Right to Sight, an international organization that seeks to eliminate the main causes of preventable blindness by 2020.

2. B&L proclaimed April 29, 2004 as its "Global Day of Caring." Employees around the world will participate in charitable and public service projects as a way to thank their local communities for supporting the company.

3. The Visionaries Recognition Program honors the contributions of U.S. eyecare professionals. Candidates are nominated by their peers and reviewed by an independent committee; five will be chosen in 2004 as Visionaries and will share a $150,000 donation to the vision-related charities of their choice. Nominees will be reviewed on criteria including superior patient care, volunteerism, philanthropy and scholarship.

In other news, B&L reported that the FDA accepted its New Drug Application for an anti-inflammatory/ antibiotic combination treatment. The product, a loteprednol etabonate and tobramycin ophthalmic suspension, is designed for patients with steroid-responsive inflammatory ocular conditions who have or are at risk of developing superficial bacterial ocular infections. Pending FDA review, the company anticipates introducing the drug in mid 2004.




OptiSource adds marketing director. OptiSource International hired Bradley Montague as marketing director.

Sola hires lab director. Sola appointed Michael Browning as operations director of its Sola Technologies ophthalmic prescription laboratory.


New retina meeting. The new Optometric Retina Society will hold its first annual meeting on April 16 to 18, 2004 at the Boston Harborside Hotel. For the conference program, go to

Register early for savings. Doctors who register for the second annual Contact Lens and Eyecare Symposium by Dec. 31 will receive a 20% discount.


VSP offers resource for broker community. VSP launched the Benefit Advisor Resource Center, an online resource for benefit brokers and consultants. Go to


"Where did my day go?' includes a video, facilitator's guide and workbook.

Stop, Thief!

Vistakon recently presented "Where did my day go?", a staff-training module that takes a humorous approach to educating eyecare practitioners about time management. It includes a facilitator's guide, video and workbook. The workbook features quizzes and exercises to identify clutter "culprits;" track routine tasks and the time each requires; prioritize; and reduce one's workload through consolidation.

The module also helps to identify and weed out such "time burglars" as procrastination and illegible handwriting. Vistakon includes a self-assessment at the end of the workbook.



Optometric Management, Issue: December 2003