Article Date: 4/1/2004

Wise To The World
Students Gain Real-world Experience
Vistakon opens the doors of its new state-of-the-art educational facility.

HOWARD B. PURCELL, O.D., F.A.A.O., DIRECTOR, PHIL KEEFER, PRESIDENT OF VISTAKON AMERICAS, AND DON CASEY, GROUP PRESIDENT, VISTAKON GLOBAL FRANCHISE AND AMERICAS, OPEN THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE OF JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION CARE INC.

Getting ready to make that important transition from optometry student to eyecare professional? Wish you had a little more time for some hands-on experience with a mentor standing at your side? Your wish has been granted.

Vistakon, a Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., recently opened The Vision Care Institute, a 7,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Jacksonville, Fla., dedicated to educating budding and new O.D.s.

In its first year, The Institute will work with the schools and colleges of optometry to give fourth-year students hands-on, patient-focused experiences using the latest professional products, particularly Acuvue brand contact lenses. The emphasis this year is on specialty contact lenses. At The Institute, participants will hone their technical skills and gain experience in decision-making, problem-solving and eliciting feedback from patients during and after examinations.

"Students have a lot to learn -- and 4 years isn't a lot of time to do it. Putting participants in real-world scenarios and guiding them through the technical and communication skills process will benefit new eyecare professionals as well as their patients," says Institute Director Howard B. Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O.


"VISTAKON IS COMMITTED TO DEVELOPING THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE INTO A KEY EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE FOR THE VISION CARE COMMUNITY."

--HOWARD PURCELL, O.D., F.A.A.O.

"Although the primary focus this year is teaching fourth-year optometry students, Vistakon is committed to developing The Vision Care Institute into a key educational resource for the vision care community," Dr. Purcell says.

The Institute officially opened in March 2004, welcoming its first class of 24 students from Nova Southeastern University. Over 3 fast-paced days, the students attended classes and interactive labs, toured the Vistakon manufacturing facilities and met with leading optometric educators and Vistakon leadership. Faculty for the first session included: Steve Cohen, O.D., Ann Hoscheit, O.D., Janet Mint, O.D. and Jacqueline Paige Pantall.

Vistakon estimates that more than half of the approximately 1,100 fourth-year optometry students will attend The Institute in 2004. The company covers all travel and hotel expenses for attendees.

"It's an honor for me to have the opportunity to lead The Vision Care Institute's efforts," Dr. Purcell says.

For information, call (800) 874-6690 or visit www.thevisioncareinstitute.com.

 

Equipping for Comanagement

PHOTO COURTESY PASCO EYE INSTITUTE AND DR. LINDA PAEY.

The practice where I'm employed is a secondary ophthalmic care center specializing in optometric referrals. I know firsthand how new refractive choices have changed the role of referring doctors. It's so important to stay current, whether you're working directly with a refractive surgeon or simply providing information to help patients make informed decisions.

A common misconception about a referral practice is that the office must be equipped with the most current -- and often costly -- technology. A wavefront aberrometer may be able to identify higher-order aberrations, but this expensive machine ($55,000) isn't practical or necessary for a referring O.D.


PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. LANCE MALOTT AND DR. JERRY LAMBERSON OF LAMBERSON AND MALOTT EYE CENTER, NEW CASTLE, IND.

A pachymeter ($2,500 to $5,000) and a topographer ($7,500 to $20,000), however, can provide the versatility any office needs. Not only will a pachymeter help you assess LASIK candidates, but used as an adjunct to tonometry and optic nerve head evaluation, it also will help you evaluate glaucoma suspects. You'll use the topographer to identify corneal pathology and fine-tune your contact lens fittings.

Educating your staff, your patients and yourself about the latest refractive surgery options will give your patients confidence in your expertise. Support your knowledge base with some simple tools to bolster your status in their minds.

---Marc Bloomenstein, O.D., F.A.A.O. Phoenix New England College of Optometry'94

 

Help for First-time Practice Buyers

Are you in the market for a private practice or considering buying into a partnership but not sure how you'll make the down payment. If you're looking to practice in California, Colorado or Ohio, Vision Service Plan (VSP) may be able to help.

Last year, VSP launched a $5 million pilot program in California to help private-practice eyecare practitioners become business owners. The high level of interest in California prompted the company to expand the program into Ohio and Colorado.

The program is designed to help new practitioners who may lack the equity needed to qualify for many small-business loans. It is financed by VSP and administered by Vision One Credit Union. For details, call (800) 327-2628 or visit www.visionone.org.

 

CL SAVVY

Clarifying Legislation

According to the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, you must:

  • Release the contact lens prescription immediately upon completion of a fitting, even if your patient doesn't ask for it at that time.
  • Provide a 1-year minimum expiration date for contact lens prescriptions. Expiration periods may be longer, depending on individual state regulations.
  • Respond to an outside retailer's request for prescription verification within 8 business hours of receipt. If you don't respond within this time, the retailer will dispense the patient's contact lenses, taking your silence as "passive verification."

Failing to follow these requirements can result in prosecution by the Federal Trade Commission, and fines as high as $11,000. For the full text of the Act, go to www.regulation.gov/fredpdfs/04-02235.pdf.

 

 

 


Optometric Management, Issue: April 2004