Article Date: 3/1/2005

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Results Show Optometrists Expanded Scope of Practice

Optometrists have made important strides in the diagnosis of medical disorders and prescription writing, according to the results of the American Optometric Association (AOA) 2004 Scope of Practice Survey.

"A couple of things stand out to me," said Richard Edlow, O.D., chair of the AOA's Information and Data Committee and chief operating officer at Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore, regarding the results. "For one, optometry's involvement in the therapeutic side of eye care increased dramatically. There was a 35% increase over 2002 in the diagnosis of glaucoma and a 23% increase in the diagnosis of anterior segment disorders. This shows that optometry is expanding its practice base to include more medical eyecare. The response rate to this survey was over 30%, so we feel these numbers are statistically significant."

The top 95th percentile of respondents showed trends in prescription writing that should intrigue optometrists across the country. "The number of prescriptions written for antimicrobial drugs was 250 over a six-month period. The number for anti-inflammatories was 180, while for all respondents, the average was 44," Dr. Edlow said. Similarly, "the top 95th percentile wrote 200 prescriptions for glaucoma meds -- the average was 45.

"We see here a group of optometrists who are very proactive in treating eye disease. This 95th percentile is the benchmark. These are the doctors we should be looking at -- how to emulate their practice patterns to better serve our patients."

A look at patient demographics also showed interesting changes. "We looked at age distribution of patients and found two areas of notable increase: the 65-and-over age group, and the 10-years-and- younger group," reported Dr. Edlow. He attributed the rise in the former group to optometrists' involvement in Medicare and the treatment of eye disease. As for the rise in the 10-and-younger crowd, he thought it a result of the AOA's increased focus on children, through programs such as InfantSee.


DR. W. DAVID SULLINS, JR. (1942 - 2005)An Optometric Giant Passes

Optometric leader W. David Sullins, Jr., O.D., D.O.S., F.A.A.O., died on February 6 in Knoxville, Tenn. A graduate of the Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Sullins entered optometry in 1965 and in 1967 volunteered for service as an optometrist in the U.S. Navy and in the Marine Corp. He was the first O.D. in any service to be selected as Flag officer in the Navy, and he was the first reserve Medical Service Corps (MSC) Officer to be selected for Rear Admiral (RADM). The Navy's Association of Medical Service Corps created a RADM Sullins Award to be given to the most outstanding junior officer in the Navy MSC.

Dr. Sullins also served as president and speaker of the House of Delegates of the American Optometric Association (AOA), which awarded him the AOA Distinguished Service Award. He also received the Carel Koch Medal for inter-disciplinary activities from the American Academy of Optometry, of which he was a Fellow as well as a chairman of the ethics committee. His alma mater, SCO, where he served as an adjunct professor, awarded him the honorary degree, Doctor of Ocular Science, in 1989, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. Dr. Sullins' father, William D. Sullins, Sr., O.D., had also received SCO's Lifetime Achievement Award, making them SCO's only father and son alumni to receive that award.

SCO President Dr. William E. Cochran called Dr. Sullins "a great American, a committed colleague and a loyal alumnus."


M.D. Article Criticizes Scope-of-Practice Efforts

A recent article in the AMNews, the newspaper of the American Medical Association, reports that organized medicine is preparing to fight optometrists over plans to expand scope of practice in several states.

"A person who is not a physician ought to be able to practice within their training," said John C. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., president of the American Medical Association, in the article. "If they want to increase their scope, they should do it through education, not legislation."

The article cited optometry along with other "nonphysician practitioners" -- including psychologists, nurse anesthetists and naturopathic physicians -- who seek to expand their scopes of practice.

In response to the article, the American Optometric Association (AOA) also emphasized education. "We believe the best way to continue to provide the highest quality care is through advanced and continuing education," said AOA President, Dr. Wesley E. Pittman. "Our educational curriculum includes four years of post-graduate study focusing specifically on the eye and also annual continuing education courses to keep current on the latest advances. Thus, doctors of optometry are fully prepared and expect to continue providing the majority of all fundamental eye care in the United States, as well as diagnosing and treating eye diseases."

Regarding the AOA's involvement in scope-of-practice issues, Dr. Pittman says, "AOA optometrists will continue to evolve as necessary to provide the best possible care to patients," he said. "We do intend to continue leading the profession with advanced training, technology and techniques and to stay on the cutting edge of the industry through new research initiatives and studies."


OWA to Bestow 6th Annual Pleiades


The Optical Women's Association (OWA) announced that it will honor Mimi Friedfeld, co-owner of ClearVision Optical, with its sixth annual Pleiades award on March 11 at Vision Expo East in New York. Ms. Friedfeld began her career with ClearVision in 1968, helping her husband, company founder Fred Friedfeld, develop the family-run business from a small regional wholesaler to one of today's leading ophthalmic distribution companies. She managed the accounting and personnel departments and contributed to eyewear design. She currently holds a seat on its board of directors and has been an active member of OWA since its inception.

The Pleiades Award recognizes an individual who has shown a commitment to the mission of OWA by fostering the growth of women in the industry. The cocktail and award reception will be held at 6 p.m. in the Marchon Eyewear Showroom located at 8 West 40th Street.

CooperVision Announces VPs

In the wake of its completed acquisition of Ocular Sciences in January, CooperVision announced a new management structure for its U.S. operations. Jeff McLean, previously vice president of sales, is now president of the company's U.S. operations. He will manage all aspects of its new U.S. portfolio. Brad Jones, previously vice president of sales for Ocular Sciences, is now vice president of U.S. sales. Tom Shone is vice president of U.S. marketing; he also serves as chairman of Cooper Vision's global marketing committee.


Hall of Fame Seeks Nominees

The National Optometry Hall of Fame selection committee invites nominations for 2005's inductees. The induction ceremony will take place on October 27, at the EastWest Eye Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The members of the National Optometry Hall of Fame selection committee represent the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, the National Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry.

"Each [group] has been asked to nominate a representative from their organization who could identify and evaluate the true luminaries in our field -- people who have made a significant and long-lasting impression on the profession," explained Dr. Arol Augsburger, chair of the selection committee. "I am very pleased to be serving with such a distinguished list of colleagues."

The EastWest Eye Conference will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center from Oct. 27-Oct. 30, 2005.


National Optometry
Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 6036
Worthington, Ohio 43085
Fax (614) 781-6521

The deadline for nominations is March 10.


VCA Launches Seminar, Pavilion at Vision Expo East

The Vision Council of America's (VCA's) Low Vision Division focuses attention on low vision treatment at Vision Expo East with a new workshop and a "Low Vision Pavilion" on the show floor. The workshop, "Magnify Your Future," will take place on Saturday, March 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will include interactive panels, discussions and small group workshops as well as participation in exercises with low vision devices.

VCA says it will demonstrate the benefits of implementing low vision treatment into a practice as well as how to maximize the profitability of low vision services by understanding reimbursements and third-party services. It's appropriate for optometrists, opticians, ophthalmic technicians as well as assistants and paraoptometric professionals. At press time, the workshop is pending six hours of ABO, COPE and JCAPHO approval.

The new Low Vision Pavilion, located within the new Medical and Scientific Pavilion in the Main Exhibit Hall, offers eyecare professionals a selection of low vision equipment from 13 exhibiting companies. The Pavilion is located to the front left of the Exhibit Hall. "With an estimated 1 in 20 Americans living with low vision, we are confident that our efforts at International Vision Expo will alert more eyecare professionals to the importance of offering low vision treatment in their practices," said Ron DeLong, chair of VCA's Low Vision Division.



Study links leafy greens to cataract prevention

A recent Ohio State University study offers evidence that the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens) can help prevent the formation of cataracts. The researchers found that these antioxidants protect human eye lens cells from exposure to ultraviolet light, which is a leading cause of cataracts. More information is available in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

New AMD procedure improves quality of life

In the January issue of Ophthalmology, researchers reported on the results of a prospective, interventional, consecutive, noncomparative case series, which sought to determine the quality of life (QOL) of 50 patients after macular translocation with 360 degree peripheral retinectomy (MT360) for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A prospective study assessed QOL one year after MT360 and its relation to postoperative visual function. The researchers administered the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire and the Medical Outcomes Study 12-item short form health survey both pre-op and post-op to assess vision-related QOL and general health. According to the researchers, MT360 was associated with improvement in vision-related QOL and the amount of improvement was greatest in patients who had postoperative improvement in visual function. They saw the best postoperative vision-related QOL in patients who had better postoperative visual function, which wasn't associated with a change in patients' general health.

Program helps those suffering from AMD deal with life

Researchers reported the results of their six-month follow up of an age-related macular degeneration (AMD) self-management program consisting of health education and enhancement of problem-solving skills in improving quality of life as shown by measures of mood and function in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Two hundred and fourteen older adult volunteers (mean age = 80.8 years) who have advanced AMD were randomly assigned to a 12-hour, self-management program (n = 82), a series of 12 hours of tape-recorded health lectures (n = 66) or a waiting list (n = 66). At the six-month follow up, participants in the self-management program reported significantly less emotional distress (P = .008), better function (P = .05) and increased self-efficacy (P = .006) compared with control subjects.




l Canada okays ortho-k lens. Health Canada approved Euclid Systems' Emerald (oprifocon A) Contact Lens for overnight orthokeratology.

l 2004 Lab of the Year. Transitions Optical named Jorgenson Optical Supply the 2004 Transitions Lab of the Year. The family-owned business has supported the growth of eyecare practices in Tacoma, Wash. since 1927.


l New head at Eschenbach. Eschenbach Optik of America appointed Ken Bradley its new president. Mr. Bradley was formerly the president of the company's ophthalmic division.

l Gerber Coburn appoints new marketing director. Gerber Coburn announced that Beatriz Gutierrez is its new executive director of marketing. Ms. Gutierrez comes to the company from General Electric.

l Art Optical names associate of the year. Art Optical Contact Lenses Inc. has selected Mike Gensler as Contact Lens Production Specialist. Mr. Gensler was nominated from a pool of more than 80 asscociates.

l AR Council adds five to membership. With the addition of new members First Vision Media Group, Inc.; Harbor Optical, Inc.; Midwest Labs; Nexus Vision; and Rx Optical, the anti-reflective (AR) Council's total number of memberships rises to 81.

l Norwood EyeCare's new leader. Norwood Abbey Ltd. announced that Michael J. Crocetta, Jr., is now the president of its subsidiary, Norwood EyeCare. Mr. Crocetta will lead marketing and business development efforts for the company's Epi-keratome system for Epi-Lasik, which uses a non-sharp plastic separator to create a hinged sheet of intact epithelium from the cornea.


Transitions Launches Exhibit, Web Site and T.V. Ad

Eye Didn't Know That will appear at science centers around the country.

Transitions Optical launched an offensive to win consumers' attention last month with a traveling exhibit, Web site and television advertising campaign. The "Eye Didn't Know That!" consumer exhibit, the result of a partnership between Transitions and the Carnegie Science Center, will show at science centers throughout the United States during a 13-city tour. It showcases interactive stations that focus on topics such as the eyes and how they work, corrective lenses including photochromics and how to protect eyes from UV damage. While geared toward the middle-school age range, Transitions says that the exhibit offers information for the whole family.

A complimentary Web site,, offers an interactive demonstration of the science of vision. Consumers will find a games section and an "Eye-Q" trivia test. The Partners Center section of the site offers resources for local eyecare professionals to utilize the site to promote healthy vision in their communities, as well as free downloadable tools.

Finally, Transitions' new, 30-second television ad seeks to reinforce the company's message from the previous ad that today's families can wear the same protective eyewear that will be standard in the future. Transitions reports that the new ad is scheduled to run 176 times per week from February until September.


Optometric Management, Issue: March 2005