Article Date: 7/1/2005

Dear colleague,

I'm proud to introduce you to the Contact Lens Practice Upgrade, sponsored by Vistakon. This innovative project began with a roundtable discussion — recapped in this supplement — that included Kelly K. Kerksick, O.D., Millicent L. Knight, O.D., Mary Jo Stiegemeier, O.D., F.A.A.O., and me. In this discussion, we focused on identifying the variables we believe most often separate the average from the advanced contact lens practice.

Over the next several months, we'll put this information into action in two practices — one established and one relatively new. To begin, several contact lens and practice management advisors and I will assess the performance of each practice and then visit these practices for baseline evaluations. Next, we'll develop a plan for enhancing the performance of each practice and present our recommendations to the practitioner and his or her staff in an office meeting format.

As a reader of Optometric Management, you'll be able to follow the progress of our initial site visit, the evaluation process, the presentation to the doctor and staff, as well as the monitoring and follow-up portion of this project. Our hope is that you, too, will be able to apply our strategies and recommendations to your contact lens practice and, in doing so, experience the same increase in patient satisfaction, profitability and professional satisfaction we hope these practitioners will achieve.

Vistakon as well as those of us here at Optometric Management and the contact lens and practice management advisors invite your observations and suggestions as the Contact Lens Practice Upgrade progresses.

Kindest regards,

Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Chief Optometric Editor
Optometric Management

Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Dr. West is the chief optometric editor of Optometric Management magazine. He is an alumnus of the Southern College of Optometry, class of 1975. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a member of the American Academy of Professional Coders, a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA), the Contact Lens Section of the AOA and the Tennessee Optometric Association.

Dr. West founded the Primary Eyecare Group in Brentwood, Tenn., in 1975. He was the managing partner of this group practice until 2002. Currently, Dr. West provides consulting services to private practitioners, as well as to manufacturers of contact lenses, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Dr. West specializes in teaching leadership and communication skills as a foundation for enhanced practice performance.

In addition to his experience in private practice, Dr. West lectures nationally and internationally on contact lenses, marketing, communication skills and other practice-related topics. He has written and published numerous articles and book chapters. Dr. West has written, produced and directed several patient information and practitioner education videos. He is an adjunct professor for the Southern College of Optometry. He has served as a consultant and clinical investigator to most of the major contact lens and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the eyecare industry.

Kelly K. Kerksick, O.D.

Dr. Kerksick is a 2002 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry. Following graduation, she opened a private practice in rural southern Illinois, where she sees patients of all ages from infants to nursing home residents. Dr. Kerksick enjoys the challenge of specialty contact lens patients and has created a niche for her practice in this area.

Dr. Kerksick is an active member of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) and the IOA's Political Action Committee. She's a member of the Southwestern Local Society for Optometrists and the American Optometric Association; and she participates in the AOA's new InfantSEE program. Dr. Kerksick is a charter member of Women of Vision.

Millicent L. Knight, O.D.

Dr. Knight began her optometric career 18 years ago in a hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry comanagement practice. She provides comprehensive eye care, specializing in cosmetic and therapeutic contact lens designs. She is an active member of the American, National and Illinois Optometric Associations, and has served as a National Board Examiner and a member of the Illinois Licensing and Disciplinary Board of Optometry.

Dr. Knight also has served on the National Advisory Council of the National Eye Institute, reviewing eye-related research grants. She consults and writes on contact lenses and practice management issues. She serves on the Board of Trustees of both the Illinois College of Optometry and the Augustana College, her alma maters.

Mary Jo Stiegemeier, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Dr. Stiegemeier is in private practice in Beachwood and Hudson, Ohio, where she specializes in contact lens fitting. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry, where she earned the Bausch & Lomb Contact Lens Award. Dr. Stiegemeier was also presented with a Distinguished Teaching Award from Mt. Sinai Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, where she taught contact lens fitting to ophthalmology residents.

Dr. Stiegemeier is an adjunct assistant clinical professor for Pacific University College of Optometry, a Diplomate in Cornea and Contact Lens, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the AOA Contact Lens Section. Her offices serve as mentoring sites for optometry students who express an interest in contact lenses. Dr. Stiegemeier has lectured extensively on contact lenses and has done numerous clinical studies and premarket tests, as well as contact lens research. She has written or co-written several scientific publications and abstracts.


Optometric Management, Issue: July 2005