Leading Off


Leading Off


Workforce Study: Demand Will Increase for Medical Eye Care

While the demand for eyecare services will grow through 2025, don’t expect a shortage of eye doctors. According to a new workforce study, launched jointly by the American Optometric Association and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the supply of optometrists and ophthalmologists should be adequate.

The National Eye Care Workforce Study reports that with increases in productivity, optometrists say they can meet demand, which is projected to rise due to increases in the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, the aging population and insurance coverage, including the pediatric benefit (see page 38). O.D.s reported they could see an average of 19.8 additional patients per week without adding to their schedules, says the study.

“The roadmap is clear”

To best meet the growing demand for eye care, Steve Loomis, O.D., vice president of the AOA Board of Trustees, recommends that optometrists “focus on maximizing the scope of their license.”

“The roadmap for the profession is clear — the growth in demand will be in medical eye care,” he says. While O.D.s don’t perform invasive surgery, they are “well positioned to manage such conditions as diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.”

The study received funding from Alcon, Essilor, HOYA Vision Care, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Luxottica, TLC Vision and Transitions Optical. The AOA has made three documents available from the study. For more information, visit

Dave Sattler Announces Retirement from Alcon

Alcon’s Director of Professional Relations Dave Sattler is retiring from Alcon, effective Aug. 2, 2014. In this role, Mr. Sattler oversaw academic development for U.S. Vision Care, strengthening the company’s relationships with optometry schools and colleges. In addition, he worked with the Alcon Foundation, the city of Fort Worth and two optometry schools in Texas to aid in creating an eye clinic for Fort Worth’s underserved.

“I have had 28 great years with Alcon, but I am most proud of the eye care now being provided to the local underserved patient population through the establishment of the Fort Worth Community Eye Clinic,” Mr. Sattler explains. “This program brings together our local city government, optometry schools and Alcon to make a real difference in patients’ lives.”

Tom Duchardt will head academic development initiatives for Alcon U.S. Vision Care upon Mr. Sattler’s retirement.

Giving You the BUSINESS

■ If you’re having difficulty processing the way a staff member responds to you, address the staffer directly by saying, “When you answer me, it makes me feel as if you’re upset with what I’m asking. Is this the case, or is it my misunderstanding?”

— Gwen Moran,, March 10, 2014

■ To improve job performance, take time to reflect (i.e., the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract and articulate the key lessons taught by experience), as doing so enables you to improve upon performance next time.

— Giada Di Stefano, Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano and Bradley Staats,, April 11, 2014

■ To re-energize your staff, take a field trip to a place that invites play among staff. A caveat: Make sure all staff members can participate in whatever activity you choose.

— Peter Economy,, March 5, 2014

■ To make a good hire, be clear about your desire regarding a candidate, do your due diligence in evaluating the candidate (background checks, etc.), consider a “try-out” term, offer fair pay, and ask your employees for their input.

— Karen E. Klein,, May 2, 2014

The Top/Bottom Three Cities for Sunglass Usage


San Juan: 82%

Honolulu: 73%

Miami: 61%


Memphis: 29%

Raleigh: 26%

Norfolk: 25%

A total of 49% of the Vision Council’s Sun Protection Survey respondents say they were unaware that prolonged UV radiation exposure can accelerate cataract growth, and 46% say they wear sunwear only when it’s sunny outside, exposing their eyes to UV rays present on partially cloudy and cloudy days.



• StemCells, Inc., a cell-based therapeutics company, has announced it has transplanted its HuCNS-SC (purified human neural stem cells) into the first five patients in the final cohort of the company’s 12-patient Phase I/II geographic atrophy of AMD trial. A dose of 1 million stem cells will be transplanted into the most affected eye of each of the eight patients in this cohort.

• German and U.S. researchers successfully implanted adult human donor RPE stem cells under the retina in rabbits, indicating the method could someday be used to replace AMD-destroyed cells in humans, according to a press release issued by Germany’s Bonn University.

• A Japanese stem cell researcher discovered that squeezing or bathing mature cells in acidic conditions can make them pluripotent, or embryonic, and even more “malleable than induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and do it faster and more efficiently.” Thus far, brain, skin, lung and liver cell types in mice have been reprogrammed.

• UK researchers have created the Clinical Outcome Assessment in Surgical Trials of Limbal stem cell deficiency [COASTL] tool for grading two common types of the condition (aniridia and Stevens-Johnson syndrome) post-limbal stem cell transplant (cells derived from a deceased donor created in a lab prior to transplantation). The tool, which consists of evaluating corneal epithelial haze, superficial corneal neovascularization, corneal epithelial irregularity and corneal epithelial defect, has been shown as “a reliable method of obtaining objective outcome data for surgical trials of LSCD,” says Feb’s Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

• NeoStem, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of cellular therapies, has joined forces with Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute to sponsor research on tiny embryonic-like stem cells called VSELS, along with CD34+ cells, to compare the efficacy of each in repairing the retina in animal models.

• Advanced Cell Technology, a company that creates cellular therapies, has announced plans to start testing its embryonic stem cell-derived RPE cells on patients who have Stargardt’s disease and those who have AMD to determine whether the cells can preserve or even restore sight in these patients. Specifically, the RPE cells will be injected in these patients’ eyes.

• iPS, or reprogrammed cells, from AMD patients reveal the AMD-associated risk haplotype (T-in/del-A) hinders the RPE’s ability to protect itself from age-related oxidative stress, says Feb. 4th’s Human Molecular Genetics. As a result, “Instead of prescribing AREDS cocktails, we can now do a skin biopsy and then give antioxidants only to those who have poor SOD2 (mediated antioxidative defense) responses,” researcher, ophthalmologist and geneticist Steven Tsang told the PLOS DNA Science Blog.