Leading Off

Academic Trailblazers Pass Away

Leading Off



Academic Trailblazers Pass Away

William R. Baldwin

Optometrists L. Allen Fors and William R. Baldwin died February 3 and February 14, respectively. Dr. Fors served as a Southern College of Optometry (SCO) professor from 1969 to 2011, and Dr. Baldwin served as a former dean at the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) and the Pacific University College of Optometry, president of the New England College of Optometry and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and was one of the Association’s board members.

Allen Fors

In addition to a passion for teaching, Dr. Fors worked with learning disabled children and those living in disadvantaged countries. In fact, he served as a faculty advisor to Student Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH).

In 2003, SCO awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award, and named him professor emeritus after his 2011 retirement.

“I graduated with Al, and I worked with him for 40 plus years at SCO,” explains Glen Steele, O.D., SCO professor. “He was probably one of the brightest and giving people I’ve ever known, but he was very reserved about it. He’d give you everything he had, but he would never push his talents on anyone.”

Dr. Baldwin’s fervor for academia led him to create optometry schools in Nigeria, Israel, Poland and Sri Lanka. Also, he founded The River Blindness Foundation, was selected as the first O.D. to serve on the USS Hope and received an array of awards, such as an induction into the National Optometry Hall of Fame. Further, he chaired several AOA and AAO committees. Finally, Dr. Baldwin was a member of the small group of O.D.s who met at LaGuardia Airport in 1968 and are said to have expanded the profession from solely refraction to medical eye care, says a UHCO press release.

“Bill asked me in the early ’70s to join his faculty at UHCO as a practice management instructor,” explains Irving Bennett, O.D., known as “the father of optometric practice management.” “In those days, practice and business management were no-no words for our profession. . . I have often wondered what my life would have been under Bill’s tutelage. He left his mark on optometry — it is indelible, and it is outstanding.”

Giving You the BUSINESS
The best of business on the Web:

■ To increase twitter engagement, stop “selling” your practice, and be interactive instead. Also, promote your customers’ successes, and provide timely information that relates to your practice.

– John Rampton,, Nov. 24, 2013

■ Engaging in active listening has been shown to make leaders successful. To accomplish this, be aware of all verbal and nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and tone, understand the meaning of the messages and keep track of the conversation’s points, assure those with whom you speak that you’ve “heard” them, and encourage continued communication: “That’s a great point!”

– Christine M. Riordan,, Jan. 16, 2014.

■ To create a positive work environment, which creates employee engagement and loyalty, give staff influence and control over their work, and encourage them to express their ideas and opinions.

– Peter Economy,, Feb. 5, 2014.

■ To manage your time effectively, ask yourself several times a day “Is this the best use of my time?” If the answer is “no,” prioritize tasks more important to your business.

– Yaniv Masjedi,, July 8, 2013

Bipartisan legislation introduced to focus on value vs. volume

Bill Seeks to Repeal “Old”Medicare SGR Formula

■ To end the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, Senate and House leaders have introduced the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Modernization Act of 2014.” Medicare providers are currently looking at a 24% pay cut beginning April 1.

Specifically, the bipartisan, bicameral legislation, also known as H.R. 4015, would:

▸ Improve the fee-for-service system by organizing Medicare’s existing quality programs into one value-based performance program, increasing payment accuracy and encouraging doctors to adopt proven practices. For example, the Bill would introduce doctor-created clinical care guidelines.

▸ Revoke the SGR formula and institute a 0.5% payment update for five years to transition to the value-based system.

▸ Incentivize movement to alternative payment models (APM) to spur doctors and providers to zoom in on coordination and prevention to enhance quality and reduce costs. The bill provides a 5% bonus to Medicare providers who receive at least 25% of their Medicare revenue through an APM in 2018 to 2019.

▸ Give patients access to quality and utilization data on the Physician Compare website to help them make informed care decisions, enable entities to provide analysis and underlying data to providers to improve quality and allow qualified clinical data registries to buy claims data to enhance quality and patient safety.

“…It is safe to say that some components of the bill will be appreciated, including getting rid of the old formula for establishing Medicare fees,” explains Charles Brownlow, O.D., F.A.A.O. “Other components are creative and probably more threatening to providers who appreciate good old fee for service payment. However, [everyone] must recognize that in order to sustain the high quality and broad availability of care in the U.S., all participants; patients, providers, and payers; will have to deal with some changes.”


■ The New York Police Department is testing Google Glass as a means of instantly accessing a suspect’s mug shot and arrest record and recording interactions with suspects and citizens, reports the New York Post. Currently, a “handful of people are testing it out.”

■ UCLA researchers have created a contact lens comprised of nanodiamonds and timolol-maleate (Timoptic, Merck & Co). Nanodiamonds can bind drug compounds and allow them to discharge into the body through long periods. Timoptic enters the eyes upon tear interaction. The lenses are still in development. Check out “Diamond Nanogel-Embedded Contact Lenses Mediate Lysozyme-Dependent Therapeutic Release” in the Feb. issue of ACS Nano.

Glasses Reveal Cancer Cells
Washington University School of Medicine surgeon Julie Margenthaler wore yet-to-be-named glasses, developed by fellow University professor of radiology Samuel Achilefu, Ph.D., that make cancer cells glow blue, while performing breast cancer surgery on Feb. 10. Specifically, a molecular agent that perfused cancer tissue was injected into the patient, making the cancer cells glow upon viewing with the glasses. The technology is currently in the early stages of development.


● Long-term daily multivitamin use decreased cataract risk in middle-aged and older male physicians, says a randomized trial in February’s Ophthalmology.

● Postmenopausal hormone preparations that have estrogen may aid in decreasing the risk for primary open-angle glaucoma, says January’s JAMA Ophthalmology.

● Lipid layer thickness objectively measured via interferometer was significantly thicker in normal patients vs. obstructive MGD patients, says June’s American Journal of Ophthalmology. Also, lipid layer thickness was negatively connected with upper and lower meibomian gland loss in both the normal and obstructive MGD patients.

● The sensitivity and specificity performance of a lens autofluorescence biomicroscope for type 2 diabetes was comparable to that of glucose threshold tests, says January’s Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

Vision Source Revamps Its Website

Vision Source has redesigned its website to make it compatible with all browsers, tablets and mobile devices. Also, the site now contains an improved doctor locator, an exclusive member marketplace, info regarding an array of programs and managed care initiatives, educational content via blogs and articles, job listings, patient, member and vendor testimonials and access to Vision Source gear. Visit