It’s Ladies Night for the Contact Lens Section
At the Academy’s Annual Meeting last December, the Section on Cornea and Contact Lenses granted Diplomate status to five Fellows, all of them women: Dr. Lisa Barnhart Fox of Los Angeles, CA; Dr. Vinita Allee Henry of St. Louis, MO; Dr. Janice M. Jurkus of Chicago, IL; Dr. Jennifer L. Smythe of Forest Grove, OR; and Dr. Karen K. Yeung of Los Angeles, CA.
The Low Vision Section granted Diplomate status to Dr. Mark D. Kirstein of Allston, MA and the Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry Section granted Honorary Diplomate status to Dr. Elizabeth Caloroso of Placentia, CA and Dr. Merton Flom of Houston, TX.
American Optometric Foundation Announces Partnership
The American Optometric Foundation (AOF) has partnered with Biocompatibles Eyecare in establishing the Biocompatibles Eyecare Innovative Research Awards. Biocompatibles Eyecare is generously sponsoring this new program in an effort to expand and explore the current body of knowledge in the field of contact lenses and associated technology.
The Innovative Research Awards will be awarded to one student at each of the 17 schools and colleges of optometry in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Candidates must submit a 2500 word research paper on this current body of knowledge regarding contact lenses and its associated technology. Each award recipient will receive a $2000 cash award and an additional $5000 will be granted to the best overall research paper. If interested, please contact Christine Armstrong, AOF Director, at 800–368–6263 or email Christine@aaoptom.org.
Antitrust Lawsuit Finally Comes to Trial
The Antitrust Lawsuit against the American Optometric Association, contact lens manufacturers, and a score of individual optometrists came to trial March 19 in Federal Court in Jacksonville, Florida. The class action suit, brought by 32 state Attorneys General, alleges that the AOA, Vistakon, Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision, several optometric groups, and individual ODs conspired to restrict competition from alternative channels such as contact lens mail-order houses, pharmacies, buying clubs, and mass merchandisers. The suit asks for a judgment that orders optometrists not to tie the sale of vision services to the purchase of contact lenses, and also asks for three times the amount of damages suffered by consumers.
In February, Bausch & Lomb agreed to a $17.5 million deal to pay rebates and offer discounts to settle the above charges. Under the settlement, eligible customers would receive a benefits package worth more than $120 each, which would include coupons and rebates for products and for an eye examination. Qualified customers would include anyone living in the U.S. who purchased replacement contact lenses from Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision, or Johnson & Johnson (Vistakon) since Jan. 1, 1988. CIBA Vision recently agreed to settle similar charges and pay more than $6 million.
SCO Takes Visionet to the World
Southern College of Optometry has recently launched a unique library database called Visionet globally on the Internet and can be accessed at http://www.visionet.sco.edu. Visionet has been updated weekly since its inception in 1976 and has more than 100,000 bibliographic references of journal articles, books, slides, and videotapes located in the SCO library. The references cover approximately 380 subject areas of optometry, ophthalmology, vision science, contact lenses, eye disease, and practice management. Visionet has served as the only publicly available comprehensive index of optometric-related literature in the world and, until now, has only been available on a subscription basis through optometric educational institutions.
A Visionet search initially provides titles of requested subjects. A full record (which includes the author, title, journal name, date published, and page numbers) may be obtained by checking topics of interest and ordering them for a nominal fee. SCO President William E. Cochran, OD, FAAO, said “Having this information available via the Internet is a wonderful resource for the entire ophthalmic community. Visionet will enhance patient care and practice opportunities by providing valuable information in a relatively short period of time. The college is grateful to Vistakon, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., for making this project possible with a $50,000 educational grant.”
Medicare Allows Glaucoma Detection
President Clinton signed legislation late last year calling for the first glaucoma detection benefit under Medicare. This historic bill was part of a blindness prevention benefit and a result of a 3-year effort led by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Average FDA Approval Times Decrease
According to a study that reviewed the timing on 7 ophthalmic drug applications approved between 1997 and 1999, the average time for new ophthalmic drug approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to decrease. Only 1 drug approval occurred in 1997 and was approved in 22 months. The mean approval time in 1998 was 10.3 months and in 1999 was 8.7 months.
Sharing Experience Online
A new interactive web site focusing on non-clinical issues of interest to optometrists who have been in practice over 20 years, as well as semi-retired and retired ODs, has just been created. All ODs and optometry students are welcome to become part of the http://www.seniordoc.org community. The hope is that younger ODs and optometry students will have the opportunity to understand the concerns of senior members. This valuable insight should allow better understanding and cooperation in group practice and bridge the cultural gap between the Junior and Senior ODs.
The topics for discussion range from serious and less serious issues of concern to Senior ODs. Although clinical questions are not the focus of the site, optometric and non-optometric experts are part of the community and are available to answer questions on Clinical Practice, as well as Optometric Economics and Practice Management and participate in the dialogue. The topics are as varied as orthokeratology vs. refractive surgery vs. extended wear to ODs comparing vacation experiences in exotic places to problems involved hiring a Junior Associate.
Optos Panoramic200 Named an Innovative Product of the Year
Optos North America has announced that its Panoramic200 Non-Mydriatic Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (Panoramic200 system), featuring the Optomap exam, received the Photonics Circle of Excellence Award as 1 of the 25 most technically innovative products of 2000. The Panoramic200 system is the world’s first retinal imagine system capable of producing a single, high-resolution, ultra wide field color image of the retina without the need for pupil dilation, and the Optomap exam enables the detection and diagnosis of eye disease and retinal abnormalities.
The Photonics Circle of Excellence Award is presented annually by Photonics Spectra magazine, covering the science and industry of photonics, optics, lasers, and imaging. Optos has also received the Winners of the Web Award in Scotland for overall best use of the World Wide Web, e-commerce, and Internet applications in its industry for Panoramic200.