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Optometry and Vision Science: January 2003 - Volume 80 - Issue 1 - p 3-5
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Bailey Receives 2002 Pisart Vision Award

Ian L. Bailey, Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley, has been selected as the winner of the 2002 Lighthouse International Pisart Vision Award. Now in its 22nd year, the $25,000 award and accompanying sculpture are given annually in recognition of a noteworthy contribution to the prevention, cure, or treatment of severe vision impairment or blindness. Professor Bailey was presented with the prestigious award on September 24, 2002 at Lighthouse headquarters in New York City. The Pisart Vision Award is provided through the will of Mme. Georgette Pisart, a longtime Lighthouse volunteer.

Lighthouse International is the only vision rehabilitation agency in the world that has a research institute under its auspices, and the organization’s Pisart Vision Award is a natural “derivative” of that unique facet of its mission. The Lighthouse’s Arlene R. Gordon Institute conducts research on visual functioning and the psychosocial consequences of vision loss, disseminating its findings with professionals globally through publications, scientific conferences, and the worldwide web. Individuals are recognized with the distinction of a Pisart Vision Award for accomplishment(s) that have implications beyond his/her immediate locale. For instance, if the achievement is an invention or research finding, it must represent an extraordinary advance in the field. If the nomination is for leadership, it must demonstrate that the recipient’s example has inspired others, and continues to do so.

The supporting documentation for Professor Bailey’s nomination, submitted by Professor Anthony J. Adams of the University of California, Berkeley, states: “For over twenty-five years, Professor Bailey has led the development of knowledge and the establishment of the scientific basis for the prescribing of low vision aids. Many of his papers are classics that have become the most cited and important landmarks in our understanding of low vision and low vision care. Respected and acclaimed by his peers, Professor Bailey has created an enduring body of work that will influence how visual function is measured and how low-vision devices are evaluated and prescribed far into this new century.”

Borish Honored with Visionary Award

Indiana University (IU) and the IU Foundation honored Dr. Irvin M. Borish with the Herman B. Wells Visionary Award on October 25th, 2002. This award is given to individuals whose vision and entrepreneurial spirit have brought them to an extraordinary level of achievement in their professional endeavors and in their service to humanity.

A practitioner, a teacher, and a researcher, Dr. Borish was called the most influential optometrist of the 20th century by Review of Optometry magazine after he was voted by the journal’s readers as the Optometrist of the Century. As a young faculty member at Northern Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Borish was convinced that the future of optometry as a profession had to be based on professional university education combined with excellent basic and clinical research. Then and during his 30 years in private practice in Kokomo, Indiana, he worked tirelessly to help schools and colleges of optometry raise their educational and clinical research standards by affiliating with major universities. He served on a committee that persuaded IU and the State of Indiana to establish the IU School of Optometry. From 1953, when the school was established, until 1973, he traveled weekly to lecture at IU. He taught as a visiting or part-time faculty member at almost every college or school of optometry in the United States and Canada, and in several other countries.

Dr. Borish was a full-time professor at IU from 1973 until 1982. Soon after, he was named to the first endowed chair in an optometric institution at the University of Houston. In 1994, the faculty of the IU School of Optometry voted unanimously to name its new Center for Ophthalmic Clinical Research after him. He is the author of more than 80 articles and nine textbooks. Clinical Refraction, first published in 1944 and now titled Borish’s Clinical Refraction, is still the standard for optometry students and practitioners. He was the first optometrist voted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame, established in 1999, and he has received both of the American Optometric Association’s highest awards, among many other honors. He is the recipient of many honorary degrees and the holder of multiple patents on contact lenses.

Endowment to PCO Creates Retinal Disease Research Chair

Through a 1.25 million dollar gift, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) has recruited Dr. Alexander Dizhoor as the new Hafter Endowed Chair in Pharmacology and Professor in Pharmacology. Dr. Dizhoor and associates will research retinal cell function, concentrating on sub-cellular signaling mechanisms that may attribute significantly to retinal degeneration. PCO hopes that this research will contribute to making retinal degeneration a preventable or treatable condition.

Dr. Martin Hafter, an alumnus of PCO, is the giver of the endowment. This contribution is one of several that he has donated throughout the past several decades to help advance PCO’s research efforts. “The fight against retinal degeneration is only in its natal stages,” Dr. Hafter acknowledges. “But we must aggressively continue our research.”

Dr. Dizhoor is a well-published scientist and lecturer who earned his PhD from Moscow State University in Russia. Dr. Dizhoor comes to PCO from the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit, Michigan, and his work has been supported by the NEI. Dr. Dizhoor’s research includes his development of several mutant mouse lines that express an abnormal activator protein called GCAP. It is believed that GCAP is a significant factor in disorders that lead to blindness. “Once we understand the mechanisms that cause cell death, we might be able to affect the process and perhaps delay or reverse the situation,” said Dr. Dizhoor.

Newcomb Named Ohio Optometrist of the Year

Dr. Robert D. Newcomb of The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry received the Ohio Optometric Association’s (OOA) 2002 Drs. Warren G. and Ruth P. Morris Optometrist of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in optometry. His award was presented on November 2, 2002, at the annual EastWest Eye Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the current President of the American Academy of Optometry.

Study of Therapeutic Use of Night and Day Wins Award

A two-part study documenting the positive performance of Focus Night & Day contact lenses when worn as a bandage for therapeutic use recently received the European Contact Lens Society of Ophthalmology’s (ECLSO) 2002 Best Poster Award. Given at the ECLSO’s 32nd Congress, held September 27-29, 2002 in Bordeaux, France. The poster summarizes two studies conducted by a team of researchers from Warsaw, Poland. Based on the study results, the team recommends Focus Night & Day as a bandage lens after corneal refractive surgery and as the first choice therapeutic lens in today’s clinical ophthalmology practice.

In one study, both researchers and patients positively assessed the performance of Focus Night & Day lenses when 30 patients wore the lens as a bandage after LASEK corneal refractive surgery. In the second study, 70 patients with a variety of clinical, eye-related issues, including bullous keratopathy, dry eye syndrome, recurrent corneal erosion syndrome, and postoperative keratoepitheliopathy wore the lens for therapeutic use. Again, researchers positively evaluated the lens’ performance. Results from the post-LASEK study included good or very good lens movement in 73% of eyes, none or only moderate conjunctival hyperemia in 80% of eyes, very good to good epithelium condition after removal of the lens in 87% of eyes, good to very good comfort estimated by 97% of patients 1 day after surgery, and good to very good comfort estimated by 77% of patients over the 3 days after surgery. Results from part two of the study included pain relief, corneal protection, good to very good comfort, and decrease in conjunctival hyperemia, epithelial staining, stromal neovascularization, and edema.

Collaboration Breeds Success for Illinois Institutions

Amazing things happen in health care when practitioners combine expertise to provide well-rounded care to patients in need. Such was the thought process when Illinois Eye Institute (IEO), the clinical arm of Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), created an affiliation with the University of Chicago’s Department of Ophthalmology in 1997 to deliver integrated eye and vision care to the community. Five years later, data show that patient census at Illinois Eye Institute increased 47% and surgical cases for ophthalmologists increased 101%. Joint faculty initiatives, clinical rounds, student rotations and continuing education programs are the foundation for the synergy created between the two organizations, just 3 miles apart on the south side of Chicago. A combined doctorate program (OD/PhD) is also offered to students. Together, the two institutions are engaged in joint clinical research initiatives including research related to age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and amblyopia. They are also going through the Certificate of Need (CON) process to build an ambulatory surgery center near the IEI/ICO campus.

Study Demonstrates Role of Zeaxanthin in Eye Health

Research performed at Schepens Eye Research Institute and the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, has established that dietary zeaxanthin plays an essential role in protecting the retina of the eye from the damaging effects of light and may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). From the many carotenoids in the diet, the human retina selectively accumulates only two: zeaxanthin and lutein, and they are known as the macular pigment because their concentration in the macula is so high. Because these carotenoids absorb blue light and because they are powerful antioxidants, scientists have hypothesized that they protect the retina.

To test this hypothesized protection, the team selected Japanese quail because the retina resembles the human macula in having more cone photoreceptors than rods and in highly selective accumulation of zeaxanthin and lutein from their diet. The studies examined the effect of manipulating dietary carotenoids on light damage to retinas. C. Kathleen Dorey, PhD, principal investigator formerly with Schepens and now with R&D Consulting, and her colleagues raised quail on diets that were normal, carotenoid-deficient, or carotenoid-deficient supplemented with high doses of zeaxanthin.

In the short-term study, reported in the November 2002 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS), the team divided the carotenoid-deficient quail into two groups, and for 1 week preceding light damage, they fed one group a zeaxanthin-supplemented diet. The study established that photoprotection was strongly correlated with the concentration of zeaxanthin in the retinas of the quail. Retinas with low concentrations of zeaxanthin had suffered severe light damage, as evidenced by a very high number of apoptotic photoreceptor cells, while the group with high zeaxanthin concentrations had minimal damage.

In the long-term study, reported in the November 2002 issue of Experimental Eye Research, groups of quail were raised for 6 months on carotenoid-deficient, normal, or zeaxanthin-supplemented diets before exposure to brighter light. The results showed extensive damage to the retina in the carotenoid-deficient animals, as evidenced by large numbers of both dying photoreceptors and gaps or “ghosts” marking sites where photoreceptors had died. The group of quail with normal dietary levels of zeaxanthin showed significantly less retinal damage than did the zeaxanthin-deprived group, while the quail group receiving high levels of zeaxanthin had few ghosts in their retinas.

These experiments by Dr. Dorey’s team showed protection of both rod and cone photoreceptors. The research further demonstrated that retinas were protected by both zeaxanthin and another antioxidant, vitamin E. Damage in these experiments was clearly reduced by zeaxanthin and tocopherol, but not lutein. Further experiments would be needed to determine whether elevated lutein would offer protection.

Bill Harris Receives 2002 South Africa Gold Medal

Professor W. (Bill) F. Harris, PhD, FAAO, has received the 2002 South Africa Medal (Gold). This prestigious award recognizes the exceptional contribution to the advancement of science, on a broad front or in a specialized field, by an eminent South African scientist. The recipient traditionally delivers the annual Marloth Commemorative Lecture, and the award is made annually by the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science, which is now in its centenary year.

Dr. Harris is also the recipient of the 2002 Garland W. Clay Award, which honors persons who have published a significant paper on clinical optometry in Optometry and Vision Science. He received the award at last month’s Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry.

CIBA Files Lawsuit Against Ocular Sciences

CIBA Vision Corporation has filed a patent infringement lawsuit on behalf of Wesley Jessen Corporation, against Ocular Sciences, Inc. (OSI). The suit, which was filed in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that OSI’s Biomedics Colors contact lenses infringe 5 patents that protect CIBA’s unique color technology used in the popular FreshLook brand of contact lenses. CIBA is seeking to have the Court prohibit OSI from selling their Biomedics Colors contact lenses to protect their intellectual property rights against infringers.

Thomas E. Eichhorst Becomes ARBO Excecutive Director

Thomas E. Eichhorst of St. Louis, Missouri, has been selected as the new Executive Director of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO). ARBO represents and assists member licensing agencies in regulating the practice of optometry for the public welfare. Mr. Eichhorst joins ARBO after 37 years as legal counsel on the St. Louis staff of the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Mr. Eichhorst received his AA degree in 1957 from Harris Teachers College in St. Louis, and his BSPA (Public Administration) from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1960. He worked his way through law school as a policeman, and was awarded his JD degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 1961. Mr. Eichhorst was admitted to the Missouri Bar and later to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and also served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1961.

Mr. Eichhorst began working for the AOA as legal counsel in 1965. During his tenure at the AOA, he was awarded many honors and distinctions. In 1975, he received an Award of Appreciation from the International Association of Board Examiners in Optometry (IAB) for supporting IAB activities. Southern College of Optometry bestowed an honorary degree of Doctor of Human Letters (LHD) in 1979. He was accepted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry in 1989, and in the same year received an award from the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards for organizing legal and legislative panels at 15 national forums. During 1990, Mr. Eichhorst was certified as an association executive by the American Society of Association Executives, and also became a Life Member of the AOA-PAC.

Long-term Benefit of Visudyne Therapy for Wet AMD

Data published in the October 2002 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology show that visual outcomes remain stable during the third year of Visudyne (verteporfin) therapy in patients treated for choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50. The research was sponsored by Novartis Ophthalmics, the eye health unit of Novartis AG and QLT Inc., and is based on an open-label extension of the two pivotal Phase III clinical trials, the Treatment of AMD in Photodynamic Therapy (TAP) Investigation.

The average visual acuity of patients originally assigned to Visudyne with predominantly classic subfoveal SNC caused by AMD remained stable between the 24 and 36 month follow-up as reported in the publication. Analysis of 48 month results recently presented at the Joint Meeting of the Retina Society and Vitreous Society in San Francisco, confirmed the maintenance of vision over this longer period.

“For a chronic, often progressive disease such as the wet form of advanced AMD, evidence of longer term maintenance of vision through 3 and 4 years is very good news for both patients and physicians. We now know that by treating with Visudyne therapy today we not only are helping our patients reduce their risk of vision loss, but also that visual loss does not appear to continue indefinitely. The chance of additional vision loss appears unlikely to occur in a patient beyond 2 years after the onset of therapy,” said Dr. Neil Bressler, Chair of the Visudyne Study Advisory Group.

In the 48 month follow-up, the number of Visudyne treatments required in the ongoing trial was just over 7 with approximately one-half of the patients needing a treatment in the 4th year to maintain their vision. Furthermore, the favorable safety profile previously demonstrated with Visudyne continued throughout the 36 and 48 month analysis.

© 2003 American Academy of Optometry