Optometric Education

The Journal of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Optometric Education: Volume 42 Number 1 (Fall 2016)

Industry News

Desiree Ifft

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Students Can Participate in Clinic Trip to Tanzania

Luxottica and OneSight, a global non-profit organization, are inviting optometry students to assist in providing the gift of sight for people who need it most. Students can apply to participate in a new week-long clinic in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, working under the supervision of licensed optometrists performing comprehensive eye exams and supporting a team of Luxottica volunteers in the manufacturing and dispensing of eyewear. The clinic was designed in partnership with the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) and the International Medical and Technological University in Tanzania. It will take place May 5-13, 2017, and serve more than 3,000 patients in Dar Es Salaam.

“We’re excited to welcome the AOSA and OD students to the Luxottica and OneSight families. I want to commend AOSA President Erick Henderson and the AOSA Board, who have really helped craft this experience for their fellow students,” says Dr. Jason Singh, Luxottica’s Chief Medical Officer. Commenting on the opportunity, Henderson says, “I’m excited about the partnership with OneSight and Luxottica. I know many optometry students who are passionate about helping the world see and eager to utilize their skills as future ODs by working with Luxottica doctors in this very special clinic.”

Students can apply online from Dec. 1-14, 2016, to be part of the clinic. Clinic teams will be announced in February 2017. For those selected, Luxottica will pay for the airfare, accommodations and meals associated with the clinic.

OneSight was founded in 1988. Its mission is to eradicate the global problem of 1.1 billion, 1 in 7, people not having access to vision care.

Paper Evaluates Utility of Ultra-Widefield Retinal Imaging

A paper recently published in the journal Retina explains the basic principles of ultra-widefield fundus imaging and describes its clinical utility for a variety of retinal and choroidal disorders [Nagiel A, Lalane RA, Sadda SR, Schwartz SD. Ultra-widefield fundus imaging: a review of clinical applications and future trends. Retina. 2016;36(4):660-78]. The authors of the paper conducted a systematic review of the literature using the search terms Optos, optomap, panoramic, ultra-widefield, wide-angle and ellipsoid mirror, which yielded 128 publications they deemed relevant.

Among their conclusions, the authors state that Optos ultra-widefield imaging has become an essential tool for identifying peripheral retinal and vascular pathology and is providing new insights into many disorders both in the periphery and posterior pole. While citing some “hurdles to more widespread use,” they also state that the technology “is evolving to become the standard-of-care imaging modality for many diseases” and enabling new applications in screening and telemedicine. For more information about the ultra-widefield product portfolio, visit the Optos website.

Fundus Camera/OCT Instrument Provides Automation, Versatility

With its 3D OCT-1 Maestro System, which combines a high resolution color non-mydriatic retinal camera with the latest Spectral Domain OCT technology, Topcon Medical Systems aims to set a new standard in clinical utility. Among the features of the 3D OCT-1 Maestro are a rotating touch panel, fully automated alignment, focus and capture, PinPoint Registration that indicates the location of the OCT image within the fundus image, and automated segmentation including retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), total retina, ganglion cell layer (GCL) + inner plexiform layer (IPL), and GCL + IPL + RNFL.

The 3D OCT-1 Maestro has been cleared by the FDA and is available through several U.S. Topcon distributors. For more information about the system, visit the Topcon website.

New Daily Contact Lens for Presbyopes

Now available from Alcon are Dailies Total1 Multifocal contact lenses, which are daily disposable lenses designed for people with presbyopia. The advanced features of Dailies Total1 Multifocal aim to address the specific vision needs of presbyopes, including end-of-day dryness. The optical design of the lenses is Alcon’s multifocal Precision Profile technology, which is designed to offer a smooth progression of power for seamless transitions between distant, intermediate and near vision. Alcon has also launched a rebate program to help eyecare professionals provide more of their patients with access to daily disposable contact lenses.

Also: Alcon appointed JeanMarie Davis, OD, FAAO, to the position of Director of Professional Relations & Practitioner Partnerships as part of the U.S. Vision Care Professional Affairs team.

Mills is Organization’s New CEO

Following the retirement of Mike Daley, Ashley Mills is the new CEO of The Vision Council. According to the organization, Mills brings more than 20 years of progressive trade association management, marketing and leadership experience to the position. She joined The Vision Council as Vice President of Tradeshows & Meetings in January 2016 after serving as Director of Communications for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead The Vision Council forward,” Mills said. “Thanks to Mike Daley’s careful stewardship of the association, the great work of the team of professionals who serve our membership, and the commitment and high level of engagement among our volunteer leadership, the organization is poised to be even more effective and impactful in delivering on our mission to grow the marketplace and ensure the success of our members.”

Also: The Vision Council plans to contribute $3 million to the Think About Your Eyes campaign in 2017, an increase from its 2016 contribution of $500,000, in response to the success of the campaign in educating consumers about the importance of eye exams.

Annual Student Scholarship Competition Returns

It’s time to start thinking about the 2016-2017 Walmart and Sam’s Club Health and Wellness optometry scholarship competition, Project Foresight. Project Foresight is a national student competition that highlights the vision of Walmart and Sam’s Club Health and Wellness to provide quality, affordable, accessible health care for everyone. This year’s contestants will present on how they envision the future of the Walmart/optometry partnership.

Project Foresight is open to all students at ASCO member institutions who are first- through third-year students during the 2016-2017 academic year. Via a process that begins soon, eight two-member teams are selected to compete in the final round of the contest, which will take place during Optometry’s Meeting in Washington, D.C., in June 2017. Each team selected for the final round receives a team scholarship of $1,500 and a $1,500 grant for traveling to the competition. The winner of the national contest receives a $15,000 team scholarship and traveling trophy. The runner-up receives a $5,000 team scholarship.

To request an entry form, e-mail Regional Talent Specialist Dr. Ramon Yalldo.

Actress Featured in Dry Eye Awareness Campaign

Actress Marisa Tomei has partnered with Allergan to raise awareness and help to educate consumers about chronic dry eye disease. Tomei was recently diagnosed with dry eye and hopes that by sharing her story she can help others learn more about the disease and encourage them to speak with their eye doctors.

“At first I didn’t give my dry eyes much thought, but after a while they began bothering me throughout the day, causing me to take frequent breaks from filming to reapply over-the-counter eye drops,” Tomei said. “After examining my eyes, my eye doctor told me I have a type of chronic dry eye disease.” Tomei was prescribed Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%) to improve her eyes’ natural ability to produce tears.

Patients can learn more about Tomei’s story and take a Dry Eye Quiz at Restasis.com. For every Dry Eye Quiz taken through Dec. 31, 2016, Allergan will donate $1 to Guide Dogs for the Blind (minimum donation $50,000 and maximum donation $100,000), a charitable organization that empowers the lives of the visually impaired by fostering exceptional partnerships between people, dogs and communities.

Company Opposes Deregulation of Contact Lens Industry


Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. announced its renewed and continued commitment to advocate for the doctor-patient relationship and against legislation that threatens to undermine patient health and deregulate the contact lens industry. To support its advocacy efforts, the company has discontinued its Unilateral Pricing Policy and is replacing it with new programs to ensure broad access and support the needs of patients, doctors and customers.

“The patient comes first,” said Millicent Knight OD, Vice President of Professional Affairs. “We believe that it is in the best interest of the patient to see an eye doctor on a regular basis, and we will continue to advocate state by state to protect that relationship.” Proponents of deregulation advocate for online prescribing of contact lenses and extending contact lens prescription expiration limits.

The company’s new approach includes category growth initiatives and a rewards program that allows patients to submit for savings before they leave their eye care professional’s office.

Also: As of September 2016, Johnson & Johnson had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Abbott Medical Optics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories. The acquisition is expected to include ophthalmic products in three business segments: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health.

Online CL Rebate Program Undergoes Improvements


Bausch + Lomb updated its rebate website for its portfolio of contact lenses to offer patients and eyecare professionals a more streamlined experience and timely redemptions. The newly designed program also makes it possible for patients to use a portion of their rebate to directly support Optometry Giving Sight, a global foundation dedicated to preventing blindness and impaired vision. The rebate site is designed to work seamlessly on digital devices, including smartphones and tablets. It features an intuitive scan and upload functionality that enables submission of rebate forms online or printing them for mail rebate submissions.

The updated rebate site’s launch coincides with a mail-in rebate offer. After receiving an eye exam, patients can use the mail-in rebate offer, which is valid until Dec. 31, 2016, to save up to $130 on select Bausch + Lomb contact lenses.

Specialty Lenses Added to Fitting Aid

Volk Optical integrated Bausch + Lomb Specialty Vision Products custom specialty lens designs into the Best Fit Analysis Report of its Volk Eye Check portable ophthalmic exam tool. Capable of a number of key measurements, the Volk Eye Check’s CL Mode captures and fully automates the analysis and display of ocular characteristics for contact lens fitting, saving time and increasing first-time fit rates.

The Eye Check’s CL Mode provides precise measurements to aid in contact lens fitting, including horizontal visible iris diameter, pupil diameter and sagittal depth. The Best Fit Analysis generates a patient-specific report recommending the most appropriate lenses by brand and type.

All current Volk Eye Check users will automatically have access to the newly integrated information. To learn more about the Eye Check Best Fit Analysis Report or to request a free trial, visit Volk’s website or call (800) 345-8655.

Applications Being Accepted for Best Practices Contest

CooperVision Inc. is again searching nationwide for honorees for its Best Practices initiative. Best Practices seeks to recognize U.S. eyecare professionals who have found unique ways to make their businesses thrive and can share a refreshing perspective with the entire profession. “Best Practices is about bringing to light the innovative things that eyecare practitioners do every day to grow their practices and provide the best possible care to their patients,” said Michele Andrews, OD, Director of Professional Affairs, North America.

Candidates can choose to submit their stories via written responses or video at EyeCareBestPractices.com. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 27, 2016. The 2016 Best Practices will be announced in early 2017. For more information visit the Best Practices initiative website.

Also: CooperVision Inc. is the exclusive sponsor of an e-book that is a companion to the PBS documentary “SIGHT: The Story of Vision.” The one-hour documentary, produced by Koenig Films, premiered on World Sight Day in October, but is being distributed worldwide through other partners. Visit the “SIGHT: The Story of Vision” website for more information and to download the e-book.

Donated Equipment Crucial for Mission Trip

A team from the New England College of Optometry (NECO) recently used equipment donated by Keeler Instruments during a charitable mission trip to the Stann Creek District in Southeastern Belize. Members of NECO’s Fellowship of Christian Optometrists partnered with His Servants Ministries to provide eye care in the underserved region.

Led by Lee Peplinski, OD, and Nathaniel Pelsor, OD, the team of 13 students and a support staff of three spent five days conducting exams, dispensing medications, providing protective and prescriptive eyewear, and referring patients for follow-up care. The team conducted eye exams for nearly 1,000 people.

According to team leader Jessica Hahm, “Without the Keeler Vantage Plus BIO, it would have been impossible for us to conduct dilated fundus examinations. The optics allowed us to easily obtain clear views of the periphery and posterior pole of the retina, cutting down on our exam time and allowing us to diagnose diseases and conditions with greater accuracy. Additionally, the Keeler PSL portable slit lamps allowed us to check the anterior segment of the eyes, and to assess whether or not it was safe to dilate patients. The slit lamps were crucial in helping us see the microscopic details of the cornea to get a proper diagnosis.”

Practice Excellence Scholarship Winners Announced

VSP Global and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF) announced the recipients of the 2016 Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $200,000 was distributed among the top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Two students from each school or college of optometry were selected by nomination of their individual institutions to receive the scholarships, which are funded through VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with FYi Doctors in Canada and administered through the AOF. Criteria for selecting the scholarship recipients include commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry and clinical and academic performance.

The winners:

  • Jamie Blavat and Emily Hutchins, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Brittany Foerg and Tyler Vermeer, Indiana University School of Optometry
  • Sai Ka Oscar Tsang and Dominic D’Orazio, Inter American University of Puerto School of Optometry
  • Detlef (Hans) Sleichter and Anna Liew, MCPHS School of Optometry
  • Gabrielle Smiley and Hannah Rillema, Michigan College of Optometryat Ferris State University
  • Dianne Settlage and Desiree Vanderstar, Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
  • Avani Dave and Michael Merritt, New England College of Optometry
  • Pamela Martin and Laura Langford, Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
  • Kaily Tschantz and Justin Chelette, NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry
  • Taylor McGann and Nicole Mikels, The Ohio State University College of Optometry
  • Kelsey Elrod and Paul Nefedov, Pacific University College of Optometry
  • Carly J. Grodin and Jenna Roney, Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Kirsti Ramirez and William Reid Cluff, University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry
  • Michael Tran and Emma Ly, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
  • Tyler Boone and Ben Roach, Southern College of Optometry
  • Karen Levy and Drake R. Devos, State University of New York College of Optometry
  • Ellen Prewitt and Kelly Cleary, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
  • Sloan Rajadhyksha and Annie Lee, University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry
  • Elisabeth Hottel and Michael O’Neal, University of Houston College of Optometry
  • Peter Bako and Elias Toubia, University of Missouri at St. Louis College of Optometry
  • Annie-Pier and Solange LaCroix, University of Montreal School of Optometry
  • Victoria Lomax and Karin Lypka, University of Waterloo School of  Optometry and Vision Science
  • Katherine Ha and Victoria Chan, Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry

New Product Reference Cards Available

Transitions Optical Inc. released two new Family of Brands Product Reference Cards that eyecare professionals can use as an easy reference tool when discussing Transitions lenses with patients. An English card, which also includes answers to commonly asked questions on the back, or a bilingual English/Spanish card are available. The cards feature information on the three Transitions everyday lens options: Transitions Signature VII lenses, Transitions XTRActive lenses and Transitions Vantage lenses. Additionally, the cards feature new photography and provide details on color availability and key product benefits.

Order the new cards free of charge online in the Patient Education Resources section under the My Practice tab, at the POS site, or by calling (800) 848-1506.

Device Streamlines Slit Lamp Imaging

Now available from Marco is the Ion Imaging System, an all-in-one anterior segment imaging device that combines an intra-optics beam-splitter/camera adapter with the computing and imaging power of the latest Apple technology to create a highly sophisticated “mainstream” imaging system that emphasizes image quality, simplicity and efficiency. The Ion combines all of the components (digital camera, adapter, computer, monitor, multiple cables, keyboard, mouse, etc.) of the traditional photo slit lamp into one streamlined device.

Marco says the Ion enables eye doctors to “capture, integrate and educate” with every diagnosis. It includes an app dedicated to anterior segment imaging that consists of patient demographics, pre-set photography modes for maximizing various lighting techniques for video or still images, and auto storage to the Cloud or to a local network for EMR or PACS integration. Find more information online.

$5,000 Grant Opportunity

National Vision Inc. is offering third- and fourth-year optometry students from across the United States the chance to compete for a $5,000 grand prize through 2016-2017 grant program. Applicants must write a 500-word essay or create a short video that shares their perspective on the impact of technology on the field of optometry in the past and how it will influence their future careers as optometrists.

More information about the grant program is available online. Questions regarding the program should be e-mailed to Carly Schenck. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2017.

College Utilizing Cloud-Based EHR

RevolutionEHR has partnered with Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, which now uses the company’s cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) and practice management software in its 11 community clinics and the classroom.

“RevolutionEHR’s cloud-based software is ideal for the multiple locations and clinics within the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry,” said Nathan Lighthizer, OD, FAAO, the college’s Assistant Dean of Clinical Care. “With one platform for both EHR and practice management, we can efficiently manage all clinics from any location. RevolutionEHR was also able to adapt their software to meet the needs and desires of the Oklahoma College of Optometry and our partner, Cherokee Nation.”

Instrument Combines Biomechanical and Tomographic Data

Oculus has introduced the Corvis ST, which provides both biomechanical response and corneal thickness data in one report that’s easy to read and to interpret. With a single automatically performed measurement, the instrument enables safe and efficient refractive surgery screening. The Corvis ST also calculates a biomechanically corrected IOP and allows accurate keratoconus detection based on the Corvis Biomechanical Index.

The Corvis ST is not yet available in the United States. For more information about the technology, visit the Oculus website.

Series of Papers a Resource for Independent Practices

Hoya Vision Care launched what will be a series of papers for independent practices with “Putting Laboratory Programs in Play at Your Practice,” written by Anne-Marie Lahr, OD, Director of Education for HOYA Vision Care NA, and Thomas Gosling, OD, a member of HOYA’s advisory panel. The paper is designed to help independent practices implement the tools offered by their laboratory.

According to Dr. Gosling, “As a practice owner I really appreciate the programs HOYA offers independent practices, though I do struggle with getting myself and my staff on the same page. I wanted to contribute to a practice tool that offered specific actionable advice. I think we achieved that, and it is a quick read too. From the technology perspective it is difficult to get single vision patients to understand and appreciate the value of free form single vision lens designs with premium AR. The program and this paper will help close the gap for practices as well differentiate their offerings for patients from mass retailers and the Internet.”

Practices who would like a copy of the paper and details about the Super Single Vision program it supports can contact their local HOYA Territory Sales Manager.