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Who Are Young Ophthalmologists? 2011 Survey Results

Young ophthalmologists (U.S. members in practice five years or less) are a group of specific interest to the Academy. These doctors are just establishing themselves and may have needs that differ from the majority of members.

Trend data from the biennial Academy membership survey1 show that the percentage of young ophthalmologists who are satisfied with the Academy, their practice situation and their career is slightly higher than the rest of Academy members. Almost 7 in 10 young ophthalmologists are extremely or very satisfied with how the Academy meets their specific needs. “The pace of change in the health care arena is overwhelming, and I’m sure the future feels uncertain,” said Academy Secretary for Member Services Tamara R. Fountain, MD. “Our cohort of YOs remains an enthusiastic and satisfied bunch, and I think this bodes well for the health of the profession.”

Young ophthalmologists are also more diverse: While women make up only 24 percent of the general U.S. Academy membership, they are over 40 percent of young ophthalmologists. Further, over 40 percent of young ophthalmologists self-identify as non-Caucasian, whereas only a quarter of the general membership does. In particular, they are more than twice as likely to be of East or South Asian descent.

Ophthalmologists who are newer to practice are also more likely to subspecialize and to practice in a group setting. Only 6 percent of young ophthalmologists are in solo practice versus 28 percent of U.S. members. Also, 60 percent of the younger members are subspecialists compared with 40 percent of the general U.S. membership. Not surprisingly, young ophthalmologists see fewer patients, have lower average incomes and are more likely to want to increase their patient load. To those young ophthalmologists who want to be busier, Dr. Fountain offers reassurance: “Just wait. If workforce trends continue, your waiting rooms will be very busy before long.”

1 This survey was sent to 7,000 U.S. practicing members, 960 of whom responded. The sampling error is ± 3.2 percent. Separate surveys were sent to U.S. members in training, international members and international members in training.



Congratulations to the Eye-Wiki Resident Contest Winners

Four winning submissions were chosen from a pool of 23 resident-written EyeWiki contest entries. The resident-authors of these outstanding articles were rewarded with all-expenses-paid trips to this month’s Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C.:

  • Ladan Espandar, MD, Tulane University: “Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lens Fitting”
  • Yoshihiro Yonekawa, MD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary: “Pseudophakic Cystoid Macular Edema”
  • Scott K. Schultz, MD, Vanderbilt Eye Institute: “Axenfeld Rieger Syndrome”
  • Michael A. Klufas, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College: “Intraarterial Chemotherapy for Retinoblastoma”

All residents in North America are invited to submit articles for a chance to win a trip to the 2013 Mid-Year Forum.

To read the winning articles and for more information about how to enter next year’s contest, visit www.aao.org/eyewiki.


April Is Rosacea Awareness Month

The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to alert the public to the warning signs of this chronic and often life-disrupting facial disorder now estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans.

During Rosacea Awareness Month, the NRS will conduct public education activities to reach the millions of rosacea sufferers who may not realize they have a medical condition that can be treated. Educational materials are also available to health professionals for their patients through the NRS website at www.rosacea.org.

Throughout the year, individuals may call the National Rosacea Society’s toll-free telephone number at 1-888-NO-BLUSH for information. The NRS also offers Rosacea Review, a newsletter for rosacea patients; a “Rosacea Diary” to help patients identify and avoid lifestyle factors that may trigger flare-ups in their individual cases; and other booklets to help patients understand and manage their condition.

Information can also be obtained by writing the National Rosacea Society, 196 James St., Barrington, IL 60010, or by sending an e-mail to rosaceas@aol.com.


ONE SPOTLIGHT: Check Out Latest Grand Rounds Case. In “Recurrent Ocular Inflammation in a Monocular Patient,” a patient with a two-year history of decreased vision and floaters in her left eye presented with profound vision loss during the six weeks prior to examination.

This interactive online case allows users to diagnose the condition based on the symptoms and signs and to recommend an appropriate strategy for treatment. It was developed by the Academy based on a real-life scenario submitted by Victor T. Copeland, MD, and Ching J. Chen, MD, from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

To find this and other interactive cases, visit www.aao.org/one and click on “Academy Grand Rounds” under “Educational Content.”



Expand Your Lifelong Learning

The Practicing Ophthalmologists Learning System (#022011V) is an online lifelong learning program that provides a review of topics across all practice emphasis areas (PEAs) in ophthalmology. It is designed to be a preparation resource for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) exams.

The Academy recently added more than 200 new study questions to the thousands originally offered in this program. If you have already purchased the system, these new topics and revisions were automatically added for you.

The Practicing Ophthalmologists Learning System costs $495 for members and $645 for nonmembers.

For more information, visit www.aao.org/learningsystem.



International Members: Renew Passports and Apply for Visas

Now is the time to make sure your travel documents are up to date for this year’s Joint Meeting (Nov. 10 to 13) and Subspecialty Day (Nov. 9 and 10) in Chicago. Visa applications should be made no later than 90 days prior to travel.

Thirty-six countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers from these countries do not need visas, but they do need to have machine-readable passports and Electronic System for Travel Authorization approval. Additional passport requirements may apply.

For more information on travel and other related Joint Meeting topics, visit www.aao.org/2012.


Hotel Meeting Space Requests

Would your alumni or subspecialty group like to meet during the Joint Meeting in Chicago?

If so, please note that hotel meeting space requests are now being accepted. Assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

For details, including hotel options, meeting times and processing fees, visit www.aao.org/meeting_space.


Academy Exhibits in April

During April, the Academy will be exhibiting at two meetings: the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology 2012 Congress, April 13 to 16 in Busan, Korea (Booth #111), and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery 2012 Symposium and Congress, April 21 to 24 in Chicago (Booth #2007).

Stop by to check out the latest Academy products or get answers to your membership questions.



Puerto Rican Society of Ophthalmology Leads in Public Service Outreach

The Puerto Rican Society of Ophthalmology (PRSO) has been recognized in the past by the Academy for its many public service efforts, such as the development of the publication La Salud de tus Ojos (The Health of Your Eyes). This February, PRSO Community Service Committee Chairwoman Odalys Mendoza, MD, led a group of society members in providing screenings and educational materials as part of a weeklong health fair at Puerto Rico’s largest shopping mall, Plaza las Américas. PRSO collaborated on this effort with the Puerto Rico Lions Club and the Puerto Rico Society for Eye Care. “Public service is one of our preeminent functions, and we make every effort to show leadership in this area,” noted PRSO President-Elect Elena M. Jimenez, MD (above, right, with Academy President Ruth D. Williams, MD).

Prior to the February event, PRSO had been active in many other service commitments. The society endorsed and supported the Puerto Rico chapter of the Ronald McDonald House Charity in its first ever pre-K screening effort, where residents and doctors joined ENT specialists to screen for both vision and hearing loss. In addition, PRSO members took to local television stations and newspapers to promote January as Eye Care Month. “Other state ophthalmology societies around the country should take notes from PRSO regarding their excellent efforts in public service,” said Academy Secretary for State Affairs Daniel J. Briceland, MD.

The society’s public service emphasis will continue well into the future, as it is currently working on a monthly television segment dedicated to eye care.



D.C. REPORT: Battling Optometry’s Push for Surgery

Optometry will make an unprecedented push for surgical authority this year as it seeks to expand surgical scope in up to 20 states. Fighting back is especially important considering that expansion of optometric surgery privileges in only one state has the potential for a ripple effect across the country.

Last year, thanks to the Surgical Scope Fund, the Academy was able to prevent scope-of-practice legislation from spreading. While optometry demonstrated its prowess in campaigning for surgery privileges in Kentucky last year—ushering optometric surgery legislation through the Capitol in 13 days—ophthalmology and patients won eight significant surgical battles in 2011. Ophthalmology was successful in protecting patients in Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Patients also won a major victory in Oklahoma as organized medicine helped push through legislation that provides an important check on independent board action by ensuring that proposed scope regulations are vetted and approved by the legislature before they can be implemented.

Surgery by surgeons. As medical doctors, ophthalmologists take an oath to put the patients’ needs above all else. Ophthalmology’s success in protecting patients hinges on the education of state lawmakers about the dangers of allowing non–medically trained practitioners to perform surgery. The education effort promotes patients receiving the right care, from the right doctor, at the right time. Patients have spoken out that they want surgery by surgeons.

The Academy uses resources provided by the Surgical Scope Fund to inform legislators about the major differences between ophthalmologists and optometrists in terms of education and in clinical and surgical training. This fund is ophthalmology’s primary tool for protecting patients by fighting optometric surgical scope expansion throughout the United States. It is used for educational activities, the development of political strategies, lobbying, and public and media outreach. Since the Surgical Scope Fund’s inception in 1999, ophthalmology has protected patient safety by successfully derailing numerous optometric surgical initiatives in 26 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Your financial support of the Surgical Scope Fund is instrumental in providing the advocacy resources needed to fight patient-threatening surgical scope expansion by nonphysicians. You can contribute online and check your contribution history at www.aao.org/ssf.

Donations are not used for funding political candidates or their PACs; your support is confidential and is not subject to Federal Election Commission reporting requirements. Corporate and individual contributions are accepted but are not tax deductible as a charitable or business expense.

Ophthalmology’s success in protecting patients hinges on the education of state lawmakers about the dangers of allowing non–medically trained practitioners to perform surgery.


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