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February 2005

Academy Notebook

What’s Happening


Meeting Matters

Washington Report

Members at Large

What’s Happening

Former President Bush: “This Call Could Save Your Sight”
It has been 20 years since the Academy’s Foundation began recruiting volunteers for EyeCare America, a program that ranks as one of U.S. ophthalmology’s proudest achievements. Hailed by President Reagan as “volunteerism at its finest,” the program has now served more than 700,000 people.

In light of this accomplishment, President George H. W. Bush has recorded public service announcements for ECA’s glaucoma and seniors programs. Last month, television stations in Atlanta, New Orleans and Orlando began broadcasting this footage. You can view these announcements online at EyeCare America’s Web
site. (Go to and select "Press Room".)

What is EyeCare America? This public service foundation uses a referral system of U.S. volunteer ophthalmologists to provide free medical eye care for those in need. EyeCare America, formerly known as the National Eye Care Project, runs programs for seniors, children and patients with glaucoma and diabetes.

Help raise EyeCare America’s visibility. EyeCare America is looking for additional high-profile contacts to help promote its programs. If you have a connection to city or state officials or celebrities who might be interested in helping to reduce avoidable blindness, please contact Allison Neves by phone, 415-561-8518, or e-mail,

How to volunteer. To enroll as a nationally recognized volunteer, visit and click on “Volunteer” or phone toll-free, at 877-887-6327. Volunteering for EyeCare America is a great way to give back to your community without having to leave your office. On average, volunteers see two referrals per year.

    Gala Raises $150K for Academy Foundation
    The Academy Foundation has announced that it raised $150,000 at its first Orbital Gala, a black-tie fundraiser. The event was attended by more than 200 people, including influential physicians, industry leaders and those committed to the educational and public service mission of the Academy Foundation. It will now take place annually during the Academy’s Annual Meeting.

    Mark your calendar: This year’s Orbital Gala will take place on Sunday, Oct. 16, in Chicago.

    For highlights and pictures of the 2004 Orbital Gala, visit


      Spectacular Spectacles Exhibit Lands at San Francisco Airport
      If you’re traveling through the international terminal of San Francisco airport, look for “Spectacular Spectacles,” an exhibit that is on loan from the Academy Foundation’s Museum of Vision.

      The exhibit features more than 300 spectacles and vision aids. You don’t need a boarding pass to access this exhibit. It is located in the international terminal just outside boarding area A and will be on display through May.

      For more information on the Museum of Vision, or to view its online exhibits, go to

      Spring Wedding? Do Your Homework First
      When you buy a new software system, and the vendor pledges its ongoing support, you enter “a long-term relationship, a marriage of sorts,” said Susan E. Jones, who coauthored a book on the subject. If you rush into this relationship too quickly, broken dreams and promises may ensue. But doing the right groundwork can help to ensure a bright future for the partnership.

      Use Ms. Jones’ book to learn how to evaluate your practice’s needs, write a request for proposal, find reputable software vendors and more. Selecting and Implementing the Right EMR, Practice Management and Optical System for Your Practice (Product # 012169) costs $75 for members ($99 nonmembers).

      To buy this book, visit or phone 888-393-3671.

      Need Coding Advice? Codequest Experts Are on the Road
      2005 Codequest Ophthalmic Coding College seminars educate participants about this year’s coding updates, audits, proper claim reimbursement and more.

      These one-day training programs, sponsored with state societies, will be coming to nine states over the next two months.

      In February, seminars take place in Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.

      In March, seminars take place in Minnesota, Texas and Washington.

      Later in the year, seminars are scheduled for Alabama, Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia with more to come.

      To see when Codequest is in your state, visit www.aao. org/codequest.

      Improve Patient Flow
      Want proven strategies for analyzing and improving patient flow? Register for the upcoming AAOE-sponsored audioconference, Conquering Patient Flow Problems in Your Office. It will take place on Tuesday, March 8, from 11 a.m. to noon PST.

      The fee is $110 for members ($145 nonmembers) and your office pays only once, regardless of the number of people listening. Audiotapes, compact discs and handouts will be available for purchase after the audioconference.

      For more information, visit

      Meeting Matters

      Chicago 2005
      In 1996, when the Annual Meeting last took place in Chicago, the Academy was celebrating its 100th anniversary. Nine years later, Chicago—with its vibrant neighborhoods, magnificent architecture and renowned museums—is still a great city in which to catch up with colleagues.

      This year’s Annual Meeting will take place at McCormick Place, Oct. 15–18. It is preceded by Subspecialty Day, Oct. 14–15, which features meetings in glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, refractive surgery, retina and uveitis.

      For the latest meeting information and Chicago city information, visit and select the 2005 Annual Meeting.

      “Best of Show” Videos

      Want to be “Best of Show”? Participate in the 2005 video program and take a shot at joining these winners from last year’s Joint Meeting in New Orleans:

      Liliana Werner, MD, PhD, for Disclosing the Secrets of the Storage Room.

      Rengaraj Venkatesh, MD, for High-Volume, High-Quality, Cost-Effective Cataract Surgery for the Developing World: Sutureless ECCE.

      Carl G. Glittenberg, MD, for Creation of 3-D Computer Animations for Teaching and Demonstrating Ophthalmology.

      Rasik B. Vajpayee, MD, for Keratoglobus: Tuck It In.

      Mario A. Di Pascuale, MD, for Fornix Reconstruction by Mitomycin C and Amniotic Membrane Transplantation in Chronic Cicatricial Ocular Surface Diseases.

      Dale R. Meyer, MD, FACS, for Transconjunctival Entropion Repair.

      Rajat Agrawal, MD, for Steps in Surgical Implantation of an Intraocular Retinal Prosthetic (IRP) Artificial Vision Device in Candidate Patients.

      The Annual Meeting Program Committee selected the 2004 “Best of Show.”

      To take part in the 2005 video program, submit your abstract by April 12 and the video by April 29. Download guidelines from

      Hong Kong Meeting: Beat the Deadline for the Early Rate
      ISRS/AAO’s first international meeting, Emerging Trends in Refractive and Cataract Surgery, takes place in Hong Kong, May 14–16.

      The special early registration rate closes on Feb. 23. Registration continues through April 6.

      To register, go online at

      Washington Report

      Becoming a Physician-Advocate
      The issues at stake this year for Eye M.D.s have never been more significant to our profession. Advocacy Day [April 6–7] is your opportunity to be part of the solution,” said Peter J. Whitted, MD, chairman of the Academy’s advocacy committee.

      Join your colleagues from across America for the Academy’s Annual Advocacy Day in Washington. This offers you the opportunity to lobby your members of Congress on key Academy issues, including Medicare payment for physicians and medical liability reform.

      No prior lobbying experience is necessary to attend. Participants receive training both on the issues and on lobbying tactics—making ophthalmologists the most effective carriers of medicine’s concerns. Indeed, Eye M.D.s played a major role in winning recent Medicare payment updates for physicians and other critical issues for medicine. Many participants continue to develop relationships with their members of Congress long after Advocacy Day. “Eye M.D.s truly can have an impact. All they need to do is step up and take part in the debate,” said Randy L. Johnston, MD, the Academy’s secretary for advocacy.

      Advocacy Day coincides with the Mid-Year Forum, one of the Academy’s primary venues for leaders in ophthalmology to meet and discuss issues of importance to the specialty.

      Eye M.D.s can earn CME credits for attending Mid-Year Forum sessions as well as the Advocacy Day dinner briefing on Wednesday, April 6. There is no registration fee for attending Advocacy Day, even if you’re not staying for the Mid-Year Forum. 

      Get Involved. Contact Denna Bruce Suko at 202-737-6662 for more information about Advocacy Day. Online registration is available at until March 7. The Academy’s Washington staff will make appointments for you to meet with your members of Congress and/or their staff.

      Members at Large

      State-to-State: ALAO “Care-A-Van” Takes Eye Care on the Road
      The Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology has joined forces with the Community Care Network to eliminate health disparities in Alabama’s Black Belt region, said ALAO president, Price M. Kloess, MD.

      “We fully support CCN’s goal of promoting healthy lifestyles through education, early detection, screening and the provision of medical resources and referrals for complimentary or low-cost health care,” said Dr. Kloess. “This is a wonderful way for ALAO members to give something back to our state and those citizens who are less fortunate.”

      Established in 2000, CCN coordinates the volunteer efforts of physicians, nurses, dentists, nutritionists, therapists and other medical professionals. These volunteers, with the support of faith-based organizations, target those areas of Alabama where citizens do not have access to medical care and/or are without the financial resources to seek such assistance.

      Numerous ALAO members have volunteered for this project, which first hit the road on Jan. 7. They are using the CCN’s $500,000 “Care-A-Van.” This is a fully functional mobile medical facility, complete with two examination rooms and a medical lab. In the future, CCN and ALAO hope to add more “Care-A-Vans.” As well as providing eye care examinations, the CCN van and medical team are equipped to screen for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, HIV/ AIDS, osteoporosis, depression, sleep disorders and prostate problems.

      ALAO is working closely in this endeavor with Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), CCN founder and president Leon Davis, MD, and Alabama Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley. Furthermore, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley recently named ALAO executive director Mike Merrill to the Black Belt Commission Taskforce.

      Last fall, as a preliminary to ALAO and CCN’s on-the-road efforts, ALAO provided medical services at CCN’s Fifth Annual Health Fair Event, on the campus of Alabama State University in Montgomery. In a six-hour period, ALAO physicians Wonsuck Kim, DO, Scott Parma, MD, and G. Perrin Underwood, MD, screened more than 200 attendees, many of whom had never had any type of eye exam.

      According to Dr. Parma, “we may have saved one young man’s eyesight.”

      ALAO’s association with CCN is a by-product of ALAO’s EyeCare Alabama project, originated by ALAO vice president Dr. Kim. Last fall, the ALAO was a recipient of the Academy’s State Affairs Star Award in 2004 for its EyeCare Alabama efforts.

      Who’s in the News
      Andrew G. Iwach, MD,
      was quoted in the November issue of Real Simple magazine. He explained the proper way to instill eyedrops.

      Monica L. Monica, MD, discussed the eye safety issues that are involved with wearing old eye makeup in the November issue of Woman’s World.

      The Tampa Bay Business Journal presented J. Justin Older, MD, with one of its Health Care Heroes award on Oct. 21.

      In the Oct. 12 issue of the Northwest Herald, Michael X. Repka, MD, addressed claims that children who sit too close to a visual display terminal have an increased risk of eye problems. 

      In the Oct. 21 issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Donald Schwartz, MD, weighed in on the debate about whether vision therapy can help to increase people’s vision.

      The Academy’s Foundation has announced an addition to its board of directors: David Paton, MD.

      The board of regents at the University of Texas plans to rename the department of ophthalmology at the UT Health Science Center in Houston. It will be called the Richard S. Ruiz, MD, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science in honor of its longtime chairman. The new name will go into effect when Dr. Ruiz retires from the UT Health Science Center. “This is a great honor, and I am very humbled,” said Dr. Ruiz. “But the name change won’t happen anytime soon.”

      Richard J. Fugo, MD, is the new senior medical editor at the Annals of Ophthalmology.

      Eye M.D.s will be well-represented among the award-winners at this summer’s meeting of the Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association. David Paton, MD, and Stephen J. Ryan Jr., MD, will receive the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award, and Allan D. Jensen, MD, and William H. Jarrett II, MD, will be presented with the School of Medicine Alumni Award.