EyeNet Magazine

Academy Notebook
• What’s Happening
• Members at Large
• Ophthalmology World News
• Washington Report

What’s Happening

This Year’s Laureate

Born the son of a baker and showing early prowess as a second baseman, Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD, became a world authority in the field of ophthalmic pathology. His many contributions to the profession have earned him a spot in ophthalmology’s own Cooperstown as a Laureate.

After graduating from medical school in 1945, Dr. Zimmerman immediately joined the U.S. Army. He trained as a general pathologist and, in 1954, transferred to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Under his leadership, AFIP became a training ground for a generation of ophthalmic pathologists who established labs of their own throughout the United States and overseas.

During his long career, Dr. Zimmerman has always been ready to challenge existing concepts. This, together with his vigorous curiosity, has resulted in hundreds of original scientific contributions to the profession. His lectures, like his published work, have always been highly organized, and he has frequently been invited to present named lectures at association meetings across the globe.

He is recognized as a brilliant teacher and a world authority in ophthalmic pathology.

Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD

The Laureate Recognition Award honors physicians who have made the most significant contributions to the science of ophthalmology leading to the prevention of blindness and restoration of sight worldwide.

Lorenz E. Zimmerman


Suggest a Nominee for International Blindness Prevention Award

The Academy’s International Blindness Prevention Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or restoration of sight.

You are invited to submit nominations for the 2007 award.

Selection guidelines include: sustained activity in international blindness prevention; activity that affects a significant number of people; demonstrated, personal commitment to the prevention of blindness; and proven ability to inspire others to save sight.

Nominations must be received by Nov. 1.

Send your nomination to the Academy at international@aao.org.

Sign Up for the Fourth U.S. Symposium on Ocular Epidemiology

Fifteen years ago, the Third NEI Symposium on the Epidemiology of Eye Diseases and Vision Disorders convened in Bethesda, Md. Since that time, the composition of the U.S. population has undergone dramatic changes, and new research has advanced our knowledge on many fronts.

The Fourth U.S. Symposium on Ocular Epidemiology will take place in Sarasota, Fla., from Jan. 29 to 31.

Its goals: to review progress since 1991 and, more important, to focus on future needs and methods for epidemiological research.

It will provide a forum for clinicians, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and other vision scientists to interact and explore opportunities for collaboration.

For more information, go to www.hopkinscme.net, select “Course Calendar” and then January 2007.


Free Patient Education Materials for Diabetic Eye Disease

The NEI has developed a variety of educational materials, in both English and Spanish, for diabetic eye disease.

These resources include a desktop flipchart (which includes illustrations that you can show patients and text that you can use to guide discussions), a CD-ROM (that patients can use on their own), a PowerPoint presentation, an article for your newsletter and a patient-oriented Web site.

For more information, visit www.nei.nih.gov/diabeteseducation.

Tips for the Young Ophthalmologist: Your First Day in the OR

Being the new surgeon in the operating room can be unsettling, but can be made easier if you are prepared. Kris F. Gillian, MD, suggests seven pearls that may make your “first day of school” transition a little easier:

  • Know your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with the OR, the front desk, the locker room, etc.
  • Introduce yourself to the OR team.
  • Review the new pre- and postop paperwork.
  • Familiarize yourself with the instruments—open a tray; operate the microscope.
  • Be flexible and cooperative —don’t develop an “MDeity” complex.
  • Rehearse all the surgical steps.
  • Plan ahead and be patient.

Dr. Gillian is one of nine members on this year’s Young Ophthalmologist (YO) committee. For his full article on starting out in the OR, visit the YO section of the Academy’s Web site, where you can also read Jumping Into Your First Year in Practice by Ann M. Renucci, MD.

To read more information for young ophthalmologists, visit www.aao.org/yo.

Web Page for Non-U.S. Ophthalmologists

If you are an ophthalmologist practicing outside the United States, please visit www.aao.org/international. This Web page features information and resources that may be of special interest to you.

If you have suggestions for making this page more useful to international visitors, contact the Academy at international@aao.org.

Members at Large

Scope of Practice 101: N.M. Governor Hears the Underlying Facts

If you had a chance to explain scope of practice issues to your state’s governor, what approach would you take?

Here’s what the New Mexico Ophthalmological Society did when Gov. Bill Richardson attended a fundraising event that its members had organized in Albuquerque.

  • “We presented him with an instructional DVD,” said Kristin Reidy, DO, NMOS vice-president elect. This DVD featured animations that show the invasive nature of the surgical privileges being requested by New Mexico’s optometrists, and it also explained the training requirements of an ophthalmologist.
  • “We also showed him a regional map pinpointing the location of our state’s ophthalmologists,” she said. The map clearly demonstrated that no New Mexican is more than one hour from a board certified Eye M.D.
  • “We talked to the governor about protecting patients,” said Rob F. Melendez, MD, a member of the Academy’s Young Ophthalmologist committee. “We stressed the importance of having eye surgery performed by eye surgeons.”

Dr. Reidy said, “Meeting personally with the governor was instrumental in educating him about the abundance of quality surgical eye care in New Mexico. We feel he understood our message, and we look forward to meeting with him again in the next few months.”

Osteopaths Hold 90th Annual Clinical Assembly

Academy president Harry A. Zink, MD, joined osteopaths in Orlando, Fla., last May for the 90th Annual Clinical Assembly of the American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

The Colleges presented David B. Auerbach, DO, and Arlin H. French, DO, with the 2006 Presidential Achievement Award.

The Colleges honored Philip L. Shettle, DO, by making a $10,000 contribution in his name to the Colleges’ Foundation. Dr. Shettle, who is the outgoing president of the American Osteopathic Association, also received a certificate of appreciation for his services to the Colleges. He had devoted his presidency to promoting pride in the osteopathic medical profession.


Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted has presented the 2005 Focus Award to Arpenik Avakian, MD, for her leadership in low vision treatment.

Robert Ritch, MD, has been named recipient of the Medical Society of the State of New York’s 2006 Albion O. Bernstein, MD, Award.

Oregon Health & Science University has named its next president: Joseph E. Robertson Jr., MD, MBA.

Ralph W. Stewart, MD, has been honored by the Federation of State Medical Boards with the John H. Clark Award. Furthermore, Gov. Mitch Daniels presented Dr. Stewart with a Distinguished Hoosier Award for service to the Indiana Medical Licensing Board and the state of Indiana.

The Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons presented two awards at their 2006 annual meeting. George N. Chin, MD, received the Outstanding Humanitarian Award for mission work in rural China. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Leonard B. Alenick, MD, for his decade-long contribution to the WAEPS.

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has named two future award recipients: Nicolas G. Bazan, MD, PhD, will receive the 2007 Proctor Medal, ARVO’s highest honor, and David L. Guyton, MD, will receive the 2007 Mildred Weisenfeld Award. ARVO also announced Sally S. Atherton, PhD, as its next executive vice president. She will start a five-year term in May 2007.

Who’s in the News

On July 6, Joseph Dello Russo, MD, was a guest speaker on the Martha Stewart Health Program on Sirius Satellite Radio. He answered questions about LASIK.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Barbara E. K. Klein, MD, for a June 21 article discussing the use of popular cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to reduce the risk of cataracts. “It’s an interesting observation, and we’re very excited about it,” noted Dr. Klein, “but the findings need to be reviewed again and again in a variety of settings before we can really begin to accept them.”

In Florida, the Naples Daily News interviewed Charles J. Montgomery, MD, about his work as an auxiliary deputy for the local sheriff. According to the July 15 article, he joined the force because he was looking for a physical and mental challenge that also would benefit the community.

Teaching the basics of strength training to the visually impaired should be “a global concept,” remarked Henry Trattler, MD, in a June 15 story for The Herald, a Brandenton, Fla., newspaper. Dr. Trattler added that it is critical for them to learn the correct way to strengthen the entire body so as to be more capable of self mobility.

PBS stations nationwide picked up In Our Prime, a five-part series providing health and fitness advice and profiling Baby Boomers who are finding new careers and adventures in retirement. B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD, and Martin Wand, MD, are featured in the segment about EyeCare America’s Glaucoma EyeCare Program.


Ophthalmology lost three seminal figures this summer.

  • Jerome W. Bettman Sr., MD, a leading authority in medical ethics, passed away in July, shortly after his 97th birthday. In addition to maintaining a busy private practice in comprehensive ophthalmology, he was a professor at both the University of California, San Francisco, where he had attended medical school, and Stanford University, where he had done his residency. He developed a new eye department at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and he was its chairman until 1966. In the 1970s, Dr. Bettman retired from practice in order to focus on special projects. He became keenly interested in medicolegal issues. In the early 1980s, he headed a committee that wrote the Academy’s Code of Ethics and began a process for reviewing ethics cases. His expertise was also highly valued at the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company.

    Dr. Bettman’s family has requested that any memorial donations be made to the Jerry Bettman Memorial Fund of the Pacific Vision Foundation (www.pacificvisionfoundation.org; 2395 Sacramento Street, 2nd Level, San Francisco, CA 94115).
  • Harold Francis Falls, MD, an early visionary in medical genetics, died in May at the age of 96. Dr. Falls recognized the significance of genetics early in his career. In 1941, he helped set up, and later directed, the United States’ first heredity clinic, which evolved into the University of Michigan’s Department of Human Genetics. Dr. Falls noted that many eye characteristics seemed to run in families, and his observations established the genetic basis of many eye diseases. Dr. Falls spent his entire career at the University of Michigan, receiving emeritus status when he retired in 1975. In 2003, colleagues and alumni honored Dr. Falls by establishing the Harold F. Falls Collegiate Professorship in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

    Dr. Falls’ family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Falls professorship via the W. K. Kellogg Eye Center (www.kellogg.umich.edu/giving/).
  • Govindappa Venkataswamy, MD, founder of Aravind Eye Hospital, succumbed to lung failure in July. He was 88. Guided by a philosophy that taught the spirituality of service, Dr. Venkataswamy founded the first Aravind Eye Hospital at Madurai, India, in 1976. Under his direction, it evolved from an 11-bed hospital into a system of five charitable hospitals that performs more than 250,000 operations each year. Dr. Venkataswamy pioneered a safe assembly-line approach to surgery, which is considered a model of efficiency and proficiency for the provision of health care in developing nations.

    To learn more about Dr. Venkataswamy and the hospitals that he founded, visit www.aravind.org.

Ophthalmology World News

Afghan Eye Doctors Elect New President

About 40 ophthalmologists attended the Afghanistan Eye Doctors Society’s second annual conference and elected Said Daud Noori, MD (bottom left), president of the association.

Dr. Noori had returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Prior to that, he had spent much of his career serving the Afghan refugee population in Peshawar, Pakistan. Afghanistan’s former communist regime had forced him to leave his homeland in 1989.

Two U.S. ophthalmologists—Rogers B. Pierson, MD, and Lawrence M. King Jr., MD—had been invited to talk at the AEDS conference after meeting with Ahmad Zia Aamoon, MD, during the Academy’s 2005 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Along with Richard Lewis, MD, who has served in the region for 18 years, they were the only non-Afghans at the conference. “We were overwhelmed by their hospitality,” said Dr. Pierson.

“The country has a well-trained group of ophthalmologists who wish to see their country progress. They need help in obtaining basic equipment, such as lasers and books, and they need help in teaching the subspecialties. After the conference we stayed on to teach our subspecialties.”

Volunteer Opportunities. Dr. Pierson hopes to establish a regular program of sending volunteers to Afghanistan via his foundation, Volunteer Eye Surgeons International. The focus will be on upgrading the country’s training programs.

For more information on Volunteer Eye Surgeons International, visit their Web site (www.vesi.org) or see their informational poster (#8) at this year’s Joint Meeting in Las Vegas.

For information on the International Assistance Mission, which is the program that Dr. Lewis participates in, visit www.iam-afghanistan.org and select “Eye Care.”

You can find out about additional volunteer opportunities at the Academy Foundation’s online volunteer registry, www.eyecarevolunteer.org.

Washington Report

Make Time for These Free Sessions

Optometry is on the offensive, and Medicare is continuing to cut physician fees—what does this mean for you and your practice? Find out about these and other Governmental Affairs issues by attending the following sessions.

Crisis! How to Manage the Political Crisis in Our Profession. Your participation in the political process has a direct impact on the outcome of ophthalmology’s battles over optometric scope of practice and fair reimbursement. Learn about the tools of advocacy. (Event code Spe26; Monday, Nov. 13, from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m.; Venetian, Marcello 4405.)

Pay for Performance: The Future of Physician Payment. Pay for performance (P4P) is already in play in the private sector. Speakers will explore the government’s road map for performance measurement. (Spe42; Monday, Nov. 13, 12:15 to 1:45 p.m.; Venetian, Ballroom J.)

Medicare Update 2007. With Medicare physician fees undergoing endless change, you will want to hear what the Academy’s own experts have to say about the five-year review of work values, practice expenses, sustainable growth rate formula and coding policy. (Spe13; Sunday, Nov. 12, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.; Venetian, Casanova 501.)

Surgery by Surgeons Forum. Learn how scope of practice battles are affecting your practice and patients. The program will include issues at the state level that affect all Eye M.D.s’ ability to deliver quality eye care. (Spe11; Sunday, Nov. 12, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Venetian, San Polo 3405.)

Research and Education Opportunities in Today’s VA. Representatives of AVAO and AUPO will share research and education opportunities in today’s VA. (Spe25; Monday, Nov. 13, 12:15 to 1:45 p.m.; Venetian, Titian 2202.)

A Guide to Ophthalmic Drug and Device Evaluation. Enjoy an overview of the FDA’s approval process. (Spe14; Sunday, Nov. 12, 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.; Venetian, Titian 2301B.)

OphthPAC Reception. This is open to all current OphthPAC members and congressional advocates. (Saturday, Nov. 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Venetian, Lando 4204.)

Visit the Academy Resource Center (Sands, Booth #1431) and talk to advocacy experts at the Federal Affairs and State Affairs booths. For details of who will be available, visit www.aao.org/advocacy.


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