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November 2007

Academy Notebook

What's Happening 

Changing Demographics: 2007 Survey Results

Who is the member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology? Every two years, the Academy sends a questionnaire to a random sample of its members to assess demographics and practice trends, as well as identify important issues. Over the new few months, EyeNet will use the 2007 survey1 to highlight major trends, issues and concerns in the ophthalmic practice. The 2007 data confirms a changing demographic of ophthalmologists.

“Our young ophthalmologists, who have been in practice five years or less, are demographically quite different from our general membership,” said Academy secretary for Membership Ruth D. Williams, MD. While 82 percent of U.S. members and fellows are Caucasian and 84 percent are male, young ophthalmologists are more diverse. Twenty-six percent of young ophthalmologists are female and nearly 40 percent identify themselves as non-Caucasian. More specifically, over 25 percent of young ophthalmologists are of Asian and/ or Indian descent, as compared with 11 percent of the general membership.

Ophthalmologists newer to practice are also more likely to use the Internet for a variety of professional purposes. “While the use of the Internet in general, and the use of the Academy Web site in particular, has increased for all ophthalmologists, it is our young ophthalmologists who are the most frequent and heaviest users,” reported Dr. Williams. Young ophthalmologists visit the Academy Web site an average of 5.1 times per month while U.S. members and fellows visit the Web site an average of 3.9 times per month. Young ophthalmologists are also more frequent users of the “Find an Eye M.D.” and “Find a Colleague” sections, and use the Web site more frequently for information about job opportunities.

1 This survey was sent to 5,975 U.S. practicing members, 925 of whom responded. The sampling error is ± 3.2 percent. Separate surveys were sent to U.S. members-in-training and international members.


2007 SURVEY RESULTS. Young ophthalmologists, or Eye M.D.s in practice five years or less, are very different from the general Academy membership not only demographically but also in terms of practice preferences. For example, young ophthalmologists are more likely to specialize (50 percent vs. 38 percent), and are far less likely to be in a solo practice (11 percent vs. 30 percent). In addition to these trends, young ophthalmologists are more likely to work in a university- or hospital-based environment (24 percent vs. 14 percent) and more likely to be involved in a private, multispecialty practice (14 percent vs. 9 percent).


Ronald E. Smith, MD, Is the New Secretary for Global Alliances

In keeping with its mission of advancing the lifelong learning and professional interests of ophthalmologists, the Academy has been seeking to make its educational resources and materials available worldwide.

To better develop and manage these program activities and services, the Academy’s board of trustees approved the creation of a secretariat for Global Alliances and has named Ronald E. Smith, MD, as secretary.

Dr. Smith is a past president of the Academy, and he headed the Academy’s Foundation until recently. His secretariat will provide the physician leadership for the staff headed by Jane Aguirre, Academy vice president of Global Alliances.

EyeNet Earns High Scores in Industry Rankings

EyeNet Magazine has earned high readership ratings again this year. In the 2007 PERQ/ HCI Focus survey, EyeNet’s Average Issue Readers ranking (the percent of ophthalmologists who read any given issue of a publication) moved from fourth place last year to third. EyeNet also maintained first place for Ad Exposures and Cover- to-Cover readers.

Among non-peer-reviewed publications, EyeNet came in first in Reader Frequency (the percent of ophthalmologists who read every issue), in a new measure called Impact on Success of Business/Practice, and in Web Site Visitors in the Past 30 Days.


Annual Business Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the annual business meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Auditorium at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

The order of business shall be:

  • Call to order
  • Report of the president
  • Report of the executive vice president
  • Election of fellows and members
  • New business
  • Announcements and notices
  • Adjournment

As stated in the bylaws of the Academy, the order of business of each annual business meeting may be amended by an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting fellows and members present and voting at the meeting.


For the Record 

Notice of Ethics Violation

At its September 2007 meeting, the Academy’s board of trustees approved the sanction of a private reprimand of an Academy member. The sanction was imposed for inadequate informed consent and inadequate preoperative evaluation given the patient’s symptoms in violation of Rule 2 of the Academy’s Code of Ethics.



Clinical Information at Your Fingertips

Advance your ability to search for and access up-to-date clinical information with the new Ophthalmic News and Education (O.N.E.) Network. This free member benefit will allow you to access a vast range of aggregated clinical content, along with a suite of educational tools. O.N.E. makes available the following:

  • Targeted clinical searches. It facilitates extensive yet targeted search results from Academy resources.
  • Free MOC study tools. It offers comprehensive exam preparation tools as well as all the information needed to meet the American Board of Ophthalmology’s MOC requirements.
  • Subspecialty-specific O.N.E. home page. It provides access to subspecialty-targeted newsletters, clinical updates and alerts.
  • Targeted learning plans. It features more than 50 free courses, cases, videos and podcasts.
  • Free self-assessment. It provides real-time evaluation of your performance compared to that of your peers.
  • Library of practice guidelines. It offers practice strategies based on clinical evidence and expert consensus concerning the treatment of specific diseases.

For more information about O.N.E., visit

AAOE Webinar: Key Coding Changes

Plan to attend the AAOE’s one-hour “2008 Ophthalmology Coding Update” Web conference. Sue J. Vicchrilli, COT, OCS, the Academy’s coding executive, will discuss the coding changes for 2008 to help you to maximize reimbursement.

The Web conference will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 11 a.m. to noon PST, and will be delivered live over the telephone and online. As a participant, you will be able to view the speaker’s slides online, participate in real-time online surveys and ask questions live during the course. Don’t have Web access? You can still call in to listen to the presentation while following along with the handouts.

If you are unable to attend the event, CDs of the presentations will be available for purchase following the Web conference. The fee for the Webinar or the CD alone is $140 for AAOE and Academy members, $175 for nonmembers.

To register or for more information, visit

Academy’s PQRI Survey Results

According to a recent survey conducted by the Academy, nearly 58 percent of members are participating in the Physicians Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). The most common reason stated for not participating is the relatively small bonus in comparison to the expected work. Assuming the program continues on a voluntary basis, 61 percent of participating members reported they would likely continue doing so in 2008 as long as the financial incentive continues to be paid.

CMS launched the PQRI, a voluntary pay-for-performance reporting program in 2007, in response to Congress passing a one-year, 1.5 percent Medicare bonus for reporting. 

For more results, visit


Academy Store 

ProVision: Preferred Responses in Ophthalmology, Series 4

Now available in print and online versions, ProVision provides an efficient way of assessing ophthalmic knowledge and tailoring CME. This update includes question and discussion volumes alongside 50 new multiple-choice questions for each of the nine subspecialty sections. Users can earn up to 28 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

The online format offers the same content as the print version and features enhanced search functions.

The print (#0265042) or online (#0265040V) version of this product is $145 for members and $195 for nonmembers. The combined print and online package (#0265041V) is $288 for members and $390 for nonmembers.

To place an order, visit or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8540.

Front Row View: Video Collections of Eye Surgery, Series 2

This DVD series features practical and innovative surgical procedures across a range of ophthalmic subspecialties.

Each short video demonstrates detailed clinical techniques and educational concepts useful to the compre- hensive ophthalmologist and specialist alike.

The Front Row View DVD (#0252405) includes a total of 28 videos and runs approximately 190 minutes. The product is $129 for members and $180 for nonmembers.

To place an order, visit or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8540.


Members At Large 

Nevada Society Gives Back to Veterans

“We were honored to have the opportunity to give back to those who have made such a commitment to our country. The Nevada Ophthalmological Society (NOS) had a unique chance to meet and provide service and care to our veterans during this conference,” said Steve M. Friedlander, MD, president of the NOS. Members of the NOS partnered with the Academy to provide glaucoma screenings to veterans during the 89th American Legion National Convention, which was held the last week of August at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. The Academy coordinated with the American Legion to arrange for the screenings and the instruments, while Dr. Friedlander coordinated NOS members to provide the screenings.

For more information on the eye care of America’s veterans, visit the Academy’s dedicated Web site,


Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA, has been named dean of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, effective Nov. 1. Until recently, Dr. Puliafito served as director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and chairman of ophthalmology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In addition to being dean at Keck, he will also serve as professor of ophthalmology and health management.


Candidates’ Views 

Meet the Board of Trustees’ Nominees for 2007 Election

In June, the Academy’s Board of Trustees nominated an official slate of officers for its Board of Trustees. The following have given their consent to serve if elected and therefore constitute the official slate. If the Academy’s membership approves all candidates, their respective terms begin Jan. 1, 2008.

Academy members will be given the opportunity to vote online or by traditional paper ballot for officers and trustee-at-large positions of the Board of Trustees and proposed amendments to the bylaws.

Michael W. Brennan, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for President-Elect

I am privileged and honored to address the American Academy of Ophthalmology membership as the Board of Trustee’s nominee for the challenging and exciting responsibility of President-Elect. A medical career was not in my top 10 choices as a West Point graduate in 1966. Seven years later, a medical degree seemed the next logical step in qualification to become an astronaut. Pursuing ophthalmology was my easiest decision, after I discovered its wonders, and suddenly high flight seemed unnecessary. To reassure you that I am not lost in space but quite capable and very willing to lead our profession, I offer these beliefs.

I believe in our ultimate physician responsibility to care for and about our patients. My first years in medicine, as a military physician and ophthalmologist, were undistracted by the usual challenges of private university practice. My physician mentors encouraged the values of dedication, evidence-based practice and patient’s rights. I continue to believe that the family of medicine begins at home in the presence of our patients. We expect the Academy to champion the primacy of the patient-physician relationship.

I believe in our collective physician responsibility to serve the public interest. Private practice and active Academy membership awakened in me a sense of service to the broader physician and surgeon community and the family of organized medicine. My mentors were past Academy Presidents who recognized the need for unity in the profession. We continue to challenge decision makers to effect public health policies that place patient safety above political gain and respect medical education, licensure and certification. Service on the Committee of Secretaries of your Academy has enabled me to recognize our diverse internal resources and our relationships with medicine. We need to actively involve the next generation as well as subspecialties in roles and relationships that will solidify our voice of persuasion that leads to sound health care legislation and regulation.

I believe in our unique capability for global sensitivity to patient populations. For the last several years, I have been privileged to represent your Academy in a variety of international venues. Dealing with the geopolitical aspects of medical practice in other lands, I’ve recognized that our renowned institutions and physician-directed commissions of accreditation and assessment are highly respected models, and, unexpectedly, I’ve become a mentor. We as Academy envoys need to expand mutually trusting personal relationships with colleagues abroad. Nonclinical skills are as valuable as scientific prowess, and our impact translates as a remarkable multiplier.

I will seek your volunteerism and together with the vast array of Academy educational, practice management and advocacy resources, we can channel your time, energy and talent.

The challenges that face us are as basic as the numeric of medical manpower and as complex as access, affordability and accountability in an era of digitization. Maintaining the principles of professionalism in medical education and the practice of surgery is an unending, universal challenge. We leaders will need your vision, your values and your voice. If elected, I believe I will serve you responsibly as we serve the profession and our patients.


David A. Durfee, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Senior Secretary for Ophthalmic Practice

It is my pleasure to be nominated for the position of Senior Secretary for Ophthalmic Practice. I have recently served the Academy as the Secretary for Practice Management from 2002 through the first half of 2006. I added the responsibility of Senior Secretary for Ophthalmic Practice when David W. Parke II, MD, was nominated for the position of President-Elect. I bring more than 30 years of experience to this position and have participated in numerous Academy positions since 1980.

In an era of decreasing reimbursement coupled with increasing practice costs, the efficient management of your practice is critical. I pledge to continue to work toward making the Academy the preferred source of practice management information for both the physician and their administrators. I have participated in the development and growth of a number of products and services the Academy provides in this arena.

I am particularly proud of the continuing progress of the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives (AAOE). With the help of a dedicated AAOE Board and a talented and hardworking Academy staff, AAOE continues to add new products and services. Also, AAOE is committed to strengthening its Annual Meeting that meets in conjunction with the Academy Annual Meeting. Its success is clearly demonstrated by the rapid growth in the number of participants, both physicians and administrators, over the past several years.

If elected, I will continue to be responsive to the membership and support the delivery of the products and services you need to maximize the success of your practice.


Edward J. Holland, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Secretary for Annual Meeting

I am honored to be nominated for a second term as Secretary for Annual Meeting and a member of the Board of Trustees. As Secretary for Annual Meeting, I look forward to continuing my efforts to make this meeting the premier educational event for all of ophthalmology.

During my first term, I have had the fortune of working with the outstanding Academy Annual Meeting Program Secretariat and staff. We have strived to create new programming for our meeting. We have expanded the very popular Subspecialty Day programs to cover even more of the subspecialty subjects. In addition we have added new sessions such as Cataract Monday, Spotlight Sessions, and Late Breakers Symposium, plus Videos on Demand and Scientific Posters Online as examples of innovative programming for our attendees.

We face the unique challenge of having an increasing attendance and demands for additional programming to provide the education that our attendees need. However, we must achieve these goals without the perception that the meeting is becoming too large and overwhelming. As Secretary for Annual Meeting, I will continue to assess how the educational needs of our members can best be met at the Annual Meeting and Subspecialty Day programs. In addition, I will work diligently to ensure that the Annual Meeting continues to provide the best opportunity for ophthalmologists and other eye care providers to update their knowledge and skills.

As a member of the Board of Trustees, I understand the unique times in which we practice and the issues that face all of us. Decreasing reimbursement for our services, the scope of practice issues and the need to meet the increasing demands for our services are some of the problems that confront us. As a Trustee, I understand the responsibilities and obligations that come with the position. I will work with the other members of the Board and the Academy staff to help resolve these issues as best we can and meet the challenges that face all of us.


Christie L. Morse, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Trustee-at-Large

It is an honor to receive the Academy Board of Trustees’ nomination for the office of Trustee-at-Large. The Academy has played a tremendous role in my professional life, and I welcome the opportunity to represent a membership that includes more than 90 percent of all practicing United States ophthalmologists.

My involvement with the Academy began at the state society level in 1991. After completing my pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus fellowship, I started my practice in New Hampshire. At the same time, I chose to participate in my state society, which is a decision that helped to shape my professional career. I found it easy to get involved in a small state like New Hampshire where every volunteer body is given a responsibility.

With responsibility came opportunity. Actively working within the state society allowed me to see the importance of the Academy. I witnessed the value of strong organized professional leadership. As I was called upon to testify at the state legislature regarding scope of practice issues, I experienced the importance advocacy plays in maintaining the integrity of our profession.

In 2001, I was nominated by the New Hampshire State Society to participate in the Academy-sponsored Leadership Development Program. This program allowed me a firsthand look at the Academy governance and allowed me to develop professional and personal relationships with extraordinary Academy leaders.

Through this program, I have found opportunities to develop my leadership skills while serving on several boards. I have served as the Councilor from New Hampshire, the Legislative Chair of my state society, a member of the Practicing Ophthalmology Advisory Committee on Education, a member of the Annual Meeting Program Committee, and I am currently the Chair of the Pediatric Section for development of the Practicing Ophthalmologist Curriculum for Maintenance of Certification.

Within my subspecialty society, AAPOS, I have served as Chairperson of several committees, Secretary-Treasurer, and recently finished my term as President of AAPOS. I am an active member of Women in Ophthalmology (WIO) and currently serve as President of that organization.

In 2002, I was asked to serve on the Ethics Committee of the Academy. This committee work has been interesting, challenging and educational. It has been extraordinarily rewarding to represent the Academy at educational forums and to lead the discussion of ethics in our profession. Currently, I serve as the Vice Chair of this committee.

Looking to the future, I enthusiastically accept the nomination to serve as Trustee-at-Large. Having worked in both an academic and private practice setting, I feel that I am qualified to provide the Academy Board of Trustees with a perspective that reflects the general membership of the Academy. I will continue to look for member’s issues by maintaining my participation with groups crossing subspecialties such as: WIO, the American Eye Study Club, the New England Ophthalmological Society, and my state society. I look forward to serving the general membership of the Academy. I will actively seek your opinions and will represent your concerns fairly.


Jean E. Ramsey, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Vice Chair of the Council

I thank my fellow Council members for electing me final nominee for Vice Chair of the Council. I have participated in the Council since 1999, initially as an Alternate Councilor from Massachusetts, then as a Councilor, Chair of the Council Regional meeting and Chair of the Mid-Year Forum Council Hearing Committee. I have also had the privilege of working with the Academy in other positions, as a member of the Academy’s Secretariat for State Affairs, the Patient Education Committee, the Academy Express Advisory Panel, and the Strategic Assessment Planning Task Force. Through this involvement, I have developed many new friendships and have great respect for both my colleagues and the Academy staff. I do believe that our profession and our patients are in very good hands.

Over the past 10 years, I have dedicated myself to the task of improving children’s eye care, not only in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but also nationally. We have had great success in Massachusetts with the passage of a legislative preschool vision screening mandate in 2004 and the development of a Preschool Vision Screening Program, which has subsequently received state funding. Other states have passed similar vision screening mandates, and a federal bill that would provide grant monies for follow-up care for uninsured children is now on Capitol Hill. But more needs to be done.

From my continuing work on children’s eye care, I have come to realize that other important issues also need to be addressed, such as optometric scope of practice, unfair insurer regulations, Medicare reimbursement, the untenable sustainable growth rate (SGR), and others. Although initially driven by public health concerns, I understand that, for the health and welfare of our patients, it is critical that these other issues be addressed. The Council provides a unique opportunity for this discussion.

With active representatives from both state ophthalmology societies and subspecialty organizations, the Council functions as a dynamic and vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas. It has been and continues to be a stage for the identification of emerging concerns for our patients and profession. In a spirit of open communication and cooperation, the Council allows all voices to be heard and respected. But in spite of this diversity of opinion, the Council does not hesitate to speak strongly with one voice when necessary. To my fellow Councilors I have pledged my commitment to keep the Council strong and active, and to faithfully reflect the concerns of the Council when serving in the liaison role with the Academy. I make this same pledge to all my Academy colleagues.


Martin Wand, MD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Chair of the Council

For five years, I was the Councilor for the American Glaucoma Society (AGS). In that capacity, I was the liaison between the Academy and my society but my major responsibility was to be an advocate for members of the AGS. For the past two years, I have been the Vice Chair of the Council. My responsibilities broadened to representation of all the societies within the Council. Equally important, my charge was to learn more about the Academy as well as its relationship with the Council.

It has been a remarkable education for me. I have not been associated with any other organization with a stronger, better, more dedicated and more responsive leadership. From the Executive Vice President and the whole staff, to the Board of Trustees and Committee of Secretaries, to the countless member volunteers, there is a strong commitment to serve our profession, our members and our patients.

I have been privileged to learn firsthand how the whole Academy family responds to the Council. When a Council Advisory Recommendation (CAR) is introduced, the appropriate person or committee is assigned to gather all the pertinent information, perform surveys if necessary, and solicit outside expert advice. A complete position report with options and consequences for each CAR is presented to the full Board of Trustees for discussion and action. This is participatory and responsive governance at its best.

I have benefited greatly from this learning experience of the past two years. It is difficult to improve on something that is already almost perfect, but as Chair of the Council, I pledge to work toward making the relationship between your Council and your Academy even stronger and better.


Peter J. Whitted, MD, JD
Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Trustee-at-Large

It is a distinct honor to be nominated to serve in the position of Trustee-at-Large for the Academy. Having the opportunity to represent you would be a true privilege.

Medicine in general and ophthalmology in particular is at a critical juncture. Innumerable issues confront our profession. In no particular order, they include: the growing body of uninsureds who can’t afford health/eye care; a large bolus of Baby Boomers who will severely stress all health care resources; a growing shortage of physicians/ ophthalmologists to meet this ever-increasing need; the changing ethnic demographic that will add additional stress to the provider shortage; rapidly changing technology, demanding ever-increasing investment in equipment and continuing education; reimbursement shortages that continue to stress our ability to provide care and operate our small businesses let alone the need to invest in infrastructure (EMR, etc.); quality of care and performance measurement; ophthalmology’s growing separation from the “house of medicine”; our confusion with respect to the provision of the ER coverage and our responsibility to our patients and our community; the growing need to change the paradigm with respect to scope of practice issues so as to conserve our valuable time and energy; the need for increased research and education funding at all levels; the need for medical liability reforms; the development of some homeostasis in our schizophrenic relationship with the massive medical industrial complex (pharmaceutical companies, etc.); and finally the necessity that if we are to be effective in addressing these problems and developing solutions, ophthalmology must speak with one voice. This is no time for mixed messages.

I have had the opportunity to serve in leadership positions in many local and regional medical organizations. I have been heavily involved in advocacy at both the state and federal levels on behalf of ophthalmology for many years. As an attorney, I may add a unique perspective to the issues that confront the profession.

As a comprehensive ophthalmologist from a large group practice in the Midwest, I promise to try to represent you to the best of my ability. You may not always agree with me . . . in fact, I would be disappointed if you did . . . but you can be assured that I will try my very best to forcefully advocate for you.


Academy Governance Overview

Board of Trustees. The policy-making body of the Academy. The charge of the Board of Trustees is to manage and direct the business affairs of the Academy in furtherance of its mission and strategic goals and allocates the resources necessary to accomplish those objectives.

Secretariats. Directly involved in the development and management of program activities and services. The Secretaries provide recommendations to the Board on the relative priority of major programs within the Academy.

Committees. Under the direction of the Secretariats, Committees develop and implement specific programs that address the long-range objectives of the Academy.

Council. The Council serves as the advisory body to the Board of Trustees and provides recommendations for Board action based on membership concerns.


Washington Report

Eye M.D.s Working in Federal Service

Performing humanitarian missions around the world, practicing medicine with cutting-edge technology and treating injured soldiers and veterans who serve our country—these are just a few of the benefits for ophthalmologists working in federal service.

“We have seen a major turnaround in Veterans Affairs (VA) within the last 15 years,” said James C. Orcutt, MD, PhD, chief of ophthalmology and director of the Eye Care Program at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle. Dr. Orcutt has been in the VA for 25 years and says it’s a model of the future for providing quality health care. His facility sees about 22,000 patients a year, and, like other VA facilities, uses electronic health records for reporting on patients and holds physicians accountable for high-performance quality measures. He says the practice also provides opportunities for strong teaching missions and resident research in health care.

This sense of professional possibility is also shared by Anthony J. Johnson, MD, associate program director of cornea and refractive surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He enjoys taking care of military families and retirees because he finds them extraordinary people with interesting histories. Dr. Johnson also enjoys humanitarian missions. In fact, they had much to do with his choice to become a military ophthalmologist. In September 2003, he was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq for a year to treat injured soldiers and Iraqis. “For much of my deployment, we were the only eye team there,” he said. “It was a tremendous experience.”

Drs. Orcutt and Johnson agree that working in federal service is a great way to treat patients without having to worry about funding. “There is much fulfillment in being part of a larger organization with the unique mandate to serve and safeguard our entire nation,” Dr. Johnson said.

Working in federal service is a great way to treat patients without worrying about funding.