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March 2009

Academy Notebook

What's Happening 

Eat Healthy With the Academy’s Dessert Cookbook

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration. Although there is no cure at present, studies show that eating foods rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of AMD or slow its progression in some people.

In light of this, EyeCare America has teamed up with celebrity chefs from across the country to offer Feast Your Eyes on This! Desserts for Two, a collection of eye healthy dessert recipes that include foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants. These recipes are available at

Here, for example, is Chef Georges Mokbel’s recipe for “Where’d Ya Get Those Peepers Papaya Parfait.”

1 cup, ripe papaya, pureed
2 tablespoons, sugar
1 tablespoon, honey
1/4 tablespoon, lemon zest
1/4 cup, coconut flakes, toasted
1/4 cup, cream, whipped

Cooking instructions:
Mash the papaya with the sugar, honey and lemon zest until dissolved. Delicately fold the whipped cream using a spatula. Fill two martini glasses and top with toasted coconut flakes. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.



Ask the Ethicist: Expert Witness Testimony Challenges

Q: Dr. X appeared as an expert witness for the plaintiff in a malpractice suit brought against me. I believe he intentionally claimed expertise he did not possess and made misleading statements about the standard of care. How can I submit this matter for Ethics Committee review?

A: Rule 16 (“Expert Testimony”) of the Code of Ethics became effective on Jan. 1, 2004. Only testimony given on or after this date is actionable. The Ethics Committee carefully screens all cases submitted for review.

Following an initial determination that an allegation appears actionable, the submitted materials will be forwarded to the challenged fellow or member, and a response to the submitter’s allegations will be requested. If the challenge cannot be resolved via correspondence, the Ethics Committee may elect to hold a private adjudicative hearing involving all parties in the case. Details of the adjudicative hearing processes are set forth in the administrative procedures of the Code of Ethics.

We have developed a submission form to enable these challenges to be submitted with the required specificity. To access this form, visit and click “Academy Notebook” and “EWT Submission Form.” Submissions should be sent in duplicate to: Ethics Committee, American Academy of Ophthalmology, P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424.

For additional information about expert witness testimony, visit and click “Ethics” and “Ethics-Related Articles.” To submit a question for this column, contact the Ethics Committee staff at


EyeSmart Launches “Ask an Eye M.D.”

EyeSmart, the Academy’s public awareness campaign, has introduced a new feature to its Web site called “Ask an Eye M.D.” Using this interactive question-and-answer service, patients can submit their medical questions online. Academy volunteers then provide answers to a selection of the submitted questions each week.

For more information, visit To learn about free promotional resources developed as part of the EyeSmart campaign, visit


Register for the MOC Exam Review Course

The Academy’s MOC Exam Review Course will be held from July 24 to 26 in Rosemont, Ill., right near Chicago O’Hare International Airport. This is the only review course based on the Practicing Ophthalmologists Curriculum (POC), which also is used by the American Board of Ophthalmology when formulating questions for the Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge examination. Interactive sessions are taught by a faculty of instructors who helped create the POC, and the sessions provide a review of the most relevant clinical information.

Registration fees include the Core Ophthalmic Knowledge session, your choice of Practice Emphasis Area sessions, a course syllabus and more. Early-bird rates are available through April 15.

To register online, visit


Turn to AAOE’s Consultant Directory for Expertise

The AAOE’s Consultant Directory is a searchable database of prescreened practice management consultants. As an Academy or AAOE member, you can search for consultants by any combination of the following criteria: key competency, state, consultant name and agency name.

To search for consultants, to register to be a consultant or for more information, please visit Consultant fees vary by geographic area and the type of service required.


Looking for a Job? Hiring? Selling a Practice?

The AAOE’s Professional Choices online resource is designed to connect employers with job applicants and unite physicians who are selling practices with potential buyers.

For more information or to make a connection, visit



U.S. Academy and AAOE members receive savings on health care supplies through the SimplifEye Ophthalmic Purchasing Program offered by Henry Schein Inc. Choose from more than 30,000 products, including generic and branded pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical supplies and major equipment. Order online through an exclusive “Lowest Price Guarantee” formulary developed with the help of ophthalmologists. There is no enrollment fee, and you will receive free shipping on orders of $100 or more.

For more information or to sign up for this member benefit, visit or call 800-772-4346.


Academy Store 

Get Savvy to the Latest Coding Changes

Use the AAOE’s newest coding resources to get up to speed throughout the year. The 2009 Ophthalmic Coding Coach book (#012354) and Ophthalmic Coding Coach CD-ROM (#012355) are comprehensive coding references featuring CPT codes and descriptors, diagnosis code links, correct coding initiative listings, global periods for Medicare private payers and more.

Purchased separately, the book and CD are each $195 for members and $263 for nonmembers.

Buy the book and CD-ROM together and save 30 percent. This Ophthalmic Coding Kit (#012356) is $275 for members and $368 for nonmembers.


Booklet Covers the New IOL Options for Cataract Surgery

Enhanced Lens Options for Cataract Surgery (#052024) provides patients with information about the various lens options available after cataract surgery, including traditional IOLs, multifocal and accommodative IOLs, toric IOLs and more.

Booklets are also available on age-related macular edema, cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and LASIK.

Each title comes in packages of 25 and is $44 for members and $55 for nonmembers.

Academy Store

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


Meeting Matters 

Hotel Function Space Requests for San Francisco

Would your alumni or specialty group like to meet during the Joint Meeting in San Francisco? If so, please note that hotel function space requests are now being accepted.

Assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

For details, including hotel options, approved meeting times and processing fees, consult


Academy Exhibit at MEACO

If your plans take you to the Middle East African Council of Ophthalmology meeting March 26 to 30 in Manama, Bahrain, be sure to stop by the Academy’s booth and see the latest products from the Academy.


Washington Report

Ophthalmology Gathers to Address Most Critical Issues

The Academy convened the Ophthalmic Advocacy Leadership Group this January to collectively address ophthalmology’s most pressing issues, including Medicare payment reform, coding issues, scope of practice, quality measures and data registries.

The Ophthalmic Advocacy Leadership Group aligns the advocacy efforts of the Academy and ophthalmic specialty societies through the Academy’s Washington, D.C., office, providing a unified front on these issues.

Quality measure processes (e.g., Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting Initiative) and impending data registries especially are of interest to ophthalmology, as they will be the basis for making Medicare’s “physician compare” Web site and rating system a reality. The Academy formed a work group made up of subspecialty representatives to establish a patient data registry for ophthalmology. As a first step, the work group will form a steering committee to define how a registry is developed and managed. Data registries are inherently complex and must be developed in a thoughtful, evidence-based manner that accounts for variations in case severity and subspecialty.

On the issue of reimbursement, subspecialty organizations at the Ophthalmic Advocacy Leadership Group meeting committed to appoint one of their members for a long-term position to work with the Academy on payment issues. The Academy’s Health Policy Committee would work with subspecialty societies through their representatives to solve reimbursement problems. “The five-year review process where CPT value codes are challenged is an onerous process and can have an enormous impact on the reimbursement of our procedures,” said Michael X. Repka, MD, Academy secretary of Federal Affairs. “Experience, developed over time, is important and why we agree that it is critical to have go-to physicians in each subspecialty who are committed to learning the issues and being a part of the process over an extended period of time.”

The meeting also included a review of scope of practice issues past, present and future, and a discussion of the need to collectively fight optometric surgical scope expansion battles. “Patient safety is at stake,” said Cynthia A. Bradford, MD, Academy senior secretary for Advocacy. “We cannot allow optometry to use legislative channels to gain surgical authority for which they are not trained.”

The Ophthalmic Advocacy Leadership Group aligns the advocacy efforts of the Academy and other societies to provide a unified front on specialty’s most pressing issues.