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February 2010

Academy Notebook

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What's Happening 

Academy Foundation Celebrates 30 Years

The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology  is proud to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Since 1980, the Foundation has served as the Academy’s fundraising arm, a grant-making entity that provides support for member education and valuable public service programs that extend the reach of the Academy and ophthalmology. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of its very first program, the Museum of Vision, and the 25th anniversary of  its award-winning public service program, EyeCare America.  

The Museum of Vision was established at the request of Academy president Frederick C. Blodi, MD, and incorporated in 1980. The museum’s collection initially included literature, instruments, photographs and spectacles. Today, it houses 38,000 items related to ophthalmic history and has expanded its holdings to include art, furniture, stamps, coins, medals, memorabilia and pharmaceuticals.

The National Eye Care Project (NECP) public service program was the first major initiative joined with the Foundation. President Ronald Reagan announced the NECP pilot project at a White House ceremony in April 1983, and, in 1985, the NECP was officially added to the Foundation. In 2000, the NECP changed its name to EyeCare America. Since the program’s inception, it has helped more than one million people receive the sight-saving resources they need, including free eye health information and access to eye exams and care—of which over 90 percent is provided at no cost to the patient.

The Foundation embarked on its first major fundraising campaign in 1991 to create an endowment that would provide research and development funding in perpetuity for new educational initiatives.   The Bruce E. Spivey, MD Educational Trust Fund proved immensely successful. The income from the endowment has since been used to underwrite much of the research and development expense associated with creating the Academy’s Ophthalmic News & Education (ONE) Network.

Since its launch in 2007, the ONE Network has been used by more than 16,000 members worldwide. During this time, the Foundation has also secured enough funding to support the ONE Network’s expansion of offerings over the next five years. Foundation support has also made the ONE available to over 6,000 ophthalmologists in developing countries, some of whom do not have access to other educational opportunities.

These successes would not have been possible without the generosity of the members, other individuals, foundations and corporations that have supported the Foundation’s efforts through the years.

For more information, visit



Board Approves Policy Revisions

The Academy board of trustees has voted to approve revisions to two policy statements—Frequency of Ocular Examinations and Use of Unapproved Lasers and Software for Refractive Surgery.

To read these policies and others, visit and click “Policy Statements.”


Now Accepting Survey Data

Data from fiscal year 2009 are now being accepted from members in private practice for this year’s Academy/ AAOE benchmarking survey. Last year, 206 practices participated, resulting in the largest sample of ophthalmology practice data available from any source.

Only practices that complete the survey may access the database. The benchmarking database offers the flexibility to access on-demand reports that filter results by practice focus, number of doctors, region, population and number of offices. Plus, users can go deeper to see if a practice has any unusual facets.

Submit your data by March 31 for a chance to win one of three $200 gift cards. The deadline to participate is June 30.

For more information or to participate, visit


Demonstrate Your Coding Expertise

Get your Ophthalmic Coding Specialist (OCS) designation by passing the OCS exam. This exam tests coding knowledge on 18 areas and has been awarded four JCAHPO Group A credit hours. OCS status is good for three years and no continuing education credits are required.

There are several ways prepare for the exam: study AAOE’s Ophthalmic Coding Series modules, which cover all 18 content areas, use AAOE’s OCS Exam Flash Cards and attend a state-specific Codequest seminar.

For more information, visit and


Did You Know?

U.S. Academy members can save money by taking advantage of key financial services benefits offered by First Data. Increase your bottom line on credit card transaction processing with services designed to meet the unique requirements of ophthalmology practices. This member benefit offers the advantage of no annual fee or monthly minimum, no conversion or terminal reprogramming fees, and 24-hour technical support. To learn more, visit

U.S. members are also eligible to apply for a Bank of America WorldPoints credit card with no annual fee, high credit lines, a rewards program and concierge service. To apply, call  800-438-6262 and mention priority code FABTQ3. Bank of America also offers U.S. members a personal or business line of credit with no application or annual fees, and no collateral required. To apply, call 888-628-7700.

For a complete list of member benefits, visit


Academy Store 

Check Out These Revised Patient Education Tools

The Academy’s patient education PowerPoint collections on CD-ROM help you create presentations for patients, community groups, nonophthalmic medical professionals and others. Advances in Refractive Surgery, Second Edition (#054126) contains 11 presentations. Each begins with a lesson on the basic anatomy of the eye followed by a discussion of a specific refractive surgery procedure. The Eye Over Time, Second Edition (#054127) contains 10 presentations on common eye conditions such as AMD, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and more.

Slides feature full-color illustrations, 3-D animations and printable patient handouts.

Sample slides can be viewed at the Academy Store. Each product is $199 for members and $268 for nonmembers.


Test Your Clinical Knowlege

ProVision: Preferred Responses in Ophthalmology is a two-volume, comprehensive self-assessment program to prepare residents for exams or help practicing ophthalmologists keep up-to-date.

Volume 1 features 450 self-assessment questions in nine subspecialty areas, more than 200 full-color photos and diagnostic clinical images, and response worksheets. Volume 2 features detailed discussions on the preferred responses for each question, references for constructive learning and an answer key for quick scoring.

ProVision is available in print or online formats and offer up to 28 CME credits  as indicated.

ProVision: Preferred Responses in Ophthalmology, Series 4, Print and Online (#0265041V) is $288 for members and $387 for nonmembers. The print-only version (#0256042) is $175 for members and $235 for nonmembers. The online-only version (#0265040V) is $145 for members and $195 for nonmembers.


Teach Patients About Diabetic Retinopathy

Approximately 4.1 million U.S. adults 40 years and older have diabetic retinopathy. Educate your patients and their families about this vision-threatening disease with the Academy’s peer-reviewed patient education materials:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy booklets (#052020).
  • Diabetic Retinopathy brochures in English (#051088) and Spanish (#051302).
  • Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy DVD (#050118)—includes OMIC-reviewed “Aid to Informed Consent.”

For more information, to see samples or view DVD clips, visit

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 

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 in Chicago. If you need a visitor visa, apply now—it can take up to six months for processing.

Most citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda do not require a visa. All need a valid passport, however.

Thirty-five 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 (ESTA) approval. Additional passport requirements may apply.

Travelers from other countries may need a visa.

For more information on visitor visas, visit To access the Academy’s letter of invitation and other Joint Meeting travel information, visit


Submit Abstracts for Papers, Posters and Videos

If you are interested in being a presenter at this year’s Joint Meeting, abstracts must be submitted online. For papers, posters and videos, the online submitter opens on March 17 and closes on April 13.

Be sure to review the abstract guidelines before making your submission.

For information on submitting an abstract, visit For more information, e-mail


Enjoy Highlights of the 2009 Joint Meeting in San Francisco

If you missed a particular session from the 2009 Subspecialty Day or Joint Meeting, you can still catch up on the following highlights.

Go online for Scientific Posters. View hundreds of scientific posters from 2009 and other past Annual Meetings.

Buy a San Francisco DVD-ROM. Five DVD-ROMs cover the Subspecialty Day programs. A DVD also is available for Spotlight on Cataracts 2009.

Download Instruction Course and Technology Pavilion handouts. Handouts from select 2009 Instruction Courses and technology presentations are available to download in PDF format.

To take advantage of these highlights and more, visit and select “Scientific Program” and “Meeting Archives.”


Members At Large


The Cornea Research Foundation of America has selected Jorge L. Alió, MD, PhD, as its first recipient of the Torchbearer Award for his development of a noninvasive method to treat glare and halos after laser surgery.

The award recognizes individuals whose lifetime service and commitment to the field of vision care has helped light the way for others.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation has announced that Adrienne L. Graves, PhD, has been appointed to its board of directors. Dr. Graves is president and CEO of Santen.

She also serves on the board of directors for TearLab Corporation as well as the boards of the Academy Foundation, the Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation and the corporation committee for the Brown University Medical School.

Paul L. Kaufman, MD, has been named the 2009 recipient of the Glaucoma Foundation’s Robert Ritch Award. Created in 2008, the award recognizes the contributions of individuals who have played a significant and unique role in promoting the medicine and science of glaucoma.

Dr. Kaufman is a physician-scientist, specializing in glaucoma and studying the mechanisms of aqueous humor formation and drainage, the regulation of IOP and the age-related loss of near vision.

Brandeis University has selected Jay Neitz, PhD, and Maureen Neitz, PhD, the husband-and-wife team whose pioneering research may lead to the use of gene therapy to treat vision disorders, as the recipients of the first Jay Pepose ’75 Award in Vision Sciences. In a recent issue of the journal Nature, the Neitzes and their colleagues detailed a study in which they used gene therapy to cure two squirrel monkeys of color blindness.

The Jay Pepose ‘75 Award is funded by a $1 million endowment established this year through a gift from Brandeis graduates Jay Pepose and Susan K. Feigenbaum, his wife. The endowment primarily supports graduate research fellowships in vision science.


Washington Report

Help Amplify Ophthalmology’s Voice in Washington

The Academy’s 2010 Congressional Advocacy Day is scheduled for April 21 and 22. The annual event strengthens ophthalmology’s presence on Capitol Hill, builds support for key legislative issues and ensures federal laws and regulations promote quality eye care for patients. This experience is also an excellent way to establish or continue relationships with your elected officials.

Congressional Advocacy Day kicks off on the evening of April 21 at the Capitol Hilton, where attendees will be briefed on key legislative priorities and learn tips on advocating effectively to Congress. On April 22, participants will put this knowledge to work when they meet with members of Congress and congressional staff. The Academy will schedule all meetings, and there is no fee to participate.

This year’s Congressional Advocacy Day will focus on the continuing effort to implement widespread changes to our health care system and Medicare. Thanks in part to ophthalmologists’ influence during Advocacy Day in 2009 and their sustained efforts throughout the year, the Academy has successfully worked with House and Senate members in the continuing health care reform debate. Your participation will protect ophthalmology and help advance a permanent solution for reforming Medicare physician payment.

Other issues include children’s vision, NEI funding and ensuring that improvements to ophthalmology’s Medicare physician payments resulting from the Physician Practice Information Survey (PPIS) are not derailed by Congress. These improvements have been threatened by the efforts of some groups that were negatively affected by the PPIS. The Academy led a coalition of 21 groups to support the survey and implementation of the new practice expense data on Jan. 1. However, those opposed to the implementation have vowed to continue their effort to alleviate their cuts through legislation, which would again threaten ophthalmology’s update. It is critical to keep up the pressure on Congress so that they do not interfere with the CMS rule or the PPIS.

Mark your calendar now to attend the 2010 Congressional Advocacy Day. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. Take this opportunity to amplify ophthalmology’s message in a unified voice.

For more information, visit

This year’s Congressional Advocacy Day will focus on the continuing effort to implement widespread changes to our health care system and Medicare.


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