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EyeCare America Celebrates 25 Years of Saving Sight
EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is proud to announce that it turns 25 in 2010. Founded in 1985 by a group of ophthalmologists committed to preserving sight, the organization has grown to include nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the country who provide eye exams and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualified patients.
Since the program’s inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 1 million people by raising awareness for eye disease, distributing free sight-saving information and providing access to medical eye care to underserved communities.
The award-winning program has been recognized by every sitting U.S. president since 1985 and has received the support of a number of celebrities, including Bob Hope, Gene Kelly, Bill Cosby, John Glenn, Oscar De La Hoya and Betty White.
“Volunteering to see EyeCare America patients provides me with a special way to give back to my community,” said Richard P. Mills, MD, chair of EyeCare America. “I’ve been proud to serve my community and connect those in need with medical eye care for the last 25 years.”
EyeCare America encourages people to call 1-800-222-EYES to find out if they qualify for an eye exam at no cost. The program facilitates eye care for U.S. citizens or legal residents who are without an ophthalmologist and who do not belong to an HMO or do not have eye care coverage through the Veterans Administration.
To be found eligible for the program, an individual should fall into one of the two categories below:
- Those who are age 65 and older and who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years may be eligible to receive a comprehensive eye exam. These same individuals may be eligible for up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam.
- Those who are determined to be at increased risk for glaucoma (by age, race or family history) and have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more may be eligible to receive a free glaucoma eye exam if they are uninsured.
For more information, visit www.eyecareamerica.org.
Read the Academy’s 2009 Year in Review
The Academy’s first-ever Year in Review provides a quick update on Academy milestones, new initiatives to better serve members and what’s in the works for 2010.
Get answers to the following questions and more:
- What’s the Academy doing about health care reform and a permanent fix for the sustainable growth rate?
- What are the Academy’s main sources of revenue?
- How many pages of educational content are on the Ophthalmic News & Education (ONE) Network?
- What are the Academy’s humanitarian efforts in developing countries?
- How can I contribute to the new EyeWiki?
To read the Year in Review, visit www.aao.org/yearinreview .
Ask the Ethicist: Research Abroad
by Charles M. Zacks, MD
Chair, Ethics Committee
Q: An American ophthalmologist would like to test a novel surgical procedure that includes the use of a new device. The surgeon travels outside the United States and performs the experimental procedure on a large number of patients, bypassing the oversight of domestic institutional review board requirements for protection of human subjects in research. The ophthalmologist intends to subsequently report her findings at a major academic meeting in the United States. Please comment on the ethics of this activity.
A: The key ethical principle of this inquiry is that, while specific oversight and documentation requirements may differ by country as determined by national law, the mandates of medical ethics for protection of human research subjects do not. Specifically, the essentials of special informed consent for human research—and the specific requirements set forth in detailed international standards for human investigation (the Nuremberg Code and the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki)—must be respected regardless of venue.
Academy member investigators also should be aware that the Academy imposes ethical requirements on members who conduct research (Code of Ethics Rule 3). Furthermore, program committees for major academic meetings, including the Academy’s Annual Meeting, may require documentation of adequate oversight in order to accept research for presentation. Similarly, if research that involves human subjects is to be submitted for subsequent publication, documentation of approval by the domestic institutional review board will likely be required regardless of where the patients are from or where the study was conducted.
While the research oversight “paper chase” may be more liberal abroad, ophthalmologists must defer to their duties as set forth in our Code of Ethics and international codes.
For more information or to submit a question for this column, contact the Ethics Committee staff at email@example.com. To read the Code of Ethics, visit www.aao.org/about and click “Ethics” and “Code of Ethics.”
Connect With Hiring Practices
Professional Choices is the online career center for Eye M.D.s and ophthalmology professionals.
Through Professional Choices, you can submit your resumé to employers, search for ophthalmologist positions by subspecialty and access articles and courses to assist you in your job search. You can also set updates to notify you of listings that match your predefined search criteria.
For more information, visit www.aao.org/professionalchoices. Professional Choices services are free to job-seekers and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Academy Online Community Needs Your Feedback
The Academy Community has been up and running for more than three months. Thousands of members have participated in hundreds of discussions, formed dozens of groups and shared a variety of photos and videos.
The Academy invites you to share your feedback about your experiences. Did you gain insight into a challenging case or get an answer to a puzzling clinical or practice management question? Did you reconnect with colleagues you haven’t had a chance to speak with since your residency? Did you gain new perspective on an opposing view? Let us know by visiting the Community Lounge group at www.aao.org/community and posting to the discussion, or e-mailing comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership Dues for 2010—A Reminder
Have you paid your 2010 membership dues? The Academy must receive your payment by June 1 to guarantee that you continue to enjoy the many benefits of membership.
Renew your membership and pay your dues online at www.aao.org/member/paydues, by phone at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581, or by fax at 415-561-8575.
Did You Know?
Academy membership will pay off when it comes to this year’s Joint Meeting in Chicago. Active members do not have to pay a registration fee, and they receive priority registration and housing selection. Members-only registration opens June 23, when Academy members can reserve their preferred hotel and sign up for courses, labs and Breakfast with the Experts roundtables. Nonmember registration opens on July 7. For more information, visit www.aao.org/2010.
New BCSC Available for Advance Order This Month
Starting on May 17, you can place an advance order for the 2010–2011 Basic and Clinical Science Course.
Three sections have undergone major revision:
- Section 1: Update on General Medicine (#02800010)
- Section 6: Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (#02800060)
- Section 8: External Disease and Cornea (#02800080)
Order the complete set. An order for the complete set (#02800950) of BCSC includes 13 print volumes plus the Master Index. It costs $790 for members and $1,065 for nonmembers.
DVD-ROM. The 2010–2011 BCSC series is also available on DVD-ROM (#02820000), which offers the same content as the 13 print sections and includes an interactive self-assessment program, search capabilities and thousands of images. It costs $720 for members and $1,045 for nonmembers.
BCSC Online. Complete content of the BCSC can also be accessed (#02840000V) from any computer with an Internet connection. It costs $720 for members and $1,045 for nonmembers.
Licensing. The 2010–2011 BCSC Online Research Edition, Concurrent Seat License allows users at different desktops simultaneous access to the full content of all 13 sections.
To find out more about BCSC pricing, visit www.aao.org/bcsc.
Members At Large
Michigan Society Focuses on Next Generation
The Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (MiSEPS) has begun work on creating its own Young Ophthalmologist section—one that will mirror the makeup and activities of the Academy’s Young Ophthalmologist Committee. MiSEPS joins several other state ophthalmology societies that are focusing efforts on the next generation. “By focusing activities and events toward our younger generation, we hope to gain an energized group of Eye M.D.s who are actively involved with MiSEPS for a lifetime,” said executive director Gregory J. Chancey.
Mr. Chancey has joined with immediate past president and chair of MiSEPS strategic partnership alliances Arezo Amirikia, MD, and MiSEPS president Luisa DiLorenzo, MD, to develop a number of activities to engage the young ophthalmologists in Michigan. These initiatives are geared toward increasing membership in the state’s ophthalmology society and encouraging involvement in MiSEPS’s public-service, educational and political activities. “The Young Ophthalmologist section will capitalize on our MiSEPS-established partnership alliances,” said Dr. Amirikia.
These alliances include a performance by comedian Jerry Seinfeld at the Fox Theater in Detroit, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers games and events, the EyesOn Design Car Show and more. In addition, MiSEPS has partnered with the Wayne County Medical Society for shared events and welcomes alliances with all medical societies throughout Michigan.
For more information, visit www.miseps.org.
The Cornea Society has awarded Jay C. Bradley, MD, with the second annual Troutman Cornea Prize for the paper “Time- and Temperature-Dependent Stability of Growth Factor Peptides in Human Autologous Serum Eye Drops.” It was awarded to Dr. Bradley on April 8 during the World Cornea Congress.
The award is bestowed for the paper published in Cornea during the previous year judged to be most outstanding and innovative, and authored by an investigator 40 years of age or younger.
Arnall Patz, MD, distinguished ophthalmologist, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, Academy Laureate and past-president of the Academy, passed away on March 11. He was 89.
After completing his undergraduate degree at Emory University, he graduated from Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1945. After World War II, he served at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and trained at D.C. General Hospital.
During this time, Dr. Patz noticed an association between incubators and retinopathy of prematurity. In one of the first randomized clinical trials in all of medicine, he followed premature babies who were routinely given high concentrations of oxygen and others who were given lower doses. He found that a connection existed between high levels of oxygen and blindness in premature infants. For this discovery, he was given the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.
In 1970 he joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins and pioneered the management of diabetic retinopathy. During this time he made important discoveries about diseases caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye and helped to develop one of the first argon lasers for treating diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
In addition to honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, Thomas Jefferson University and Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Patz authored more than 250 scientific publications and four textbooks. He also received many distinguished awards including the Friedenwald Research Award in 1980, the inaugural Isaac C. Michaelson Medal in 1986, the first Helen Keller prize for Vision Research in 1994 and the Pisart International Vision Award from the Lighthouse International in 2001. In 2005 he received the Lions Humanitarian Award, the Lester S. Levy Humanitarian Award and the Academy’s Laureate Recognition Award.
Surgery by Surgeons Pulls Out Stops to Succeed
In 2009, optometry’s attempts to gain surgical privileges in nine states were thwarted thanks to a commitment to the Surgery by Surgeons state initiative from Academy leaders and members. In state legislatures across the country, there has been a surge in attempts by ODs to get surgical privileges, and more such efforts are sure to follow. The concept of optometrists gaining surgical privileges through legislation rather than education and training is inappropriate and poses many patient-safety issues. However, organized optometry continues to launch multiyear legislative campaigns attempting to obtain these privileges.
Background. Optometry’s push began in Oklahoma in the late 1980s when organized optometry sought and failed to gain the authority to perform laser surgery, citing language in the state optometric statute that read, “by means including but not limited by.” The Oklahoma courts eventually threw out optometry’s interpretation of this language. In 1998, however, organized optometry pushed through legislation with regard to laser surgery and, in 2004, gained additional authority through legislation to request reimbursement for a wide range of procedures under Medicare. To date, Oklahoma remains the only state that has enacted an optometric laser surgery law.
The concept of optometrists gaining surgical privileges through legislation poses many patient-safety issues.
Common threads—multiple state efforts. From state to state, optometric legislation for surgical initiatives shows remarkable similarities. Examples include:
- Exclusionary language that would amend the optometric scope of practice to include lists of surgical prohibitions rather than specify permitted procedures. Such language leaves the door open to expansive regulatory interpretations by the Board of Optometry. Legislation that listed only 17 procedures as outside the optometric scope of practice failed in 2009 in Nebraska.
- Use of the phrase “by any means” when defining optometric scope. Optometry seeks to include a catch-all phrase that gives them open-ended authority rather than define the procedures that are within their scope of practice. In 2009, ophthalmology opposed South Carolina legislation that contained the phrase “employ any means” in defining optometric scope of practice. The same legislation is back again this year.
- Use of the phrase “minor surgical procedures shall be defined as any procedure that can be done in an examination room or similar setting which requires only a ‘clean’ field.” Ophthalmology succeeded in striking this provision from the 2010 West Virginia optometric surgery scope bill.
To make a contribution to the Surgical Scope Fund, visit www.aao.org/ssf.