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    What's Happening

    Halloween-Themed PR Campaign Receives Prestigious Award

    The Bulldog Reporter, a leading media relations trade organization, recognized the Academy’s decorative contact lens campaign with its Gold-Level Bulldog Award for the Best Not-for-Profit/Association/Government Campaign. Launched in 2011, the Halloween-themed Want Scary Eyes? The Dangers of Decorative Contact Lenses was developed to raise awareness of the risks of using nonprescription decorative contact lenses. The Bulldog Awards, judged by journalists, bloggers, and public relations critics, honor the best media relations campaigns in the industry.

    Despite a 2005 federal law that classifies all contact lenses as medical devices and restricts their distribution to licensed eye care professionals, decorative contacts remain widely available on the Internet and in stores. As a result, consumers—particularly teens and young adults—sustain serious eye injuries and infections due to improper fit and care. The campaign featured the story of Laura Butler, who developed a severe eye infection and a scar on her cornea after wearing over-the-counter contact lenses for just 10 hours. It also included an audio news release and low-cost videos that were developed in-house at the Academy.

    These efforts resulted in more than 1,500 news stories, including top-tier coverage in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Daily Mail, and ABC News Now. A variety of media placements and online advertisements generated more than 20,000 views of the viral videos.

    For more information, go to EyeSmart.

    Decorative Contact Lens Campaign
    PR SUCCESS. In total, the decorative contact lens campaign generated 315 million media impressions and increased visitors to the Academy’s public awareness website, EyeSmart, by 54 percent.

    For the Record

    Annual Business Meeting

    Notice is hereby given that the Annual Business Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held on Sunday, Nov. 17, in the Great Hall of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in 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 EVP/CEO
    • 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.

    Academy Store

    Order AAOE’s 2014 Coding Products

    Improve your coding competency, reduce claims denials, and learn the new ICD-10 coding structure with a wide selection of books and online resources from AAOE. Prepare for the biggest change to health care coding in decades with the AAOE’s 2014 coding products, such as the ICD-10-CM for Ophthalmology (#0120343); its companion workbook, Conquering ICD-10-CM: Your “How-To” Guide for Ophthalmology (#0120345); and, coming in November, Online Course: Conquering ICD-10-CM for Ophthalmology (#0120335V).

    You can also stay on top of the latest coding and documentation changes with the newly revised editions of the Ophthalmic Coding Coach (#0120344), CPT Pocket Guide for Ophthalmology (#0120339), Ophthalmic Coding Series: Essential Topics #0120346, and Specialty Topics (#0120347V).

    To order, visit

    Educational Materials for Diabetic Patients

    November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Approximately 29 million American adults have diabetes, but many aren’t aware of it and are at risk for vision loss. Empower your patients with the tools to stay informed and healthy with Academy materials.

    • New, coming in November: Retina Informed Consent Video Collection
    • Brochures on diabetic retinopathy in English (#051088) and Spanish (#051339)
    • Brochures on detached and torn retina (#051094)
    • Downloadable handouts (#pehandouts) with nearly 100 titles in English, along with new Spanish translations, across all subspecialties

    To view samples and order, visit 

    ONE SPOTLIGHT: The New ONE Network in New Orleans. Get to know the completely revamped Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE) Network at the 2013 Annual Meeting. Attend these special events to learn how the ONE Network’s simple navigation and new features will make the site easier and faster.
    • Watch a demo with editor-in-chief Robert F. Melendez, MD. Dr. Melendez and Academy staff will walk you through key new features on the ONE Network, including the site’s new navigation and faster search, the My ONE tool, and the new Image Collection. When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2-3 p.m. Where: Technology Pavilion (Hall I1, Booth 5145). Access: Free.
    • Attend a reception celebrating the redesign. Enjoy champagne and cake, and mingle with ONE Network users, editors, and contributors. When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 3-5 p.m. Where: Academy Resource Center (Hall G, Booth 3239). Access: Free.
    • Get a custom tour. Visit the Academy Resource Center for a personal tour of the new ONE Network. Your guide will be an Academy staff member who will show you how to make the most of the revamped website. When: During exhibition hours. Where: Academy Resource Center (Hall G, Booth 3239). Access: Free.
    For more information, visit

    Members at Large


    The 2009 Academy Laureate, Bernard Becker, MD, died Aug. 28. He was 93.

    A scholar, innovator, educator, and mentor, as well as one of ophthalmology’s first clinician-scientists, Dr. Becker was honored as the Academy Laureate at the 2009 Annual Meeting. He was influential in establishing the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology as the world’s leading organization for ophthalmic research. He also played a vital role in establishing the National Eye Institute, which he served in various positions. He chaired the committee responsible for constructing the new library and communications center at Washington University School of Medicine, which was named in his honor as the Bernard Becker Medical Library. Among numerous publications, Dr. Becker coauthored the first two editions of Diagnosis and Therapy of the Glaucomas, a classic ophthalmology textbook.

    “Bernie Becker was a clinician-scientist whose myriad contributions helped transform the field of glaucoma. He was one of the great ophthalmologist-investigators of his generation, and the Academy was proud to name him a Laureate awardee,” said Academy Executive Vice President and CEO David W. Parke II, MD.

    Dr. Becker received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1944. After serving in the U.S. Army, he completed his training at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute. He was briefly on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University before becoming professor and head of ophthalmology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. During his 35-year tenure as department chair (1953-1988), Dr. Becker established one of the country’s most outstanding departments of ophthalmology and residency programs.

    For more on Dr. Becker, read “Bernard Becker, MD, Named 2009 Laureate." This article was first published in Academy News, the convention hall newspaper that was distributed at the 2009 Joint Meeting in San Francisco.

    Who’s in the News

    Rahul Khurana, MD, was interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News for a June 15 story about how flashes of light can signal retinal tears. “A five-minute office procedure can fix a tear if it’s caught in time,” said Dr. Khurana. “Awareness is the main thing.”

    David E. Vollman, MD
    Dr. Vollman.

    David E. Vollman, MD, from the Department of Veterans Affairs, was announced as a finalist for a Call to Service medal in the Service to America program. This medal recognizes a federal employee who reflects contributions that a new generation brings to public service. Dr. Vollman was nominated for his work to gather, organize, and analyze data on cataract surgery results.

    Aref Rifai, MD
    Dr. Rifal.

    Aref Rifai, MD, a vitreoretinal surgeon in Pensacola, Fla., is a founding member and officer of Saving Families in Syria (SFS). SFS assists Syrians through supporting, sustaining, and reviving the daily lives of the families affected by the civil war. Dr. Rifai has been on several medical and humanitarian mission trips to Syria since the beginning of the year and plans to return there.

    With the help of donations, SFS has been able to provide medicine and medical supplies for refugee camp clinics, equipment for ophthalmological hospitals, food baskets for the hungry, and cows and bakery equipment for Syrian communities. Physicians across the country have helped by donating extra supplies, equipment, time, and money.

    D.C. Report

    Annual Meeting Sessions

    During the 2013 Annual Meeting, the Academy will host a series of free sessions on government-related topics, including an update on Medicare physician pay, approval initiatives at the FDA for ophthalmic devices, and use of simulation technology to improve care for soldiers. Be sure to add these sessions to your agenda as you finalize plans for New Orleans.

    Q&A With FDA (Spe26). Did you know that the Academy is working with the FDA to improve the regulatory science around the approval of premium medical devices that can significantly benefit cataract patients? What is the FDA’s role in inspecting and overseeing compounding pharmacies? Do you have questions about the latest ophthalmic products? During the session, ophthalmic drug and device experts from the FDA will respond to your most common queries. Submit questions to be considered for response by Oct. 18. Send them to Shannon Curtis, Government Affairs representative at the Academy, at or by fax at 202-737-7061. When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2-3 p.m. Where: Room 224. Access: Free.

    2014 Medicare Update (Spe12). CMS will release the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule shortly before the Annual Meeting. In this session, Academy leaders will highlight key components and changes in the fee schedule, including an examination of the Medicare incentive programs and the effects of the health care reform law on physician payments. When: Sunday, Nov. 17, 12:15-1:45 p.m. Where: New Orleans Theater C. Access: Free.

    Quality Measurement in Ophthalmology: The Future Landscape (Sym17). With the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many changes to the U.S. health care system are under way. Additionally, Congress is poised to reform Medicare physician payment. These changes are at the nexus of public policy, clinical care, and payment issues. In this symposium, experts in quality measures and payment will discuss the potential impact on patient outcomes and ophthalmology practices. When: Monday, Nov. 18, 8:30-10 a.m. Where: New Orleans Theater C. Access: Free. Combined meeting with the American Medical Association Ophthalmology Section Council.

    VA and DOD: Leading the Way in Simulation in Eye Care (Spe21). Simulation technology has rapidly evolved to the point where it is providing ophthalmologists with new perspectives on how to handle real medical situations. Ophthalmologists from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense will discuss how the agencies’ health care systems are advancing the use of simulation technologies in training to improve patient eye care, safety, and competency maintenance. When: Monday, Nov. 18, 12:45-1:45 p.m. Where: Room 217. Access: Free.

    Candidates' Views

    Meet the Official Slate of Nominees

    In June, the Academy Board of Trustees nominated an official slate of officers for its 2014 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, 2014. From noon Monday, Nov. 18, to noon Tuesday, Dec. 16, Academy members will have the opportunity to vote online or by paper ballot for officers and trustee-at-large positions on the Board of Trustees. The candidates provided biographical summaries (below) as well as full personal statements, which can be found at, “Elections,” “2013 Election Candidates.”

    Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD
    Dr. Van Gelder.

    Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD

    Board of Trustees’ Nominee for President-Elect

    • Strong history of Academy service including education (BCSC Committee, Ophthalmology and EyeNet editorial boards, Maintenance of Certification Committee), advocacy (Councilor, Vice Chair, and Chair of Council), member services (Membership Advisory Committee), and leadership (Leadership Development Program, Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Nominating Committee, Task Force Chair).
    • Broad background in ophthalmology as physician-scientist, subspecialist practitioner, practice group leader, residency program director, and department chair.
    • Dedicated to preserving innovation in ophthalmology; maintaining and improving quality of care; maximizing membership value; and advocating strongly for our profession in the United States and worldwide.
    Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, MHA
    Dr. Wiggins.

    Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, MHA

    Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Senior Secretary for Ophthalmic Practice

    • Practice management experience: since 2000, managing partner of Asheville Eye Associates, a practice that includes the full spectrum of ophthalmologic subspecialties, optometrists, an optical dispensary, an ambulatory surgery center, and multiple practice locations.
    • Business management education: master of healthcare administration, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2003; continuing education in the Baldrige Health Care Criteria program.
    • Professional organization leadership experience: My participation on the boards and committees of the AAOE, AAPOS, and OMIC has broadened my exposure to leaders in the field and a range of practice management issues.
    Jonathan B. Rubenstein, MD
    Dr. Rubenstein.

    Jonathan B. Rubenstein, MD

    Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Secretary for Annual Meeting

    • It is a great honor to be renominated for Secretary for the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting is the premier meeting in our specialty. It provides an opportunity for approximately 14,000 ophthalmologists from around the world to meet with each other, learn the latest developments, and enhance their ability to provide the highest quality of care. I am excited to help create an outstanding Annual Meeting for our membership.
    • I have been an active member for 27 years, receiving both the Achievement Award and the Senior Achievement Award. I have served on the Digital Media Committee, Skills Transfer Advisory Committee, and the Annual Meeting Secretariat. I was Chair of the Skills Transfer Advisory Committee for five years and have been the Secretary for the Annual Meeting for the past three years. I am an examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology and a past President of the Chicago Ophthalmological Society. I am in a six-person private practice and academically affiliated with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where I hold the rank of Deutsch Family Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service. I am also the director of the Section of Ophthalmology at the Skokie Hospital of the North Shore University Health System.
    • My experience for the past three years as Secretary for the Annual Meeting and my involvement in leadership roles both in the Academy and my practice has prepared me well to continue in the position of Secretary for the Annual Meeting. I look forward to helping the Academy and all of its membership by providing a first-rate Annual Meeting that continues to improve, evolve, and uphold the standard of excellence that we expect from the Academy.
    Jane C. Edmond, MD
    Dr. Edmond.

    Jane C. Edmond, MD

    Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Trustee-at-Large

    • Background: I am associate professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine, and practice at Texas Children’s Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Houston. I have been practicing for 23 years, and my specialties are pediatric ophthalmology, adult strabismus, and pediatric neuro-ophthalmology. I am particularly interested in educating patients, the general public, and allied health services about eye disease recognition and prevention.
    • Academy service: Lifetime Education for the Ophthalmologist (LEO) (Chair), Maintenance of Certification Education (Chair), Basic and Clinical Science Course Section 6, Communications Advisory Board, EyeNet Editorial Board, and Trustee-at-Large. AAPOS service: Director-at-Large and Councilor to the Academy. 
    • My experience as a salaried clinician practicing in a large hospital system, witnessing the evolution of care as the health system transitions into an accountable care organization, delivering care in an organized team, becoming facile with EHRs, and meeting increased volume demands through enhanced practice efficiency will facilitate my ability to advise the Board about new challenges facing our members. I look forward to energetically representing my colleagues.
    Ann A. Warn, MD, MBA
    Dr. Warn.

    Ann A. Warn, MD, MBA

    Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Chair of the Council

    • Professional experience: 19 years as a comprehensive ophthalmologist with the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute.
    • State and community leadership: 9 years on Oklahoma State Board of Health (past president), Leadership Oklahoma, Chamber of Commerce Board, Board Member for Southwest Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition, two-time finalist for Oklahoma Woman of the Year, and current Vice President of Cameron University Foundation. State Society: Board of Directors “At Large” member, former Councilor, President, Treasurer, and PAC Chair.
    • Academy experience: current Vice Chair of the Council, OphthPAC Committee, Board of Directors for OMIC, and Board of Directors of AAOE.
    • Goals: Few professional societies have a body such as the Council where views of members can be conveyed to its governing body. This ability substantially contributes to the success of the AAO. My goal is to continue the tradition of a strong voice for the Council to the Board of Trustees.
    Mathew W. MacCumber, MD, PhD
    Dr. MacCumber.

    Mathew W. MacCumber, MD, PhD

    Board of Trustees’ Nominee for Council Vice Chair

    • I have nearly ten years of experience with organized ophthalmology stemming initially from my participation in the 2004-2005 Academy Leadership Development Program (LDP) and tenure as the delegate from the American Society of Retina Specialists to the AMA House of Delegates. My central concern in these roles has been the preservation of quality in eye care and the protection of our patients.
    • During the past 10 years, I have directed one of the nation’s leading retina fellowship programs, chaired the retina section of the Academy Maintenance of Certification course, served on the Academy measure development committee for the Physician.
    • Quality Reporting System, cochaired six symposia on health care economics at the Annual Meeting, and prepared and presented the Council Advisory Recommendation that called for an Academy task force on genetic testing, on which I also served.
    • As the U.S. medical system evolves more rapidly, we should keep in mind the words attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” With my experience in academic medicine, private practice, research, and advocacy, I humbly believe that I can facilitate the role of the Council as Vice Chair and, ultimately, as Chair.