AOA 2016 Volunteer Meeting

Here’s what went down at the AOA 2016 Volunteer Meeting

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recently met for their 2016 volunteer meeting and some big issues were discussed. On February 5th and 6th, over 180 volunteers met in St. Louis, Missouri and exchanged ideas. Programs and resources were discussed, as well as the AOA benefits that members receive. Opened by AOA Resident Steven A. Loomis, O.D., the meeting involved a good deal of updates on important highlights and discussions about how to move forward. This meeting was of great importance because what is discussed at this meeting each year has a large effect on how optometry advances in the future.

Loomis opened the meeting by updating volunteers of the priorities and achievement of the AOA, like the tremendously successful Think about Your Eyes public awareness campaign. the Campaign has been increasing awareness of optometry since July 2013. In addition to this campaign, the AOA has created a new membership initiative in two pilot states. Loomis also spoke about the entreaty created to advocate for continued support of the AOA-Political Action Committee (AOA-PAC). This committee dedicates itself to making sure that optometry’s voice is heard and that the volunteers’ hard work is recognized.

Here are some of the most important takeaways from the AOA volunteer meeting that will affect the future of optometry:

1) The deadline for AOA MORE is approaching

Any doctors who enroll in AOA MORE (Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare) show their intent to use AOA MORE as their specialized data registry for the 2016 EHR Incentive Program year. This also implies that they plan to meet the public health objective for specialized registry reporting. But the deadline for this is quickly approaching on February 29, 2016.

2) Advocacy committees are now providing third party legislative updates.

The volunteers have been advocating the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act, the National Health Service Corps Improvement Act and the Veterans’ Affairs optometric residencies amendment. The AOA also discussed the work being done in states that will soon see legislation regarding unilateral pricing policy. There have also been increases in resources, such as vision services available through community health centers. There was also a call to action to get more people to join the AOA Keypersons Network.

3) Paraoptometric Group gives us some updates.

One of the most important contingents to the AOA is the paraoptometrics. There are over 10,000 paraoptometrics enrolled as AOA associate members, so it is important that the AOA works to benefit them as well. At the meeting, emphasis was placed on the Paraoptometric Career Ladder educational tool. The tool was launched in June 2015 and has been downloaded 1,000 times since its launch. This tool allows the paraoptometric staff to acquire job proficiency with regard to six different responsibilities necessary for a paraoptometric career.

4) Clinical resources committees acknowledge accomplishments

The clinical resources committees have come very far this year. The Contact Lens & Cornea Section’s “Join the Fight Campaign”, an initiative that works to expose the illegal sales of contact lenses through 83 online sites and 19 establishments. This initiative was launched by the Contact Lens Watchdog Group. And that wasn’t the only accomplishment. The Sports Vision Section delivered sports-vision kits to 12 schools and colleges.

5) Discussions about Boston’s upcoming meeting

The conference called “Optometry’s Meeting” will take place in Boston from June 29th to July 3rd. This conference will introduce new, cutting edge formats for spreading education. All attendees will be sure to have an unforgettable experience. The Keynote address will be delivered by former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Broadway celebrity Laura Osnes will be speaking as well.

It is clear from the happenings of the 2016 AOA volunteers meeting that there are a lot of exciting things in store for the world of optometry. In the future, we can expect even more endeavors in the way of disseminating valuable information about eye health. A lot of action has been taken to improve the field of optometry, and there are even more exciting advancements coming up in the future.


The Effect Alcohol has on Eye Vision

I am sure everyone enjoys a nice cocktail once in awhile, especially when certain days can be stressful. However, consuming too much alcohol consistently can have a major effect on your eyesight now and in the future. Below you will find some short-term and long term effects.

Short-term effects:

Your reaction time is slower than normal due to alcohol consumption, so this means that your pupil will have a slower reaction time as well. The iris is extremely affected by alcohol causing it to be more constricted and dilated. This is something that is not safe. Drivers who have been drinking do not have the proper reaction time to deal with oncoming traffic and headlights. Another short term effect from alcohol is having a difficult time determining between different objects around you based how light or dark something may be. There was a study done at the Western University in Ontario, Canada that showed alcohol reduced the ability of the eye by 30 percent at a blood alcohol level around the the legal driving limit. You can also experience eye twitching as well as dryness by alcohol consumption.

Long term effects

When you consume an excessive amount of alcohol it can affect the absorption of vitamins in the liver. Vitamins are very important for someone to maintain a healthy eyesight.  If someone is not consuming enough vitamins because of alcohol it can cause many difficulties with your vision. That being said, thinning of cornea, and blindness due to retinal damage are just few examples of what can occur if you do not make smart decisions.  This is not an issue to take lightly, because if you do not take care your body there will be consequences that you will not want to deal with in the long run.

One thing to note is that most of the short term effects to do go away on their own, but the more  your experience these symptoms the greater chance you have of it turning into a long term issue, which then you should consult your doctor immediately.


Seeing Eye To Eye: Why Do Soccer Players Earn So Much ?

Soccer, or what is known internationally or outside the United States as Football, is a multimillion dollar industry, and the clubs and leagues have the cash to prove it. In a time of lists which tell us who is who in the rankings when it comes to pay, or the “best in the world” the question still remains – Why do soccer players earn so much?  Research shows that factors like sponsorship, investment, the skill set and prowess of the players on the field can serve as possible contributors to how much a player earns.

According to former Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney, “Football doesn’t have an income problem, it has a spending problem.” This could not be farther from the truth as fans have seen the a surge in ticket sales as players salaries rise higher. Critics argue that if football would like to increase sales and see players salaries be maintained, clubs and leagues would have to keep ticket prices down. Wouldn’t we all love that?

The Market Influences how players are bought

Football players do not have their salaries drawn out of thin air.  Like any other enterprise, the market affects how much they earn and ultimately why they earn what they earn. The writer of this article for the BBC argues that what makes football player salaries so curious to people is in football’s tangibility as a sport. Football is accessible to a lot of people as opposed to being the CEO of Microsoft or Apple who also see their salaries in the high level. The football industry is not just a sport, the passion, sponsorship and diversity of players both in skill and attitude has transformed it into an entertainment field, and with this entertainment comes higher expectations in branding for the player and the club, therefore money is poured into this part of the business.


The Football Player As An Investment

When we see players being traded or bought by clubs, it brings a deeper awareness to the sport, because we realize how much we forget about the business side of things. Considering the individual earnings of football players means that we have to think of the value the player is bringing into the team. Every player has a unique value, and this determines their worth in trading.  In 2014, UK publication- The Telegraph, compiled a list of some of the most expensive transfers in the history of soccer. Welsh player Gareth Bale holds the number one place on their list after a transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid worth 86 million pounds. Cristiano Ronaldo followed up on the list with a whooping 80 million pound transfer when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

Clubs like Real Madrid and chelsea  have a history of buying high-profile players to raise performance levels and take the team towards championships

Turf Expectancy

Unlike actors or musicians, who can amass a ton of wealth well past their prime, Soccer players have an 8- 10 year period ( ten, if you’re lucky) before their clubs trade them off, or they find themselves benched or moving to the MLS. It’s an unfortunate reality of the sport, which is why many opt to coaching roles or take their personal brands further into other aspects of business, all with the aim of generating more income. Players like David Beckham and Didier Drogba are prime examples.

If you would like to learn more about why soccer players earn so much, visit this answer on Quora and this article by BBC Sport.

The AOA will See You Now: Opternative and The Rise of Online Vision Tests

In this article by Wired Magazine titled “ The Eye Doctor on Your Laptop Will See You Now”, the writer gives us, the audience, a glimpse into an online eye test by Opternative, a new online platform that gives users the opportunity to take free eye exams from the comfort of their homes. To employ Opternative for an eye test, he writes that all you need is “an internet connection, a smartphone a computer, and 25 minutes”. The eye exam is free for subscribers and provides glasses, contacts or both for a nifty price of $40 and $60 respectively.

The presence of Opternative marks a surging climb in online eye tests, and the platform’s 19,000 customer mark is a testimony to it’s success. The writer explains that Opternative’s relatively easy to use platform is one of the hallmarks of its success. Consumers are thrilled by the opportunity to go through a vision test at home, and it’s also free. This is how it works- Opternative texts users a link, and then acts as a coach, mentoring users through the online process. The platform asks users questions like “ which of these lines is sharper, the right one or left one?” This questioning process goes on for 25- 30 minutes, and the user must answer the question to best of their abilities. Once the user is done, the test results are reviewed by a doctor who looks for red flags and then sends a prescription. The user receives a signed copy with all the doctor’s information.  All this sounds relatively easy, and possibly a better option for the consumer, but recent reports from the American Optometric Association might prove otherwise.


According to the AOA, Opternatives claims might be misleading and these claims, which the association describes as ambiguous, “could mislead patients into choosing convenience at the expense of proper eye and vision care.” Dr. Christopher Wolfe, a member of the AOA, and a reviewed a clinical study that Opternative uses to back its claim, comparing its vision test to an in-person refractive exam. The 30-person trial compared patients plano to -4.00 using spherical equivalent data for both exam modalities, determining a correlation. On Wolfe’s end, he discovered various discrepancies in the findings by Opternative, he concluded on the study and the platform noting that, “There are the eye health concerns that are obviously misleading, but the fact that the study they cite is so small and their claims that it points to accuracy and correlation to traditional refraction techniques is misleading at best, since it only accounts for spherical equivalent data.” The AOA will be taking several measures to advocate for the safeguarding of consumers against misleading claims made by various online vision tests. Already the federal government has taken action against one company, Carrot Neurotechnology, who’s online vision test proved to be deceitful towards consumers.

Information for this article is courtesy of Wired Magazine and the American Optometric Association. To follow on this issue, follow the American Optometric Association.


Looking at Space Through Optometry

The are many factors that come into play when successfully completing a mission as a U.S. Air Force Airman. Knowledge, agility, strength, and perception are just a few.

At the Aviano Air Base in Italy, the 31st Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry clinic aims to ensure the eye health of every patient, eliminating any blurred lines. Their mission is to get all of those in their cair seeing 20/20 vision, according to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joel Ives, 31st Aerospace Medicine Squadron NCO in charge of optometry.

Active-duty members take priority at the clinic, while it still provides service to all at the base, they understand the integral role they play in supporting the mission by ensuring Airmen are able to physically complete their duties both locally and in deployed locations.

“If our members are unable to see clearly or sharply, accuracy in their tasks is not going to be the same and that may affect our mission,” said Ives.

The optometry team is made of only three technicians, conducting about 300 eye exams each month, checking for any changes in patient’s’ eyesight. Procedures are also performed monthly to detect and identify any diseases so they can be caught at the earliest stage possible.

On top of performing one dozen eye exams annually, the clinic also provides single, bifocal, trifocal, spectacle and contact lens prescriptions to active-duty professionals. “Our clinic also provides different types of inserts for the gas mask and ballistic eyewear required by some deployed locations,” said Ives.

The optometry are committed to ensuring optimal eye health for all members of the Aviano Air Base and confident they have the means to care for anyone who comes in. But their services offered mean nothing if they are not utilized.

However, members of Team Aviano also practice daily precautions to help keep their eye health optimal. Such precautions include not sleeping with contacts in, removing contacts if eyes begin to feel irritated, and giving your eyes a break by looking away from computer screens for at least every hour in addition to lowering the brightness level on electronic devices.

To read the original article, click here.

Mud Runs Can Lead to a Loss of Eyesight

Ralph Cotran

Mud Runs Can Lead to a Loss of Eyesight

The fitness world is constantly going through trends and fads. These used to simply revolve around the latest diet or exercise routine but now, these trends are entering a different sort of territory. Recently, the exercise community has been obsessing over challenges that are meant to prove your strength of will, strength of character, and strength of body. These events are usually obstacle courses in which hundreds of people hurl themselves forward and push their bodies and minds to the limit, all while wading and running through mud that can be high as waist-level.

These events have clearly been exploding in popularity recently; I mean, how many friends of yours have taken part in a Spartan Race? However they also come with a downside that is rarely, if ever, discussed. There have been an increasing number of reports coming in about people getting sick and infected with bacteria and germs from these runs and I’m not just talking about things that are comparable to the common cold. The most recent story is of a woman who fighting for her life and eyesight against a serious case of necrotizing fasciitis that she picked up while doing a mud run earlier this month.

Not only is this woman in danger of losing her eyesight and/or life, but she’s also now stuck with over $100,000 in medical bills due to a lack of medical insurance. While her story is clearly an extreme example and shouldn’t be applied to all mud runs, the fact remains that these can cause far more serious injuries than sprains or broken bones. Last week, dozens of mud runners in France were hit by a brutal version of gastroenteritis that was caused by bacteria in the mud. In 2012, 22 runners in a Nevada mud race contracted diarrhea from animal feces in the water. While not all mud runs will make you sick, people should be aware that there are risks involved beyond physical pain.

For more information on this matter :

Newest Technology in Optometry

Ralph CotranTechnology has truly come a long way in all aspects of our lives, especially in the field of medicine. Researches are rolling out a new app kit called “Peek” which allows to physicians to test a patients’ eyesight in remote areas around the world. Optometrists can use a smartphone device to conduct the tests, which have been proven to be just as accurate as the traditional letter chart we are all so familiar with. 

The technology to make this device possible was put together by scientist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and researchers from the University of St Andrews. The app works in connection to a special device called the “Peek Retina” which allows for a thorough testing of the retina. Researched from JAMA Ophthalmology tested over 233 Kenyans in their homes, then distributed the patients to eye care centers around the world to be re-evaluated. Both tests showed similar results, meaning that scores derived from the Peek were just as reliable as the traditional visual acuity chart. 

So, what does this mean for the optometry community?

The new device can be used to detect early signs of poor vision, and as most of the world’s blind population resides in poor rural areas, this is a great opportunity to help millions around the world. Technology is becoming more and more accessible, and with the help of smart devices such as iPhones and tablets, bringing medical devices closer to those who are less fortunate has become much easier. 

Lead researcher and author of the study, Dr Andrew Bastawrous, was quoted that the ultimate goal of this apparatus is to use Peek Retina on people who need timely and appropriate treatment in order to diagnose their condition and hopefully see clearly again. The Peek Acuity test works by having the physician display a letter and positioning it in four different alignment, and then asking the patient to point the direction of the letter. Once the patient has answered, the doctor can easily move on to the next slide.

The only study conducted focused on Kenyan residents between over the age 55, however, this narrow test groups leaves some questions unanswered. Specialists believe that in order for Peek Acuity to take off, broader studies need to be conducted, inclusive of larger populations of different ages and backgrounds. 

A New Product of Contact Lenses

Ralph Cotran

Contact Lenses

Scientists at Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) are responsible for the creation of a another kind of contact lens that just recently received approval to be sold to retailers around the United States. On April 23rd, the newly updated lenses with an extended depth of focus (EDOF), were just approved by the Federal Drug Administration and the US Health Control. The product is expected to hit the US market very soon. 

Brien Holden, professor and CEO of BHVI, believes that “this is an imperative venture forward in quality vision for presbyopes.” The contact lenses were designed by BHVI analyst, Dr Ravi Bakaraju, and are expected to help people who wear contact lenses to see better and much more clearly closeup and faraway, while diminishing the normal visuals of ghosting and haloes. 

Dr Bakaraju was quoted that “many claims are made that multifocal lenses provide simultaneous vision at various visual distances but often this comes at the cost of reduced contrast, increased ghosting and compromised overall vision satisfaction.” A complete database also shows that our contact lenses will give an extraordinarily advantage the US advertise, and others. The contact lenses are derived from another product put forth by BHVI, Brien Holden Vision Pty Ltd, which will also be accessible toward the end of this year.

Holden explains that contact lenses represents a huge development towards the improvement of science, innovation and innovative work. Brien Holden Vision Institute will give a generous part of its benefits to store our work during a time when improvements in science need as much help as possible. BHVI is dedicated to correcting the disabilities of people who suffer with eye sight, and with more than 625 million people who are vision impaired this need becomes even more of a priority. Many of these patient do not have access to healthcare, nor do they have the resources to pay for tests and glasses, which is why these efforts are impertinent. 

Keeping Up With Eyewear Trends

Ralph CotranThe past few decades eye wear has become a must have accessory, for both men and women, which is why its so important for Optical Services to keep up with the latest trends. Wearing sunglasses and even prescription glasses can give people the opportunity to look more sophisticated, professional and improve their overall day to day look. And just like clothing companies, eyewear stores also need to keep up with these trends in order to deliver the latest styles to they customers. 

By continuously updating your inventory, retailers will be in a good position to always attract customers from all ages and backgrounds. Joy Gibb, president of Eyes of Joy Mobile Optical Service, indicates that consumers are always looking to change up their style, and turn to strops that always offer products that are contemporary. Frames, colors and styles need to be different from last season, otherwise buyers will move to the next place that offers more variety. 

Luckily, there are numerous ways for eye-care experts (ECPs) to keep their inventory up to date with the newest trends. Some of these resources include the Vision Council, with continuous updates in this field through their websites: and These blogs are meant to raise awareness among eyewear designers and give the latest updates. 

Fashion shows, like the annual Vision Expo meeting, also open doors for eye-care designers to discover upcoming trends, materials, shapes, and styles. Celebrities and other public icons are great resources in understanding future fashion trends, especially since the younger generations look up to these people.

Gibb also explains that frame representatives can also help the optics industry.  “They will see color palettes and designs that will start to trend.” Efficient representatives should always keep the company’s financial well-being in mind and have the market information readily available as soon as possible.

Healthy Eating for Your Eye Sight

Ralph CotranEveryone has been told at some point in their lives to eat carrots in order to improve their vision, and according to Cynthia Cupal. O.D., F.A.A.O., of the Fenton Vision Center, nutrition is a very important step in maintaining a healthy vision. Cupal believes that healthy eating habits are extremely important, especially for people who have a past of being treated for multiple diseases. In order to practice what she preaches, Cynthia herself leads a healthy life style. She is a certified raw food nutritionist, as well as a member of the Ocular Nutrition Society. The ONS is a nation wide group  of optometrists that are dedicated to the prevention of ocular and systemic disease, and patient eye care. 

Below is a list of foods that could potentially help improve your vision once introduced to a healthy and balanced meal plan. 

  • Once consumed, foods that contain beta-carotene are easily turned into Vitamin A, which is an excellent resource for promoting healthy eyesight, a strong immune system and youthful skin. Beta- carotene can be found in daily foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and pumpkins.
  • Vitamin C is also an excellent contributor when you are looking to improve your healthy living lifestyle. Childhood favorites like broccoli and brussels sprouts and bell peppers contain antioxidants that are able to shield your eyes from outside danger and give it fast healing properties. Vitamin C can also decelerate age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Dry eyes is an ongoing problem for many people who wear contacts regularly. One way to mend this issue is by eating foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish and nuts. Chia and hemps seeds are also great amino acids that can restore the production of the master antioxidant and glutathione.

While consuming the foods mentioned above can be a great way to improve your eyesight, these healthy eating habits are also great for your general immune system. Despite your age, you should visit your eye doctor at least twice a year and keep up with the changes in your frames.