OOA/AOA Warning: Misleading Campaign Promoting Vision Screening

OOA/AOA Warning Parents about Misleading Campaign Promoting Vision Screening

Beginning January 1, nearly all children in the U.S. will have coverage for annual eye examinations, follow-up care, and treatments, such as eyeglasses, from their local doctor of optometry. For many families, the coverage will be embedded within their basic medical insurance, not as a stand-alone benefits as has typically been the case. Sadly, even though many children currently have this vision care coverage and millions more will soon gain new access to this vision care coverage through an Optometric Care ACA Children’s Health Benefit, deemed essential to a child’s overall health, a group of specialty surgeons is attempting to mislead the public and steer families away from the primary eye and vision care that they need.

Through a nationwide campaign called “Choosing Wisely”, a group of special-interest surgeons has released recommendations urging parents not to bother with annual comprehensive eye examinations provided by doctors of optometry unless the child is already identified as having a vision problem. The problem with that recommendation is that there is no valid screening method to identify most kids with vision problems.

The OOA/AOA is rapidly taking steps to counteract this potentially harmful suggestion.

  • First, AOA has prepared a statement for parents (member log-in required) that you can use in giving your own expert advice to parents and other in your community who care about children’s health.
  • AOA has prepared a public referenced article: Health Reform Offers Better Children’s Vision Care in the U.S.
  • In the coming weeks, the AOA will conduct PR outreach to both medical-health media and consumer media to correct the record about the problems with vision screenings and the benefits and accessibility of comprehensive eye exams for children. Materials will also be provided for you and affiliates to use with the media and other public health stakeholders.

Only comprehensive eye exams fully identify eye problems, provide diagnosis, and ensure a linkage to treatment for all of the vision and eye health issues that can impact a child’s ability to meet important developmental and educational milestones while routine vision screenings miss up to three-quarters of learning-related eye and vision problems.

Once missed by vision screening, children are often misdirected toward Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) treatments without ever receiving the vision care they actually need. But, not surprisingly, these vision screenings are predominantly effective at finding those rare kids in need of eye surgery and have been shown to detect little else that relates to a child’s success or failure in school.

Vision screenings miss more problems than they find. A study funded by the National Eye Institute found that even the most highly trained vision screeners using the the top-of-the-line screening equipment will miss one-third of all learning-related eye and vision problems in children. Children should never have to suffer a lifetime of visual and learning problems because a vision screening missed their vision or eye health issue.

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School Nurse Symposium November 18

Do you know a school nurse that would be interested in attending the OOA School Nurse Symposium? November 18, 9:00 AM – 1:45 PM at the Northeast Conference Center in Westerville, OH. Free CE! Lunch included! Visit http://www.ooa.org to register.

Quotes from school nurses about previous School Nurse Symposia:

“I’ve been a school nurse for over20 years. This was the most informative vision workshop I have ever attended.”

SNS2

“No matter how often I attend, I always learn new things. These session improve my efficiency.”

SNS1

“Excellent presentations! I especially liked having an OD at our table to respond to our questions and I loved the eye emergency portion.”

SNS3

Halloween health: Don’t purchase decorative contact lenses without a prescription

By the American Optometric Association 

With Halloween rapidly approaching, it’s timely to remind the public to have a health fear of decorative contact lenses.

The AOA is warning people about the risks of purchasing and wearing such lenses without a valid prescription and proper medical evaluation from a doctor of optometry. The AOA also encourages optometrists to report any cases of harm from illegally purchased lenses.

Decorative lenses, also referred to as plano lenses, are marketed and distributed directly to consumers as fashion or costume accessories. People can buy them online or at flea markets, beauty salons, convenience stores and even national retailers.

“Even though these are non-corrective lenses, they still pose the same potential health and safety risks as other contact lenses,” said Glenda Secor, O.D., chair of the AOA’s Contact Lens and Cornea Section. “When purchased over-the-counter, decorative contact lenses can put people at risk for bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss. Sadly, numerous cases of this have been documented.”

According to the AOA’s 2013 American Eye-Q consumer survey, 17 percent of Americans have worn decorative contact lenses that don’t provide vision correction. Of those individuals, 24 percent purchased them without a prescription from a source other than an eye doctor – a great concern for the AOA and its members.

All contact lenses are classified as medical devises by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They require a valid prescription whether they correct vision or are worn for special occasions such as Halloween, proms or weddings.

Report harm from illegal lenses

In addition, AOA members continue to provide reports of patients being able to purchase contact lenses online, even though the patients have not had a recent eye exam and do not possess a valid prescription. The AOA replies on the reports received from doctors in the field regarding inappropriate contact lens sales to bolster its advocacy efforts.

Any further federal actions to better protect contact lens patients and to eliminate sellers who disregard the laws in place depends in large part of the reports that agencies receive from doctors and patients. As Paul Proske, O.D. and AOA member practicing in Texas noted, “If enough of my colleagues take the time to report incidents in which their patients are put at risk by purchasing contact lenses online or through unconventional retailers without proper prescriptions and oversight, we could effect change on a national level.”

If a patient has been harmed or injured because of the illegal sales of contact lenses (corrective or decorative), report the incident to the FDA. If you believe a contact lens seller (online or in person) is selling lenses with poor business practices that could lead to harm or injury, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Doctors also can email copies of any complaints to Kara Webb (kcwebb@aoa.org). These incidents will be logged internally to discuss with federal agencies.

Thank You from EastWest Chair Dr. Tom Quinn

There are few things more satisfying in life than working toward a common goal with like-minded individuals and seeing it through to a successful conclusion.

The 2013 EastWest Eye Conference, with its top-line educational programming and fresh new venue, established a new standard in quality continuing education. And it was fun!

Thank you to everyone who made it possible. Thank you to the diverse and gifted educators who spoke at our conference. Thank you to our impressively supportive exhibitors and sponsors. Thank you to the enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who serve on the EastWest Eye Conference Committee, including the dedicated and unflappable staff of the Ohio Optometric Association. Thank you to the entertainers who made the Friday Night Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Party a rockin’ hoot.

Most of all, thank you to our enthusiastic conference attendees. Your faith in us motivates us to continually raise the bar on the learning, and the fun, offered at the EastWest Eye Conference.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret. Plans are already underway to create an even more memorable 2014 conference. Don’t miss it. See you in Cleveland October 9-12, 2014!

With sincere appreciation,

Tom

Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS

Chair

EastWest: By Optometry. For Optometry.

A Billion Back – BWC Update

A message from Paul Feck, Frank Gates Service Company

In mid-July the BWC completed the mailing of approximately 180,000 rebate checks for Ohio employers. All rebate checks have been mailed to Ohio employers, with the exception of employers in a Group Retrospective Rating Program. Group Retrospective Rating employers will receive their rebate checks at the time of their Group Retro survey date.

In the upcoming months, you will hear additional information relating to modernizing the premium collection model that is used by the BWC. The modernization of premium collection, which is passed by legislation, is another component of “A Billion Back”. Legislation was passed authorizing BWC to move toward a prospective-payment system, from the current system where premium payments are made in arrears. This switch would also result in rate reductions of 2 percent for private employers and 4 percent for public employers. We will continue to update you as new information becomes available.