Back to School Eye Exams are a Must

By Dr. Ann Morrison,  Binocular Vision and Pediatrics Advanced Practice Fellow at Ohio State College of Optometry.

As school starts back up in the next couple of weeks, you should be advocating the importance of regular back to school eye examinations to your patients. It has been estimated that up to 80% of learning is visual. This should be a statistic that you promote to your patients, as it is a true testament to the importance of having good vision in the classroom.

As we all know, having good vision is more than reading 20/20 on an acuity chart. According to the Center for Disease Control, vision disabilities are one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children. Many studies have linked poor academic performance with ocular problems [1-3].

Parents are always amazed at the responses their children will give me when I ask them questions about their eyes during an examination. Some of the questions I might ask a child are: “Do you ever see the words on the page split in to two? Do they get fuzzy sometimes? Do they ever look like they are swimming?”. When a child responds “yes” to any of these types of questions, the parents quickly justify that their child never complained of those things to them. I reassure them that they are not bad parents and that children often assume that everyone else sees the way they do. I explain that unless someone explicitly tells them that these types of symptoms are not normal, a child typically will not complain.

When I have a discussion with my patients about the importance of comprehensive eye exams, I cannot begin to count how many of them think that the vision screening administered at their child’s school or at their pediatrician well-visit is counted as a comprehensive eye examination. While screenings are a great public health implementation, it is important to spend the time educating your patients on the value of a comprehensive dilated eye examination and explain that many disorders including far-sightedness, eye teaming and focusing problems are often missed in screenings that take place in the school or at their pediatrician’s office. These types of disorders can impede a child’s ability to focus and keep up with the rest of their peers.

These conversations are a great segue into discussing the Infant-See program, explaining that comprehensive eye care should start by the time a baby is one year old. This topic also sheds light on the importance of the Realeyes program, as it educates children about their eyes and the importance of visiting an eye doctor. Make sure you are making your patients aware of these programs!

I’ll leave you with a link to fantastic video put together by the One Sight program who has set up a full service optical center and exam lane inside the Oyler School in Cincinnati. What they are doing in this school is a testament to how powerful a single pair of glasses can be for a child in need.


  1. Narayanasamy, S., et al., Impact of Simulated Hyperopia on Academic-Related Performance in Children. Optom Vis Sci, 2014.
  2. Quaid, P. and T. Simpson, Association between reading speed, cycloplegic refractive error, and oculomotor function in reading disabled children versus controls. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol, 2013. 251(1): p. 169-87.
  3. Rosner, J. and J. Rosner, The relationship between moderate hyperopia and academic achievement: how much plus is enough? J Am Optom Assoc, 1997. 68(10): p. 648-50.

Helping Older American’s with Vision Loss

By Joan Nerderman

Eye care in someone’s home is always EYE opening and can be so rewarding.   I have had the opportunity for the last 13 years to go into patient homes and nursing homes with a senior Ohio State University optometry extern who has expressed an interest in helping people in these areas of need.

What better way for an extern to experience the need, than to see the patient’s environment and the visual challenges: like the TV that’s only 6 feet away and at an angle or seeing them reading the newspaper in their dimly lit house. Often the suggestions to some of these problems are as simple as can the TV be put in a new location or do you have any gooseneck lamps in the house?

With just a few tools by your side like a hand held slit lamp, trial lenses and frame, eye chart (we have a simple one we tape to the wall and measure test distance), tonopen, Perkins or Icare tonometer, small lensometer is nice, drops and your BIO/panoptic, you can visit the patient it their home, and make small adjustments to help improve their life.  One of the most rewarding patients was one who had terrible neck contractures and cataracts.  Although no one could do surgery in her position we were able to get her a stand magnifier that allowed her to see the one thing she wanted–her grandson’s wedding pictures.

Also seeing the interaction of the externs with the fading population of WWII veterans, warms my heart. We can’t always get them seeing great but we can help advise those who may not otherwise get out for vision care, gain some vision independence.

Seeing the World Through Sea Foam Green Colored Glasses

Dr Greg Hopkins By Greg Hopkins, OD, MS – As you probably know, our brand new colleagues from the class of 2014 will be getting their licenses to practice soon. Since I’ve been blessed with opportunity to serve as a clinical instructor at the college for the past two years, I have no doubt that many of the doctors from this particular class will ensure that their names appear on the list of new OOA members forthcoming!

Whenever I meet a new student in the academic clinical setting, I’m always curious to learn about the lens that they view their newly chosen profession through. As some of you may know, I am a proud alumnus of THE Ohio State University Marching Band—The Best Damn Band In The Land (TBDBITL). As a young, headstrong rookie snare drummer, I assumed that everybody else entered that elite playing field for the same reason that I did. I was wrong.

While some members shared my vision for how our drum line should carry on the marching band’s “tradition of excellence” (at least, that was the mantra back then—I’m told that the current band motto is “tradition through innovation”), I quickly discovered that people came to the field from different backgrounds. Often, their motivations and aspirations were different from my own. However, we practiced intensely, performed often, and grew together from summer session practices through bowl trips. It is safe to say that my fellow TBDBITL alumni and I see the world through “scarlet and gray colored glasses.” Maybe some of you can relate!

We all have unique upbringings and extracurricular activity experiences that undoubtedly shaped the way we viewed optometry when we first entered clinical rotations. For me as a second-year optometry student, the slit lamp mounting system looked like a drum set. Getting into a rhythm when refracting patients was a breeze! Perhaps the other optometric drummers reading this (I know you’re out there) had a similar experience? I observed as our optometry students practiced intensely in clinical labs, and worked through in-house and extern clinical rotations. They have grown appreciably in clinical expertise from their white coat ceremony through doctoral convocation. Colleagues, it’s safe to say that they now see the world through our profession’s collective “sea foam green colored glasses.”

Our rookie ODs have no-doubt been changed for the better as a result of their training in optometry school. From now on, they will likely:

  • Operate motor vehicles with enhanced safety by adjusting the radio volume and other controls using a well-practiced finger-stabilization technique usually reserved for working with a 20D lens. They may even find themselves bracketing the windshield wiper speed to quickly refine the “perfect amount of wipe” in the rain.
  • Raise their children better by helping toddlers get dressed efficiently each morning by always starting the shoe installation routine with the kid’s right foot first. Using our history of chief complaint abilities to get a better answer than “nothing” when asking older kids about what happened at school today.
  • Cook better by setting ingredients on the counter the same way we’d set up a tray for performing objective testing or foreign body removal tools. Using cup-to-disc ratio grading when pouring waffle batter onto a circular iron and Sheard’s criterion or 2x functional reserve (for you low vision docs) to make sure that the batter doesn’t overflow.

I’m sure many of you can think of more and even better examples than these. For now, I’ll simply say congratulations to our new colleagues and welcome to the profession—however you see it!

The Affordable Care Act and Optometry

OSU student Erica KellerBy Erica Keller, Ohio State University, AOSA Trustee-elect – Recently, Rick Cornett, Executive Director of the Ohio Optometric Association, came to speak at The Ohio State University College of Optometry about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)/Obamacare and how it will affect optometrists, both positively and negatively. More than 150 students came to listen, making it apparent that we have an interest in the future of our profession under the ACA. We want to know: What does this legislation mean for optometry’s future?

1. How will the increase in consumers with insurance benefit optometrists?
The increase in insured patients will allow more people to come to optometry offices and have coverage for services provided. Due to the legislative work of Sen. Tom Harkin (author of the Harkin amendment, which became part of the law), optometrists have been included in many health care plans and have not been discriminated against by major insurance providers who are looking to cut costs.*

2. The Harkin Law and Optometry
The Harkin Law provides patients easier accessibility to an optometrist of their choosing and prevents insurance carriers from keeping optometry services out of health care plans.* Unfortunately, this may not be the case forever. The introduction of the H.R. 2817 bill would undo the progress the Harkin Law has made in the advancements of gaining coverage under a health care plan and eliminating the need to have a stand-alone vision care plan.* Fortunately, optometry is a strong profession and the American Optometric Association is working hard to fight this newly introduced bill.

3. What can we do as students to ensure H.R. 2817 does not pass?
Donate to AOA-PAC through your school representative and, if you have the opportunity, go to Washington D.C. and lobby for optometry’s future. If this bill passes, it would allow insurance companies to implement plans that limit patient access to vision care by optometrists.

4. What is the future of pediatric vision care?
The ACA has implemented an essential health benefit (EHB) requirement that will include pediatric vision care as one of 10 essential benefits required in health care plans. This vision care benefit will be integrated into the plan as a whole and will allow children under 18 to have one comprehensive eye exam per year and material benefits.* Children who may have never had vision care insurance in the past will now be covered.

5. Medicaid Coverage Enhancements
Starting this year, Medicaid will extend its coverage to anyone with income under 133 percent of the federal poverty line.* This will allow citizens who are childless and without insurance to be covered when they would not have been eligible for government assistance previously.* It is up to each individual state whether they will accept this Medicaid expansion. The states that choose to participate will receive more money to manage the increase in Medicaid participants, but this does not mean that payments will increase for providers.* Contact your state association to find out what is being done and what you can do to help ensure fair payment to providers.

While the ACA has been a politically divisive issue, we must take measures to educate ourselves on its impact.
Students have a responsibility to ensure they are informed and proactive. Changes to health care in this nation are inevitable. We can choose to watch from the sidelines or make our message clear: we are part of the solution.

Erica Keller is a student at The Ohio State University School of Optometry and a trustee-elect for the American Optometry Student Association (AOSA). Her column appears in the Spring 2014 edition of Foresight, the AOSA magazine, and was reprinted with permission.

* “Top 5 ACA Changes for 2014: Are You Ready?” American Optometric Association, 8 Jan. 2014. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.

Annual OSU Optometry Student Night a Success

IMG_2419 It was another terrific turnout at the annual Ohio State Student Night event held January 8 in the Ohio Union, hosted by the Ohio Optometric Association. In addition to the 120 students in attendance, Dean Melvin Shipp, Dr. Karla Zadnik, Dr. Mike Earley and other faculty members attended.

The evening began with a reception during which students met our member optometrists. The guests were then welcomed by OOA Board President Dr. Lee Favede, AOA Trustee Dr. Robert Layman and OOA Executive Director Rick Cornett. They encouraged the students to pursue their careers with a passion for helping patients. Students were also urged to join and become active members in the AOA and the OOA because the professional organizations represented the interests of optometrists across the country.

During and after the dinner, students moved to the different tables to hear the doctors share their experiences working with patients and to ask questions about the profession. It was a great way for students to network with doctors and learn what it’s like to practice optometry in a variety of specialties and settings.

Special thanks to our Board members and other doctors who volunteered to share their experiences and provide lots of advice to these future optometrists: Dr. Lee Favede, OOA President; Dr. Terri Gossard, President-Elect; Dr. Jason Miller, Treasurer; Dr. Brenda Montecalvo, Past President; Board Trustees: Dr. Dave Anderson, Dr. Beckie Brown, Dr. Diana Gilbert, Dr. Drusilla Grant, and Dr. Beth Muckley; as well as Dr. Maria Fragoulis, Dr. Russell Maringer, Dr. Greg Hopkins and AOA Board Trustee Dr. Robert Layman.

IMG_2411 IMG_2420IMG_2413IMG_2423 IMG_2421 IMG_2414 IMG_2409 IMG_2417IMG_2416IMG_2408 IMG_2415

Dr. Earley is AOA Educator of the year

Earley PhotoOOA Trustee Michael Earley, OD, PhD, has been awarded the 2013 American Optometric Association Educator of the Year. He is the Assistant Dean for Clinical Services at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Dr. Earley is a 1988 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry. During his graduate studies, he was twice awarded an Ezell Fellowship from the American Optometric Foundation and the Auxiliary Fellowship from the American Optometric Association. He received his PhD in Physiological Optics from The Ohio State University in 1992.

Many graduates of the Ohio State University College of Optometry consider Dr. Earley the best teacher in their entire academic career. His encyclopedic knowledge of anatomy, neurology and pediatrics is remarkable; in fact, many students secretly lament that Dr. Earley doesn’t forget anything. But what makes him unique is his ability to communicate information that is, at times, dry, detailed, and abstract in an energetic, humorous, and memorable way. This rare combination of uncanny intelligence and clever wit is recognized and appreciated by his students, as seen in their Facebook pages dedicated to his more memorable quotations and their election of Dr. Earley to the Ohio State University’s highest teaching award, The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. This award is granted as a result of student and alumni voting, which makes the honoring Dr. Earley even more special as the College of Optometry is roughly 1/250 the size of the overall university enrollment.

In addition to being an educator of future optometrists, Dr. Earley is also a valuable educator outside of the college. He has been the key speaker for the OOA at multiple Ohio School Nurse Symposia since 2004, presenting information to school nurses concerning ocular anatomy, eye health, and eye safety in his charismatic way. On behalf of the AOA, Dr. Earley was a keynote speaker at the 2011 AOA School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision in Alexandria, Virginia which included a national group of educators, health care professionals, and policy makers.

Clinically, Dr. Earley primarily works with children with special needs and patients with traumatic brain injury. He is the recipient of numerous awards in his career including OSU’s highest teaching award, the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, and was inducted into the Ohio State University Academy of Teaching. He has authored more than 80 abstracts, book reviews, publications and has lectured nationally at more than 50 venues.

His is president and coordinator for Optometric Educators, Inc. He serves on the Association for Schools and Colleges of Optometry’s clinic directors’ special interest group. Dr. Earley is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry.

He and his wife, Tracy, reside in Powell; they have three children.

OSU Optometry Students Take Service Trip to Jamaica

by Harmin Chima, OSU Optometry Student

8 From Ohio JamaicaFor some Ohio State (OSU) Optometry students, spring break means sandy beaches and palm trees. For eight students, spring break consisted of the opportunity to serve others. These specific students visited Jamaica, and took their direct ophthalmoscopes with them. They traveled through the college’s Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO) on a medical mission trip to Frome, Jamaica, where they used their skills to provide vision services at the Gamertsfelder Medical Center. This center is named after Dr. Paul Gamertsfelder, who started Men in Mission in 1974; the group responsible for constructing the center in 2008. The students were hosted by Dr. Doug McCloy, who has a practice in Marion, OH, and is heavily involved with the medical center in Jamaica.

The initiative was headed by Ty Clase, a second year optometry student. With his hard work, as well as the hard work of many other students, the trip was a great success. This was the first mission team composed of optometry students from OSU to visit the Gamertsfelder Medical Center. They brought a plethora of donated ophthalmic OSU Jamaica Tripequipment much needed in the clinic. During their time on the island, the students saw 165 patients. “Our outreach days consisted of cataract surgical assessment, free clinic with full exams, and school children screening,” stated Clase. The students also served by distributing bibles and offering prayer to those who came to the clinic.

When asked about the experience, Clase informed me that he and the others grew both mentally and spiritually on the trip. “As students,” he said, ” we were exposed to diseases most of us had just read about in our textbooks. Spiritually, we grew closer in our individual faith walk.”

FCO at OSU plans to make this an annual trip as an alternative, service-based spring break. For more information on the Gamertsfelder Medical Center, please visit

Epsilon Psi Epsilon 5K Fun Run for Pilot Eye Dogs

EYE Fun Run

The EYE 5K fun run/walk is Epsilon Psi Epsilon’s philanthropic event in support of Pilot Dogs Inc. The Pilot Dogs Inc. is a non-profit organization that trains seeing eye dogs for the visually impaired.

The event will be held at Fred Beekman Park on Sunday April 14, 2013 at 9:00am. The event is open to everyone and registration is open online at

All participants who register by Tuesday April 2, 2013 will receive a shirt on race day. The event is in support of a great organization so make sure to tell all friends and family about the event!

Rick Cornett, OSU Optometry students met key U.S. Congressmen

OOA Executive Director and OSU College of Optometry students met with key U.S. Congressmen on March 27 at an event Congressman Pat Tiberi hosted in honor of Congressman Bill Johnson.

Congressman Johnson is a co-sponsor on H.R. 920 and H.R. 855.

H.R. 920: National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2013 aims to bring doctors of optometry into more underserved urban and rural communities by ending the misguided exclusion of optometrists from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) student loan repayment and scholarship programs.

H.R. 855: Optometric Equity in Medicaid Act seeks to avert a potential crisis in access to primary eye care for Medicaid patients by amending the federal Medicaid statute to fully recognize optometrists.

These bills are continuations of bills that have been introduced in previous congressional sessions.

OSU Corneal Classic Golf Tournament

All are invited to participate in the OSU “Corneal Classic” Golf Scramble.  This tournament is to raise funds for students to travel to AOSA Optometry’s Meeting, in San Diego, CA in June.  The tournament will be held Saturday, April 13th, 2013 (1:00pm shotgun start) at Royal American Golf Links in Galena.  The cost is $65.00 per person and includes greens fee, cart, range balls, a meal after the tournament and the opportunity to win prizes.  Come early to make use of the practice facilities and meet other participants.

In addition to having an enjoyable day on the golf course, you may use this opportunity to make connections with our students and faculty as well as other area doctors. If you are unable to attend, but would like to contribute to AOSA, any donations are greatly appreciated.

Please note any special requests on the registration form below.  If you have other questions contact or (330) 618-1817.

Corneal Classic Registration