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AOA Rallies 600+ in Washington, DC

They’re meeting with lawmakers to discuss the role of optometrists in healthcare.

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(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of American Optometric Association optometrists and students from across the U.S. headed to the nation’s capital to meet with lawmakers to discuss the expanding the role of doctors of optometry in healthcare and the importance of eye healthcare for all Americans.

“The tremendous growth of AOA on Capitol Hill — from fewer than 200 doctors attending a decade ago to more than 600 doctors and students this year—shows our commitment to advancing optometry’s pro-access, pro-patient priorities,” said AOA president, Dr. Samuel D. Pierce. “Through direct, face-to-face advocacy, we are mapping the course for the future of eye health care delivery and helping put the trusted doctor-patient relationship at the center of important health care decision-making.”

The contingent is emphasizing the important role of key issues including in-person eye health and vision care provided by AOA doctors of optometry and the urgent need for policies that put patients first. The AOA is particularly focused on fighting back against costly health and vision plan abuses, keeping the FTC from finalizing its proposed contact lens paperwork mandate, making contact lens prescription verification safer and simpler, and ensuring that America’s veterans receive the high-quality eye and vision care that they need and deserve.

AOA’s federal priority issues that are being addressed during several meetings with lawmakers and staff in the House and Senate include:

  • Fight back against costly health and vision plan abuses. The AOA and the American Dental Association (ADA) are backing the bipartisan DOC Access Act, sponsored by Reps. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Buddy Carter (R-GA), to help address abusive vision and dental plan practices and to help put patients and their doctors back in control of important health care decisions. AOA doctors and students will be looking to build even more momentum as this key legislation received a record 105 co-sponsors in the 115th Congress. The AOA and the ADA are also backing the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (H.R. 1418 and S. 350) to increase competition in the health insurance market by eliminating the special antitrust exemption that the health insurance industry currently has under the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945.
  • Stop the FTC from finalizing its proposed contact lens paperwork mandate. AOA doctors and students are continuing to push back against the FTC’s unnecessary and overly burdensome proposal to require eye doctors to obtain a signed form from each contact lens patient and be able to produce these documents in the event of a federal investigation. Following more than 100 lawmakers who have already weighed-in with the FTC in opposition to the proposal, AOA doctors and students are enlisting Senate signors to a letter from Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) urging the FTC to withdraw the proposal.
  • Make the contact lens prescription verification process simpler and safer for patients. AOA and the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety are backing new legislation which aims to address the favorite verification loophole of unscrupulous online contact lens sellers – the automated robocall. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) is the leading champion for priority legislation that would disallow the use of robocalls for contact lens prescription verifications and would also ensure that consumers have an ability to directly upload a picture of their contact lens prescription with the seller of their choice.
  • Support essential eye care for America’s veterans. The AOA, Armed Forces Optometric Society (AFOS) and state optometric organizations continue to fight for better care for America’s veterans. Among these issues are the VA’s continued rollout of an experimental eye exam replacement program, known as Technology-based Eye Care Services (TECS), which aims to replace doctor-provided, in-person care with an unproven hybrid of vision and eye disease screenings. With nearly all veterans having access to a local doctor of optometry, the AOA and its Veteran Service Organization partners are pushing back against TECS and its subversion of the standard of care for some veterans.
  • The appropriate use of telehealth. Preserving the doctor-patient relationship is important for meaningful patient care, which is why the AOA continues working to support and advance the appropriate use of telehealth services as a supplement to high-value, high-quality in-person eye and vision care. However, AOA and its Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety partners continue fighting against inappropriate uses of telehealth, including those that aims to break or undermine the doctor-patient relationship.

Doctors of optometry, through innovative yet personalized care, are helping to advance the health and well-being of patients in more than 10,000 communities across the U.S. As America heads into the year 2020, the AOA and its member doctors are committed to effectively removing barriers to care, making health care more efficient and accessible for patients and ensuring every American gets their in-person comprehensive eye exam.

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Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry Education Program Announced

This joint meeting will bring global optometry together to offer a wide array of clinically relevant CE courses and cutting-edge research in the clinical and vision sciences.

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(PRESS RELEASE)ORLANDO and ST. LOUIS – The World Council of Optometry and the American Academy of Optometry have partnered to present an impressive education program taking place at Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry, October 23-27, 2019. This joint meeting will bring global optometry together to offer a wide array of clinically relevant CE courses and cutting-edge research in the clinical and vision sciences. Attendees from around the globe can choose from over 450 hours of lectures and workshops, Section and Special Interest Group (SIG) symposia, hundreds of scientific papers and posters, an expansive exhibit hall, and several memorable social events featuring international optometry.

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This year’s Plenary Session from 10 AM – 12 Noon on Wednesday, October 23 is titled, “Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Practice: WHO World Report on Vision, Opportunities for Optometry to Make an Impact,” and will discuss the World Report on Vision on the distribution of eye disease and blindness across the globe and the disease burden these eye conditions pose on nations and regions. Additionally, the human resource requirements of eyecare providers needed to address this public health crisis will be covered. Optometric representatives, specifically the session speakers, played an instrumental role in developing the report. They will discuss the findings and their implications for optometry internationally and for North America respectively. The keynote speaker from WHO will give attendees an overview of the organization’s efforts to tackle the extensive disease and blindness burdens on society throughout the world and where optometry fits into this effort. Speakers include Kovin Naidoo, OD, PhD, FAAO, Sandra Block, OD, MPH, FAAO, and a speaker from the World Health Organization.

The Monroe J. Hirsch Research Symposium is titled, “Gene Therapy for Ocular and Neurologic Disorders.” Contemporary issues in gene therapy will be discussed including Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, animal models of glaucoma, and Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Speakers will include Stephen Russell, MD, Abbott Clark, PhD, and Byron Lam, MD.

Ezell Fellows Present is a symposium where three investigators at different stages of their careers, who were supported early on through the Foundation’s Ezell Fellowships, present their research. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the symposium and is titled, “Public Health / Epidemiology Potpourri.” Included in this session will be discussions on anterior segment infectious eye disease and US national health datasets used to assess vision impairment. Speakers will be Nicole Carnt, BOptom, PhD, FAAO, Charlotte Joslin, OD, PhD, FAAO, and Dean VanNasdale, OD, PhD, FAAO.

The World Council of Optometry President’s Forum is titled, “Optometry’s Role in Addressing the Changing Face of Technology, Public Health and Clinical care.” This invitation-only event provides a platform wherein the highest level of decision makers and key partners of our profession come together to discuss the current development of optometry and the desired impact that it envisages in the broader health agenda across the world.

The Global Summit on Optometric Education, co-sponsored by the World Council of Optometry, American Academy of Optometry, and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, will provide educators from optometric educational programs from around the globe the opportunity to share education philosophies/teaching methods and to discuss challenges facing institutions.

The meeting will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Registration and housing open on May 6, 2019. For more information, visit www.aaopt.org/2019 or www.worldcongressofoptometry.org.

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APS Members Brief Congressional Offices on Concerns Regarding Robocalls & Substitution of Contact Lenses

They visited nearly a dozen congressional offices.

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(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON – Members of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS) visited nearly a dozen congressional offices. During these meetings, APS advocates briefed Members of Congress and their staffs on problems that vision care patients face including online sellers’ problematic use of robocalls and the medical dangers and safety threats posed by the substitution of lenses that have not been prescribed to a patient.

The 2004 Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act requires that all third-party sellers must verify prescriptions with an eye doctor and fill the prescription as written. However, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Contact Lens Rule allows verification to be done via robocalls. Oftentimes, information relayed in these robocalls is garbled or do not align with a patient’s chart—making it difficult, or even impossible, to correctly identify the patient and proper prescription.

More than 45 million Americans rely on contact lenses – U.S. Food and Drug Administration Class II and Class III regulated medical devices – for safe and effective vision correction. Contact lenses are more complex than they appear, having differing shapes, strengths, and water contents. There are no generics. Substitution of lenses not as prescribed by the patient’s doctor can lead to serious health complications, including infections and other sight-threatening conditions, such as corneal edema, ulcers, and neovascularization.

Dr. Deanna Alexander, chairwoman of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, said, “Access to contact lenses should be fair and safe for patients while preserving the doctor-patient relationship, just as Congress intended. The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety is committed to working with lawmakers and regulators to address the FTC Contact Lens Rule verification loophole that puts patients’ eye health and safety at risk.”

The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety has made it a priority to close loopholes within the existing verification process and prevent the dangerous sale of counterfeit lenses and the substitution of lenses to reduce the risk of preventable vision loss.

The Alliance was founded in 2018 to advocate for patient safety and to protect and defend the doctor-patient relationship – the essential foundation of personalized health care decision making. For more information, please visit www.PatientSafetyToday.com.

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Marchon and ABG Announce License Renewals for Nautica and Nine West Eyewear

They ‘provide fashion eyewear to both men and women with a recognizable and modern approach.’

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Marchon Eyewear Inc. and Authentic Brands Group, owner of a global portfolio of lifestyle entertainment brands, announced the long-term renewals of the existing global eyewear licensing agreements for the Nautica and Nine West brands, respectively.

The alliance between the two companies is for the exclusive worldwide design, development, production and distribution of optical eyewear and sunglasses for Nautica, and optical eyewear and prescription sunglasses for Nine West.

“Given their leadership in the eyewear space, we are pleased to continue our partnership with Marchon on the expansion of Nautica and Nine West eyewear. Both of these brands coupled with Marchon’s expertise provide fashion eyewear to both men and women with a recognizable and modern approach,” said Jarrod Weber, group president of Lifestyle at ABG.

“Nautica and Nine West are both iconic American brands that hold an important place in consumers’ hearts and minds. Both have been long term brands for Marchon and will continue to represent a core portion of our Lifestyle portfolio,” said Nicola Zotta, CEO and president of Marchon Eyewear. “We appreciate that ABG has provided a clear vision and thoughtful direction for each brand and we are honored to renew our partnership so as to strategically grow these brands within the eyewear category.”

Retail distribution for both brands is strong, with Nautica eyewear collections sold worldwide in optical retailers, department and specialty stores, as well as through travel retail, nautica.com and other key online accounts. Nine West eyewear is sold around the world in upscale optical chains and specialty retailers, and is also available via individual eyecare professionals.

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