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CooperVision Announces 2020 Best Practices Honorees

Program celebrates fifth year of recognizing optometric leaders across the U.S.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SAN RAMON, CA — Amid significant change in the industry, eye care practices of every size and from across the entire United States have forged pathways to success. CooperVision is unveiling its 2020 Best Practices honorees, who serve as models for their peers in succeeding in fast-changing clinical and business environments.

The company is celebrating a milestone fifth year of the program, which highlights optometric practices that advance the profession through innovation, industry leadership, and exceptional patient experience. CooperVision’s newest Best Practices honorees were selected after a nationwide search. They join a prestigious group of 40 other exceptional optometry practices that have been profiled and supported through the initiative.

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“Optometry, like all of healthcare, has been subject to rapid evolution in recent years. To keep pace, eye care professionals must adapt at breakneck speeds. But today’s challenges are tomorrow’s opportunities, and year after year, Best Practices has brought forth intriguing and inspiring stories to demonstrate how it’s possible to thrive,” said Michele Andrews, OD, senior director of professional and academic affairs, North America, CooperVision. “Over the last five years, our partnerships with these practices—and their collaboration with each other—have been more rewarding than we ever anticipated. Everyone at CooperVision is thrilled to welcome our new honorees into the Best Practices family.”

The 2020 Best Practices honorees are:

Advanced Eyecare – Durango, CO

Since Advanced EyeCare opened its doors in Durango, Co. in 2008, its mission has been to provide exceptional patient care by utilizing advanced technology and education with respect, compassion, and fun. Lee Ann Hoven, OD, understands that to create an exceptional patient experience, state-of-the-art equipment must be accompanied by a well-trained and caring staff, so she works with her team to set goals for staff education, training and team building. As the scope of optometry expands, Advanced EyeCare is dedicated to educating not only patients, but other health care professionals in the area. Dr. Hoven and her staff regularly communicate with medical physicians about the variety of health issues that they can monitor and treat, and they visit pediatricians and school nurses to discuss the importance of the detection and treatment of vision problems in children. The practice loves to help its community and those in need. The doctors have worked with local churches to collect, verify, and catalog more than 800 pairs of glasses, which the doctors have taken to Guatemala to provide eye exams to underserved populations.

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Advanced Family Eye Care – Denver, NC

In 2004, Amanda Barker-Assell, OD, and Michael Assell, OD, opened Advanced Family Eye Care in Denver, N.C. to provide patients with the highest level of eye care, incorporate the latest technologies, and grow a healthy and viable private practice. Since then, the husband-wife partners have done just that, and have developed sub-specialties such as a dry eye clinic, vision therapy clinic, and specialty contact lenses. Beyond the clinical care provided, Advanced Family Eye Care is committed to engaging with their patients in ways that are even more meaningful than their eye examinations—by involving them in meeting vision and literacy needs in their community and abroad. This passion was inspired by the Assells’ daughter, Khaleda, who was illiterate when they adopted her at age 8. Sadly, Khaleda passed away in 2016, but her memory lives on through her family and the non-profit started in her honor, BlindSight. Within their community, the Assells have established an annual Khaleda Run to benefit BlindSight, with proceeds supporting local literacy programs, as well as the development of a vision clinic in Mafredi, Belize, which opened in January 2020.

Associates in Eyecare – Optometrists – Ashburn, VA

For more than 16 years, Associates in Eyecare – Optometrists (AIE) has provided exceptional eye care service to patients throughout the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. metro area. AIE believes the best patient experiences are delivered via a combination of core competencies, including innovative technologies, products and services, open communication and engagement with patients, and continuous adaptation in response to evolution in the industry. By growing the practice to 10 offices in just a few years, AIE has quickly become one of the largest independent optometric groups in the country. AIE has assembled a robust corporate team, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Director of Human Resources, V.P. of Business Development, Regional Optical Director, and a board of directors comprised of leading industry experts—a level of infrastructure that is virtually unheard of within the independent field, but has been critical to AIE’s growth. To secure its position as a leader in the profession, has partnered with Medical Optometry America, a new business venture with the goal of creating the first ever turnkey system for forward-thinking optometrists to shift more completely to a sustainable medical model.

Better Vision Optometric Center, P.A. – Fayetteville, NC

Choose joy: That’s the goal at Better Vision Optometric Center, P.A. in Fayetteville, N.C., where the team hopes that their positive mindset is contagious to patients. Last year, partners Brittani Carver-Schemper, OD, and Chris Holland, OD, updated the practice to radically improve the patient experience. In their new space, the iconic “check-in” desk was eliminated in favor of a welcome center, and calls are now received behind the scenes so visitors to the practice have the undivided attention of the staff. When Dr. Carver-Schemper and Dr. Holland took ownership of Better Vision Optometric Center in 2012, they saw the opportunity to implement better management systems and ultimately, grow the practice. Since then, they have added an advanced dry eye clinic, new instrumentation for their thriving glaucoma practice, and expanded contact lens options to meet all vision needs. The doctors are passionate about optometry-to-optometry referrals and have started a movement to encourage area optometrists to refer to each other for specialty services. Inspired by 2017 Best Practices Honoree Dr. Shauna Thornhill, Better Vision Optometric Center established its annual “Good Eyes for School Supplies” Outreach Day to benefit its community.

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Draisin Vision Group – Charleston, SC

According to practice owner Jennifer Zolman, OD, Draisin Vision Group is a customer service business that just so happens to specialize in eye care. The team at her Charleston, S.C. practice is dedicated to delivering patients an experience they can’t get anywhere else, doing everything possible to make each visit a “wow.” From a patient’s first phone call to the practice to check-out at the end of their exam, Draisin Vision Group has special touches in place to enhance the patient experience. Dr. Zolman believes that one can never stop learning, and staying on top of all that is new is essential for moving ahead. She is also committed to the advancement of optometry through her leadership of various professional and nonprofit organizations, including the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association (SCOPA), the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), and InfantSEE, with which she has been involved in advocating for important changes in legislation and educating the public about the importance of infant and children’s eye exams. Dr. Zolman is also quick to lend her expertise to the next generation of optometrists through her work with five colleges of optometry.

Eye Center of Houston – Houston, TX

At the Eye Center of Houston, 85% of patients qualify for government assistance and only 10-15% have commercial vision plans. Instead of viewing this as a hurdle, Faheem Inayatali, OD, strives to give his community—who face many challenges—an unorthodox experience at his practice. A luxurious optical with the latest medical technology sets the practice apart from others in the area. Patients fill out intake forms on iPads and are frame styled according to their facial structure. Patients are even able to have their A1c measured at their visits, as Dr. Inayatali recognizes that diabetes often goes undetected in his patient population. The Eye Center of Houston has made a concerted effort to create and sustain relationships with urgent care clinics and nursing homes throughout Houston. It also services more than 10 nursing homes and adult day care centers, where Dr. Inayatali and two technicians refract and diagnose ocular conditions and provide glasses. Through his practice, Dr. Inayatali developed a nonprofit in 2017 called Eye Give Sight. A percentage of every eyewear purchase at the Eye Center of Houston is donated to the organization, which provides patients in need with eye exams, diagnostic medical testing, and glasses.

Kapperman, White and McGarvey Vision Source – Chattanooga, TN

When Mark Kapperman, OD, opened his practice in 1988, he sought to deliver the highest level of care with a patient-centric approach and cutting-edge technology—all while eliciting the feel of a small-town doctor. Since then, Kapperman, White and McGarvey Vision Source (KWM Eyecare) has grown substantially with Troy White, OD, and Robert McGarvey, OD, as partners and Megan Kortum, OD, as an associate. But the practice’s core values—which are key to its culture—have remained consistent. Each of KWM Eyecare’s four doctors fills a different niche that enables the practice to provide primary eye care for all ages, and the practice utilizes leading business development experts for continuous improvement. Scheduling is unique, as the practice is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, and each team member works a four-day schedule to award them an extra day off each week. KWM Eyecare’s doctors have served in leadership capacities for local, state, and national organizations, and advocate for the independent practice model. The doctors have participated in multiple international vision mission trips, and at home, the practice provides eye care for its local Volunteers in Medicine clinic, which serves uninsured and underinsured populations.

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Miamisburg Vision Care – Miamisburg, OH

Everything the team does at Miamisburg Vision Care is geared toward delivering patients the best experience not only in eye care, but anywhere. Practice partners David Anderson, OD, and Keith Basinger, OD, recognize staff every week for going the extra mile to help patients. Miamisburg Vision Care is an early adopter of new technology and treatment options, and is involved in contact lens and other eye-related FDA trials and studies, keeping them at the leading edge of the latest innovations and products—and ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care. Through his involvement with the Ohio Optometric Association (OOA)—including serving as president—Dr. Anderson has been deeply involved in legislative advocacy, helping to pass three pro-optometry bills in just the last two years. All of Miamisburg Vision Care’s doctors and some staff have participated in the OOA Lobby Day, meeting with legislators to protect and advance optometry. Dr. Anderson was recently awarded the OOA Key OD of the Year Award in honor of his advocacy efforts. The practice regularly gives back to its community, volunteering at the civic level, through religious groups, or by donating time and/or funding to groups that serve the local community.

Phoenix Eye Care – Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Eye Care serves as a resource for complex and challenging patients throughout Arizona and the Southwest—particularly for those with dry eye, ocular surface disease, or who require specialty contact lenses. The practice is located on a hospital campus and is modern and bright, featuring a broad array of advanced diagnostic and treatment technology. Owners Arthur Epstein, OD, and Shannon Steinhauser, OD, are deeply committed to the advancement of optometry. Dr. Epstein has delivered more than 1,200 lectures around the world, in addition to the publication of hundreds of articles and more than a dozen book chapters. Dr. Steinhauser is a past president of the Arizona Optometric Association and current continuing education chair. The doctors work closely with leaders in the contact lens, medical device and ophthalmic pharmaceutical industries. With early access to many developing technologies and products, Phoenix Eye Care is better able to provide state-of-the-art care for its patients. The practice’s dry eye clinic, The Dry Eye Center of Arizona, receives referrals from across the United States and has seen patients from as far away as the Middle East and South America.

Valencia Eyecare Optometry – Palmdale, CA

Valencia Eyecare Optometry’s mission is to provide the best patient experience in eye care, which is how each patient is treated when they come in for an exam. Founded in 2007, this Valencia, Calif. practice moved to a new location in 2018 that features a clean, modern design with a waiting room full of amenities to make patients feel welcome, special, and connected to the practice. As much as owners Paul Lin, OD, and Phuong Quach, OD, value their patients, they value their staff just as much. Education is key to the success of Valencia Eyecare Optometry, as the doctors and staff take time to thoroughly explain each patient’s ocular health, including dry eye, myopia management, contact lens and spectacle lens options. Valencia Eyecare Optometry’s Palmdale office is a fourth-year rotation site for Western University Health Sciences School of Optometry, and accepts interns from the local high school to introduce them to the field. Since 2014, Dr. Lin has been active with the local societies of the California Optometric Association Political Action Committee (COA-PAC) to inform legislative personnel on bills relative to optometry.

All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses were eligible for consideration in Fall 2019. Candidates were evaluated and honorees were selected by a panel of judges including past Best Practices honorees and industry experts. A full list of judges is available at www.eyecarebestpractices.com/applying. Evaluation was based on insights and experiences shared about the practices’ innovation, patient experience, and business culture.

The 2020 Best Practices honorees will be broadly recognized throughout the year, and are invited to participate in a specially designed educational meeting hosted by CooperVision.

The Best Practices program is an annual event, and part of CooperVision’s commitment to showcasing the dedication of eye care practitioners to their patients and communities. 2021 Best Practices submissions will be accepted beginning this fall. To stay up to date on this program and learn more about this year’s honorees, visit www.eyecarebestpractices.com and follow CooperVision on Facebook and on Twitter.

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MEI Donates 500,000 Euros for Coronavirus Crisis

It has donated to 3 health facilities in Italy.

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(PRESS RELEASE) To face the coronavirus emergency, MEI, which produces lens edging machines, is contributing to the fundraising initiatives launched in the area of its Italian headquarters. Bergamo, Italy, is one of the cities most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in the world.

MEI, with the support of its not-for-profit MEI Foundation, donated 150,000 euros to the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo and another 150,000 euros to the Health Protection Agency of Bergamo.

Furthermore, MEI wanted to support research assuring that the path taken by the Italian Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research can help combat the coronavirus emergency. MEI has therefore decided to support the institute with a contribution of 200,000 euros.

“With these donations we wanted to give concrete support to our community and communicate our gratitude to all the healthcare professionals and researchers involved in this emergency. The situation is dramatic, the needs are many, from logistical to instrumental ones,” said Stefano Sonzogni, president of MEI. “Certain that we will win this battle, we hope that the situation will soon return to normal.”

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Prevent Blindness Declares April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Women have a higher prevalence of many of the major vision problems.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CHICAGO — Because women have higher rates of eye diseases and eye conditions than men, Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health organization, has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. The group provides free information to the public on various eye health topics, including vision issues, possible changes in vision during pregnancy, cosmetic safety and more.

Women have a higher prevalence of many of the major vision problems, including:

  • AMD
  • Cataract
  • Dry Eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Refractive Error

The National Eye Institute states that 26 percent more women aged 12 and older have uncorrected visual impairment due to refractive error compared with men aged 12 and older. And, 14 percent more women aged 40 and older have refractive errors compared with men aged 40 and older. Additionally, women are also more likely to have autoimmune conditions, which often come with visual side effects.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, for women, fluctuating hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the eye’s oil glands, which can lead to dryness. Estrogen can also make the cornea less stiff with more elasticity, which can affect how light travels into the eye. The dryness and the change in refraction can cause blurry vision and can also make wearing contact lenses difficult.

Pregnancy brings an increase in hormones that may cause changes in vision. Women with pre-existing eye conditions, like glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, need to alert their eye doctor that they are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant).

Lastly, women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions and are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse, and aging parents. It is important to remind women to make their own vision and eye health a priority to prevent unnecessary vision loss in the future.

Prevent Blindness recommends steps that should be taken to protect vision and eye health, including:

  • Get regular eye exams
  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors
  • Learn of any family history of eye disease
  • Use cosmetics safely
  • Use contact lenses safely

OCuSOFT Inc., a privately-held eye and skin care company dedicated to innovation in eyelid hygiene and ocular health, is partnering once again with Prevent Blindness in support of April’s Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month.

“Today, obviously there are significant challenges in maintaining overall health,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We want to remind women of all ages that there are many ways to protect the gift of sight today so that it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

For more information on women’s eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases and eye protection, please visit here or call (800) 331-2020. Prevent Blindness offers a free listing of financial assistance services in English and Spanish here.

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Safilo Supports Customers With a Virtual Education Series

The program is for offices that are closed or on limited schedules due to COVID-19.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Safilo Group, a worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of eyewear, kicks off a new virtual education platform this week, offering a series of educational webinars for its customers on various topics to enrich their optical practices while offices are closed or operating on limited schedules due to COVID-19.

Running the full weeks of March 23 and March 30, one new course topic will be taught daily between two and four times each day – with four sessions daily this week and repeated two times daily next week – to accommodate participants in different time zones. The lectures are led by Robin Brush, a Safilo Key Accounts Manager and an ABOC-certified optician with 25 years of optical industry experience. The courses, taught live, are being offered in English and will soon be translated to other languages in the coming weeks to make available to international customers. The courses are also being recorded to make available later for those who missed them. ABO credits are not being issued for any of the online lectures.

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To attend these virtual classes, North American customers can either contact their sales representatives or sign up directly by visiting the home pages of Safilo’s b2b websites: www.mysafilo.com (USA) or www.mysafilocanada.com (Canada). Internationally, Safilo customers can contact their sales rep for sign-up details. The WebEx course topics include: Advanced Eyewear Technology; A Visual Guide to Merchandising, J.O.B.S. Program: Joint Opportunity to Believe in Staying; Multiples Mindset and Optical 411 (full course descriptions can be found on the next page).

To promote the courses, a customer eblast was sent out last Friday to Safilo North America customers which contained the WebEx links needed for course sign-up. Members of Safilo’s North American sales force are also informing customers directly. The courses are additionally being promoted daily on Safilo Group’s global Facebook page.

“During these trying times, we wanted to continue showing our gratitude and support to our customers’ practices by offering courses to enrich their education portfolio. We’ve worked diligently to create a free virtual education platform that will allow anyone within one of our customer’s practices to access the courses, even if their offices are closed temporarily,” said Steve Wright, Safilo North America’s president and chief commercial officer. “The classes were developed initially, with Safilo North America customers in mind, while many are at home this week and practicing social distancing. However, we decided to make the courses available internationally as believe this program can be beneficial to all Safilo customers around the globe,” added Wright.

Course descriptions:

1. Advanced Eyewear Technology:
Learn the anatomy and proper names for eyewear. Details and fitting examples of why different nose pads, bridges, temples and frame fronts are used to make eyewear. Learn about the different materials that eyewear is made from and why different materials are used and benefits to the patients.

2. A Visual Guide to Merchandising:
Define visual merchandising as related to optical; learn how to apply visual merchandising to your optical for brand story telling; learn how the Pantone color of the year influences our world of retail and understanding merchandising secrets and customer behaviors.

3. J.O.B.S. Program: Joint Opportunity to Believe in Staying:
In this course, you will learn how to involve the entire office staff in the process of making the sale. Each department will have defined responsibilities that educate and layer the selling process for the patient. You will also learn the art of seamless transition from patient to retail customer. Interpreting the prescription for lens and frame sales. Multiple pair sales will be your new normal and understanding and defusing sales objections will not be a problem.

4. Multiples Mindset:
Selling multiple pairs is a mindset! How can you expect an optician to sell multiple pairs or sell luxury if they’ve never experienced that personally? In this course, we will dive into the mindset of the optician getting to the bottom of why they don’t sell multiples. Also, we’ll be learning techniques to use as their managers to promote a multiples environment and culture.

5. Optical 411:
In this course, you will understand the importance of being a good steward of the numbers in your optical. Frame return rate and frame turn ratio, why are they critical to the profitability of your business? Inventory management and how to analyze the data. Discover the two best methods for ordering frames to achieve the profitable numbers. Six easy steps to efficient sales rep appointments and tracking your orders and returns.

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