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CooperVision Names 2019 Best Practices Honorees

New class of honorees recognized for innovation, leadership and success in optometry.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PLEASANTON, CA — Following a nationwide search for eyecare practices that elevate the profession through innovation, industry leadership, and patient experience, CooperVision Inc. has named 10 additions to its growing group of exceptional optometry practices. They are the 2019 Best Practices honorees.

Now in its fourth year, CooperVision’s Best Practices program recognizes and celebrates practices in the U.S. that go above and beyond to find ways to differentiate themselves and deliver extraordinary care to their patients, even in the face of increasing competition.

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“Best Practices is one of the many ways CooperVision partners with eye care professionals,” said Michele Andrews, OD, senior director of professional and academic affairs, North America, CooperVision. “Year after year, we continue to be captivated by so many optometry practices. From what motivated the honorees to open their doors to the patient lives they have since impacted, from the challenges they have faced to the risks they have taken to overcome them—it is endlessly rewarding to hear their stories, and partner with these practices to share them more broadly. It is our hope that their varied experiences can help inspire other eye care professionals to perhaps try a new approach, implement meaningful changes, and find even greater success in their own practices. Congratulations to our 2019 Best Practices honorees.”

Honorees come from practices large and small, newer and well-established. This year’s honorees are:

Azman Eye Care Specialists / Global Complex Eye Care – Timonium, MD
“Every team member is a key player to the thriving success of the practice.” It is a motto that the team at Azman Eye Care Specialists / Global Complex Eye Care takes very seriously. In 1975, this family-owned private practice began providing personalized, high-quality eye care services and meticulously searched for the best employees in order to deliver an unmatched patient experience. To help, the practice’s doctors—Irwin Azman, OD, Benjamin Azman, OD, and Thomas Azman, OD—ensure the staff participates in continuing education seminars and are exposed to the latest, cutting-edge technology. In the past year alone, the practice established the Keratoconus Institute of Maryland (KIM) with a corneal specialist and have incorporated the gold standard instruments in diagnosis. That gold standard also applies to the service provided, which includes free screenings for keratoconus and the most advanced treatments and approaches to management. Overall, patients benefit from a “less is more” approach: the practice limits the number of patients per practitioner, allowing for more time spent with each one. It’s a concierge concept—one that has allowed the team to provide an exceptional experience for every patient for the past four decades.

Briggs Vision Group – Dunwoody, GA
Practice owners J. Judson Briggs, OD, and Erick H. Smith, OD, firmly believe that vision is one of the most precious gifts bestowed upon humanity. That’s why, in 1984, they opened Briggs Vision Group with the mission of providing superior eye care through innovative technology, a passion for excellence, and unmatched quality and service. Since then, the practice has grown to include six doctors at two locations—the main office having recently undergone an expansion to 5,000 square feet—all while staying true to its original mission. The team takes the patient experience seriously, knowing a great interaction begins as soon as someone walks through the door. From there, the practice delivers a warm and comforting atmosphere: fresh flowers and snacks in the waiting room, weekly deliveries of the latest newspapers and magazines, and most importantly, doctors who provide comprehensive examinations without rush or interruption. In the event of unexpected rain showers, the team at Briggs Vision Group is even known to walk patients out to their cars with oversized umbrellas in tow. But what this practice offers extends well beyond kind gestures. Clinically, it provides complete eye care, including therapeutic diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, ocular infections, inflammatory eye disease, dry eyes, and cataracts, among many other conditions. Briggs Vision Group has even formed a reputation as the go-to practice for specialty contact lenses, and offers the most technologically advanced lenses. With an in-house optical laboratory, the practice is able to provide patients with the best quality, value, and satisfaction. Between providing superior eye care and outstanding customer service, the staff still finds time to stay involved with various professional groups and organizations to ensure continued success for optometry as a whole while sharing insights with the industry’s future leaders.

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Drs. Quinn, Foster & Associates – Athens, OH
According to Drs. Quinn, Foster & Associates, there are several factors to creating an exceptional patient experience—and it starts with its staff. Since 1983, the Ohio-based practice, led by Thomas Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO; Susan Quinn, OD, FAAO; and Shane Foster, OD, has focused on building a collaborative atmosphere by including the full staff on all practice-related decisions. This approach has proven to be a motivational tool that benefits the doctors and patients alike. Another piece is education. By incentivizing its staff to further their education—through courses and conferences, among other opportunities—the team is positioned to hone their craft and become experts in the field. From there, the practice turns its attention to technology. The doctors embrace the latest contact lens designs, and discuss the benefits of daily disposable contact lenses with their patients, resulting in nearly 70 percent of their contact lens patients wearing daily disposables. Through this unique combination of motivated staff, ongoing education, and advanced technology, the practice is able to deliver a superior level of care, treating each patient as if they were a friendly neighbor—which they are, given the small-town vibe of Athens, Ohio. The neighborly relationship it has built within the community extends beyond patient care, as the staff volunteers within local schools, for civic organizations, and on non-profit boards.

Lakeline Vision Source – Cedar Park, TX
Music is an important part of life in Cedar Park, Texas, and the team at Lakeline Vision Source has made a point of embracing the city’s eclectic sounds. As patients move about the office—from the relaxing lounge to the clinical “spa” and into the retail center—they receive doses of ambient music, along with Motown and Austin Blues. It all plays into the practice’s mission to “wow” patients. This “wow” factor isn’t limited to music, of course. Patients benefit from state-of-the-art equipment, including devices still in beta testing, all of which position Lakeline Vision Source as a leader in optometry. That’s not to mention the expertise of the practice’s seven doctors, all of whom are members of the Texas Optometric Association and the American Optometric Association. It’s the balance between these three qualities—the atmosphere, the technology, and the expertise—that Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, has worked hard to maintain since she opened the practice in 1995. She’s even made a point of sharing her approach whenever possible, whether through her position as a board member of Optometry Giving Sight or with the practice’s interns from the University of Houston.

Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons – Kent, Stow, and Akron, OH
For more than 35 years, Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons has been committed to improving its patients’ eyesight by providing the best medical and surgical care possible in a comforting environment. According to practice owners Lawrence Lohman, MD, Marc Jones, MD, and Matthew Willett, MD, “patients first” is one of the practice’s core competencies, but in order to properly serve the patient, the doctors believe they must instill passion within the culture. That’s why each month, the full team meets for a half-day team-building session. While the topics discussed tend to vary, the end result always leads to improved patient experiences. Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons even contributes to a more informed industry, as its doctors regularly attend and present at local, state, and national meetings, including the American Academy of Optometry. The doctors have a “we’re all in this together” mentality about ophthalmology and optometry and look to offer their help and insights whenever possible, to patients and professionals alike. It’s an inspiring frame of mind, and the staff rises to the occasion. Each quarter, the practice donates its time at the Akron Food Bank and has even hosted a free eye exam day in conjunction with the LeBron James Family Foundation for the children and families of James’s I Promise School.

Shoreline Optometry – Mountain View, CA
For the owners of Shoreline Optometry, it’s more than an eye care practice—it’s literally a family. Ron Seger, OD, FAAO, and his daughter, Jenifer Webb, OD, have been partners in practice since 2008. The family ties go back even further; after graduating from optometry school in 1974, Dr. Seger was in practice with his father and brother in San Luis Obispo. Then, after working in contact lens design, contact lens solution, and ophthalmic solution research and development for 13 years, he established Shoreline Optometry in 1989. Dr. Seger’s father, Charles Seger, OD, always said “Take care of the patients, and the patients will take care of you”—an adage that Dr. Seger and Dr. Webb keep in their hearts and minds as they run their practice. The “family” feeling extends to patients, too; the doctors and staff at Shoreline Optometry strive to make every one of them feel like they are the most important patient in the office. They take the time to learn patients’ individual eye care concerns and needs, then tailor treatment plans to address them. The doctors routinely evaluate new technology and products introduced to the marketplace to determine the potential benefits to their patients and practice. The practice was early to adopt daily disposable contact lenses and continues to recommend this modality to the majority of their patients today. Dr. Seger is the current President of the California Optometric Association, in which Dr. Webb is also active. In addition, the doctors are involved in local and national optometric organizations and are dedicated to the advancement of the profession. After all, optometry is in their blood. Charles Seger’s passion for eye care lives on not only in Dr. Seger and Dr. Webb, but in another son, another granddaughter, and a great-nephew—all of whom have also chosen to practice optometry.

Spring Hill Eyecare – Spring Hill, TN
Spring Hill Eyecare operates under two key mottos: “What’s good for the patient is good for the practice,” and “See everything we do from the patient’s point of view.” In other words, the patient is always the focal point—and has been since Rob Szeliga, OD, opened the practice in 2005. The practice’s first three employees were Rob’s mother and two sisters, who helped instill a friendly, familial atmosphere. This culture has remained intact, even as the practice expanded into its brand new, 8,300-square-foot facility. It’s now a state-of-the-art operation, complete with a 900-square-foot sports vision and vision therapy suite, a contact lens suite for quick progress exams, and a new dry eye suite with LipiScan and LipiFlow. It’s a lot to manage, but the team at Spring Hill Eye Care is passionate about practice management—so passionate, in fact, that they developed an independent study group for private practice optometrists called O.D. Think Tank. Eye care professionals from many states have joined the group, highlighting its potential. Although its reach is wide, the practice keeps its primary focus on the local community. Each Thanksgiving, Spring Hill Eye Care spearheads an interactive campaign to purchase turkeys for families in need. When a patient or partner donates money, the staff even gobbles! The team also collected 611 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls around All Souls’ Day and collected 1,575 toiletry items last summer to benefit a mobile shower truck for the homeless.

Vancouver Vision Clinic – Vancouver, WA
Raj Patel, OD, and Derek McTyier, OD, believe a positive attitude can brighten up someone’s day. And at Vancouver Vision Clinic, they are determined to be the best part of their patients’ day by providing an uplifting atmosphere and building genuine relationships with them. It may sound simple, but it has worked for the practice since 1952. Currently, Vancouver Vision Clinic has six doctors on board, one of whom specializes in scleral lenses and another who holds both Doctor of Optometry and Master of Education degrees, giving her a unique background to provide pediatric care and vision therapy. But what makes the practice truly special is the team and its longevity. While many aspects of the practice have certainly evolved over the past 60 years, several staff members have been part of the team for nearly two decades. This is all testament to its patient-oriented, community-building culture. When not providing patients with the best quality eye care, the team stays engaged in state associations and legislative efforts on a grassroots level, gives and attends optometry lectures, and fosters charitable partnerships, most notably with the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington.

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Vision Source of Farr West – Farr West, UT
Established in 2004, Vision Source of Farr West has made a point of refining its processes to accommodate the evolving needs of patients. The Utah-based practice delivers an exceptional patient experience by following the “golden rule”—treating everyone the way they wish to be treated in return. In addition to their personal approach, Ian Whipple, OD—who purchased the practice in 2013—regularly meets with industry leaders and representatives to stay up-to-date on the latest technological advancements for the benefit of his patients. By embracing technology such as the Optomap wide-field imaging system, the staff has been able to detect diabetes, macular degeneration, brain tumors, retinal detachments, and in one life-saving case, a stroke that was occurring right in the office. While the lessons learned through experience are invaluable for the staff, education is not limited to the office; the team at Vision Source of Farr West is encouraged and enabled to participate in substantial professional development, and both doctors complete three times the required amount of continuing education credits each year. The entire staff attends the annual Utah Optometric Association meeting, and they share ideas and success stories with other practices whenever possible. Dr. Whipple has also made a point of connecting the practice to the community, including providing free eye examinations to low-income students in downtown Ogden.

West Shore Eye Care – Ludington, MI
Founded in 1991 by Jennifer Branning, OD, West Shore Eye Care has become a leading provider of comprehensive, personalized medical eye care for all lifestyles. Over the years, Dr. Branning and her team have stressed the importance of customer service, treating everyone who walks through the door as if they were guests in their homes. As such, patients enjoy every convenience: the option to borrow potential frames to take home for input from their families; trials of daily disposable contact lenses for those who have never tried them; reduced paperwork; refreshments—the list goes on and on. As the only dry eye center in a 140-mile radius, West Shore Eye Care is early to adopt the latest dry eye treatments and tools, including amniotic membranes, True Tear, InflammaDry, Tear Lab, and serum tears. The practice has even partnered with a surgeon in Traverse City, Mich., to make amniografts for conjunctival chalasis available to its patients. The practice’s commitment to its community extends beyond eye care; each year, West Shore Eye Care sponsors an eye exhibit at the local children’s museum and gives donations to the local arts center, Rotary, and various youth sports teams.

All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses were eligible for consideration in Fall 2018. Candidates were evaluated and honorees were selected by a panel of judges including past Best Practices honorees, industry experts, and CooperVision leaders. 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 2019 Best Practices honorees will be broadly recognized throughout the year, and are invited to attend an educational meeting hosted by CooperVision in Austin, Texas this spring.

CooperVision will open 2020 Best Practices submissions in the fall. 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. 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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Press Releases

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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Press Releases

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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