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Eye Doctors Receive $236M in Industry Payments

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Nearly $64M went to ODs.

Eye doctors received $236 million in “general payments” from drug manufacturers, device makers and group purchasing organizations from 2014 to 2016, the American Optometric Association reports, citing a new study.

The total includes $63.9 million that went to doctors of optometry, along with $172.2 million that went to ophthalmologists. The “general payments” category includes consulting/speaking fees, food and beverage, travel and lodging, and education, AOA reports.

The study was conducted by optometrists Erik Mothersbaugh and Elizabeth Wyles of the Illinois College of Optometry. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

The study was based on publicly reported information required under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2010, according to AOA. The act requires that industry report the payments to physicians and teaching hospitals to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which posts the database on its Open Payments website.

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Not included in the study are research-related payments and ownership or investment payments.

Key findings:

  • $63.9 million in payments to 40,837 doctors of optometry (mean $1,500; range $1.25 to $1.2 million).
  • $172.2 million in payments to 21,784 ophthalmologists (mean $7,900; range $0.70 to $12.4 million).
  • The majority of payments went to a comparatively smaller number of providers: $35.4 million (55.4 percent) was paid to 408 doctors of optometry (top 1 percent) and $116.5 million (67.6 percent) was paid to 218 ophthalmologists (top 1 percent).

Read more at AOA

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