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Optometry College Receives Record Gift

The Mark W. Franks and Mary Franks Scholarship and Loan Fund is valued at $1.5 million.

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The Southern College of Optometry has received a $1.5 million gift, the largest in its history.

An agreement between the Optometry Association of Louisiana and SCO resulted in the transfer of a trust to SCO, according to a press release from the college. The gift was made possible by the estate of the late Dr. Mark W. Franks, a 1955 SCO graduate and longtime Louisiana optometrist.

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“Southern College of Optometry is grateful to the Optometry Association of Louisiana and the memory of Dr. Franks and his wife in establishing this fund,” said Dr. Lewis Reich, SCO president. “Dr. Franks was a self-made man who came to Memphis for his optometric education back in the early 1950s. The education he received at SCO enabled him to practice optometry in Winnsboro, Louisiana until his death in 1989, so the collaboration on this gift is a fitting tribute to the memory of a remarkable SCO graduate.”

Following his death in 1989, Franks and his wife, Mary, bequeathed about $500,000 to the Optometry Association of Louisiana to establish a low interest loan trust for Louisiana optometry students who attended SCO. After several years of legal and financial transactions to establish the trust, it came to fruition in 2000, at which time the college agreed to help administer the loan program with oversight from the Optometry Association of Louisiana.

To expand upon the impact envisioned by Franks more than 30 years ago, this year an agreement was reached to donate the existing trust fund and its control to SCO to form the Mark W. Franks and Mary Franks Scholarship and Loan Fund. The fund’s total current value is about $1.5 million, making it the largest bequeathment gift in the college’s 87-year history.

CO Board of Trustees Chair Dr. James Sandefur, a 1965 SCO graduate, also serves as the OAL’s executive director and joined Reich in making the announcement at the college’s reception for alumni and friends during SECO International’s New Orleans convention for 6,000 optometric professionals from around the world.

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“Louisiana is one of the nation’s most forward-thinking states when it comes to the practice of optometry and the scope of our profession, so this gift underscores our state’s commitment to recruiting the best and brightest optometry students to join our profession and follow in the tradition of Dr. Mark Franks,” Sandefur said.

“As Board Chair of SCO and as Executive Director of the OAL, I know first-hand that Dr. Franks loved optometry, Louisiana, and knew how important it was to give back to his profession so future optometric physicians could follow in his footsteps.”

The New Orleans announcement paid tribute to Franks, who was born March 17, 1922, in Owasso, OK. After working in construction, he served his country in World War II and pursued an engineering degree before switching to optometry. He worked his way through SCO by serving as a draftsman on a Memphis railroad yard. Memories of Franks were also provided by his practice’s longtime partner, Dr. W.E. Marionneaux, a 1969 SCO graduate.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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LASIK Should Be Banned, Says FDA Adviser

He regrets voting to approve the treatment.

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A retired U.S. Food and Drug Administration adviser says LASIK eye surgery should be removed from the market.

Morris Waxler voted to approve to treatment, but now wishes he hadn’t, CBS News reports. He has re-examined the data.

“Essentially we ignored the data on vision distortions that persisted for years,” he told CBS.

His analysis suggests that 10 percent to 30 percent of patients experience complications. He asked the FDA in 2011 to issue a voluntary recall of the treatment, but the FDA declined to do so.

The FDA recently told CBS that it “has not found any new safety concerns associated with LASIK devices.”

CBS News quoted several patients saying they’d been harmed by LASIK.

Abraham Rutner, for example, said that he had double vision and that “around the lights [was] like having starbursts.” He notes, however, that his vision is improved by approximately 90 percent.

Experts say pre-surgical screening is crucial to avoiding LASIK complications.

The key lies in “knowing who to operate on and who not to operate on and there are people who really should not have this procedure,” Dr. Jules Winokur told CBS News.

The FDA has issued an advisory on risks and how to find find the right doctor for LASIK.

Read more at CBS News

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Video: Adorable Cat Melts Hearts By Trying on Eyewear for Children

Kids see that ‘if she can wear hers, they can wear them too.’

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A rescue cat in Pennsylvania is getting attention for her role in making children feel comfortable with their eyeglasses.

Truffles happily wears brightly colored frames to set a good example for the young patients of A Child’s Eyes in Mechanicsburg, the Daily Mail reports.

“If a child is feeling a bit nervous I ask Truffles if she wants to show them her glasses,” says Danielle Crull, owner of the business. “When they see Truffles wearing them it’s a really good thing and shows that if she can wear hers, they can wear them too.”

A video of the cat trying on eyewear has been viewed millions of times.

Watch the video:

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Several Eyecare Drugs in Short Supply, FDA Says

They include staple items.

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Thirteen ophthalmic drugs or products are currently in a state of shortage, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

They include solutions, ointments, emulsions, suspensions and injections, the American Optometric Association reports. Another four ophthalmic products were recently discontinued altogether.

The FDA claims in a new report that older, lower-cost drugs face supply troubles far more often than brand-name options, AOA reports. Among the ophthalmic drugs or products in shortage are staple items such as fluorescein strips and solutionsdilation dropsglaucoma medicationsantibiotics and antivirals.

According to AOA:

Published Oct. 29 by an FDA-convened inter-agency Drug Shortages Task Force, the report, “Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions,” analyzed 163 drugs that went into shortage from 2013 to 2017 and found the majority were “financially unattractive drugs” for manufacturers. Of the 163 drugs, 109 (67%) had generic versions on the market and had a median time since first approval of nearly 35 years. So many years off patent, these drugs sold for a median per unit price of only $8.73, the FDA notes.

AOA Chief Public Health Officer Michael Duenas, OD, said, “A doctor of optometry, in their public health role, should monitor services and needed supplies to determine that they are useful and accessible to all individuals within their community who may need that particular service or supply. Doctors of optometry are encouraged to report deficiencies to the AOA and agencies overseeing shortages, such as FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) Drug Shortage Program at drugshortages@fda.hhs.gov.”

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