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Letters to the editor


For the record

As one of the founding trustees of the newly formed American Association of Doctors of Optometry (AADO), I want to thank you for your excellent piece introducing our efforts, mission, and goals of helping deal with third-party payer issues (“New optometric association launched," October 2013). Briefly restated, “The mission of the American Association of Doctors of Optometry is to improve the quality of eye care in America by removing barriers to the delivery of optometric care and restoring competition among eye care providers.” We hope to accomplish much as our membership continues to grow daily.

I take exception to, however, the quote in the last sentence by the American Optometric Association (AOA). It states: “In a statement, the AOA said: ‘We are aware that some of the founders of the American Optometric Society are starting another organization and soliciting dues-paying members.’” 

The statement is misleading and inaccurate. The American Optometric Society (AOS) was formed to protest the process of board certification. Firstly, if the AOA would have bothered to do a small amount of due diligence, they would know that nothing in the AADO’s mission or goals has anything to do with board certification. To create this nexus as their only comment is simply misplaced and wrong. I, in fact, was one of the first group of optometrists to become board certified by the ABO. I spoke in favor of board certification on many social media sites and in fact was involved in the composition of the initial test! The AOA knew this, yet its only comment creates a nexus between two organizations that serves no purpose and does not exist. I would hope the AOA sees fit to offer an apology to me specifically and the AADO. All trustees of the AADO are, in fact, members of the AOA and continue to support it in its efforts to improve and defend our profession

Steve Silberberg, OD

Matawan, NJ


Tip of the hat

I have finally joined the 21st century and downloaded the Optometry Times app for my iPad. I love it-makes reading Optometry Times much more convenient. I loved reading Dr. Bowling’s Christmas wish list in the December issue (“My Christmas wish list," December 2013). I have very similar wishes. The Primary Care Section of the American Academy of Optometry really has some good momentum going, and we have some really good Diplomate candidates. Tip of the hat to you, Ernie, and the rest of the staff at Optometry Times for sponsoring our Diplomate Preparatory course in October. It’s truly a pleasure to work with you and read your fine publication.

Hal Bohlman, OD, FAAO, Diplomate (PC)

Mountain Home, TN


Digital devices, optometry, and increased nearpoint stress

I was pleased to see The Vision Council direct its attention to the problem of straining to meet the visual demands of computers, smartphones, and tablets (“Special Report: The Vision Council promotes digital eye strain precaution at CES,” News Flash, January 24, 2013).

The use of nearpoint lenses to reduce the strain mentioned in the article is something that optometry pioneered. Other practitioners do not realize the importance of using lenses not strictly to achieve the best clarity at all distances. To reduce the demand created by nearpoint work is not only a simple and effective concept, but in practice it has helped many people, in various walks of life, to perform at a much more effective level. Students from grade school through graduate school have also benefited from the use of prescription lenses to reduce stress.

This is not a new concept in our field.  The colleges of optometry have had this type of teaching in their curriculum throughout the 20th century and continuing today. I applaud The Vision Council for trying to acquaint more optometrists with the benefits of near-centered lenses for the non-presbyope. In this way, the concepts that are part of our heritage can continue to help people. While emphasis has moved toward detection and treatment of eye disease, the gem that is optometry’s own is the detection and treatment of nearpoint stress. Digital devices are just another form of increased demand on the visual system. Many practitioners throughout the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world have been educating their patients and providing eyewear to help counteract such nearpoint stress.

Barry Tannen, OD, FCOVD 

Hamilton Square, NJ

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