Thursday, April 30, 2015

An optometrist’s responsibility to aging patients behind the wheel

By Paul Freeman, O.D.

We have had the good fortune of the excellent representation of Dr. Robert Owens (POA) and Dr. Marshall Stafford (ophthalmology) on the Pennsylvania Department Motor Vehicle Advisory Board. Recently, after many years of capable representation, Dr. Owens has stepped down from that position. As the incoming optometric representative on the advisory board, I am posting the Vision Standards Related to the Licensing of Drivers in Pennsylvania on the POA website as they appear, with the addition of a place to specify the visual acuities and visual fields of a patient who might want to know if they are legally capable of driving or what their restrictions are. This can then be used as a handout for a patient or family member as they can appreciate that the information is a state code and not a cutoff designed by you as a health care provider.

Why is this necessary? As I’m sure you can appreciate, the population of Pennsylvania is aging, and it is not a secret that the aging process has some impact on driving safety. As I have noted in the past, there is a difference between legal and safe driving, but it is important, especially in a duty to inform state, that the legal requirement is both understood and met by the patient. After that, it is up to the individual practitioners to decide how best to handle safe issues of driving as they relate to one’s community and to the greater Commonwealth.

Please think about the responsibility to your patients, their families and the general welfare of the public of the Commonwealth as you discuss the privilege of driving. 
See the Department of Transportation’s Rules and Regulations for Title 67 -- Transportation here:

Join the POA for can’t-miss continuing education and fun

After a cold winter, spring has finally arrived and that means the POA Spring Congress is right around the corner. From May 15-17, the POA is pleased to be returning to one of our favorite venues: the beautiful Omni Bedford Springs Resort. With its turn-of-the-century architecture and rich history, as well as the lush grounds and amenities, it is the perfect backdrop for our annual meeting events. This meeting is packed with education, exhibits, business and social events that you won’t want to miss.

Continuing Education Hours
We are pleased to offer a well-rounded program of 13 continuing education credits, which includes 6 hours of TPA:
Conversations in Glaucoma – Dr. Joe Pizzimenti and Dr. Carlo Pelino
Essential Topical Formulary - Dr. Joe Pizzimenti and Dr. Carlo Pelino
Update on Oral Medications - Dr. Joe Pizzimenti and Dr. Carlo Pelino
Ocular Surface and Lid Marginal Disease – Dr. Thomas Kislan
Scleral Lenses: Speciality Lens Education for the Novice and Expert – Dr. James Deom
Scleral Lens Wet Lab – Dr. Thomas Kislan and Dr. James Deom
Primary Care Electrodiagnostics – Peter Kehoe, O.D.
Evidence-Based Eye Care of patients with Diabetes Mellitus – Peter Kehoe, O.D.
The POA would like to acknowledge Diopsys, MiboMedical and Valley Contax for their support of our continuing education program.

Business Partner Programs
The following programs will be presented at our Congress by POA Business Partners and we hope that you will attend.
On Friday, May 15 from noon-1:00 p.m., Dr. James Thimons will present The Growing Presence of Dry Eye Disease. This presentation is sponsored by Allergan. This non-credit program also includes lunch.
On Sunday, May 17 from 7:00-8:00 a.m., enjoy free breakfast and What do you know about the VSP® Global Premier Program? presented and sponsored by VSP. Come discover how the Premier Program can help you achieve your business goals by bringing you more patients, more value, and more support. During the presentation, attendees will learn: how to stand out to attract more valuable patients; make more by choosing innovative products that benefit you and your patients; and how to take it to the next level with exclusive offers and support.
If you haven’t registered for these sessions, please contact the POA office at (717) 233-6455. 

Exhibit Hall
As of April 20, the following exhibitors will be bringing a wide range of products and services to our hall this year. You will have ample time to visit their displays on Saturday, May 16 from 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. during our lunch in the exhibit hall. Many will be giving away door prizes so bring your business cards. We encourage you to support the companies that support the POA by visiting their booths and welcoming their representatives into your offices.
ABB Optical Group
Alcon - Gold Business Partner
Allergan - Gold Business Partner
Beitler McKee
Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services
C&E Vision - Platinum Business Partner
Carl Zeiss Meditec
Carl Zeiss Vision
Diopsys, Inc.
Essilor Labs of America
Eyeficcient LLC
Heidelberg Engineering
Hoya Vision Care
Maculogix - Silver Business Partner
Novabay Pharmaceuticals
PA Paraoptometric Association
Professional Eye Care Associates of America
Signet Armorlite
USI Affinity - Gold Business Partner
VSP Global - Platinum Business Partner
Walman Optical
We would also like to thank the Provision Group for their financial support of our Congress. 

Social Events
The POA is pleased to invite you, your family and staff to join us at our social events.
Our golf outing on Friday, May 15 is always one of the highlights at Bedford. The magnificent golf course is accessible right outside the front door of the resort and provides spectacular views of the surrounding area, as well as a challenging round of golf. The cost is just $140 and includes breakfast, greens and cart fees. Everyone is welcome to join this event from expert golfer to the weekend duffer, and our exhibitors have been invited also. 
Friday dinner is on your own so we encourage you to make reservations between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. in the hotel’s main dining room, 1796 Room, or the pub. Check out our recent member update, which features a list of restaurants for wining and dining in Bedford. Doctors who have graduated since 2010 are invited to attend a special networking reception with the POA Board and local society presidents. Please see page 13 for details.
At 9:00 on Friday evening, POA President Dr. Rich Christoph and his wife Tammy invite you to join them for a relaxed evening of snacks, drinks and conversation. Spend the night talking with old friends and meeting new ones while taking in a spectacular view of the golf course and surrounding area. Everyone is welcome to join in this event.
Support your fellow members on Saturday night at 6:00 for the POA’s annual Awards Ceremony, where we will be honoring the 2015 award recipients. After the ceremony, we will be horsing around POA-style! Join us for a walk-around dinner featuring food, drinks and entertainment. Hedge your bets at our horse racing table or try your luck at the casino games. We invite the ladies in attendance to wear your “Derby hats” and participate in the fun of our hat contest. It will surely be a casual evening of fun with just a little competitiveness thrown in.

Wine and Dine in Bedford
As you know from perusing the POA Congress schedule, Friday evening has been left open for dinner on your own from 6:00-9:00 p.m. There are three wonderful restaurants located right on the Omni Bedford Springs property. There are also a number of options in and around downtown Bedford, just a 10-minute ride from the resort. The POA has compiled a list of restaurants (, both on and off property, for your consideration. Those located off the property are recommended by the Bedford Visitors Bureau. 
There are also boutiques, wine cellars, candy shops and antique shops located in downtown and we encourage you to visit if you have time. It’s a great place for families to explore while you are in business or education sessions, with plenty of parking and helpful shop owners to guide you around the main shopping area. 
Check out the bureau website at for other ideas. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 PCO Quiz Bowl

From left to right: AOSA Trustee Christin DeMoss, Dr. Lori Gray, Dr. Steven Eiss, Quiz Bowl winner Marshall Ward, Dean of PCO Dr. Lori Grover, Associate Dean of PCO Dr. Melissa Trego and Dr. Alissa Coyne

Students run in with an American flag to rally support.

From left to right: Christin DeMoss, Dr. Lori Gray, Dr. Steven Eiss and POSA President Brian Johnson

Students gather for a non-competitive photo op.

A student shows off his rollerblading skills when he enters for the Quiz Bowl.

Photos taken by PCO students Ryan Chia and AJ Pastor.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Anthracite's Save Your Vision Month 2015

By Shannon Scheuren, O.D.

For Save Your Vision Month, approximately 2,000 second grade students from sixteen schools located in Carbon, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties participated in a coloring contest hosted by the Anthracite Optometric Society. All participants received a custom pencil and each classroom winner received a trophy. Out of the classroom winners, an overall school winner was chosen. The school winners had a party at McDonald’s in Saint Clair on March 28, 2015. Seymour Safely handed out balloons to winners and others at the party and posed for photos. Anthracite Optometric Society provided happy meals for the winners and McDonald’s gave out cookies. Praxair donated the helium for the balloons.

Dr. Gary Scheib, who has dressed as Seymour Safely since approximately 1979, spoke on the importance of our eyes and vision. Dr. Shannon Scheuren, Dr. Ann Marie Robert-Blehm and Dr. Bernice Machamer presented the winners with their certificates and trophies.

Photos provided by Dr. Shannon Scheuren.

Are Your Sunglasses Doing Their Job?

Pennsylvania Optometric Association stresses importance of quality UV protection to prevent vision problems

Harrisburg, Apr. 8, 2015 – With the promise of summer and vacations lingering just out of reach, many Americans may be contemplating buying a new pair of sunglasses. The Pennsylvania Optometric Association reminds consumers to be sure their stylish sunglasses provide protection from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q® survey, 47 percent of consumers purchase sunglasses without checking the UV protection level. Overexposure to UV rays can cause eye and vision problems, which is no way to remember a day of outdoor fun.

Your sunglasses checklist

To ensure your sunglasses are adequately protecting your eyes, follow these tips, which can also be found online in the AOA’s Sunglasses Shopping Guide.

  • Be sure to buy sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays. While some contact lenses offer UV protection, these should be worn with sunglasses to maximize protection.
  • Sunglasses should screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
  • The frame of your sunglasses needs to fit close to your eyes and contour the shape of your face to prevent exposure to UV rays from all sides and angles.
  • Pick lenses that are matched in color and lack distortion.
  • Lenses should also have a uniform tint, not a gradual change from a dark area to a lighter one. The POA suggests a gray tint, which is helpful when driving because it offers the best color recognition.

UV exposure short- and long-term effects

If the eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, individuals may experience an effect called photokeratitis, which is known as a “sunburn of the eye.”

The effect of sunburn on the skin is painful, but photokeratitis hurts the eyes in a different way; painful symptoms include red eyes, a foreign-body sensation, gritty feeling in the eyes, sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Fortunately, photokeratitis is usually temporary and rarely causes permanent damage to the eyes.

However, long-term overexposure to UV radiation over the course of one’s life can cause more serious problems, such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, cancer of the eyelids, eye and the skin around the eyes, and pterygium, which is an abnormal growth of the white of the eye onto the cornea.

Don’t forget the kids

Parents and guardians need to be sure their children have appropriate eye protection at all times while outdoors. The lens found in a child’s eye cannot filter out UV rays as easily as an adult’s. While protection from UV rays is important for all people, despite ages, a child’s eyes are more vulnerable and more transparent than adult eyes.

When children go outside to play, parents should get them in the habit of wearing sunglasses to instill good eye care practices for life.

To be sure your sunglasses will properly protect your eyes, your best resource is your optometrist, who will also help ensure your eyes are healthy through yearly, comprehensive eye exams. Find an eye doctor near you at

About the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA):
The Pennsylvania Optometric Association is the professional organization for over 1,250 doctors of optometry in Pennsylvania. An affiliate of the American Optometric Association, POA promotes the highest quality eye and vision care by optometrists, represents optometry to state government, provides its members with post-graduate education and membership benefits, and conducts activities in the interest of the visual welfare of the public. For more information, visit

About the American Eye-Q® survey:
The 10th annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From February 19-March 4, 2015, PSB conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. (Margin of error is plus or minus 3.10 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.)

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America’s family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual’s overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit