Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Salus welcomes new students from Qassim University

Salus University recently welcomed eight sixth-year optometry students from Qassim University in Saudi Arabia to its Elkins Park campus. As part of an agreement between the two universities, Qassim students attend lectures, participate in workshops and experience simulated patient encounters at the Salus University campus as part of their clinical curriculum.

For all eight students, this was their first time to the United States. While here they spent time in Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C. The students believe their time spent at Salus University will give them an early clinical advantage, especially as optometry begins to grow as a profession in Saudi Arabia.

This is the second group of students Salus has welcomed from Qassim. Upon completion of their six years of study and a one-year internship, the students will obtain a Doctor of Optometry degree. Afterward, a majority of them plan in go into private practice.

Pictured from left to right: Abdulsalam Saleh Alyousef, Faisal Ali Alhamamah, Yousef Muneer Alharbi, Mohammad Saleh Aldhbiab, Abdulrahim Huwaydi Almutairi, Abdullah Salem Alharbi, Mohammed Nasir Elbaradei and Abdulmalik Ibrahim Alkharisi.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ICD-10: one month away!

The October 1st implementation date for ICD-10 is fast approaching. It is not too late to prepare. The AOA has available resources to assist our member doctors in preparing their practices for this major change. Don't be left behind; your claims will not be paid if you are not prepared!

Countdown to ICD-10 Implementation Date

Take these 10 steps to take to maximize the ICD-10 resources the AOA has available and prepare for ICD-10:

1. Order the Critical Resources You Need in Your Office - The AOA’s 2015 Coding Bundle, which includes the 2015 AOA ICD-10 Codes for Optometry Manual, the 2015 AMA Professional Edition CPT Manual and the AOA Express Mapping Card which provides ODs with a crosswalk from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for many commonly used diagnosis codes. Purchase the bundle here.

2. Review AOA’s 10 Part ICD-10 Webinar Series and 2 Hour ICD-10 Overview – This webinar series is available for review at any time. The series covers everything from how to prepare for the transition to ICD-10 to how to code for specific ocular conditions.

3. Check Your Progress – Many of the ICD-10 Webinars include brief quizzes so you can test your knowledge. Access the review material here.

4. Utilize AOA’s Coding Experts – AOA’s coding experts are available to answer your coding questions. Use the online form to contact AOA’s coding experts.

5. Review AOA Focus for ICD-10 FAQs - Each month AOA Focus includes a feature article on a timely coding topic written by AOA’s coding experts. Each article is accompanied by frequently asked questions. From May to October the FAQs are focusing specifically on common ICD-10 questions.

6. Utilize the AOA’s Online Coding Resource – is a no cost, members only, online resource that houses ICD-10 and CPT information. The site allows you to browse ICD-10 codes and provides an ICD-10 crosswalk.

7. Watch for ICD-10 Articles in AOA Publications – Leading up to the implementation date, look for additional information and guidance in AOA’s publications such as AOA Focus, the AOA Alerts Page and the AOA News Page. 

8. Register for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) August 27 call “Countdown to ICD-10.” This call will be held five weeks prior to the ICD-10 implementation on October 1, 2015. A national implementation update will be provided along with coding guidance and tips, and updates from CMS.

9. Use AOA’s Website as a Gateway - AOA’s ICD-10 Resources Page includes links to ICD-10 tools and information from CMS, Medscape and other groups.

10. Contact AOA Staff – AOA’s Associate Director for Coding and Regulatory Policy is available for guidance on resource use and welcomes any suggestions for additional ICD-10 tools and resources doctors of optometry may need. Please contact Kara Webb at

FAQs: Motorist Vision

From time to time questions come up about the interpretation of driving regulations as they pertain to vision. As chair of the POA’s Motor Vehicle Advisory Committee, as well as a member of PennDOT’s Medical Advisory Board, I am happy to research answers to these questions. While these answers are not legally binding, they have been presented to PennDOT’s legal counsel to formulate the best answer possible. Here are two questions which presented recently. 
Question: I am writing to you about the phrasing of what PennDOT requires for visual fields. Their letter states, and when you call PennDOT, they say: it has to be a Humphrey visual field. I use the Medmont, which is equivalent to the Humphrey. Is it possible that this regulation for visual fields can be written more clearly so that there is no confusion on the part of rehabilitative staff who may not understand that more than one or two pieces of equipment can measure 120° of visual field legitimately?
Regulation: Under the visual standards relating to the licensure of driving, § 83.3 e states “A person shall have a combined field of vision of at least 120° in the horizontal meridian, excepting the normal blind spots.” 
Answer: There is no specific testing instrumentation that is mentioned in the regulation. However, just as we might ask for a Kleenex® rather than a tissue, asking for a Humphrey visual field is simply asking for a visual field which will measure 120° of (contiguous) visual field. In those situations where interpretation of the data is in question, the PennDOT Motor Vehicle Advisory Board members who are familiar with visual fields will be asked to interpret the data. And while we are on the topic of visual fields, there are no waivers for visual fields of less than 120°.
Question: If after cataract surgery a patient has uncorrected VA of 20/20 OD, 20/100 OS, 20/20 OU and corrected VA 20/20 OD, 20/20 OS, 20/20 OU, are they required to wear corrective lenses to drive? 
Regulation: Under the visual standards relating to the licensure of driving, § 83.3 a, states “Driving without corrective lenses. A person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision may drive without corrective lenses.
   (1) If a person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision, however, has visual acuity of less than 20/40 in one eye, the vision in that eye shall be corrected to its best visual acuity.
   (2) A person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision and who has visual acuity of less than 20/40 in one eye, may drive without corrective lenses upon determination by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist that the person’s combined vision would not be improved by the use of corrective lenses.
Answer: The language in this section is a bit confusing. The intent of the language is that maximizing visual acuity should be attempted. However, it would be up to the examining eye doctor to determine if improving the vision in the uncorrected 20/100 eye would modify the function, which might determine the ultimate safety of the driver and the community in which that driver will operate a motor vehicle.
If you have any questions for Dr. Freeman concerning motorist vision, please email with the subject “Motorist Vision.”

Senator Kim Ward introduces Eye Care Freedom of Choice legislation

Senator Kim Ward (R-39) recently introduced SB978 in the Pennsylvania Senate. This bill would amend the Insurance Company Law of 1921 to ensure that competitive parity exists among eye care providers and that patient choice is protected by adding an article entitled “Quality Eye Care for Insured Pennsylvanians.”
This piece of legislation attempts to restore a “level playing field” in the eye care industry and ensure both patient freedom of choice when selecting a provider and providers’ freedom of choice to choose materials, fabrication and source of products and a uniform provider contract.
Recently, Senator Ward requested support for this bill from the Pennsylvania Optometric Association and the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Richard Christoph, POA president, responded to Senator Ward’s request offering POA’s support and assistance toward the passage of this piece of legislation.
We encourage POA members to familiarize themselves with this legislation by reviewing the information available on our website at under Doctors, POA’s Legislative Priorities.