April 2017 Print

President's Report

What’s for Dinner?

That may seem like a strange title, but not when you are hosting almost two dinner meetings each week from coast to coast.  Thanks to a new strategy to connect our members and to provide local education benefits, the Association has embarked on a dinner meeting schedule that would rival that of any New York socialite.  Our Dinner and CE program is thriving thanks to partners like Alcon and Topcon and our Board Member, Dr. Maury Wilson and Member, Dr. Travis Johnson. We have started the year with more dinner meetings conducted than in the previous two years combined.

These are important events.  When attending, you can see that despite being local events, many of the doctors attending have never met each other and therein lies the opportunity.  The Association strives to be the great connector of corporate optometrists.  Medicine is a field where we learn most from our peers.  We share our ideas, our successes, our challenges and when we are really comfortable, our failures.  Both the listener and the teller learn.  Our dinner meeting effort is an attempt to get corporate-affiliated optometrists from coast to coast sitting together and sharing what is working in their practices.

A special thanks to two great speakers – Dr. Maury Wilson and Dr. Travis Johnson.  Dr. Wilson has been giving his presentation, “I Don’t Sell Glasses. Now What?” to ‘standing room only’ groups.  His is a message of how to practice the best optometry possible in a corporate modality practice.  If you have not heard Dr. Wilson speak, you are missing the wisdom of a great doctor.

Dr. Travis Johnson developed his OCT course with Energeyes which prompts me to invite others to do the same.  Dr. Johnson is an excellent clinician and speaker and together, we are putting corporate-affiliated optometrists in the front of the room, not just in the audience.  It is part of our mission to showcase the talented doctors we have to the field of optometry at large.  We are not short on talent, but in the past, we have been short on opportunity. Today, the Association provides the resources to interested doctors to develop presentations, get them accredited for COPE credit and to create a venue for the presentations to be given.  All you have to do is have an expertise or a passion that you’d like to share.

We also need partners to get this job done and I want to recognize our new global sponsor, Alcon, for the rousing reception we have received from their field staff.  We are not short on opportunity with this group and together with the Alcon team, we are having very, very busy presentations with lots of doctors in attendance.

Topcon has also stepped up this year and is helping us promote another aspect of our mission - to make OCT a standard of care in our member practices.

Check out the many meetings we have held this year to date:

March 29 – Las Vegas, NV Dr. Maury Wilson  I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide Mandalay Bay Resort

April 19th - San Diego, CA Host: Dr. Elliott Shapiro Speaker: Dr. Maury Wilson “I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide” at the Wine Cellar and Brasserie

April 20th, Inland Empire Region, CA Dr. Maury Wilson “I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide at the New York Grill 

May 3rd, Indianapolis, IN  Dr. Maury Wilson “I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse    

May 11, Houston, TX Dr. Maury Wilson "I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide Restaurant" at Peli Peli Restaurant

May 17, Minneapolis, MN 0 Dr. Eric Bailey  and Speaker, Dr. Scott Hadden, "The ABC's of OCT" sponsored by Optovue at ?CRAVE restaurant in Eden Prairie Center?

MAY 17- Richmond, VA Sponsored by TopCon  Dr. Travis Johnson “?OCT in a corporate affiliate environment - The new standard of care” at Acacia

May 18 - Pittsburgh, PA Dr. Travis Johnson  “?OCT in a corporate affiliate environment - The new standard of care” at Bravo Cucina Robinson

May 22, Costa Mesa, CA  Dr. Maury Wilson “I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide at Mastro’s Steakhouse

May 23 - Omaha, NE Host - Dr. Jennifer Brammeier with speaker, Michael Pote, "Marketing Essentials" at Sullivan's Steakhouse

June 7 - Chicago - Oak Brook, IL  Dr. Wilson  "I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide" at The Clubhouse at Oak Brook 

July 12, 13 - Dallas, Forth Worth Host - Dr. Christopher Envani; Dr. Wilson "I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide" at TBD 

July 18th - West Texas - Amarillo, Lubbock, TX Host - Dr. Christopher Envani  Dr. Wilson "I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide" at TBD  

July 31st week of - Wichita Kansas Host - Dr. Wilson "I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide" at TBD 

If we are holding a meeting in your community, I hope you will attend. If we do not have one scheduled for your community, please contact us to set one up.  We are always looking for ‘hosts’ – local doctors serving as the lead by making decisions on restaurants and helping us reach out to other local, corporate optometrists.  It is not a difficult job, but it gives us the local insight required for us to be successful.

I hope see each of you at at least one dinner this year.


Dr. Eric Botts is the President of Energeyes and in private practice in Macomb, IL. A billing and coding expert for so many optometrists, Dr. Botts leads the association with aplomb.


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National Meeting News

Energeyes National Meeting 2017

The Energeryes National Meeting is fast approaching and we hope you have registered or if you are not yet a member, joined and then registered. Our schedule is designed to allow for 17 hours of COPE approved courses (4 transcript quality hours) and plenty of time for the vendor meetings.

Our course and vendor meeting selection will be available shortly.  Based on your completed questionnaire, we will be providing you with personalized schedules for three fun and education filled days.

Friday Night

Friday night is a celebration.  A celebration of what we have become as an association.  A celebration of the progress we have made as corporate-affiliated optometrist to incorporate medical services into our practices.  A recognition that our industry and consumers now see the corporate affiliated practice in a more positive light than ever before.

We will be giving out our annual President's Council Award.  In past years, we have always notified the award recipient.  This year will really be something special AND a surprise for the recipient.  Think about the shoes this individual needs to fill:  Larry Alexander, OD... Ernest Bowling, OD... Joseph Barr, OD... that's a tall order.

We will also be introducing our first ever Vendor Recognition Award. More and more we recognize the importance of our vendors and partners to bring excellent eye care to our patients.  Good care is greatly influenced by the products and equipment we use in our office everyday.  So we will be recognizing a vendor.

Vendor Meetings

You will be hearing a lot from me about vendor meetings this year.  For those who are new to Energeyes, we do something a little different with vendors which we feel is more respectful and more educational for all involved. We provide speed meetings.  20 minute meeting (about 15 minutes longer than the usual trade show meeting) with eight (8) vendors of your choice.  We build these meetings right into your schedule and all you have to do is show up at the appointed time.

This year, when you do attend your vendor meetings, vendors will 'score' the quality of the meeting with 1 to 5 stars.  This will be done confidentially and is not based on the sale but on the attention you provide.  We will be buying back hotel rooms (not sure how many yet) for those with the high star totals.  How do you win?  Get 5 stars form each and every vendor you are scheduled to meet with.  Visit and meet with vendors you are not scheduled to meet with.  Schedule more than 8 vendor meetings. This is a win-win-win with a pay back.


Believe it or not, course listings are still in draft form until the day before the meeting but here is what we have so far.

Saturday, June 24

6:30AM            Breakfast sponsored by CooperVision                    

7:00AM – 8:00AM             COPE ID:52271-PD (1 hour)                        Principles of Diagnosis

Course:                          What am I missing OCT Imaging in the Corporate Practice

Description:                    This course is designed to introduce the benefits of Ocular Coherence Tomography OCT technology. OCT images from case examples seen in common everyday primary eye care used to demonstrate how this technology can benefit the doctor and the patient.

Instructor:                      Travis Johnson, OD

8:00AM – 10:00AM            COPE ID: 53506-PD (2 hours)                      Principles of Diagnosis

Course:                          Advancing Your OCT Analysis

Description:                    This course is designed to improve the doctors interpretation and analysis of Ocular Coherence Tomography OCT technology. OCT images from case examples will be used to demonstrate how to read the raw data of the OCT scans and interpret the printouts the OCT provides.

Instructor:                      Travis Johnson, OD

8:00AM  - 10AM              COPE ID: 47393-AS (2 hours)                      Treatment/Management Anterior Segment

Course:                          Anterior Segment Quandaries, Part I: Infections and Inflammations

Description:                    Anterior segment infections and inflammations are a constant presentation in a primary care optometric practice. This course presents in rapid-fire format cases from various practice settings and includes diagnosis and management options.

Instructor:                      Ernest Bowling, OD

10:00AM – 11:00AM           COPE ID: 50308-PM (1 hour)                       Practice Management

Course:                          Medical Coding for OCT

Description:                    Detail the diagnosis and CPT codes necessary to submit medical claims for OCT

Instructor:                      Eric Botts, OD

10AM – 12 noon                COPE ID: 47404-AS (2 hours)                      Treatment/Management Anterior Segment

Course:                          Anterior Segment Quandaries, Part II: The Ocular Surface

Description:                    The majority of anterior segment disease presentations in a primary care optometric practice are abnormalities of the ocular surface. This course presents cases of ocular surface disease, including dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis and allergic eye disease, and discusses the etiology, pathophysiology and treatment protocols for each.

Instructor:                      Ernest Bowling, OD

11:00AM – 12:00 Noon       COPE ID: 50289-AS (1 hour)                        Trt/Mngmnt Anterior Segment

Course:                          New Technology in Dry Eye Diagnosis

Description:                    This course explains new advances in technology to diagnose dry eye disease.

Instructor:                      Eric Botts, OD


Lunch                            J&J sponsored


1:00PM – 3:00PM              COPE ID: 40030-PS   (2 hours)                     Trt/Mngmnt Posterior Segment

Course:                          Ocular Nutrition Diagnosis, Management and Treatment of AMD with Nutritional Supplements

Description:                    This course provides the clinician with the latest advances and findings in AREDS II management and treatment of AMD. This course will instruct how to appropriately recommend supplements and set a target ratio of nutrients needed to effectively treat AMD.

Instructor:                      Michael Samuel, OD

1:00AM – 3:00PM              COPE ID: 52439-NO (2 hours)                      Neuro-Optometry

Course:                          Visual Aura and Transient Scotomas Differentiating Cause

Description:                    A multitude of vascular and neurologic conditions are associated with visual scotomas. Types, various presentations, and pathophysiology are reviewed

Instructor:                      George Banyas, OD

3:00PM – 5:00PM              COPE ID: 53310-RS (2 hours)                      Refractive Surgery Management

Course:                          Presbyopic Surgery Innately Imperfect

Description:                    This course seeks to review all available presbyopic procedures available to in U.S. but most importantly reveal their flaws and strengths and help the OD to help to determine candidacy and co-manage.

Instructor:                      George Banyas, OD

3:00PM – 5:00PM              COPE ID: 49231-AS (2 hours)                      Trt/Mngmnt Anterior Segment

Course:                          How to Demystify Dry Eye

Description:                    This course details how to identify, diagnose and treat Dry Eye patients.

Instructor:                      Eric Botts, OD

3:00PM – 4:00PM              OrthoK Discussion Group                           Non-credit meeting

                                    OrthoK has arrived as a treatment and is a perfect complement for the corporate modality practice seeking to expand their offerings.  Dr. Michael Gambino has been treating OrthoK patients in his Sam’s Club practice for many years.  Join Dr. Gambino is an open discussion of how to implement an OrthoK program in your practice.

Discussion Leader:           Dr. Michael Gambino


4:00PM – 7:00PM              Vendor Meetings/Cocktails/ Tapas


7:00PM                          Cocktails and dinner

Key Note Address:         Mr. Tom Sullivan

Sponsor:                       Allergan

Sunday, June 25, 2017

7:00AM                          Breakfast sponsored by

Course:                          TBD



8:00AM  - 9:00AM           COPE ID: 53428-PM (1 hour)                       Practice Management

Course:                          Simplifying HIPAA Compliance

Description:                    This course reviews that state of HIPAA, as well as how to achieve HIPAA compliance - explaining common misconceptions. It will also detail the government’s current audit program the results of that - including monetary penalties for not being HIPAA compliant.

Instructor:                      Matt Diblasi

8:00AM – 9:00AM             COPE ID: 46349-PS (1 hour)                        Trt.Mngmnt Posterior Segment

Course:                          Dark Adaptation and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Description:                    This course discusses the importance of early detection of AMD, the use of dark adaptation technology to assess AMD and the management of AMD patients.

Instructor:                      Joseph Pizzimenti, OD

9:00AM – 11:00AM            COPE ID: 43877-GL (2 hours)                      Glaucoma

Course:                          Conversations in Glaucoma

Description:                    The goal of this presentation is to provide a case-based review of current topics in glaucoma, with an emphasis on new knowledge and current standards for diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment

Instructor:                      Joseph Pizzimenti, OD

9:00AM – 11:00AM            WalMart Townhall Meeting

                                    All WalMart doctors are invited to attend.

9:00AM – 10:30AM            COPE ID: 52363-PM (1.5 hours)                   Practice Management

Course:                          Marketing Essentials for New Patient Marketing

Description:                    Marketing is a great continuum of activities that can easily overwhelm the small business person. Knowing where you are what the next best steps are to get the best results for your practice is the focus of this course. We also debunk many marketing myths and help explain return on investment as it relates to telling your practice story in the community.

Instructor:                      Michael Pote

10:30AM – 12:00 Noon       Brand Presentations: PearleVision, WalMart and Costco

10:00AM – 12:00 Noon       COPE ID:42029-SD (2 hours)                       Systemic/Ocular Disease

Course:                          Systemic Disease: The Eyes Have It

Description:                    This course will provide the optometrist with the necessary tools to link some of the most common systemic diseases with ocular pathology. Common signs and symptoms of both systemic and ocular disease will be presented and treatment and management options will be discussed. The course will use several case studies to challenge the optometrist as a diagnostician. Additional information will be presented on common medications whose use may result in the development of ocular symptoms

Instructor:                      Kyle Sandberg, OD

Lunch                            Sponsored by Bausch & Lomb

1:00PM – 2:00PM              COPE ID: 44469-PM (1 hour)                       Practice Management

Course:                          I Don’t Sell Glasses, Now What? A Commercial Leaseholders Practice Building Guide

Description:                    With the growing number of Leaseholder opportunities for ODs, this course will provide a template for the new or established leaseholder to develop a powerful practice within a commercial environment. Use of insurance billing, vision and medical plans, advanced instrumentation, contact lens prescribing strategies, EHR, staffing, decor and appearance, and the relationship with the lessor will be discussed.

Instructor:                      Maurice Wilson, OD

1:00PM – 3:00PM              COPE ID: 50250-PO (2 hours)                      Peri-Op Mngmt of Ophth Surgery           

Course:                          Current Technology in Refractive Surgery

Description:                    This 2 hour continuing education course will explore current and emerging refractive surgical technologies. Clinical case presentations will demonstrate which patients are suitable candidates for procedures including LASIK, ICL, Refractive Lens Exchange and Corneal Inlays. The benefits of Dropless Cataract Surgery will be also be discussed as well as the ethics of peri-operative co-management relationships.

Instructor:                      Kyle Sandberg, OD

2:00PM – 4:00PM              COPE ID: 46167-PS (2 Hours)                      Trt/Mngmnt Posterior Segment

Course:                          Retina Grand Rounds

Description:                    The goal of this presentation is to provide a comprehensive review of posterior segment disease management.

Instructor:                      Joseph Pizzimenti O.D.

3:00PM – 4:00PM              COPE ID: 52922-EJ (1 hour)                        Ethics/Jurisprudence

Course:                          Professional Responsibility Course 2017

Description:                    This course will focus on common pathologies of the optic nerve, without glaucoma. Distinctions will be made between several common terminologies describing optic nerve abnormalities. Characteristics of each type of optic neuropathy will be defined. Procedures and testing that aid in proper diagnosis, treatment and management of optic neuropathies will be discussed. Case studies of optic neuropathies will also be presented in order to challenge the optometrist in his or her diagnostic skills.

Instructor:                      Kyle Sandberg, OD


A free transportation van will be available for shuttles to the airport between 12:00 noon and 6PM on Sunday for your ride back to the airport.  

I look forward to seeing everyone there.


Michael Pote is the Executive Director of the Energeyes Association.


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Marketing Your Practice

Got Website?

If I asked you to guess, I'm not sure really sure how many of you would say that February's (shorter month, even!) web driven appointments were higher than December's and higher than January's (and August's!). February was our highest month of web driven appointments ever!  We recorded 933 appointment requests across all the member sites, 8% more than January.   So far we are at 1796 total appointment requests for the year!

You can't get your best month of stats ever without setting some specific performance records along the way:

  • 300 new patient appointment forms completed (12% more than last month)
  • 251 existing patient appointment request forms completed (20% more than last month)
  • Average of 5 appointment requests per practice

Those are all-time highs.  We have some new faces on the top performing websites of the month.  Congrats to the following practices for getting the most NEW patients from their websites:

Practices with higher level marketing services converted 6.35% of all their visitors to appointment requests, while practices with no marketing services converted 2.85% of all visitors.  

In summary, a great month overall.  We expect a slight downturn in the next few months as traditionally March, April and May are the three slowest months of the year.  From June on onwards, we only see increases until the end of the year.

Any questions?  Comments?  Anyone need any help with their website?  Please let us know.  We are only too happy to help.   And remember... this is a free member benefit to all Energeyes members.  

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A Growing Season


The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do is Say Good Bye

 Lyrics and translation for The Hardest Thing I've Ever Had to Do by Tommy Page


It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do

Oh watch you walk away from me

to a place where you need to be

Don't you worry I'll make sure my life goes on

I'll have to think of us as two, say goodbye to you

It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do

I realize the title of this article is a bit dramatic at first glance, but I intentionally wanted to grab your attention for a couple minutes to discuss a topic I feel very strongly about. 

The Energeyes Association has been in my heart and head for over the past four years.  Since February 2012 when we had our first conference call with Michael and he agreed to draft a business plan.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I like to think of Energeyes as my child, conceived that February 2012 and delivered that following September 1, 2013.  I always wanted to have kids for as long as I can remember – a ‘Mini-Me’ version of Markie Uhler.  Someone to love and teach and grow into what I know I would be proud of no matter what.

Alas, that just wasn't in the cards for me to have kids.  I like to think that I would have been a good father.  The kind of parent that was protective but not overly protective, show guidance but not controlling, and be patient but not disinterested. 

But maybe, just maybe, I was meant to have The Energeyes Association instead as my foster child.  It certainly fulfills the love and teaching I wanted to bestow.  Organizations grow and develop just like children. They change and mature.  They have ups and downs.  Sometimes they get married to other organizations.  They are truly like children.

My role as parent is coming to an end this coming June. It is my time to move off the Board or run again and throw my name in the hat to potentially be voted back on.  It is not that I have lost interest in serving on the Energeyes Board; however, I feel that the Energeyes Board would be best served to have new doctors that infuse new ideas and new energy into the Association.  Without new blood on the Board, I fear that our organization will become stale and our membership will be underserved.   For this reason, I believe it to be in the best interest for me to leave the Board of Directors at this time.

Like any good parent, I plan to be looking over my shoulder and keeping a careful watch on my child.  You know me. I’m sure to have a metaphor or two to share with the group about my garden or travels yet unknown. The Association has been a vehicle for me to explore new aspects of myself and my practice and it is there for anyone who seeks to do the same.  We are not short on opportunities to be involved and engaged.  You just need to find what is right for you.

Thank you for the opportunity to grow as a doctor and a person.  I have many fond memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.  I look forward to all the great things my child (Energeyes) will achieve in the years ahead.

Look in these eyes, who do you see

Someone who chooses to be strong

cause that's the way I'm supposed to be

Lyrics and translation for The Hardest Thing I've Ever Had to Do by Tommy Page


Dr. Uhler is blessed to be a Great Uncle to (from left to right):

Melody 2yrs, Meadow 1yr, Jaxson 2 yrs, Juliana 4 yrs, and Liliana 5 months.


We come to the end of a growing season and the start of a new season.  Each season presents its own beauty and charm.  Dr. Mark Uhler bids farewell to the Board of Directors but not to Energeyes.  The umbilical cord is long and strong.  Expect Dr. Uhler to be the helicopter parent we all read about.

Dr. Uhler has been at the heart of our organization and we cannot express our thanks enough for his courage.

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What does 'Islands in the stream' mean?

Islands In The Stream Lyrics

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

How can we be wrong

Sail away with me

To another world

And we rely on each other, ah ha

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

Writer(s):Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group


"Islands in the Stream" is a song written by the Bee Gees and sung by American country music artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Named after the Ernest Hemingway novel, it was originally written for Marvin Gaye in an R&B style, only later to be changed for the Kenny Rogers album.  It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers' album Eyes That See in the Dark.

When I think of “Islands in the Stream” I think of a love song. The song is saying that a couple may exist separately (like islands in the stream) but their love unites them.  In the ever-changing world of relationships (the stream) their love is solid (like the islands).

The protagonist of the novel, Thomas Hudson, is actually a lot like us.  Alone on the island of Bimini, he uses his work to mask his loneliness and loss of his once adventurous lifestyle.  How many of us have been “glad” for our independence and lack of connections to the industry. We have unfortunately learned this mistaken lesson.  We now need to recognize just how important our connections are.

The fact is that doctors feel alone in their individual practices.  Corporate-Affiliated Optometrists can feel separated from the profession of optometry, in general, in addition to feeling separated from colleagues and their specific retail affiliation. 

I’m reminded everyday with my Energeyes membership about the importance of community. How many more optometrists, corporate-affiliated optometrists, I know today because of my involvement in this Association. When corporate-affiliated optometrists band together, we become bigger as individuals. I know my practice has been enhanced, and I feel very ‘plugged-in’ to our industry.  Not only are we a part, we are now leading.

All of this connectedness starts at the National Meeting.  I recognize that technology allows us to take course and be on phone meetings together but I don’t think anyone would disagree with the value received from a face to face meeting with your colleagues.  I make new friends every year.  I come home from this meeting with new relationships and new ideas for my practice.  I discover things I had not read about in the journals or countless emails I receive and the information is received in the context of the individual telling me.

Nowhere can optometrists from the various retail brands get together and discuss what each are doing well, and struggling with.  Each of our retailers conduct business in slightly different ways and we have an opportunity to share best practices across our services.

Interested in adding services? The National Meeting will push you to enhance your services offering and stretch your medical model practice in new ways.

There is no longer a need to be an island.  Together, we create a formidable presence - all supporting one another. Let’s leave ‘Islands in the Stream’ as a love song and let’s start building our connectedness to one another that will make us stronger individuals and a stronger profession for years to come.  Please join us in June 23rd through 25th at the Hilton Southlake for the biggest corporate-affiliated event of 2017.


Now that Dr. Mark Uhler is retiring from the Energeyes Board of Directors and has tons of time on his hands, he has recently been asked by Dolly Parton to be part of a new duet singing "Islands in the Stream". Dolly has recently been quoted saying, "I love Dr. Uhler.  He is one handsome dude, but of course I'm presbyopic as well."

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Guest Article

Dear Carl,

A couple of weeks ago in mid-March 2016 a lady came into our Vision Center complaining of a constant headache for about three weeks which was largely radiating back from her forehead over her left eye. She reported that her headache was progressively worsening and at times fairly acute but today it was more moderate. As it turns out I had seen her a year-and-a-half ago at which time she had no abnormal findings worthy of mention and no previous history of headaches. At that time she just needed bifocals.

At her exam in March 2016 her acuity was pretty good. Either eye corrected to 20/30. Pupils were normal. Gross Confrontation fields showed a defect in the right eye to the right side of her visual field and in the left eye also to the right side of her visual field. This type of defect is characteristic of a patient who is having or has had a stroke to the left side of her brain. The chart had no mention of this type of visual field defect at her eye exam a year-and-a-half ago during gross confrontation fields. We do actually have a machine in the office that quantifies this type of defect a little better but we have some practical issues executing it on the spot while maintaining patient flow given our limited time, space and manpower. Although we were busy on this day I decided the test needed to be run anyway. I asked our optician Lindsay to please do so. She complied and the test confirmed the same result.

I did a dilated fundus exam on our lady which had no remarkable abnormal findings. Her optic nerves had no significant signs of paleness or swelling as can sometimes signal an alarm that a neurological problem exists. We talked some more and with extended case history she reported an increased problem with writing this week. She was not having difficulty with walking, or with speech and she was fully oriented and aware of her name, what day it was and where she was.

This was a tough call because it may or may not be an emergency. The unsettling finding in this case was that the pain in the left side of the head corresponded to the visual field defect to the right side of the body. Depending on the age of the defect there may be real cause for alarm. I had enough evidence to believe this case was of recent onset and I could not rule out the possibility that our patient might still be in immediate danger. (Still, even for a slow brain hemorrhage the timeline didn’t quite fit.) I do not like to cause alarm and send people to the Emergency Department. Admittedly I tried to involve her primary care physician first who was unavailable as was his colleague. I decided it was Friday afternoon and action needed to be taken that couldn’t wait until Monday. I calmly explained to our patient that I was going to send her to the Emergency Room to rule out a few possibilities of issues which could still be affecting her.

At that point we were a little backed up and I needed to return to the other patients. I then handed our lady over to our optician Rebekah with instructions to get the paperwork in order and refer her to the Emergency Room. I chose Rebekah because she has excellent people skills and would know how to handle a referral. A couple of hours later, at the end of that Friday workday I received a note that the Emergency Department in Hannibal found something and they were sending our patient to a higher level hospital in Columbia, MO either through ambulance or helicopter. On that Sunday, two days later, she underwent three hours of brain surgery. Unfortunately, the tumor is cancerous. The family has contacted me with the details. They have asked that we put her on our prayer lists. She has been in my thoughts and prayers ever since.

I want to formally appreciate the teamwork of our staff in this instance. Rebekah and Lindsay did an excellent job taking direction and taking care of our lady. In this case their contribution was of vital importance. We have made tremendous improvements in the teamwork of our staff since I came here two years ago. Rebekah, Lindsay, and Skenikwa are all new at the job and they work well together. Although we still have more to learn, we continue to get better all the time. Our patients and our customers only stand to benefit. Because Walmart is a retail employer we will always attract a certain segment of the population which will come for an eye exam here when they are too afraid or too financially limited to visit other Doctors or clinics and hospitals. For these folks we may be less threatening. Working with the public as we do can have a way of creating a situation just like this in which we become the First Responders.

I am proud of our team.       



Amy Knickerbocker, OD


Dr. Amy Knickerbocker is an Energeyes member practicing next to a WalMart Optical in Hannibal, MO.



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Board News

Energeyes Supports Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom in their Effort to Enhance Choice in Eyecare

The Energeyes Association Board of Directors published a statement today in support of the petition to change the state constitution to allow for independent, corporate-affiliated eyecare in Oklahoma to enhance access, and choice, in eye care providers in the state.

“As independent doctors of optometry who have worked for two decades in partnership with a retailer selling eyewear, we can attest to the quality of the eye care services provided. While we cannot comment on potential cost savings for consumers, we do believe that increased ease of access to professional eye care providers does improve the likelihood that consumers will get the eye care they need and deserve in a timely and regular manner.  Concerns regarding control of the doctor or the optometric practice by the retailers are not supported by our experience and we recommend to the state to promote independent optometry working alongside of a retailer who can provide a wide range of spectacle and contact lens choices for the consumers they serve. We support Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom in their effort to change the state constitution of Oklahoma to allow for this modality of optometry within the state.”

This is an important message for the Association to be sending to the residents of Oklahoma and to the industry as a whole. We cannot allow the ideas that corporate-affiliated optometry is sub par, bad for consumers or controlled by the retailers to exist when this is not the truth.  

We look forward to supporting this initiative and eventually the doctors of Oklahoma working in a corporate-affiliated practice modality.


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When 95% is Better Than 5%

Someone mistakenly taught us long ago that providing feedback is about singling out what has gone wrong, or in today's language, what can be improved.  We have been led to believe that if we point of the flaws in what someone has done (because they are unaware of their own mistakes and areas of improvement), that they will improve.  I'd like to offer an alternative approach that I believe you will find valuable as you manage employs, work with colleagues and raise children.

We are who we are.  You know this about your spouse or significant other.  You know this about your children.  The statement is meant to illustrate that there are aspects of even those we love, that frankly, we just don't love.  But we do may the incredibly strategic decision not to address those things.  Why?  Because it doesn't matter how often you will ask for something to be done a certain way, it is not in the nature of the individual to it and therefore will just simply be a source of irritation or worse.

In an employment situation, we are all aware of the dreaded annual review.  It is that moment in the year where we are evaluated.  As the doctor in charge, you do not get the benefit of this amazing experience.  The totally diminishing experience of sitting across from your boss and having them tell you all the things you did wrong and totally draw a blank on the things that went well.

I can remember an annual review I had.  I was actually looking forward to it.  We had had a banner year so this was going to be a positive meeting.  I was asked to write down what I had accomplished (I guess it was not quite as impressive as I would have thought...no one remembered but me!) and when I was through, I was even more excited.  But the air was soon let out of the balloon when the meeting started with, "I really don't want to talk about all that.  We know what you do well.  What I want to talk about is..." I resigned on the spot.

I had another supervisor that clearly misread one of the many, many business books on his shelf.  He had a habit of ending every conversation with, "By the way, and I am just being honest and trying to be positive and help, but you really need..."  It didnt matter what we were talking about, he felt his mission was to leave you with something you really needed to improve upon whether you thought so or not.

I could go on, but it would leave less room for a different approach.  

First, say nothing.  The first step in feedback should not be a statement but a question.  Why? Because everyone already knows what they need to work on and your feedback session is about to get a lot easier because you staff person or colleague is about to do all the heavy lifting.  People know the areas where they need to improve and can articulated that significant better, if and only if, they are invited to do so and feel it will not be used against them.

Second, if the individual identifies the issue, they are 10X more likely to address it in the coming months as opposed to something they didn't recognize and is an issue for you. While you would like improvement in some specific, you may need to settle for improvement in something. All your staff member to choose that which they wish to work on. You will see this improve immediately and if not, it is an easy reminder because they elected the improvement path.

Third, instead of the approach "I need you to fix this." Look at what the person does well and state, "I want you to do a lot more of this.  You are good, no great, at this and we need to figure out how this can be  a greater and greater percentage of your role here." Allow the positive to crowd out the negative.  I had a staff member who was my number one sales person.  Customers fawned over her.  Bought her gifts.  Sent birthday cards. Unfortunately, she did not get along with her colleagues at all. You could cut the tension in our staff meetings with a cleaver. It got that bad.  I could have said, "You need to work on your interaction with your peers and here is how we will measure progress." Instead, I moved to an office by herself up the hall and removed any need for her to talk to others except.... customers.  Sales went through the roof.  Staff liked not having to deal with her.  She liked having her own office. Sigh!  

You hired or work with an individual who has strengths and weaknesses.  That's a fact and everyone fits into that category. Leave the 5% that can be improved alone and focus on doing a lot more with the 95% that is done well.


Michael Pote is Executive Director of the Energeyes Association and actually has a problem area of 6% or 7%, higher than the norm.

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From our Sponsor and Partner

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Dry Eye Centers of America

Dry Eye Training News

We are happy to report that we have now trained over 65 practices with our Dry Eye Training Program and the results continue to be nothing less than extraordinary.  There are several reasons for this and they are important to understand.

First, we believe that training is NOT an event - a one hour COPE course. Instead, training means behavior change - a series of small events (usually two steps forward and one step backwards) until the new behavior is habit.  This takes about 8 weeks to achieve and we add in an extra 4 weeks of support to ensure the habit is well established.

Second, we know the failure points - week 3 and week 6 and understand how to move beyond them.  Our week 3 failure point (and you will all be familiar with this)... the honeymoon is over. We leave the presentation.  We get home.  We start to implement. There is something else to do.  Without a support system, this happens in the first week after the training.  With our account  management system, we get three weeks before it happens, but it does happen.

Failure #2 happens in week six and sound like this, "I got this".  "I don't need any help." "I can do this on my own." In fact the new behavior is not yet a habit but you are growing tired of the rigor to make it a habit.  It's ok.  It is fully expected.

To address both of these issues, we provide rewards and prizes for trying extra hard during these down weeks. They are usually in the form of "If you are in the green (still growing), you'll receive..."  Hokey but it works.

Third, our training is a group process.  Just your training group.  Accountability to others may be the single most important ingredient in motivating us to new behavior.  No one wants their poor numbers published each week and everyone wants to be #1.  The group provides the motivation for both and it works.

Our 4th group is currently underway and we are preparing to kick off a 5th team at the National Meeting in Dallas. on June 23rd through 25th.  Meet our trainer extraordinaire, Ms. Shelia Chappell and speak to others about their experience in the program.  Sign up to attend the National Meeting and then sign to attend Dr. Botts' Dry Eye courses.  You'll be happy you did.

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Improving Your Service Offering


Orthok as a Corporate Modality Service:  The Time has Come

by Michael Gambino, OD

I just attended the AAOMC meeting last week and WOW! About 500 OD's were in attendance. About 400 doctors were from the U.S. and there were also approximately 100 from other countries. It was truly an international meeting.  

There was over 50 hours of CE offered over the 5 day meeting but the most interesting was the Orthokeratology Boot Camp for new docs wanting to learn OrthoK. 49% of the O.D.'s who attended the Boot Camp had never fitted an OrthoK patient before. This demonstrated both the interest and the relatively nascent use of this great technology for helping patients.  While I couldn't tell how many of the doctors were commercially-affiliated doctors, my sense is we were not well represented and I am calling on my colleagues to take a strong look at this great service for your practice.

I have been fitting OrthoK patients at my Sam's Club practice for many years. In the last seven years alone, I have fit over 200 children, preteens and teens.  This has allowed me to serve a pediatric group better than I ever have and of course, there parents are appreciative and become patients as well.

After attending this meeting and seeing all the research that is going on all over the world in OrthoK, I am convinced that this is a treatment whose time has come for the corporate modality of practice. In addition, myopic control in children using the OrthoK treatment is also on the rise. While 400 O.D.'s out of the possible 40,000 O.D.'s in the U.S. is a small percentage of docs, OrthoK interest and use is on the rise and will eventually be a mainstream service.  Now is the time for us to lead.

I will be attending the Energeyes National meeting and will be holding an informal discussion group on Saturday afternoon at 3PM.  I want to share the many lessons I have learned about this great service and discuss how to implement a program in your practice.

Make a difference in your patients’ lives, especially children. 


Dr. Michael Gambino is a practicing optometrist in Dallas, Texas who defies all the stereotypes of a corporate modality practice.

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HIPAA: An Old Law That's Still Relevant

We are featuring a new course at our National Meeting to ensure all practices are acutely aware of the increase oversight being given to HIPAA (the Health Information Portability and Accessibility Act).  At its core, it makes grerat sense.  How that common sense gets applied across yopur practice. That is not so common, common sense.

The course and the follow up software service helps simplify your process for knowing how best to protect your patient information as well as yourself and your practice from undue lawsuits.

Register for this great course at the National Meeting. Get smarter and earn and hour of COPE approved credit. The course is being taught by  Matt DiBlasi, President of Continual Compliance Solutions (www.continualcompliance.com.

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