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United Healthcare Review (3/17, Warren) reports that routine visits to optometrists are important, because eyes “can reveal a lot about our overall health.” For example, optometrists “can detect changes in tissues, nerves and blood vessels in your eyes that may signal health issues far from the eyes themselves.” William T. Reynolds, OD, the president of the American Optometric Association (AOA), said, “You may not realize that health problems involving other parts of your body can affect your vision as well. Eye providers are able to detect more than 270 serious health conditions during annual exams.” Dr. Reynolds explains how optometrists can detect long-term threats to vision, and signs of chronic illnesses that can extend beyond the eyes, including diabetes. Dr. Reynolds also said that most people over 60 should schedule an annual eye exam, because “it’s the best way to protect and preserve your sight.”
Reminder: Contact Lens Rule compliance deadline, April 1
Optometry practices should be aware that the FTC will resume enforcement of the revised Contact Lens Rule paperwork requirements, beginning April 1, 2021. To prepare for compliance, review the AOA’s FTC Rule Compliance Toolkit.
The FTC’s Contact Lens Rule amendments originally took effect Oct. 16, 2020, but enforcement was temporarily delayed due to the ongoing public health emergency as a result of the AOA’s advocacy in the year-end COVID-19 aid and government funding package. In that legislation, Congress instructed the FTC to temporarily suspend enforcement of the rule amendments.
The delay represents a significant rebuke of the FTC’s handling of the Contact Lens Rule review. The AOA, which secured important changes to the initial 2015 proposal, will continue to defend doctors’ prescribing decisions that safeguard patients.
Such is the case, the AOA and optometry’s advocates will continue to champion efforts to fix the broken prescription verification process and stop ongoing attempts to deregulate contact lenses during the Virtual AOA on Capitol Hill, May 23-25. Attendance is open to all-advocacy minded doctors of optometry, paraoptometrics and optometry students.
Healio (3/17) reports Allergan’s newest OTC eyedrop Refresh Digital was “designed to provide temporary relief of ocular dryness and irritation caused by extended use of digital devices.” In a press release from Allergan, Selina McGee, OD, said, “When looking at screens for prolonged periods of time, we tend to blink less completely, and our blink rate is often cut in half. This causes eyes to miss out on the much-needed hydration from natural tears, which then leads to eye dryness, burning, irritation or discomfort.”
HCPlive (3/17, Kaltwasser ) reports researchers found “pediatric patients who undergo overminus lens therapy for intermittent exotropia see some improvement in distance exotropia control, but they also experience greater myopic shift and the benefits of the therapy appear to go away once treatment is stopped.” The findings were published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
HealthDay (3/17, Preidt ) reports researchers found in a nationwide study that “serious vision problems among older Americans have declined sharply, and the improvement has been greatest among women, folks over 85 and seniors who are Black or Hispanic.” The findings were published in Ophthalmic Epidemiology.
Politico (3/17, Roubein ) reports that Biden Administration health officials “have quietly revoked the previous administration’s approval of Medicaid work rules in two states, as they move quickly to unwind one of former President Donald Trump’s signature health policies.” Federal Medicaid officials on Wednesday “sent letters to Arkansas and New Hampshire officials, informing them that the administration had formally scrapped the federal government’s permission for the states to mandate that some enrollees work, volunteer or attend school as a condition of coverage.” Though the Biden Administration “had left little doubt it would revoke work rules widely despised by Democrats, the timing of the move is significant.” The Supreme Court “is still weighing whether to review lower court rulings against work rules in Arkansas and New Hampshire, and revoking the programs could make the case moot.”
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