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Maryland Optometry in the Face of COVID-19

Posted By MOA Admin, Friday, March 27, 2020

Governor Hogan

Yesterday, Governor Hogan announced the expansion of non-essential business closures expected based on "Interpretation Guidance from the State Office of Legal Counsel." With healthcareincluded among the "essential" business categories exempt from closure mandates, Maryland Secretary of Health Robert R. Neall issued the following "Directive and Order Regarding Various Healthcare Matters." The Secretary's Directive mandates thatall healthcare providers "shallperform only medical procedures that are critically necessary for the maintenance of health for a patient. The Directive further states that, "[a]ll elective and non- urgent medical procedures and appointments shall cease effective at 5 p.m.,Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and shall not be performed for the duration of the catastrophic health emergency."


Maryland will certainly benefit from the wisdom and immediate, decisive and unified action that has been taken by our executive and legislative leadership in the Hogan administration and General Assembly. The State continues to provide its citizens (employeesemployers, patients, caretakers, providers and first responders) with critical information related to health and financial well-being. Visit the Maryland Dept. Of Health CORONAVIRUS pagefor up-to-date information State initiatives and efforts. Optometrists are included among the volunteers being called to help on the front line. If you wish to volunteer your invaluable service during the pandemic as a medical volunteer, please visit the MDResponds website portal.

AOA Coronavirus Page
We want you to know that the AOA and MOA are here for you (members and non-members) as a resource during these uncertain times. We will all have to adapt to the new reality, so please visit the AOA and MOA COVID-19 dedicated website pages for optometry-specific updates and important information. The MOA and AOA are focused on addressing what we perceive as the most important issues facing the profession during the weeks/months to come - Your Physical and Financial Well-Being, Telehealth Care/Billing for Medicare/Medicaid & Privately Insured Patients, OD Licensure Renewal Requirements and Maintenance of Primary Care Role of Optometry as Essential Providers. The Maryland Board of Optometry (BOE) is also working hard to protect Maryland Optometry patients during the pandemic. The BOE will meet tomorrow, March 25 to discuss several pressing matters of critical importanceto the profession. The MOA will attend tomorrow's BOE meeting and will eblast everyone with updates from the AOA, MOA, BOE and MDH as they become available.
MOA Coronavirus Page

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Safety First! Healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted By MOA Admin, Thursday, March 19, 2020
Healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic


As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, the MOA continues to monitor healthcare industry news and outbreak recommendations. We are also in constant contact with the State Department of Health, Board of Examiners and the AOA. Below you will find important information and some useful State and federal links that provide daily status updates. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. In the meantime, stay tuned, stay healthy, and most importantly, BE SAFE!


CDC Resources for Clinics and Healthcare Facilities


Based on new information about how the coronavirus is spread, the population it impacts and how symptoms present (or do not in asymptomatic patients), several healthcare organizations have recommended the voluntary suspension of health care procedures in a clinical setting. (e.g.College of Optometry Ontario,American Academy of Ophthalmology,American Dental Association). When considering the all important question of whether to keep your practice doors open, MOA asks that doctors and practices place the safety of patients, staff and the public first.Please consider whether your practice is able to adhere to the 10 person max gathering space social distancing recommendation and whether your practice ispreparedto protect patients, providers and staff.If you encounter a patient who appears symptomatic or has self reported being infected or concern about infection, refer the patient to his/her primary care physician to determine the best next steps -- DO NOT REFER THE PATIENT TO HOSPITAL!

AOA Statement: Doctor of Optometry and COVID-19(Health Policy Institute)
Maryland Board of Examiners in Optometry(updated Conoravirus information)
AOA Coronavirus Webpage(important updates and recommended collaborations)
References for Clinics and Healthcare Facilities
MDH COVID-19 Website Portal(check here for regular updates)
Workers Who Face the Greatest Coronavirus Risk(New York Times March 15, 2020)


The CDC clinical criteria for a COVID-19 person under investigation (PUI) have been developed based on what is known about COVID-19 and are subject to change as additional information becomes available. Healthcare providers shouldimmediatelynotify theirlocalorstatehealth department in the event of a PUI for COVID-19.

AOA will be holding awebinar to review billing for telehealth servicesduring the COVID 19 public health emergency. Join our webinar onTuesday, March 17 at 9 p.m. ET. After registering, a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar will be sent.

Doctors of optometry throughout the U.S. have expressed concern about being able to meet annual/bi-annual "in-person" CE requirements for license renewal. The MOA reached out to the BOE recently requesting consideration for doctors renewing during the 2020 cycle unable to attend pre-planned "Live" meetings. The BOE is looking for solution and will address the matter during its next meeting.
See "Upcoming Events" below for more information!

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Beyond 20/20: Bringing Eye Care to Students

Posted By MOA Admin, Friday, March 6, 2020

Beyond 20/20:
Bringing Eye Care to Students

Corinne Casey, O.D.
PR Committee Co-Chair
Thank you to all of the volunteers who organized and participated in last weekend’s Beyond 20/20 Outreach Program in Howard County.With equipment supplied by VSP, volunteer optometrists provided free vision exams to 159 children. Over 70% of these kids received a prescription for glasses at no cost to their families!This public outreach event was funded by the American Optometric Association Optometry Cares Foundation 2019 Healthy Eyes Healthy Children (HEHC) Grant, yet made possible by MOA volunteers and community support from the Lions Club, Howard County Public School System, and the Howard County Health Department.In addition to eye exams, students received free analysis of their eye-tracking abilities and recommendations for at home computer exercises using RightEye technology, functional vision software developed in Bethesda, MD.
eye exam
picking out glasses

This event sheds light on an important public health crisis: children in Maryland and throughout the United States are not receiving necessary eye care. According to a VSP survey, 76% of parents believe that sight is the most important sense, yet only 50% take their children for back-to-school eye exams. Many parents reported skipping eye exams because their child already had a screening at school. Unfortunately, school vision screenings only test a small fraction of vision health and may give parents a false sense of security. In fact, vision screenings fail to detect 75% of children with vision problems. On average, 60% of children who fail screenings do not receive appropriate follow-up care with an eye doctor.

looking at computer
group shot
girl in glasses

“The glasses are going to help me see better in class. It’s really important now that I’m in the 8th grade” said Abraham Ikoghode, a Howard County middle school student. Parents and several state lawmakers in attendance were alarmed that so many children had slipped through the cracks in their early years. "When we know better, we do better” stated Del. Terri Hill, reflecting on the large number of students who were found to have undiagnosed vision problems. Del. Hill is a sponsor ofHB 1375, proposed legislation aimed to improve the detection and management of childhood vision problems in the early school years.

Public outreach events have a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of our communities.With over 150 children served this past weekend, so many families in Howard County now have a greater understanding of the importance of eye care for childhood learning and development.Educating our patients, neighbors, and legislators is the first step to improving care for all Marylanders. Through grassroots activities in the community, optometrists can continue to improve the public's understanding of eye and vision health.Keep a lookout for future volunteer opportunities with the MOA for 2020 and beyond!

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Effective Team Communication: Tips to keep your patient flow on track.

Posted By MOA Admin, Friday, March 6, 2020

Effective Team Communication: 
Tips to keep your patient flow on track.

Natalie Sukontasup, O.D.
2nd Vice President

In my 17-year career, I have worked in both a retail and private practice setting. No matter which mode of practice you currently work in, effective communication is essential for proper office flow and patient satisfaction. Here are some quick tips you can implement to reduce confusion and stress in your day-to-day patient care.

  1. Doctor Communication. It starts with YOU! Make sure to deliver clear and concise instructions (not orders) to your team. Provide an open-door policy and welcome feedback. Morning huddles and team meetings are great ways to communicate your expectations as well as receive feedback on challenges that need to be addressed.
  2. Team communication. Reduce confusion in the office by making sure the team is all on the same page. In-office communications available through your EMR or programs like SLACK and SKYPE are great ways for the team to communicate with one another or to the entire team in real time.  Also don’t forget to foster team collaboration by creating fun team building exercises. See below for a team exercise you can do with your team now! 
  3.  Patient Communication. Patient management systems have made it much easier to communicate with our patients but there are ways your team can communicate to improve work flow within the office. Consider nametags with position titles. Systemize your check-in and checkout procedures.  Educate your patients about your office policies by utilizing electronic forms.

It’s a great time to take a step back and evaluate your office communication and how we can do better. Improving communication within and outside the office will help reduce feelings of frustration and improve workflow. Let's make every day a great day in the office and keep the lines of communication open!!

Team Building Exercise

Back-to-Back Drawing
. This exercise is about listening, clarity and developing potential strategies when we communicate. For this activity, you’ll need an even number of participants so everybody can have a partner. Once people have paired off, they sit back-to-back with a paper and pencil each. One member takes on the role of a speaker, and the other plays the part of the listener. Over five to ten minutes, the speaker describes a geometric image from a prepared set, and the listener tries to turn this description into a drawing without looking at the image.

Then, they talk about the experience, using several of the following example questions:

Speaker Questions

  • What steps did you take to ensure your instructions were clear? How could these be applied in real-life interactions?
  • Our intended messages aren’t always interpreted as we mean them to be. While speaking, what could you do to decrease the chance of miscommunication in real-life dialogue?

Listener Questions

  • What was constructive about your partner’s instructions?
  • In what ways might your drawing have turned out differently if you could have communicated with your partner?

Telephone Game. 
Have you ever relied on a team member to communicate specific instructions to the entire team only to find out that the instructions were construed completely differently? This exercise is easy to demonstrate, and allows the team to witness how instructions can be completely misinterpreted in a different way when it gets to the last person. 

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A Little Bit of History

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Little Bit of History
Howai "Jenny" Chan, O.D.
GBOS President


  • The first optometrists were jewelers.
  • The first organized group of vision care specialists in Maryland was formed in 1898. They referred to themselves as the Maryland Association of Opticians.
  • In the same year the American Association of Opticians was formed. Name changed in 1910 to the American Optical Association, and in 1919 to American Optometric Association. 
  • The name "optometrist" came into general use around 1905, and the first bill to mention optometry in Maryland was introduced before the legislature in 1908. By 1921, all states had optometry laws.
  • In 1908 a new group of vision care professionals formed called the Maryland State Optical Society. Officers were elected as was a Board of Examiners. The group decided to affiliate with the national association -- The American Association of Opticians. 
  • Dr. George W. Sadtler became the first President of the Maryland State Optical Society in 1908.
  • In 1913 at the sixth annual meeting of the Maryland State Optical Society, the association's name was officially changed to the Maryland Association of Optometrists later to be renamed the Maryland Optometric Association.
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry awards the first Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree in 1923.
  • In 1995, Maryland optometrists were given authority to prescribe therapeutic pharmaceutical agents.
  • 2005 legislation allowed Maryland optometrists topical steroid prescribing privileges.
  • After many years of trying, historic legislation was passed in 2019 to modernize the scope of practice for Maryland optometrists.

Maryland Optometry has come a long way over the last 100+ years. Do you have any MOA history you would like to share in a future Tuesday Talk? Email your stories and photos to

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Happy Valentine's Day from the MOA!

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Happy Valentine's Day from the MOA!
Whitney Fahrman, O.D.
MOA President Elect


Don't forget to show your eyes some love this Valentine's Day and getyourannual eye exam!
Februaryis American Heart Health. One in three American adults have hypertension. We all know the effects of heart disease and hypertension can have on the eye. Are you checking your patient's blood pressure? There are a lot of patients out there who do not see a Primary Care Provider, so you may be the first person to diagnose someone's HTN. Don't forget about the new HTN guidelines:
blood pressure chart

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A Central Piece of the MOA

Posted By MOA Admin, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Central Piece of the MOA
Barbra Johnson, OD
CMOS President

So, Have You Ever Wondered What CMOS Stood For? CMOS is the acronym for Central Maryland Optometric Society. We are one of the 5 local societies that are under the Maryland Optometric Association (MOA). Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick county doctors make up the bulk of CMOS membership.

So, what is MOA? The Maryland Optometric Association serves as the voice of optometry in Maryland to protect doctors and their patients. We advocate, educate and connect optometrists by strong advocacy efforts, providing premier educational resources, and engaging events that bring doctors and industry partners together.

CMOS has been around a long time. I remember when my dad, Dr. Albert L. Paul, was the CMOS President sometime in the 1960’s. I can remember going to several CMOS functions with my family, my dad’s OD colleagues and their families. If there was any CE, I was unaware of that, but the dinners were always very lively and a lot of fun and there were always a lot of other children running around.

I returned to Montgomery County in 1997, and since then the majority of our meetings include CE. Sadly, family meetings have become a thing of the past, but we still find time to socialize and have fun. CMOS is the largest MOA society with over 100 members. We provide relevant local information and host CE and social events throughout the year to bring central Maryland doctors together. For the last few years, CMOS and TLC have sponsored a Spring Wine Tasting at Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, MD. We also have summer cruises on the Potomac sponsored by LasikPlus and Dr. Michael Summerfield of WEI. In the fall, we have a team, Sight for Sore Eyes, that participates in the 3K Montgomery County Vision Walk. This walk supports the Foundation Fighting Blindness which funds sight-saving Retinal Research.

This year, we are still planning our Spring CE Wine Tasting with TLC but may be moving to a new and exciting venue, which will be located in Potomac. During the summer, the national AOA Optometry’s Meeting will held at The Gaylord Resort in National Harbor, so we will not have a CMOS cruise. However, we have a few interesting meetings planned for the Fall including a CE Casino event with LasikPlus in Rockville and a tentative Foreign Body Wet Lab. Once again, our CMOS team will participate in the 2020 Foundation Fighting Blindness Montgomery County Vision Walk that is held in downtown Rockville, MD. I hope to see you at one of these events. If you are a CMOS member and would like to become more involved or have suggestions about future meetings, please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Our local societies are becoming more active. Make sure to stay involved and attend your society meetings to network with other doctors in your area. My email and a contact for each society is provided below. If you are unclear of what society you belong to please contact Cheryl Frazier.

Anne Arundel Optometric Society (AACOS) - Dr. Rich Miller
Central Maryland Optometric Society (CMOS) - Dr. Barbra Johnson
Eastern Shore Optometric Society (ESOS) - Dr. Eleanor Siri
Greater Baltimore Optometric Society (GBOS) - Dr. Jenny Chan
Western Maryland Optometric Society (WMOS) - Dr. Rose Wood

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Posted By MOA Admin, Thursday, January 23, 2020


Corinne Casey, OD, FAAO
PR Committee Co-Chair


The Healthy Maryland Eyes Reception at the Lowe House Building in Annapolis was a well-attended and spirited event to kick off our year of eye and vision care awareness. Maryland optometrists and members of the Lions Club gathered to educate legislators and other attendees about the role of optometry in healthcare. Many representatives donated glasses to the Lions Club Recycle for Sight program, with a close #EyeGiveBack2020 competition between the contributing Delegates and Senators.   



Our eye-healthy food display featured salmon, Mediterranean cuisine, pistachios rich in lutein, and other snacks full of antioxidants. Even more popular than our attractive refreshments was the live Optomap demonstrations. Our guests gained a greater understanding of eye-care beyond 20/20 vision once they got to see their fundus images up close. We could not have had the same impact without the generous help from Michael Emery of Optos, who volunteered his time and equipment to demonstrate and explain how optometrists evaluate the retina. If you know him, please thank him for his support! 



Attendees were also intrigued to learn statistics about children's vision, systemic disease manifestations in the eyes, and the prevalence of ocular health disparities among certain populations. Several representatives asked for follow up information - their interest piqued with new awareness of potential eye and vision needs in their communities.  On the heels of this reception, now would be an opportune time for each of us to personally reach out to our representatives and offer them an eye exam in the spirit of the year 2020!



Up next, the MOA is bringing comprehensive eye exams to children who failed their screenings in Howard County schools. While researching statistics to share with legislators, I personally was alarmed and disappointed (although not necessarily surprised) to learn that 61% of students who fail vision screenings never follow up with a provider for further evaluation.  Moreover, many individuals with undiagnosed vision problems are left with a false sense of security after passing a pediatrician, school, or DMV screening. These tests can miss more than they can catch, and only check 4% of what we examine during a routine exam.  Because of these concerns, the MOA is dedicating the year 2020 to fostering awareness about the importance of comprehensive eye care as part of routine health maintenance for all Marylanders. Help us communicate this message by volunteering at an outreach event, such as the upcoming Beyond 2020 Eye Clinic, or asking a local business to take the #2020EyeExam Employer Pledge.  



Please contact the MOA to share your interests and ideas for #HealthyMarylandEyes community outreach or education. With strong membership involvement we can accomplish more for our state!


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Membership: SEE What's in Store for 2020!

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

SEE What's in Store in 2020!

Natalie Sukontasup, O.D.

MOA Membership Committee Chair


Happy New Year to all our Members! What an exciting year to be a part of the MOA. The association is busy gearing up for what will be a full year of advocacy, outreach and education. 

Welcome Members! 

Make sure to go to and update your profile so you will continue to receive important communications. Stay connected and meet new colleagues through various MOA-sponsored social media channels like the private Maryland OD Forum and Young ODs of Northern VA/DC/MD groups on Facebook. And, make sure to "like" the MOA Facebook page to see our latest pictures and initiatives. 

Stay Up to Date on National News

AOA’s daily First Look email is a great member benefit that provides important news and trend information relevant to the profession. Make sure you are receiving these emails. 

Make sure you're covered! 

I’ve mentioned in past newsletters that the AOA provides competitive rates for malpractice insurance, but did you know that they also offer our members free policy reviews? With our recent scope expansion, it’s critical that your policy covers all of the newly added practice authorities, such as foreign body removal. In some policies this is classified as a surgical procedure, which may not be covered in your current policy. Take advantage of your member benefit and let the experts comb over your 500-page policy to ensure you are covered! 

Collect your Credits

Did you know that the AOA Optometry's Meeting is coming to National Harbor on June 24-28? Here’s a convenient location to get some continuing education credits, and consider bringing your team. Save as much as $440 as a full conference AOA member attendee. Keep a lookout for additional info about networking receptions for members planning to attend. 

Not local enough for you? Several MOA societies are planning smaller meetings for the Spring and Fall that will include a Foreign Body Removal Workshop. Keep an eye out for more information on this. 

Young OD and Student Loan Refinancing

Are you looking to refinance your student loan? The AOA offers a 0.25% automatic loan rate reduction. Their experts can answer all of your refi questions from how your spouse’s credit score may affect your rate, to what the difference is between fixed and variable rates. 

Member Spotlights

We will begin spotlighting our fellow colleagues in the next membership update. Click here to contact me if you would like to nominate someone to spotlight or highlight a colleague you trust with your specialty referrals.

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Cheers to a New Year!

Posted By MOA Admin, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Cheers to a New Year!

Jennifer Kungle, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.

MOA Secretary/Treasurer


As we wind down another busy year here at the MOA and for me personally, it is a tradition of mine to make goals for the new year. I always try to make some personal goals which usually stem around the usual items of exercising more, improving my nutrition, or simply drinking more water! But besides my personal goals, I like to sit down and come up with my top 5 professional goals for the coming year. I encourage you all to do the same as you ponder our upcoming year of vision, "20/20". Maybe your goals will be related to the business aspects of optometry, like creating new policies or systems to enhance patient care or staff productivity; or maybe this is the year that you decide to increase your volunteer hours to use your time and talents to help those less fortunate; or maybe your goals are centered around personal growth like attending a new continuing education conference or diving into a new specialty that has always interested you (low vision, ortho-K). I personally love to take on new topics and expand my knowledge on how to help my growing, diverse patient population. It is for this reason that I try every year or two to attend a conference outside the field of optometry. It is fascinating to see how other professionals tackle similar issues from a completely different perspective. You will be amazed at what you can learn by simply listening to others share their points of view on a similar subject. I have also decided this is the year to go on another VOSH mission. I am excited to be joining the South Dakota VOSH team as we travel to Mexico in February.

While you may not be interested in traveling abroad, there are several volunteer opportunities with the MOA coming up in the next several months. We would love to have your support in providing eye exams to youth in Howard County on either February 29-March 1 or March 7-8 - click here to volunteer, or to help us with our Healthy Maryland Eyes Reception in Annapolis with legislators on January 16th - click here to sign up.

As for the MOA, we also make goals for the organization. For those of you who filled out our MOA Census in the previous months - we thank you. Your opinion on topics that we should tackle is very helpful in allowing the Board to set our goals for the coming years. The passing of our scope bill was our big-ticket goal for many years. Now that we can check this one off, we are excited about addressing other pertinent issues that affect you and your patients in the coming years.
If you haven't yet completed our census, please click on the link below and give us your feedback. We would love your input to help us grow the MOA and optometry in Maryland.

Click here to complete the MOA 2020 Provider Census Survey!

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