President’s Message

We have made it halfway through 2024. Wow, is this year flying by! It’s flying because there is so much going on at SDCOS that it’s making our heads spin. We have an incredible society thanks to the hard work of our board and all the members—keep it up!

The next CE is on Thursday, July 18th, with Dr. Kellie Satterfield, followed by our 5-hour CE on Sunday, August 11th, featuring Dr. Paul Karpecki for the first 4 hours and Dr. Angelique Pillar on glaucoma. Really great CEs coming up—hope to see you there. Both meetings will be at the Hilton Mission Valley.

Besides the great CEs, thank you Sloan, and a wonderful monthly newsletter, thank you, Alyssa,  we also have a lot going on with the state association. There is a call to action to get the medical reimbursement rate increased for optometric services, along with many other initiatives. Thank you, COA, for all your hard work. This is an important election year, so our Government Affairs board members, Hunter and Dick, are hard at work. Thank you, Hunter and Dick. As you can see, there is so much happening behind the scenes to make our SDCOS what it is. If you want to be part of this incredible team, please let me know.

I want to remind all of you about the two huge SDCOS projects that I am very proud of. Dr. Bev Bianes has been instrumental in helping the Linda Vista Innovative Center get off the ground. Remembering Diversity is our Strength. The Board of Education has classrooms for K-12 graders, teaching them about different career options. One of the rooms is Optometry/Optical, where children can sit in an exam chair, look through a phoropter and slit lamp, and see what it takes to become any of the 3 O’s: Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, or Optician. It is really great—you need to check it out.

The other project is going to be huge. Marti Emerald, the TV newscaster from years back, is now on the School Board of South Bay. She, along with the South Bay Lions Club, school nurses, VSP, and the entire board, has partnered with SDCOS to do school screenings for every school-age child in every school—all 20 of them. As other Lions clubs and school districts get on board, this project will change the lives of many children by ensuring they have the vision to succeed in school. The screenings start on August 12, 2024. Our plan is to cover one school a week. Stay tuned for more information about this in the upcoming months. Projects like the Linda Vista Innovative Center and the South Bay school screenings are why SDCOS is always considered to be the best of the best. Keep an eye out for signup sheets for the screenings. The Lions Clubs and the nurses are helping, but we will need our local optometrists to help too. Thank you to each and every one of you for making this possible. Have a great month and see you at the next CE meeting.

Take care and God bless each of you,

Eric

President’s Message

It’s hard to believe, but the year is quickly approaching its halfway point, and I am excited about all that is going on at SDCOS. Last month’s Continuing Education (CE) session with Drs. Schanzlin and Echegoyen was fantastic. Dr. Schanzlin’s talk on how AI will enhance the way we practice Optometry, and Dr. Echegoyen’s Glaucoma update were both outstanding. The next CE will be on Thursday, July 18th, with Dr. Kim Cockeram, followed by our 5-hour CE on Sunday, August 11th, with Dr. Paul Karpecki. Really great CE sessions are coming up… Hope to see you there.

There are two projects happening at SDCOS that I am very proud of. Dr. Bev Bianes has been instrumental in helping the Linda Vista Innovative Center get off the ground. I visited a few weeks ago, and it was incredible. ‘Remembering Diversity is our Strength’ – the Board of Education has classrooms for K-12 graders where they learn about different career options. One of the rooms is dedicated to Optometry/optical. In this room, children can sit in an exam chair, look through a phoropter, and use a slit lamp. They can see what it will take to become any of the 3 O’s: Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, or Optician. It’s really great… You need to go check it out.

The newest project is going to be huge. Marti Emerald, the former TV newscaster, is now on the School Board of South Bay. Along with the South Bay Lions Club, school nurses, VSP, and the entire board, she has partnered with SDCOS to conduct school screenings on every school-age child in all 20 schools. As other Lions clubs and school districts get on board, this project will change the lives of many children, ensuring they have the vision to succeed in school. Stay tuned for more information about this in the upcoming months. Projects like the Linda Vista Innovative Center and the South Bay school screenings are why SDCOS is always considered the best of the best. Thank each and every one of you for making this possible. Have a great month and see you at the next CE meeting.

Take care, and God bless each of you,

Eric

President’s Message

As the first quarter of 2024 is now behind us, let’s reflect on how busy this year has been. My office continues to be super busy, praise God, and the SDCOS board remains a well-oiled machine. A huge shoutout to Dr. Simona Grosu. She has gone above and beyond in helping to keep the entire board on track since Nancy-Jo retired. Talking about a learning curve for all of us! Dr. Bev Bianes’ project, “Diversity is our Strength,” continues to grow. Dates will be coming out shortly for all of us to visit and see what is going on. I am so proud of the whole board and what everyone is doing for the good of the San Diego Society. This is why we are one of the top societies in the state and the country. Everyone, hard work pays off.

There has been a change to the CE schedule. We had to reschedule our 5-hour CE because of a conflict with COA. We are working with Dr. Paul Karpecki to reschedule him later in the year. As soon as we know the exact date, we will let everyone know. We have scheduled a very powerful live CE for Thursday, April 25th, at the Mission Valley Hilton. The theme is spring break, and it will be a blast. Two of our own local rock-stars are scheduled. Dr. David Schanzlin will be talking about Artificial Intelligence in Eyecare. I have heard this presentation, and I am so glad that he has agreed to share this with the society. This is where the world is going, and you do not want to miss it; it is powerful. Also, we have Dr. Julio Echegoyen who will speak for an hour on Glaucoma. Both are great speakers with exciting topics. You want to be there for this.

We are all a part of the greatest profession in the world… we get to help people see better and live their lives better every day. It does not get any better than that! Our profession continues to grow because of the dedication of our society board, the COA, and AOA. Please continue to support organized Optometry, especially in these crazy times. Also, remember to read the newsletter in its entirety. A lot goes into making it so informative… thank you, Dr. Alyssa Pack. It’s a great way to stay informed. Have a great month, everyone. Take care, and God bless each of you.

Eric

President’s Message

Boy, is this year already flying by. It seems like yesterday was February 1st, and February came and went at record speed. Last month was the House of Delegates, and SDCOS did what it does best—shines bright. SDCOS took home the trifecta. We won the Website of the Year—thank you, Dr. Justin Nguyen. We then won the Project of the Year and Society of the Year—thank you, Dr. Bev Bianes and all of our amazing Board. I am so proud of SDCOS! This is why everyone strives to be like SDCOS. No pressure to get a repeat performance.

Next, on Thursday, February 15, we had Dr. Andrew Mick give an incredible talk on Retinal Vein Occlusions. He did an amazing job. We had close to 100 people there for a great time. The next CE is our 5-hour Glaucoma talk. We are blessed to be able to host Dr. Paul Karpecki for 4 hours of the talk with Dr. Julio Echegoyen for the last hour. Dr. Karpecki is one of the premier speakers in the country. I am so excited to have him here. We are expecting a large crowd, so stay tuned for more information. As you can see, things are really hopping at SDCOS. I could not do it if it weren’t for an incredible board. Wait till you see what is coming—very exciting.

On February 26, 2024, the COA had Legislative Day at the State Capitol. We had 5 from the society go. This is at no cost to our members, and it is a blast. It is a great way to see how the system works and get a chance to talk with our Senators and Congressmen. We flew up in the morning and flew back in the evening. It is a time to see old friends and view the Capitol. Please consider it next year. You will not regret it. COA is very busy helping our profession to expand with the changing times. I am very proud to be a member of the AOA and COA. They are always working hard to keep our profession on the right path. Support them any way you can. We are always looking for new members. Talk with your colleagues about the benefits of being a member. Here is a reminder of just some of the benefits:

  1. Free/Low-cost CEs: The 2-hour CEs are free, and the 5-hour CEs are only $90. Meals are included.
  2. Free legal advice with COA lawyers: Each month, you have access to some of the best industry lawyers for a 30-minute consultation.
  3. Three-in-one membership: Membership in SDCOS automatically grants you membership in both COA and AOA.
  4. Special Value Registration: COA’s Monterey Fall Symposium and OptoWest.
  5. Access to SDCOS website: www.sdcos.org provides local and state information with an exclusive “member-only” section.
  6. Exclusive deals: SDCOS sponsors offer special deals exclusively to SDCOS members.
  7. Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy: COA’s legislative team helps protect your license and enhance your scope of practice.
  8. Dues are tax-deductible. Reduced fees are also available for new graduates—this is why you want to get involved.

We always want our profession to thrive, and that is why we need organized Optometry.

The last thing I wanted to bring up is the Lions Optometric Vision Clinic. They are expanding to 1 Saturday a month. They are always looking for volunteers to see their long list of patients needing eye exams. Now with Saturday hours, there is even more opportunity to volunteer. Please consider it.

I know this is going to be a great year… Enjoy the greatest profession in the world; helping people to see better and live a better life. It doesn’t get better than that. Take care and God Bless each of you.

Eric

President’s Message

In 2020, the pandemic lockdown and changes to my practice model made me feel empty and lost.  I asked myself, “Is this is how I’m going to finish the last part of my career?”

Shortly after, I read a book titled “No Regrets: A Fable About Living Your 4th Quarter Intentionally”. It was about living the latter part of your life intentionally and with purpose.  The author discussed 5 keys to living and dying with no regrets.

  1. Say Yes even though it may be uncomfortable.  By stretching yourself you will find growth.
  2. Focus on your passion, talents, and gifts.
  3. Give of your time, talents, and treasure. The more you give yourself away, the happier you’ll be.
  4. Forgive those who rejected or hurt you.  Forgive yourself.
  5. Be Open to life.  Be open to what can be.

This book was partly responsible for my YES to step up and fill the vacant president-elect position for the San Diego County Optometric Society last year.  I originally joined the SDCOS immediately after graduating Optometry school over thirty years ago and served on the board for eight years in the positions of public relations and professional affairs.  I never moved up to the executive board because I didn’t believe I could. Thirty-two years later, I took a step to do something uncomfortable. No longer would I live with regrets. I wanted to give back to a profession that has been so good to my family and me.  As president-elect, I attended for the first time the House of Delegates and Legislation Day.  I personally witnessed how much work goes into the protection of our profession.  Fighting and lobbying for our profession gave me an opportunity to be heard.

As president of the SDCOS, my focus this year was to return us to an in-person format.  I always felt blessed to be part of a strong society where I could find mentorship and support from my colleagues.  The society I knew brought new and seasoned ODs together for education and for comradery.

I would love for all of you to find ways to give back to our profession.  One opportunity could be to volunteer as a delegate next year for the COA House of Delegates on Feb 9-10 or to participate in Legislative Day on Feb 24.

I am truly grateful for the support I received from our entire SDCOS board and for the opportunity to have served as your president.  I have No Regrets!

President’s Message

San Diego County Optometric Society is one the largest and strongest local societies in California.  Our first CE meeting of 2023 had over 100 in attendance.  The energy and excitement of being together again in-person felt like old times.  Being a member of our society carries with it several benefits, some of which I have listed below, but the true value of membership is belonging to a community of individuals that care about the future of our profession.

Free/Low cost CEs: The 2-Hour CEs are FREE and the 5-hour CEs are only $90.  Meals included.

Free legal advice with COA lawyers: Each month, you have access to some of the best industry lawyers for a 30-minute consultation.

Three-in-one membership: Membership in the SDCOS (San Diego County Optometric Society) automatically grants you membership to both the COA (California Optometric Association) and the AOA (American Optometric Association).

Special Value Registration: COA’s Monterey Fall Symposium and OptoWest.

Access to SDCOS website: www.sdcos.org provides local and state information with an exclusive “member only” section.

Access to more patients: Membership grants you a listing on www.eyehelp.org.  This is an Optometrist locator service via a toll-free number and online search that helps the public find a COA member doctor.

Exclusive deals: SDCOS sponsors offer special deals exclusively to SDCOS members.

Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy: COA’s legislative team helps protect your license and enhance your scope of practice.

Dues are tax deductible. Reduced fees are also available for new graduates.

President’s Message

SDCOS Colleagues,

This is my last message to you as President of the Society. I would be lying if I said it was easy to be in this role. It was challenging, especially in these trying times post-Covid19, but rewarding at the same time. I’m proud that together with the Board we worked hard to bring back in person our valuable CE events, and continued to care for our community through free screenings and eye exams.

I want to thank my fellow Board members for placing their trust in me to lead SDCOS during a very difficult period. It was truly an honor. It was great to serve on the Board with such outstanding colleagues – Drs. Beverly Bianes, Katherine Witmeyer, Courtney Cape, Alexandra Scovill, Andrew Fasciani, Jennifer Chin, Amanda Dexter, Melanie Langford, Ilya Volk, Richard Skay, Justin Nguyen, David Sherman, Robert Meisel, Lucia Millet, David Ardakani, and Patty Cheng. Some have been in the trenches for decades, some made a comeback, and some served on the Board for the first time – to all, “Thank You” from the bottom of my heart.

I want to acknowledge the trustees as well – Drs. Andreea Nastasoiu, Tatyana Budarina, Alyssa Pack, Kathryn Ordonez, Sloan Rajadhyksha, Erin Swift. I appreciate everything you’ve done for the Society in this past year and all the hard work you put in to ensure the advancement of our great profession.

A big heartfelt thank you to our one and only, Nancy-Jo Sinkiewicz! She’s been the constant over all these years and the face of our Society! Thank you, NJ, for all of your hard work and dedication! You made my presidency so much easier.

Thank you to all Society members who generously volunteered their time in so many ways – going to Sacramento to talk to our political leaders about optometry on Legislative Day; all the calls and emails to our local senators and governor to support AB 2236; volunteering at LOVC, mobile clinic, and veterans’ event, recruiting new members – you were all instrumental in making this Society shine!

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for continuing to honor our profession through your membership. Your continued support says you’re invested in the betterment of our profession and our community, and in serving our patients in the end. And to take it a step further, I would strongly encourage you to join the Board of Directors in 2023! There are many reasons why you should join the board – like learning patience, how to run a meeting of people who don’t work for you, or how to ask for money, and stretching your intellectual and emotional muscles – but most of all, you will fall more in love with your organization. The closer you are to the work of your society, the more passionate you will become. And you will feel another emotion. You will feel lucky to be part of this society, organization, and profession.

I hope I will see many of you at our Holiday Brunch on December 4th at Farmer and the Seahorse. Let’s get together one more time this year, and celebrate all of our accomplishments in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Thank you for the honor of being your President. I look forward to an exciting new year with Dr. Beverly Bianes as your new President for 2023, and wish her all the best!

Kindly,

Simona

President’s Message

This month’s message is dedicated to our wonderful Sponsors.

San Diego County Optometric Society has been recognized for so long as one the largest and successful societies in the state of California. This recognition is, in part, thanks to our long relationship with our Sponsors, and their generous financial support to our society. Their sponsorship enables us to provide continuing education events for our members, fund our public awareness projects and advocacy efforts, memberships drives, and other SDCOS events. They also extend discounts to members for using their products and provide resources for building optometric practices.

As the tradition has it, in October we hold the Sponsor appreciation dinner. The past two years were a challenge to stay in touch with them because of mostly virtual meetings, but this year we are finally getting together in-person again. The Board of Directors, on behalf of the entire society, invited all of our sponsor to a dinner to thank them and show them our appreciation for their support. I encourage you to also extend your thanks and take time to speak with them when you see them at our continuing education events, or they stop by your clinics. It is important they feel the love and they continue to support our society.

Our society is strong and successful because of our Sponsors. I will make sure the relationship with them continues, and I hope you will do the same. They are invaluable to our society, but also to your practices, and, in the end, to our patients.

President’s Message

August marks the beginning of a new school year, and it only makes sense for us to dub it the National Eye Exam Month! I know, you heard it many times already, but it’s never enough to bring awareness even among us, the eyecare professionals, of the importance of the eye exam especially in the school-age population. As back-to-school season gets underway, now is the time to get parents to schedule their child’s comprehensive eye exam. It is a fact well known that children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, developmentally, academically, and socially. And what’s becoming even more worrisome now is the effect of the pandemic on children’s eyes as remote learning and increased screen time was ‘the norm’ since 2020. Researchers around the world are closely watching for a potential ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic as un uptick in vision problems in children. Myopia is one of those concerning conditions. In a Jama Ophthalmology article in January 2021, it was noted that “home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be associated with a myopic shift for children aged 6-8 years…increasing myopia prevalence up to 3 times” (Jama Ophtalmol. “Progression of myopia in school-aged children after Covid-19 home confinement”, January 14, 2021).

This statistic alone compelled me more than ever this year to promote children’s eye comprehensive examination as the new school year starts! And I hope you will do the same! The American Optometric Association has many resources helping us to educate the community on this topic. Check out their website here Children’s Vision | AOA to see how you can make it really easy to incorporate it into your practices without even speaking a word, but just with digital and/or printed content that can easily be displayed in your waiting rooms. Let’s be the best eyecare professionals out there and prevent unnecessary blindness!

On another note, I am not sure how many of you know, but COA together with AOA launched this summer, more exactly on July 1st, a membership pilot program that will test flat dues for new incoming members. After some surveys performed by COA, it was learned that the cost was the main barrier to membership, and they want to test if this is really true. Hence the pilot program. It will run from July 1st to December 31st, 2022. The COA’s pilot marketing campaign is “We’re Stronger Together”, and the main goal is to increase CA’s market share! It will also track indicators in the areas of recruitment, retention, engagement, and satisfaction. Marketing materials went out already to non-members, and there are some benefits for current members that attract new members under this pilot program! If you want more information about this, don’t hesitate to write to us at sdcos@sdcos.org!

Please note that our next LIVE event is Sunday, August 21st, for our first 5-hr CE in over two years! You can still register here SDCOS 5-Hour IN-PERSON August 21, 2022 – Diego County Optometric Society. The Sponsors are also eager to reconnect with the optometric community, so I hope I see lots of you on Sunday the 21st!

Enjoy the rest of the summer season!

Simona

President’s Message

Welcome New Graduates!

It’s June, and every year two things really mark this month: beginning of summer season and graduation! Graduation is an exciting time – it marks both an ending and a beginning; it’s warm memories of the past and big dreams for the future. In the United States, twenty-three schools of optometry will graduate around two thousand or even more new optometrists this year. As they make the transition from being a student to being a full-fledged doctor, one cannot help but feel extreme joy and anxiety at the same time. For many graduates and residents finished with their training, the feeling of excitement may give way to some feelings of anxiety as the reality of finding a new job and impeding student loan payments set in.

This is where the organized community of optometry comes in to help. The California Optometric Association (COA) offers free membership for the new graduate until the end of the graduating year. COA has a wealth of information for new graduates through their CA OD Resource Guide. There is an entire section titled “step-by-step for new ODs” with a checklist on how to get the state license, DEA number, NPI, become a provider for difference insurance plans, and getting started in a practice. Additionally, COA offers classifieds and job matching services to connect those looking to hire an OD or sell a practice with those seeking employment or a new practice.

At a more local level, San Diego County Optometric Society (SDCOS) is also a resource for new graduates. Our Society’s Optometric Relations Liaison, Dr. David Sherman coordinates local doctors seeking full or part-time positions and fill-in work, as well as those interested in purchasing, partnering, or selling a practice. Please contact Dr. Sherman if you would like his assistance (odjobs@sdcos.org). Furthermore, Dr. Jennifer Chinn (chinn.jenn@gmail.com) and Dr. David Ardakani (dardakani@yahoo.com) serve as Society Membership Liaisons – they can also help with networking and connecting new members with current SDCOS members. The COA and SDCOS are here to help!

I will end with the quote from Nelson Mandela that stuck with me since my own graduation… “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So, let’s congratulate the 2022 Optometric Graduates! And so the adventure begins!

Cheers!