Jobson recently launched a new online journal called Review of Presbyopia and The Aging Eye. Vision Monday asked the journal’s clinical editor, noted optometrist and educator Jack Schaeffer, OD, FAAO, and chief clinical editor of the publication, to talk about the journal’s intent and scope.

VM: Why is now the time to launch a new journal about presbyopia?

 Jack Schaeffer, OD, FAAO

Dr. Schaeffer: Review of Presbyopia and the Aging Eye was created to address the continued influx of new treatment options for our patients and the optical and medical needs and concerns of people as they age. We coined the term “Generation 45+”, because we know that in any practice, patients, as they get older, are going to have increased medical issues due to aging, whether they be optical, clinical, or aesthetic.

It’s important to remember that Review of Presbyopia addresses not just presbyopia, but presbyopia and the aging eye. The nine subject areas that the journal covers are optical, contact lenses, dry eye, pharmacology, glaucoma, retina, surgery, aesthetics and nutraceuticals. We are also informing doctors on the ability of creating a fee-for-service and medical reimbursement practice.

VM: Are there new developments in each of these areas?

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Dr Schaeffer: Yes. First, presbyopes need reading glasses or some type of bifocal or progressive lens, and that area is exploding with new technology. Second, we know that the multifocal contact lens market is not performing as it should: only 16 percent of contact lenses sold to presbyopes were multifocal, which is extremely low, because practices that adopt a comprehensive multifocal contact lenses philosophy are enjoying 80 percent to 90 percent success rates.

Then we move into medical specialties—dry eye, glaucoma and retina. When a patient is 45 years old, the incidence of dry eye grows exponentially, and treatments for dry eye continue to evolve—for example, there are many new drugs coming to treat demodex and blepharitis. We are seeing not only new pharmacological treatments, but also new instruments and processes like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment that can be used to treat dry eye.

Also, we’re seeing a burst of medications for the treatment of glaucoma, and in optometry, we now have the use of lasers available in over 11 states. Because of the influx of so many new medications, we have an entire section on pharmacology and all the new pharmaceutical additions to our treatment options.

Optometry has always been involved in co-management of ocular surgery. But now we’re involved in the co-management and the selection of many specialty lenses that require additional knowledge and education, like multifocal and toric IOLs. This is imperative so we can help patients make decisions for what is the best choice for their lifestyle and visual expectations.

VM: Aesthetics and nutrition seem fairly far removed from what we normally think of as the scope of optometry. How are they relevant?

Dr. Schaeffer: Aesthetics is the new frontier in eyecare, and there are so many practices adding this specialty to their practice. Our 45+ patients obviously need optical corrections, but these patients are also concerned about their appearance as they age, so practices are now moving into these areas with treatments like Botox and fillers.

Finally, there’s nutrition. Optometry and all eyecare practices need to understand it, because most of us prescribe nutraceuticals for dry eye, but now we have nutraceuticals to help with other conditions. We don’t just treat eyeballs—we seek to treat people.

VM: What you’re suggesting here is a significant broadening of the scope of optometric practice.

Sample article from "Review of Presbyopia and the Aging Eye.

Dr Schaeffer: It’s more than that. This opens up the opportunity for a new business model. Optometry and ophthalmology are finally asking, “Why aren’t we like dermatology or plastic surgery?” In optometry, we have two kinds of managed care: vision care and medical Insurance. Glaucoma, retina, surgery, dry eye, all utilize medical insurance rather than vision care. But now we have all these opportunities to move away from managed vision care and move into a fee-for-service model.

Contact lenses have always had a fee-for-service component, but now we’re adding pharmacology, and these new medications require a unique workup process for patient success. This creates an opportunity for the practice. Aesthetics is totally fee-for-service, and patients are willing to pay for the procedures. This creates a new profit center for eyecare practices.

VM: How are you able to cover all of these areas in one journal?

Dr. Schaeffer: if you look at most journals, there are different writers each month. We decided to appoint nine specific editors for our nine different subject areas. We have a key opinion leader as editor for each section who will write the majority of the articles, so we have continuity. The articles will be archived, so a doctor wanting to stay abreast of what’s happening in a particular area can read all of the articles in a series without repetition.

I truly believe we have assembled the finest group of writers and educators for all of these areas. I feel that we have what can be the premier journal to help our profession to stay up to date on what’s happening, and also move practitioners into the fee-for-service model and the medical management model. This journal can elevate eyecare, but more importantly it can help those who are already working at the top level of eyecare practice.

VM: Who do you see as the readership for this journal?

Dr. Schaeffer: This journal is designed for the thousands of optometrists and ophthalmologists who are working in these areas, who want to keep up with what’s new and stay at the forefront of their specialties. We’re dealing with evidence-based medicine and evidence-based performance.