42 posts categorized "Community"

November 17, 2010

Good Guys Wear White Coats (Lab Coats)

November 2010 Premium Practice

I am one of the surgeons featured in an article in this month's issue of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today!  Good Guys Wear White Coats (Lab Coats) talks about "social capatilism."  The Premium Practice section editor, and a friend, Shareef Mahdavi describes it best:

There is a change underway in how companies do business. This so-called social capitalism in which social entrepreneurs give back to the community is as essential to the enterprise as the profit motive. TOMS Shoes (www.toms.com; Santa Monica, CA) is a great example, having given away over 1 million pairs of shoes to children around the world as part of its “one for one” program. One pair of shoes is donated for every pair sold (these shoes are very cool looking and comfortable, by the way).

Eye care has long been known for eyeglasses donations and surgical mission trips, and the need for today’s premium practice to have its own version of social entrepreneurship has never been greater. Why? Because today’s consumer is spending money more carefully and paying much more attention to whom they do business with—including their health care providers. Being perceived as “authentic” in the eyes of your patient is the goal, and those practices that take a sincere and serious approach to giving back will be recognized and rewarded by patients. This month, we feature surgeons whose practices are “walking the talk” when it comes to giving back. I trust that they will serve as inspiration for you to get started or do even more to use your skills toward making the world a better place.

The article goes on to describe how several ophthalmologists are giving back.  My efforrts with Vision Harvest and Charity:Water are discussed.  Hope you enjoy reading it.  Here is a PDF of the full article:  Download Good Guys Wear White

By the way, I don't wear a white lab coat, never have.  I feel it seperates me from my patients.  I like to be really comfortable, don't wear a jacket or tie either!  I often bike to the office and take a shower, you can usually catch me wearing scrubs!

November 16, 2010

Harvest Vision Once Again: The Music Video

I introduced Warren Barootajan back in August of this year.  Warren is a 63 year cabinet maker from upstate NY. His poor vision from cataracts have contributed to his inability to work. Without insurance he is unable to seek treatment. He has become frustrated with trying to receive treatment thru a broken system.

Warren was able to participate in this year's Vision Harvest free cataract program last month.  Besides being a carpenter, I also discovered he is a songwriter!  he was kind enough to write a song, "Harvest Vision", and produce a music video for our Vision Harvest Program!

He wrote:

It was almost 2 years ago I was declared legally blind in the state of New York and I was without work or health insurance. Now I have 20/20 vision in my right eye thanks to Dr Silverman and so many others. As a songwriter I thought it was my responsibility to thank everyone who volunteered their time,talents and supp...lies on that special day , Oct 28th-2010, hence "Harvest Vision Once Again"
It is all I can do at the moment. please accept this token of gratitude

-Warren E Barootjian

Well, here is the music video, "Harvest Vision Once Again."  I think he did a great job!~  Hope you all enjoy it!


November 02, 2010

How $55 Can Buy 20 Meals and Save on 20/20 Vision

Join EyeCare 20/20 in our efforts to see that no one goes hungry this Thanksgiving season. Simply make a donation of $55 to the Market Street Mission.  This will provide 20 meals for the less fortunate. Than EyeCare 20/20 will match your donation and extend a $750 discount toward LASIK.

Since 1889, the Market Street Mission has been reaching out to the poor and needy in Morris County, New Jersey. Market Street assists individuals to overcome homelessness, addictions, and disabilities. Last year alone, the Market Street Mission served 88,067 meals to homeless and underprivileged individuals.

Want to do more?   Forward this link to a friend or family member who is interested in LASIK and have them do the same, and then encourage them to do the same, get the picture?! Blog it, tweet it (follow me), post about it on Facebook (become a fan), tell your friends. The more people involved, the more change we can make.

October 27, 2010

Vision Harvest 2010 A Huge Success: 24 Receive Free Cataract Surgery



Friday's Vision Harvest went off without a hitch.  24 people were able to have their vision improved with free cataract surgery.  These patients all suffered with cataracts, but were unable to seek the treatment they needed, as they had no insurance nor the means to pay for their cataract surgery.

I continue to be moved by so many of the stories I have heard since founding Vision Harvest last year.  I am also amazed at how far people have traveled to receive the surgery they so desperately need; last year from as far away as Indiana, this year, Tennessee!  It is so hard to believe there are so many people in need of medical care in our own country..

Here is a breakdown of this year's patients:

  • Most of these patients were relatively young to have visually significant cataracts.  They ranged in age from 27 to 78, averaging 58.
  • 6 were employed, 1 was a student, and 17 were unemployed
  • Geographically, 19 were from New Jersey, 1 from New York, 1 from Connecticut, 1 from Maryland, 1 from Virginia, and 1 from Tennessee.  Several of those from NJ were actually visiting family members from India, Phillipines, and Western Africa.

Getting drops prior to surgery.

Three patients had to be cancelled because they failed their free medical clearance which was performed on the day of surgery.  This points to another glaring problem, not only can't these people afford cataract surgery, they can't afford to take care of themselves, medically.  We will be referring them to an area clinic, and once stable, perform their cataract surgery at a later date.

I have downloaded many more pictures of the day's event onto flickr for your enjoyment.

Ilene and Jackson congratulated by me for winning dinners at Serenade Restaraunt.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those responsible for making Vision Harvest 2010 possible:

  • Keri Muli, Administrator, Barbara Kociuba, Refractive Surgery Coordinator, and the entire staff of EyeCare 20/20 for helping to organize and implement the program.
  • Nancy Lord, Administrator, Hadley Phillips, Medical Director, all the physician-owners, and the entire staff of River Drive Surgery Center for allowing us to treat these patients at the center free of charge.
  • Dr. Jay Tendler and Dr. Aruna Desai for providing free anesthesia to our patients.
  • Dr. Enas Tupo for providing free medical clearance to our patients.
  • Including me, the following surgeons provided free cataract surgery:

                Dr. Michael Farbowitz

                Dr. Ken Miller

                Dr. Scott Pomerantz

                Dr. Nahndi Williams

Setting up microscope for surgery.

  • The following doctors will be providing post op mamagement of these patients free of charge:

                Dr. Phillip Eichler of Eye Institute of Essex

                Dr. Steven A Koenig of Nashville, Tennessee

                Dr. Earl Kidwell of Parkville, Maryland

                Dr. Nichilas Xanthos of EyeCare 20/20

  • Gene Maresca and Steve Kramaritsch of Alcon Labs for supplying surgical packs, implants, and post op drops.
  • Sarah MacKay of Bausch & Lomb for supplying post op drops and bags, and providing lunch for the staff on the surgery day.
  • Pat Tobia of Hoya for supplying implants.
  • Greg Cardone of Ista for providing post op drops.
  • Mary Ann Hogue of MST for supplying surgical supplies.


We plan on continuing Vision Harvest again next year.  I have already received several inquiries from needy patients, and have begun a new list for next year's event.  If you, or someone you know is in need, please call our hotline at  


Other people have asked what they can do to help.  It is important to spread the word.  Please join our facebook fan page and share it with your friends.  Finally, I need to mention that although many people have volunteered their time and resources, Vision Harvest is NOT run without costs.  We can certainly use financial support to keep thing growing in the future.  Money raised will help defray hard costs, such as surgical center staffing, equipment, and supplies not donated by suppliers. We are currently in the process of applying for non-profit status, and therefore this cannot be considered a tax deductable donation at this time.  If you are so inclined, please support our efforts!  I thank you, and our patients thank you as well!!

Donate with WePay

October 21, 2010

Vision Harvest 2010: From Tennessee to NJ With a Little Help From Her Friends..

So tomorrow is our second annual Vision Harvest free cataract surgery day!  I saw our final patient pre operatively today, and its a great story!  Shirley lives in Tennessee, can't see because of her cataracts, and can't afford surgery as she has no insurance.  Last year her daughter, Amanda heard about our program, after the fact, while surfing the web.  She called our office and was placed on this year's list.

When Amanda got the call about this year's program, she had only 1 concern, how to get her mom to New Jersey to get the free cataract surgery.  Her solution, a facebook campaign to raise money for transportation and hotel during Shirley's stay.  The campaign worked, raising the $600 necessary to make the trip!

I saw Shirley today, she is a good cataract surgery candidate, and will surely benefit from tomorrow's procedure.  We were even able to arrange for her to have free post op care back home in Tennessee.

As I told Shirley in the following video, "She has a great daughter!!"


October 18, 2010

4 More Days Until This Year's Vision Harvest Free Cataract Day!

We are coming down to the wire for Vision Harvest 2010 Free cataract surgery Day at River Drive Surgery Center.  As of today, 25 patients are scheduled to receive free cataract surgery on this Friday, October 22.  Patients have come from as far away as Virginia and up state New York to be evaluated for the Vision Harvest program.  We require very little:

  • Visually significant cataracts
  • No insurance
  • Unable to afford to pay for cataract surgery

Patients are not required to be from New Jersey, or to be citizens; we don't ask these questions!  What we have found is pretty amazing: 

  • Many of this year's patients are young with large cataracts
  • Many have lost their jobs and the insurance that came with it
  • Many are students
  • Many have jobs that do not offer insurance

Here is another story of Gary.  Gary is working, but does not receive health care benefits...


We continue to hear about health care reform.  The recent over haul has done and will continue to address the issues that couple health insurance with employment.  If our government is going to require health care coverage for all, it must uncouple employer sponsored health care..

I am very much looking forward to Friday's event.  I will be sure to take pictures, videos, and report back to you all next week!

We are currently applying for Tax Exempt status.  Anyone interested in making a donation can do so here.

October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day: Water (and LASIK)

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.  By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue. 


Since I have already blogged about water through our See:Water initiative, I felt it was important to be a part of this world bloggining community initiative.  The premis of our See:Water campaign was to increase awareness: almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.  Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us. 

We asked patients to contribute to the Charity:Water campaign, matched their donation, and rewarded them with a discount on their LASIK surgery!  Cause-related marketing is a win:  win:  win for all involved!  We raised over $5,000 for Charity:Water... 

This was so successful that we decided to partner with the Women’s Cancer Programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF)  this month which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

So, Since I need to blog about water today, here are some interesting tidbits from the Blog Action Day Blog:

  • Bottled Water: Even though people in the US have access to clean water from their taps, they drink an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »
  • Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. That’s not surprising considering the fact that 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are discharged into US waters annually. More Info »
  • Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 400 gallons of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 1800 gallons. Not wearing cotton? The dyes and synthetic fibers used to make your clothes create waste that’s among the many contributors to water pollution. More Info »

OK, time to get involved, if nothing else, sign the following petition:


Change.org|Start Petition

September 28, 2010


One person is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in the United States.

One in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Together we can help fight back against breast cancer.

This October, in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, EyeCare 20/20 is gearing up to participate for its fifth year in Lee National Denim Day on Friday, October 8, 2010. his grassroots program has raised more than $70 million for breast cancer research.Employees at EyeCare 20/20 are encouraged to wear denim in exchange for a donation to the Women’s Cancer Programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). Funds raised support some of the most promising treatment and early detection research in the country, as well as the grassroots advocacy work of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. 

Donate $37.50 per eye to our Lee National Denim Day’s Team Page.   EyeCare 20/20 will match it, and extend a $375.00 per eye discount towards your LASIK.  So, a $75 donation turns into a $150 donation and $750 off the LASIK!  Just bring in your contribution receipt for the discount, its that simple.

Please, make your donation and then pass this link along to a friend or family member who is interested in LASIK and have them do the same, and then encourage them to do the same, get the picture?!

Blog it, tweet it, post about it on Facebook, tell your friends. The more people involved, the more change we can make. 

This offer will end on Halloween, so please hurry!

September 07, 2010

Charity: Water 4 Year Anniversary Today

After today's earlier post linking LASIK discounts with Charity: Water, I received this e-mail discussing Charity: Water's 4 year anniversary.  I think You will find it very interesting:

Live Drill: It Doesn't Always Work.

Today is the fourth anniversary of charity: water. Our team spent it in a village called Moale, trying to dig our 200th water project in Central African Republic. We've been in constant contact with our team on the ground throughout the drilling process. Here's an update straight from charity: water founder Scott Harrison:

It was going to be an amazing story, and charity: water’s 200th completed project in the country. The people of Moale had been waiting for water for more than a decade. After two failed attempts to reach clean water many years ago, our local partner ICDI brought in a new drilling rig that could dig up to 700 feet. Unfortunately, they never made it that far. In what was by far the most challenging drill we’ve ever witnessed, the team came up short after 30 straight hours when the second borehole caved in.

It was a heartbreaking and messy day. We'd hoped to show you footage of a joyful village celebrating a successful drill, but we didn't achieve that today. We’re committed to transparency at charity: water, so instead, our Live Drill video will show you the reality and challenges we face on the ground.

Tomorrow, we'll start drilling in another nearby Bayaka village. We haven't given up on Moale. For now, the people there will have to wait a little bit longer for their well -- but we will be back. In the meantime, with your help, we can provide clean and safe drinking water for every Bayaka through this year's September Campaign.

-- Scott Harrison

See : Water Campaign Extended Thru September; Donate & Save $1,000 of LASIK!

Last month we started our See : Water campaign.  The idea was simple, donate $100 to Charity : Water, EyeCare 20/20 matches the donation, and receive  $1,000 off a bilateral LASIK procedure!  The results have been incredible, with over $3,500 raised for this worthy cause. 

The campaign was slated to end yesterday, Labor Day, but because of the overwhelming response, I have decided to extend See : Water through the month of September. This will coincide with Charity: Water's "This September Birthdays can Change the World" campaign.  Since my birthday is in June, and not September, this is my way of doing my part.

Please pass this offer on to your friends and family, the more we can raise, the better!  And if you are so inclined, please donate here.  If your donation is going to be for the LASIK discount, be sure to mention it in the comments section!