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Welcome to the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society Blog! The posts on this blog are authored by a myriad of individuals in Ophthalmology. Posts are not always authored by those directly affiliated with the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society and opinions may not be those of the OPS; however, all posts are submitted to a review process and have been approved by the OPS before being posted. Comments are open to the public. New posts are added every Friday, so make sure to check back often!


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An OPS Application of Ancient Roman History - Or - Great Things Can Happen on the OPS Forum

Posted By Paula Morris, Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013

I never thought of myself as a "phobic”. I mean, I didn’t think I was really fearful of things, but instead exercised a healthy amount of caution and common sense when it came to avoiding dark alleys, or wearing spike heels on icy surfaces. And I’m not crazy about spiders, so the first time I photographed a wildly inflamed eye with tarantula spines firmly stuck in the cornea, that aversion seemed reasonable.

But one day I was looking up something on the internet, and a misspelling led me to entries regarding phobias. Holy cow! It would seem that if there is a Greek word for it, there can be a phobia assigned to it. Case in point: neophobia – fear of anything new, also called cainotophobia from the Greek word for kainos meaning "new.” Reading about it made me pause………….

While I don’t think I am afraid to try new things, I am always willing to hang around in my comfort zone. I can be adventurous, but routine is comfortable. So when the OPS launched the new website, even though I was one of the folks who worked on finding a good answer for our Society’s needs, I was flat out intimidated by all the features the website offered! How was I supposed to know how to find things on the site (even though I helped upload some of the content)? This was all new stuff – I was an old dog and this was definitely a new trick!

Wait! Was I exhibiting the textbook symptoms of "neophobia”? Was I afraid to actually take the time to check out the new features? Or had I not looked at the website as an efficient new way of really connecting to OPS members. Hmm.

So, looking for comfort through familiarity, I started checking out the home page, and there in the left side menu, I found the word, "Forums”. Hey! I’d paid attention in History class and I knew of the famous, sometimes infamous, Roman Forum. Suddenly I smiled as the lyrics from the Peter Allen song, "Everything Old is New Again”, leapt into my thoughts.

It looked like the OPS has our own version of a "The Forum”, with many of the same features: a gathering place for people with like interests, and an efficient way to communicate with many people at once; much more far reaching than my personal email list. It’s a tool in the Merriam- Webster application meaning "something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession”.

Our website can develop forums for all kinds of OPS groups, and in fact, the OPS Boards and committees have been using this feature in some capacity to conduct official OPS business since the website was launched. The forums are powerful tools, (but can be as fun to use as a toy), as they not only provide an easy venue to contact everyone subscribed to the forum, but all messages are archived and can be referred to at any time by any forum member. And files and documents can be stored for access through the Forum as well. So cool! For someone like me who is never very good at organizing my email, immediately saving and deleting, all these wonderful forum features are a gift.

A few weeks ago, a friend had a question about fluorescein sodium, and we quickly took it to the OPS member forum. In no time, folks were posting helpful information in response – members we were acquainted with, and some members we had never met! What a fabulous resource; and those responses were saved under that topic and are available for review by any member who may have missed the original postings. No doubt, we have the Roman Forum beat there.

If you aren’t an OPS member, you can read postings on the member forum, but you can’t participate by posting to it. But if you are an OPS member, you have full access to the website, including the member forum. All you have to do is log on, and the website is yours. To get to the OPS member forum, look at the left side menu on the home page, and select the 9th item down, "Blogs/Forums/Groups”. Expand the menu to the right, and select the second item down, "Forums”, and then click on the "OPS Member Forum” line. It is so easy – with only one thing to remember: you will get an initial email to let you know there is a new topic on the forum automatically. To continue to get email alerts to keep you up-to-date, you should click on the middle item just above the gray "TOPICS” bar that says, "Subscribe to Instant Updates” – or, you can choose "Subscribe to Digest”. Your choice to fit your style. You’ll need to choose if you want to receive alerts on topics, so if a topic doesn’t interest you, just don’t select one of the "subscribe” items. Sincerely, once I discovered how amazingly easy this is, I have been all over the website now – and this is just one feature of all that the website has to offer.

There are even sticky notes to educate you about the member forum, and guidelines for proper "netiquette” to keep our forum friendly and useful.

So, if you haven’t been on one of the OPS forums, I think you are missing out on a fabulous source and resource. Don’t be neophobic, give it a try. And if you have a quirky sense of humor, why not image that a posting is from someone in a toga!


"See” you on the forum!

Tags:  blog  cute  education  funny  Ice Breakers  Meaningful Use  New Life  PDC  Professional Development Committee  school  Social Media  Study  Tips 

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Gearing up for 2013 Mid-Year Program!

Posted By Jim Soque, Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013


Near the end of the cold month of January 2013, the OPS Board of Education (BOE) met in San Francisco to finalize the details of the OPS Mid-Year Program coming up this April. It will be held at the beautiful Hotel Kabuki, in the heart of Japantown. Google Maps puts it here: http://googl/maps/PWMJo


To begin with, our Board Meeting was held in the headquarters of the Pacific Vision Foundation, on Van Ness Ave, as we were hosted by Denice Barsness, General Chair for the 2013 OPS Mid-Year Meeting.


We began on Friday at 8:00am and for the next two days we wrapped up our 2012 programs, handled the details of the Mid-Year 2013, and even started planning our next three years of programs.  Believe it or not, we are all still talking to one another, and that is a good thing!


Friday at 11:45 am, as part of our meeting planning duties, we took a stroll over to Hotel Kabuki at 1625 Post Street, San Francisco, just 0.6 miles around the corner, to check out the hotel and to meet with the banquet manager. The Hotel Kabuki is the largest structure in the area and it has all the amenities necessary to make our complex and stimulating Mid-Year Program a great success!  Our educational program and exhibit, featuring over 16 equipment manufactures and pharmaceutical companies, will both be located on the lower floor, and a CRA Practical Examination will be conducted on the Thursday prior to the program.  The assortment of 50+ shops in Japantown's Peace Pagoda that is adjacent to the Kabuki will be as much an attraction as the celebration of the 'Cherry Blossom Festival' taking place just one block to the north of our venue.


A highlight of this Mid-Year program is our collaboration with ASCRS.  On Saturday afternoon, attendees will be shuttled over to the Moscone center.  Your OPS badge will get you into ASCRS vendor exhibit space.  You’ll even be able to see the winning photographs displayed at the OPS exhibit.  From 3-5pm, attendees will be able to attend the ASCRS/OPS Symposium.  If you are staying in town on Sunday, your OPS badge will still grant you access to the exhibit space so you can search for your next big equipment purchase.  This is going to be an amazing collaboration!

Mark down April 19th and 20th into your 2013 calendar and take a look at the flights into SFO and nearby OAK (Oakland) airports; as one might expect, with the BART railway available to whisk you around, it is very easy to get from place to place in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Here are some of my photographs taken during from our BOE Meeting, showing some of the local surroundings including Fisherman's Warf, Alcatraz Island, Japantown, local restaurants, beautiful scenery, gardens, and of course, the Hotel Kabuki itself.

Hope to see you in San Francisco!


Mid-Year Program Main Page

Mid-Year Update

Downloadable Program and mail in registration

Electronic Registration

Jim Soque's career in ophthalmology began in Boston in 1983, as a research assistant and ophthalmic assistant with Dr Delia N. Sang.  His background in retina includes research in retinoblastoma tumors, and ROP disease at both, The Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary and The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston.  In 1997 he joined Dr. Pamela A. Weber, in Shirley, NY.  He is a COA, CRA, and, an assistant in vitreo-retinal surgery.   He lectures for the OPS, and conducts SD-OCT workshops.  He serves as a member of the OPS Board Of Education, since 2010.

Tags:  blog  education  Educational Meeting  Interactive  Mid-Year  PDC  Professional Development Committee  San Francisco  SF  Special Events  Travel 

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Tattoos: Out of Sight - Out of Mind?

Posted By Brandi Deats, Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013


Let’s talk about something that I know, and personally love: ink. We’re talking tattoos. They’re not just for scumbags and sailors anymore. That’s right folks, wandering in a tattoo parlor you may encounter a professional or even a *gasp* suburban housewife! You read it right, the proverbial Mom tattoo has now transformed into mom’s getting tattooed. In many areas, tattoos are migrating from counterculture to popular culture; but are we moving forward in our acceptance? That’s what I’d like to examine here.

I have tattoos. I don’t keep it a secret but at the same time I don’t put them on display while I’m at work. There is not a set-in-stone policy regarding tattoos where I work but we’re essentially asked to be smart about it- to maintain the level of "professionalism” that my employers expect.   I’m happy to work in a relatively accepting environment but I know that others are not so lucky. I was discussing this topic with an acquaintance from our industry and they informed me that at a previous job, they had a very strict tattoo policy where all visible tattoos had to be covered, at all times. That quick conversation prompted me to run a quick Google search for "appearance policy tattoo healthcare” and have come across many healthcare organizations that have policies that restrict tattoos from being visible. The powers that be are the ones who dictate what is acceptable for our viewing pleasure – and do not have to take anyone’s feelings into consideration. Some people argue that it is a first amendment right issue but truth be told, companies can limit personal expression on the job as long as they don’t impinge on civil liberties. Translation: Appearance policies are allowed as long as they don’t discriminate or hinder a person’s race, color, religion, age, national origin, or gender. Most companies are interested in protecting the "professional image” of their organization; which is well within their right.

Laser tattoo removal rose 32% from 2011 to 2012. "Employment reasons” are the leading factor and have risen a reported 25% from last year, according to a 2012 study done by The Patient’s Guide1. "There’s been a significant increase in the number of patients who desire tattoo removal for career advancement or for employment reasons,” says Dr. Eric Bernstein, laser expert and Associate Clinical Professor at University of Pennsylvania.  "I think this is as wrong as any other kind of discrimination, but patients tell me that their tattoos are affecting their professional lives.  Many feel that their body could be holding them back and this has resulted in more folks seeking tattoo removal.”

Harris Interactive2 reports that 21% of adults in the US have a tattoo, a statistic that has risen 7% since 2008. In October 2012, National Geographic released an article on the transition of tattoo moving from taboo to mainstream 3, the expansion of the industry and the fact that it’s not just "deviants” getting ink anymore. For something that is becoming so mainstream, it is interesting how adherent the stigma against tattoos continues to be – especially in the work environment. Furthermore I’ve noticed that there seems to be a duality in expectations, appearance-wise, between the photographers and other employees. It seems that those in entry level positions have a bit more leeway when it comes to visible tattoos, whereas the more specialized positions are generally asked to cover up. It’s not just being asked to not have our visible, it’s the flack we catch when they are that really drives the double standard home. I understand covering something up for your employer that might be offensive, but tattoos in their own right shouldn’t be considered offensive. In our industry, we work with many patients from the "scumbag and sailors” generation but I know that my tattoos don’t make me any less or more capable of doing my job, and simply put, I’m not going to stop getting them. I’m just going to have to invest in some longer sleeves until things change.


That’s my opinion. I’m interested in yours. Please comment with a response to the questions below or feel free to add any other insight you may have.

What are you opinions on visible ink? If you have tattoos, have you run into any problems with employers because of them? What’s your knee-jerk reaction when you’re being attended to by someone with visible ink? Do you think differently about their ability to perform their job?



Brandi Deats, B.S., CRA, OCT-C,  has been working for the University of Rochester, Flaum Eye Institute in Rochester, New York for just over 2 years. A fledgeling adult and relatively newly married she enjoys cooking, eating, traveling, and the endless struggle of trying to get her husband to try something other than Labatt Blue.







1. The Patient’s Guide http://

2. Harris Interactive Polls: One in Five U.S. Adults Now Has a Tattoo

3. Tattoos—From Taboo to Mainstream http://

Tags:  blog  education  funny  Ice Breakers  Interactive  Meaningful Use  New Life  PDC  Professionalism  Study  Tattoos  Tips 

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Getting Started

Posted By Lindsay Shepard, Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013

When I first started in this field ten years ago, I never would have imagined all the opportunities that would come before me and fun experiences I would get to enjoy. I think this is a truly interesting field of work and there are so many things to enjoy about it, but one of my favorite parts is the art aspect of every image.

I would like to start off with a big HELLO to everyone, and also a Thank You!! I have been in ophthalmology for 10 years and recently in retina specifically for two years. When I started two years ago, just learning how to capture an image and work the camera, I never would have thought that I would fall in love and have such a great passion for this art. This is truly an amazing field of work that is so rewarding in numerous ways. The more I research the more interested I become and the more my eagerness to learn grows. As I have researched and sought out other resources to learn from, I came across the amazing OPS Facebook page. The Facebook page has not only taught me many things, but it has allowed me to interact with others in this field. One of my favorite things about the OPS Facebook page is checking what challenge is next on the OPS Blog. (Insert link to blog). There have been so many challenges that I have enjoyed but here are a few of my favorites.

One of my all time favorite challenges so far is FA Interpretation!!! First I just love a good IVFA image!! But more importantly I enjoy getting others’ input by reading their comments and analysis of images. It’s great because some comments will give you a different outlook on a picture that maybe you were overlooking before. On many occasions I have been reading through responses and thought to myself "Yes, Yes I love that answer!!” I have found that learning things from the interpretation of others has allowed me to further my knowledge and use it to my benefit on the job, which is what this is all about.


Another one of my favorite FB challenges is Name that Diagnosis. Since now I work strictly in retina, there are so many things that I do not get to see on a regular basis. I used to work in General and some of the things that we would get to see were so interesting!! I love to see and examine pictures of different areas and structures of the eye and try to figure out for myself what they may be. Many times I think how great it would be to be able to see some of these things myself. I also enjoy the art of ophthalmic images and the amazing technique and quality that other imagers in this field posses!!

I have had the opportunity to meet so many great people since I started in this field and everyone has been so helpful and encouraging. Many of the people I have met and spoken to have encouraged me in so many ways and have offered to help me further my knowledge with information about other available resources. I admire the passion and amazing knowledge that everyone has and hope to just keep improving my own skills and understanding.

OPS Facebook page has been one of my favorite resources and learning tools. I know how much this page has done for me and see I am not the only one as I watch the number of fans increases weekly. Keep up the Good Work and Thank You for Everything!!!!!


Lindsay Shepard joined Illinois Retina Institute in February 2011 as an Ophthalmic Tech. and has since moved to the Retinal Angiography Department. Prior to working at IRI she worked as an Ophthalmic Tech. for a dual general ophthalmic practice for 8 years.

Tags:  blog  education  Facebook  funny  Ice Breakers  Interactive  New Life  PDC  school  Study 

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OPS Facebook Challenges

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 4, 2013

Please welcome Amy Goldstein to the Facebook Team!  She has been participating in our Challenges for months and after attending the Annual Program in Chicago is excited to get more involved with the OPS.  We’re happy that Amy is joining the Team!

As many of the Challenges work better when we receive images from other photographers to post, we wanted to share our Facebook Challenge Schedule with you so that you could prepare images for the Challenges ahead of time.  The list below indicates the Monday of the week the challenge will run (Monday-Friday), the topic of the challenge and the Facebook Team member responsible for hosting that Challenge.  If you have an image or comment that you think would be helpful for that Challenge, please email it to our address:

Jan 7 - Tell us what you did over the holidays (Elaine)

Jan 14 -  OPS Facebook Best of 2012 Week (Amy + Elaine)

Jan 21 - Favorite fundus Image (Jen)

Jan 28 - Tell us what you do stay healthy, especially since winter is upon us (Jen)


Feb 4 - Name that Diagnosis (Amy)

Feb 11 -  Personal Photography (Elaine)

Feb 18 - Descriptive Fluorescein Angiograms (Elaine)

Feb 25 - Show us your favorite OCT image (Jen)


Mar 4 -   Share with us the best career advice you've received (Amy)

Mar 11 - Submit your favorite anterior segment photos (Rona)

Mar 18 - Name that Diagnosis (Elaine)

Mar 25 - What can you do to keep your eyes healthy? (Jen)


Your Facebook Team:

Rona Esquejo-Leon

Amy Désirée Goldstein

Elaine Lok

Jennifer Thomso


PS.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Facebook page, here’s the link:


OR --> Download a free QR app and check us out...

 Be sure to "like” us!!

Tags:  blog  cute  Facebook  funny  Interactive  PDC  Professional Development Committee  Social Media 

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