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AOA, National Commission on Vision and Health join forces for first-of-its-kind meeting with FDA

March 1, 2012

From left, Gregory Wolfe, O.D., chair of the AOA Health Promotion Committee, Beverly Chernaik of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton, M.D., MSPH, CPT director, Corinne Husten, M.D., of the CPT, and Kristen Thomsen, National Commission on Vision and Health commissioner. Not pictured from CPT senior staff are Kari Appler, Ann Simoneau, David Ashley, Ph.D., and Ann Aikin.

The AOA and the National Commission on Vision and Health (NCVH) joined forces to meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the harmful effects of tobacco on eye health. 

Representatives from the two groups, Gregory Wolfe, O.D., chair of the AOA Health Promotion Committee, and Kristen Thomsen, NCVH commissioner, met with Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton, M.D., MSPH, director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CPT), and his senior advisory team in Rockville, Md., last fall.

The CTP oversees the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Some of the agency’s responsibilities under the law include setting performance standards, reviewing premarket applications for new and modified-risk tobacco products, requiring new warning labels, and establishing and enforcing advertising and promotion restrictions on all smoking and smokeless tobacco products.

John Whitener, O.D., MPH, former NCVH chief-of-staff, was instrumental in organizing this meeting at which the FDA-CPT discussed the key focus areas of health education programs, policy development, and scientific research.
 Recently, the FDA unveiled a series of new graphic cigarette labels. 

“We were surprised the new warning labels did not address the risk of vision loss associated with tobacco products,” said Dr. Wolfe. “We hope our meeting has helped to place eye health in queue for consideration on these new warning labels going forward.”

“Now that this new strategic partnership has been formed, we hope to continue the discussion within our organizations on how we can continue work together to promote FDA-CTP’s message. Specifically, we are actively looking into expanding the AOA’s tobacco cessation program materials that are available to our members,” said Dr. Wolfe. 

A patient education handout, “Don’t Let Smoke Get in Your Eyes,” is available through www.aoa.org/onlinestore.

Additional resources can be found on the FDA CPT Web site at www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts.

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