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LEADING OFF

TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE

ESSILOR AND LUXOTTICA SIGN AGREEMENT TO COMBINE COMPANIES

Essilor and Luxottica signed an agreement to become the holding company EssilorLuxottica, under the wholly owned company Essilor International, according to a press release issued by the company. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

Under the terms of the transaction, Delfin, the family holding company of Luxottica, would contribute its entire 62% stake in the eye care giant to Essilor in return for between 31% and 38% of the shares of EssilorLuxottica, making the family its largest shareholder.

The new company would have more than 140,000 employees, including Essilor Chairman and CEO, Hubert Sagnières, who would be executive vice-chairman and deputy CEO, with equal powers as the chairman, and CEO, and Luxottica’s Executive Chairman, Leonardo Del Vecchio, who would be executive chairman and CEO.

The merger would bring together the world’s two largest optical companies, “one dedicated to lenses and the other to frames,” to better respond to global needs “in vision correction and vision protection,” says Mr. Sagnières.

Based on the companies’ 2015 results, the new company would have posted combined net revenues of more than 15 billion euros (about $16 billion).

In an interview with Eyecare Business (both OM and Eycarebusiness are published by PentaVision), Essilor’s Senior Vice President of Customer Development Howard Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O., discussed the benefits of a merger:

  • Product innovation. “We’ve innovated independently on the frame side and on the lens side. So I’m excited for the opportunity to figure out how we can innovate together around the frame and lens,” says Dr. Purcell.
  • Supply chain efficiencies. Dr. Purcell said that the supply chain is “a process that’s ripe for improvement and one that we’ve been working on.”
  • Enhanced consumer messaging. “It’s important for consumers to understand the value of premium brands and the value of an eye exam,” says Dr. Purcell.
  • Wearables market. “I think we’ll see continued efforts being made to try to create opportunities for wearers and ECPs to participate in,” Dr. Purcell says.
  • Luxottica’s support. With the agreement, Luxottica would become “heavily invested in optometry” and be motivated “to see independent optometry rise and succeed. . .” says Dr. Purcell.

To view the complete article, written by Eyecare Business Managing Editor Susan Tarrant, visit eyecarebusiness.com/webexclusives

COLLABORATION TAKES ADVANTAGE OF DEEP LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

Google’s Verily Life Sciences, Nikon and its subsidiary, Optos, have agreed to collaborate on developing technology for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema screening and assisted reading programs. The purpose: to facilitate referrals from primary care doctors to eye doctors and simplify disease diagnosis by eye doctors.

The partnership will combine Nikon’s optical engineering and precision manufacturing, its proprietary ultra-widefield technology and commercial presence among eyecare specialists, and Verily’s deep machine learning technology, according to a Nikon press release. The Verily technology was described in a study published online last year by the JAMA Network

DIGITAL DEVICE USE REPORT REVEALS THE NEED FOR PATIENT EDUCATION

The Vision Council released its latest “Blue Light Exposure and Digital Eye Strain” report (tinyurl.com/digitalgetdown ), which shows that patient education regarding digital eye strain and blue-light-protective eyewear is needed.

Specifically, the report shows that although 31%, 22%, 22.6%, 22.1% and 30.1% report experiencing eye strain, dry eyes, headache, blurred vision and neck/shoulder pain after digital device use, respectively; 68.5% of Americans say they haven’t talked about their digital device use with their eye doctors; and 73.5% say they weren’t aware that eyewear was available to protect their eyes from digital device use.

In addition, 76.5% of Americans say their child(ren) uses a digital device for more than two hours a day, and 55.6% say their child(ren) experience one of the following after more than two hours of use: headaches, neck/shoulder pain, eye strain, dry or irritated eyes, decreased attention span, poor behavior and irritability.

Digital device use of greater than two hours by age: 18 to 39: 91.6%, 40 to 59: 88.6% and 60 and older: 78.5% ■

DIGITAL DEVICE USE AMONG AMERICANS

73% Use a computer to do research

55% Use a smartphone as an alarm clock

50.4% Use a computer to go shopping

49.4% Use a smartphone to check the weather

48.7% Use a computer to find a recipe

VISION EXPO EAST TO OFFER ONE-STOP SHOP ENVIRONMENT

International Vision Expo East 2017 (east.visionexpo.com ) will be returning to New York City’s Javits Center, from March 30 to April 2, to provide the eye care community with a one-stop shop-like experience in the form of more than five football fields of ophthalmic product booths and greater than 300 hours of education.

A mini city of sorts, the trade show floor will be stocked with companies showcasing eyewear accessories, contact lenses (including solutions and accessories), dispensing and examination equipment, dry eye disease products, frames, lenses and coatings, lens labs and supplies, medical instruments, nutraceuticals and vitamins, office and dispensing furniture, pharmaceuticals, sunglasses and wearable technology, among others.

In between visiting the various booths, an array of educational opportunities will be provided to enable business enhancement. Clinical education highlights: Anterior Segment, Contact Lens, Dry Eye/Ocular Surface Disease, General Optometry, Global Contact Lens Forum, Glaucoma, Hands on Workshops (frame adjusting/repair and scleral lens fitting), New Technology (OCT familiarity, corneal crosslinking, etc.), Ocular Surface Disease and Wellness Symposium, Pediatrics, Systemic Disease and Neuro, Posterior Segment and AMD, Pharmacology and the Chairman’s Top Picks. The latter, sponsored by OM, is comprised of eight courses recommended by the co-chairman of Vision Expo’s Conference Advisory Board, Mark T. Dunbar, O.D., F.A.A.O, and includes Glaucoma Pearls and Grand Rounds and Oculoplastic and Aesthetic Eye Care in an Optometric Practice — Opportunity Abounds.

In addition, Vision Expo East will have 15 specialty programs, including, Blue Light Hot Topics, Business Solutions Highlights, Retail Program, Scleral Lens Track, Best of “ODs on Facebook” (a three-session track sponsored by OM), and Google Talks in the Marketing Stadium, among others. Google Talks, facilitated by Marketing4ECPs, will include a presentation from Google agency developer Liz Austin, a reception and six sessions on how to use Google’s digital products to better one’s business.

After a long day of visiting booths and learning, several networking opportunities exist, such as the “ODs on Facebook” party, which is open to all attendees who are either currently members of “ODs on Facebook” or are looking to join.

For additional information on Vision Expo and to register, visit visionexpoeast.com

New Educational Programs at Vision Expo

International Vision Expo East 2017 features more than 300 hours of CE, including six new education programs:

  • In the Vision Series, industry leaders will address clinical innovations during lunch.
  • An expanded Scleral Lens Track will include a hands-on workshop that will address the scleral lens fitting process and advanced problem- solving techniques.
  • The next generation of industry leaders will present at the Intrepid Talks, where members of The Intrepid Eye Society present on the advancement of optometry.
  • Blue Light sessions present topics ranging from research findings to the basics of blue light — both indoors and outside.
  • The Practice Owner & Manager Essentials program will focus on the business side of optometry, including strategies needed to grow one’s practice.
  • The retail-focused Manager’s ‘To-Do-List’ mini-track features actionable takeaways attendees can immediately implement.

Research Notes

  • Age-related cataract is linked with depressive symptoms among older adults, especially in those who have the nuclear type and those who are poorly educated, regardless of confounding factors, reveals December’s Optometry & Vision Science.
  • AlphaB-crystallin, a protein shown to contain angiogenic properties, is significantly increased in the vitreous fluid of proliferative diabetic retinopathy patients, confirming a suspected link between its expression level and VEGF, reveals December’s Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology
  • Preeclampsia, especially severe or early onset, is linked with an increased risk of retinal disease in the mother in the decades post-pregnancy, according to January’s Obstetrics & Gynecology

SCRIPTOPEDIA: “WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY THIS EVERY TIME?”

A patient, Patricia, who prefers “Trish” and has been deemed a glaucoma suspect, presents for her second follow-up visit within three months of her “routine annual eye health exam.” Trish’s objection: the medical co-pay. “I paid a $55 co-pay the last time I was here for the same thing, and the doctor didn’t do anything different. Why do I have to pay this every time he checks the same thing, and why do I have to come back again?!”

AVOID THE PUSH BACK

How can you and your staff avoid a similar situation with patients who push back on co-pays and other fees? The answer is to explain the value.

Doctor during appointment: “Trish, I’m going to re-measure your internal eye pressure today, so that I can see whether there has been any change, and I can work to reduce your risk of vision loss from potential glaucoma.”

Receptionist at checkout: “Trish, your bill today is $55. You are very fortunate to have excellent medical insurance benefits. If you didn’t, your visit, diagnostic and doctor evaluation would have cost you $130 today. Your medical insurance benefit saved you $75! Now, because you are at an elevated risk for glaucoma, Dr. Eyewise wants you to return in another three months to measure the pressure inside your eyes. As this is typically the best time and day for you, I have already reserved it for three months from now. Sound good?”

EXPLAIN THE VALUE

When patients are unclear about the value of what you do, they will challenge “Why?” To avoid this, always explain the why, what’s in it for him or her and follow with “comparative value.” ■

To view the complete archive of Mr. Hinton’s “Scriptopedia” columns, visit tinyurl.com/scriptopedia or optometricmanagement.com

NEW DOWNLOAD OFFERS TIPS FOR DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY

In an effort to help eye care professionals develop a digital marketing strategy that encourages appointments and facilitates contact lens and eye health education, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. launched the “Digital Guide by ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses,” which is available for free download at AcuvueProfessional.com .

Some tips from the guide:

  • Provide services and information that mimic the “in-person” experience. This way, you’ll be viewed as a trusted source for eye care. An example: an online FAQs/Q&A.
  • Profile your target audience to create digital strategies and content that engages. An example: When dealing with millennial patients, send alerts and reminders, as 29% of millennials who currently use prescription drugs say they use technologies to receive reminders and alerts.
  • Remember the 15-second rule. Visitors want to find information quickly, so break information out into easily accessible linked pages, such as “Services.”
  • Use free search registrations, and consider supplementing with a paid search program.
  • Include photos and links on social media. They increase the likelihood of engagement. ■