Article Date: 6/1/2013

Leading Off
Leading Off



Georgia Law Broadens Prescribing Rights and Required Education

■ On May 7, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law a bill that makes four changes to the state’s Optometric Practice Act:

1 It enables the state’s O.D.s to prescribe drugs that require a delivery system other than oral and topical, such as through contact lenses or nasal mist. (That said, injectables and surgery remain strictly prohibited.)

2 It allows the state’s O.D.s to prescribe oral corticosteroids to treat conditions of the eye and adnexa for up to 14 days.

3 It enables the continued use of hydrocodone for pain, regardless of whether the FDA decides to change its classification from a schedule III to a schedule II drug. (Previous law enabled O.D.s to prescribe the drug for no more than 72 hours sans physician consultation.)

4 It removes language from the old law, which absolved O.D.s age 65 and older from Georgia CE requirements. Now, all Georgia O.D.s must take 36 hours of CE, jurisprudence and CPR every two years.

“The bill was drafted in order to continue to allow optometrists to best treat their patients with the most appropriate medications,” explains Georgia Optometric Association (GOA) Executive Director Bryan Markowitz. “With many new medications being developed using different distribution mechanisms, a potential change of the schedule for hydrocodone and the need to treat patients using oral steroids, the GOA believed this was necessary legislation in order to most effectively treat patients.”


Video Game Treats Adult Amblyopia, Study Shows

Tetris, a falling puzzle video game, has been shown to treat adult amblyopia, reveals April’s Current Biology.

“Using head-mounted video goggles, we were able to display the game dichoptically…,” explains researcher Robert Hess, Ph.D., D. Sc., Vision Research director at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, Canada. “Forcing the eyes to work together, we believed would improve vision in the lazy eye.”

It did, as these patients (nine) had significant vision improvement in their weak eye and in 3D perception post two weeks of play vs. patients (nine) who played Tetris monocularly with the weak eye (the stronger eye was patched) for two weeks. (Once switched to dichoptic training, the latter group also saw dramatic vision improvement.)

The researchers say alleviating the suppression of the amblyopic eye via dichoptic presentation creates increased levels of brain plasticity vs. forced use of the amblyopic eye alone.

“The concept of eliminating suppression as a potential alternative therapy to direct patching is gaining traction in the neuroscience and optometric literature,” says Barry Tannen, O.D., a Trenton, N.J. vision disorder specialist. “It makes sense, as the primary mechanism thought to be causing amblyopia is an active suppression of the non-amblyopic eye over the amblyopic eye. I look forward to more studies using the dichoptic version of Tetris.”


CooperVision Creates Own Shark Tank

■ In an effort to develop technologies (e.g. compounds, devices, materials, etc.) aimed at ocular surface health and anterior segment symptomology, CooperVision has launched its own version of ABC’s Shark Tank. Specifically, the company has created the Science and Technology (S&T) Awards Program to bring award recipients and the company’s scientists together.

“Our goal is to support science and encourage a focus on unmet needs that can be translated back to our community,” says CooperVision’s chief technology officer, Arthur Back, O.D., Ph.D. “I am pleased that the CooperVision Science and Technology Awards will provide scientists in academia and research institutes a substantive opportunity to pursue emerging ideas and concepts in a meaningful and focused way.”

The S&T Awards Program is comprised of the CooperVision Seedling Award and the CooperVision Translational Research Award.

The Seedling Award allows investigators to gather preliminary data in a new research area through collaborations with CooperVision for one year at a one-time basis only with a maximum of $100,000 funding, including indirect costs. The data can then be used toward the second award mentioned above. S&T Awards Program applicants should be made up of early career and established faculty who work in areas other than contact lens research.

The Program’s Translational Research Award is a multi-year award for a high-quality, innovative translational research project. It provides two-year funding up to $400,000, including indirect costs, and the award can be renewed. Applicants here should be scientists, engineers and clinicians.

To give CooperVision the opportunity to circle you (a la shark), visit awards.


10 Best Cities to Start a Small Business Revealed

After answering the questions “Is it easy to obtain funding?, “How business-friendly is the city?,” “Is the local economy thriving?,” Will hiring be easy?,” and “How affordable is it?”, a price comparison website, determined that the following are the 10 best cities for starting a small business:

1. Atlanta, Ga.
2. Raleigh, N.C.
3. Austin, Texas
4. Tulsa, Okla.
5. Oklahoma City, Okla.
6. Tampa, Fla.
7. Seattle, Wash.
8. Minneapolis, Minn.
9. Houston, Texas
10. Omaha, Neb.


Valeant Pharmaceuticals Purchases Bausch + Lomb

■ Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. and Bausch + Lomb (B+L) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Valeant will buy B+L for $8.7 billion in cash.

“…Bausch + Lomb’s world-renowned brand, comprehensive portfolio of leading eyecare products and promising late-stage pipeline are an ideal strategic fit for our current ophthalmology business …,” says Valeant’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, J. Michael Pearson.

Under the agreement’s terms, B+L will become a division of Valeant and keep its name. Valeant’s existing ophthalmology businesses will be integrated into the B+L division.

Valeant Ophthalmics is currently comprised of hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert (Lacrisert) for moderate to severe dry eye; timolol maleate ophthalmic solution (Timoptic), an IOP-lowering drug available in a preservative-free form; pegaptanib sodium injection (Macugen) for the treatment of wet AMD; and verteporfin for injection (Visudyne) for the abnormal growth of leaky blood vessels in the eye due to wet AMD.


EyeMed Now Offering Tiered Vision Plan

■ EyeMed Vision Care (Luxottica) has launched EyePrefer, which enables employees to choose from three levels of coverage: Essential, Enhanced and EyeMax.

“… Membership analysis gave us the foundation to develop consumer-centric vision plan choices,” explains EyeMed’s VP Strategy & Innovation Pete Bridgman.

The Essential plan enables employees and their dependents to receive a comprehensive eye exam and a complete pair of prescription spectacles or a contact lens allowance. The Enhanced plan provides higher allowances than the Essential plan and decreased co-pays. Finally, the EyeMax plan affords two pairs of prescription glasses (opportunity for a second pair or sun prescription) or a “generous” contact lens allowance.

To facilitate choice, EyeMed has created EyeNav, an interactive tool that asks employees questions and then suggests an EyePrefer plan based on responses.


• Although no supplementary benefit was noted with the addition of omega-3 fatty acids and a five-to-one mixture of lutein and zeaxanthin to the AREDS formulation, two subgroups of the study did benefit from the addition of the plantderived antioxidants, says May 5’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Also, removing beta-carotene and decreasing zinc from the formulation did not deter the formulation’s protective effect from advanced AMD.

• Daily lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation with the AREDS formula has no statistically significant overall effect on cataract surgery rates or vision loss, says May 5’s JAMA Ophthalmology.

• A new FDA-approved device detects diabetic neuropathy and the type in less than five minutes by measuring skin conductance response through the sweat glands. It has a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 90% for diagnosing peripheral neuropathy. It was presented at American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 22nd Annual Congress.

• Prostaglandin analogues are linked with deepening upper lid sulci and loss of inferior periorbital fat, says May’s PLOS One. This association could affect vision function in glaucoma patients, the researchers say.


Practice Becomes Eyecare hub in Wake of Oklahoma Tornado


In the wake of the May 2 two-mile-wide, 200 m.p.h. tornado that decimated much of Moore, Okla., a local optometrist stepped up to help his fellow optometrists and all those in need of eye care. Visit for the full story and how you can help.

Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: June 2013, page(s): 12 15 16