Article Date: 3/1/2001

PRACTICE PULSE
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

LASIK CO-MANAGEMENT
ISRS Seeks Clarification in LASIK Surgery Section of FDA Web Site

If you've visited the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site (www.fda.gov) recently, you may have noticed a new laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery section. If you read the information provided, you may have left the site wondering whether the topic was fairly covered.

Jeffrey B. Robin, M.D., vice president of the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS), wrote a letter to the director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA, asking for clarification in the matter of LASIK as posted on the Agency's Web site. Basically, ISRS wants the FDA to let consumers know that along with ophthalmologists, other eyecare practitioners are also capable of providing pre- and post-op care.

In the letter, Dr. Robin states, "In the view of our board of directors and membership, the statement on the FDA Web site minimizes the range of clinically and ethically acceptable choices patients have regarding their LASIK surgery practitioners."

Also, he suggests an alternative way of wording the checklist questions to include the option of an O.D. co-managing the procedure. Keep your ears open for any new developments in this matter.

NEW CREATIONS
SOLA Optical Announces New Ventures

SOLA Technologies, SOLA Optical USA's new business unit, will launch on April 1st with a single product offering -- a single-vision eyewear product, called Enigma. Enigma, which also launches on April 1st in the United States, is a lens-and-frame eyewear package conceptualized by SOLA and developed in partnership with Safilo Group USA.

Enigma consists of highly curved plus and minus single-vision lenses combined with custom-designed frames. SOLA says the lenses provide significantly improved peripheral vision and a 40% wider field of view compared to standard flatter lenses. The company has developed custom molding and edging equipment to accommodate the unique curvature of the lens. The product introduces a new category of lenses called Contour Optics by SOLA.

SOLA Technologies consists of a lens processing laboratory, ware-house and call center, plus a marketing and sales organization. It will ultimately be equipped with full e-commerce and customer relations management capabilities.

SHOCKING COMMENTS
Unsettling View of Contact Lenses

Bausch & Lomb settled its lawsuit involving replacement contact lenses and allegations that they conspired to force patients to purchase their lenses through optometrists.

What's even more newsworthy are the disturbing words of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

According to an Associated Press article, Spitzer said, "Because re- placement disposable lenses, unlike other contact lenses, don't need to be individually viewed on consumers' eyes by an eyecare practitioner, pharmacies and mail-order firms can provide consumers with a less expensive and more convenient way to purchase replacement disposable contact lenses."

Dr. Neil Gailmard, OM's chief optometric editor, had this to say, "The public can easily misconstrue this statement to mean that professional eye care isn't needed with disposable lenses."

Terms of Settlement

O.D. NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE AND PROMOTIONS

COMPANY NEWS

OSI files lawsuit. Ocular Sciences, Inc. filed an action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 6, 2001. The suit was filed against Weblens.net, an Internet contact lens retailer.

The lawsuit alleges that Weblens.net obtained OSI's lenses in violation of OSI's policy to sell its lenses only to authorized distributors and eyecare practitioners who prescribe and sell the lenses to their patients.

The lawsuit further alleges that Weblens.net removed the bar coding and other identifying material from the outside of the boxes, unsealed the boxes and removed labeling from the individual lenses, preventing OSI from tracking its products to the original buyers.

Limited time fitting for free. CooperVision has introduced a March Madness program to enable practitioners to fit its disposable toric lens, the Encore Toric, for free until April 30. To take advantage of this special program, register on the company's Web site, www.coopervision.com, before March 31.

In addition, the company has expanded the parameter range of the Encore Toric to include plus lenses up to +4.00D in 0.25D steps, greatly increasing the number of patients who can wear the lens.

The parameter range includes a base curve/diameter range of 8.6 to 14.4; sphere powers from +4.00D to -6.00D in 0.25D steps; cylinder powers of -0.75, -1.25 and -1.75 and axis ranges from 10 degrees to 180 degrees in 10-degree steps.

AAO announces largest class of inductees. The American Academy of Optometry recently reported that at last year's annual meeting in Orlando, 192 new fellows were inducted, making the largest class in Academy history. Also, eight individuals were awarded diplomate status by sections of the Academy.

Wireless Vision Expo Program

If you have a Palm Pilot or Internet-ready cell phone, and don't want to carry around a program during Vision Expo East, take a few minutes to download this year's program. You can access it at wap.boucher1.com.


Optometric Management, Issue: March 2001