& News You Can Use
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.
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.
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
- Bausch & Lomb settled for $17.5 million. The company will pay $8 million into a fund.
In addition, they'll provide consumers with a package of goods and services worth $9.5 million.
- Consumers who purchased B&L lenses within the last 13 years could get a rebate of up to $120.
- B&L must sell its lenses to mail-order companies and pharmacies without discrimination.
PEOPLE AND PROMOTIONS
- Rodenstock names new vice president. Jim Cox, CEO of Rodenstock North America, recently named Jack Doornbos vice president of sales, frames division. Doornbos will be responsible for overseeing the frames sales efforts in the U.S. and Mexican markets.
- B&L looking for new executive. Bausch & Lomb is searching to fill the position of president, the Americas Region. The search follows the resignation of the company's former president, Hakan Edstrom, who purportedly left to pursue other career opportunities.
- National Board elects new president. Dr. James W. Hartzell, president and owner of Vision Clinic, P.C., of Des Moines, was recently elected president of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO). He has previously served terms as vice president and secretary-treasurer.
- STAAR chairman passes away. Andrew F. Pollet, chairman of STAAR Surgical, died of cancer on January 10, 2001, at the age of 49. Mr. Pollet was elected chairman last June and was interim president and CEO last fall until David Bailey's appointment to those positions in December. Mr. Bailey will serve in his place until the chairmanship can be filled.
- Exceptional achievement for Holden. Professor Brien Holden, from the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit of the School of Optometry at the University of New South Wales and Cooperative Research Centre for Eye Research and Technology, has been named as a "Scientia Professor" of the University.
This special category of Professor was established in 1997 to recognize outstanding research performance. The award protocol says that "The award of a Scientia Professorship will be on recognition not only of past research eminence, but also having regard to ongoing research and/or outstanding research stature."
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
Optometric Management, Issue: March 2001