Article Date: 10/1/2001

PRACTICE PULSE
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

OPHTHALMIC INDUSTRY RALLIES
Bolstering the Relief Effort

It wasn't business as usual for several ophthalmic companies directly affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center early last month.

Luxottica's retail division had three locations inside the World Trade Center -- a LensCrafters, a Sunglass Hut and a Watch Station. Fortunately, store personnel from all these retail outlets escaped un-harmed, according to Luxottica. The U.S. headquarters of American Bright Signs Optic Video, which manufactures the Smart Mirror system, was on the 33rd floor of one of the Trade Center towers. Luckily, no one was harmed from that company.

In light of these events, International Vision Expo announced that it would cancel Vision Expo West. Show organizers were working to reschedule the conference/continuing education segment of the program for a date later this year. The East/West conference and the OLA are going on as scheduled.

The shock, horror, grief and anger of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks mobilized the eyewear industry to take action by supporting disaster relief efforts. Here's a sampling of what companies did as of press time.

Alcon has donated large quantities of specifically requested anesthetics, antibiotics, combination anti- biotic-steroids, saline solution and artificial tear products to relief organizations and to medical institutions near Ground Zero. In addition, Alcon sent supplies of saline and Bion Tears to the Pentagon disaster site and is working with the American Veterinary Medical Association to provide medications and irrigating solutions for search and rescue dogs involved in the efforts.

Bausch & Lomb worked with the American Red Cross and rushed a truck load of eyecare products to relief workers in New York City who were experiencing severe eye irritation.

Charmant contributed a significant monetary donation to the Twin Towers Fund, which helps the families of New York City police, fire and emergency services workers killed during rescue efforts. In addition, a percentage of the company's sales from its drill mount collection 8320 Kit will be donated to the relief effort. Besides sending Joe Boxer briefs, T-shirts and sweatshirts to relief workers, Charmant is matching any employee donations that support this cause.

CIBA Vision delivered more than 20,000 bottles of saline to the American Red Cross to aid rescue workers in cleaning their eyes of debris.

Johnson & Johnson (Vistakon's parent company) is putting forth about $10 million in products and aid to help with relief efforts. For example, the company, in partnership with the American Red Cross, is providing $1 million to a corporate 2-for-1 matching fund. Also, J&J is giving $3 million to the September 11th Fund to support victims, orphans, widows and survivors of the attacks. The company is also establishing a fund of $6 million to support local organizations. In addition, J&J has donated scores of medical and disaster-relief products to help in the rescue and relief efforts.

One of the things Luxottica did was donate 40 pairs of Ray-Ban sunglasses to the American Red Cross's "comfort ship," which is harbored in New York City, since the ship's crew complained of glare. The company's LenCrafters' division donated 1,000 pairs of safety glasses to rescue workers and is providing free prescription eyewear to victims and rescue workers, including safety glasses.

Just minutes after the attacks at the World Trade Center, Marchon Eyewear quickly canceled a T.V. spot for its new Flexon ad campaign, which showed the Empire State Building bending out of the way of a jet plane. The company pulled print ads featuring the same image from consumer and trade magazines and recalled in-store collateral.

Marchon made a significant contribution to the VCA Humanitarian Fund, which supports efforts in the disaster, and invited the Long Island Blood Services to set up a blood donation facility on-site to enable employees to make blood donations.

Marcolin is matching funds to employees who give donations to the American National Red Cross, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the United Way of New York City and The Salvation Army. The company is also sponsoring a blood drive at its Scottsdale facility.

Safilo and Titmus Optical donated 2,500 pairs of Smith and Carrera goggles and sport shields to the FBI to help with their rescue and recovery efforts. The company also gave 2,600 T-shirts to volunteers and donated bottled water to a local blood bank.

The Vision Council of America has joined with the Associations of Exhibition and Services to establish a fund that benefits those most directly affected by the tragedy. The goal is to raise $1 million, $250,000 of which has already been pledged. VCA made an initial contribution of $50,000, equivalent to 10% of its annual membership dues. In addition, companies represented on VCA's board of directors will contribute 10% of the Expo West floor space costs to the fund.

All International Vision Expo West exhibitors are being asked to make a similar tax-free donation equivalent to 10% or more of their floor space costs. Money raised will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, the International Association of Fire Fighters' 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund, the United Way 9-11 Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police Fund. To make a contribution, call 800-424-8422.

The parent company of Optometric Management, BCI, is matching dollar for dollar every contribution any BCI employee makes to the International Association of Fire Fighters' 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund.

Of course, these are only a sampling of the good will efforts of the ophthalmic industry that we knew about at press time. For information on how you can further help, visit the Web site, www.helping.org.

VALUE-ADDED SERVICES
CE, Classifieds and More Online.

Boucher Communications, Inc., publishers of OM and other titles, has launched a continuing education Web site and allied with 20/20 Vision Source LLC for a classifieds ad site, as well.

The Web site Vision Care CE offers you and your opticians continuing education credit online. You can take a test, submit your answers and receive immediate pass/fail notification and a printable certificate of credit instantly. The fees are $25 for a one-credit course and $45 for a two-credit course. BCI offers a 40% discount on the fee for the first course you take. You can find the site at www.visioncarece.com. Enter the promotional code VCCE123 for the discount.

Vision Care Classifieds offer you a place in which to look for or post job opportunities and buy or sell ophthalmic products and services. You'll benefit from the section's extensive database, national exposure and an instant notification system that makes employers and job seekers immediately aware of a match. All listings will be free of charge until December 31, 2001. You can find the site at www.visioncareclassifieds.com.

In addition, look for OM's new Management Tip of the Week, a brief, free e-mail newsletter imparting management advice from our Chief Optometric Editor Neil Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O. Visit our Web site, www.optometric.com, to sign up to receive this tip of the week.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
COMPANY NEWS

Vistakon gives statement to practitioners. Vistakon provided the following statement regarding its settlement package: "The Claims Administrator was required to mail notice packages to every Acuvue contact lens purchaser whose address was in our possession as part of the notice program ordered by the court in connection with the settlement. To obtain benefits, it is essential that claimants demonstrate their past purchases . . . by seeking documentation from their contact lens provider(s) . . . If such documentation is unavailable . . . , the claimant can . . . submit a Claim form personally attesting to his or her purchases. We regret any inconvenience this may cause eyecare professionals and hope that it is to some degree offset by the incentive we are providing for claimants to obtain regular eye care examinations."

OSI battles third unauthorized lens distributor. Ocular Sciences, Inc. filed an action against JG Optical, a New York-based contact lens wholesaler. The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief for deceptive trade practices; false designation of origin; and intentional interference with the company's contracts, which prohibit selling to anyone except eyecare practitioners who examine their patients' eyes and fit lenses for them, and authorized distributors who sell to such practitioners.


Optometric Management, Issue: October 2001