Article Date: 11/1/2001

PRACTICE PULSE
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

IT'S OFFICIAL
Focus Night & Day Approved

The Food and Drug Administration has approved CIBA Vision's Focus Night & Day contact lenses for continuous wear of up to 30 nights. These are the first high-oxygen continuous wear soft lenses indicated for this wearing schedule in the United States.

Made of a new silicone hydrogel material that supplies 6 times more oxygen to the eye than other disposable lenses, Night & Day lenses also help minimize deposit buildup over time. The longer wearing schedule eliminates the tedious daily job of changing and cleaning contact lenses.

Stuart Heap, president of CIBA Vision's global lens business, notes, "Night & Day is the most significant advancement in contact lens materials since soft lenses were introduced more than 30 years ago . . . . They're also a good alternative to laser vision surgery for those who desire around-the-clock clear vision but aren't good candidates for the procedure or who are adverse to it because of its high costs, invasiveness, non-reversibility and potential complications."

PROMOTING EDUCATION
ARBO and OM

The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), the association that represents state regulatory boards of optometry and Optometric Management (OM) magazine have created a "special partner" relationship to promote ARBO's OptometryCE.org service. It's a central, comprehensive continuing education (CE) listing service for practitioners seeking CE credits. OptometryCE.org features a database of approximately 300 meetings at any one time, spanning a searchable range of up to 3 years into the future.

As part of the agreement, ARBO and OM feature a reciprocal link to each other's Web sites as a means of sharing with their audiences the value of the content and services offered by each partner.

NEW APPROVALS

Monthly replacement toric contact lens

Biocompatibles International has launched the Proclear Compatibles Toric monthly replacement contact lens in the United Kingdom. They plan a limited release this year in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. Next year, the company plans a full rollout throughout the United States, Canada and European markets. The lens features a back surface, prism ballast design and is cast-molded from omafilcon A.

LASIK treatment of myopic astigmatism

The FDA has approved LaserSight's LaserScan LSX precision microspot scanning excimer laser for the LASIK treatment of myopia with and without astigmatism. The approval is for refractive errors up to -6.00D with or without astigmatism up to 4.5D of cylinder. The range of spherical equivalent approved for treatment reportedly addresses 85% of myopic patients who currently apply for refractive treatment.

Genetic test for glaucoma

InSite Vision has launched its first commercial product, the ISV-900 glaucoma diagnostic test, or OcuGene. A genetic test, it screens for a gene mutation in the promoter region as well as for several mutations of the TIGR gene, which are all associated with higher risk of primary open-angle glaucoma. The company is developing ISV-205, which aims to inhibit expression of the TIGR protein and prevent glaucoma. Visit their Web site at www.ocugene.com.

New Web site

Vistakon has a newly designed Web site for eye care practitioners at Acuvue.com. A PowerPoint slide show of 55 explanatory slides will introduce you to the benefits of the site and of the resources available. Some of the highlights include lens ordering, online continuing education courses, latest news, fitting tips, upcoming events, an audio library, practice building tools and fitting calculators.

SEIZURE DRUG LINKED TO VISION DISORDER
Ortho-McNeil Issues Letter of Warning

 

Calling All DIVAs

 

The Second Annual DIVA Program will be held on Friday, December 7 at 4:00 p.m. at the Academy of Optometry meeting in the Philadelphia Marriott. Founded in 2000, DIVA -- Dedication, Innovation, Vision and Achievement -- was created to empower the women of optometry, and its mission is to recognize achievement and nurture development of forward-thinking optometrists through a networking and mentoring plan. Female O.D.s who would like to register, visit www.optometric.com, call (215)-643-8137 or fax (215)-643-3902.

Johnson & Johnson's Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals has issued a letter to healthcare professionals warning that its epilepsy drug Topamax (topiramate) has been linked to cases of severe myopia and secondary angle-closure glaucoma. The company distributed the letter to nearly half a million physicians and in it stated that there were 23 reported cases as of August 17. Symptoms typically occur within 1 month of initiating therapy and, according to Ortho-McNeil, the condition generally appears to resolve itself.

Topamax was approved by the FDA in 1996 and has since been used in more than 825,000 patients, Ortho-McNeil noted. The company encourages patients who experience blurred vision or eye pain to seek immediate medical attention and advises patients who develop the eye condition to discontinue use of the drug "as rapidly as possible" after consulting with a physician. Ortho-McNeil also asked doctors to report any adverse events that they observe. In response to the news of this potential effect, the company will add a warning and recommendations regarding the potential adverse event to the drug's label.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
COMPANY NEWS

l Gerber Coburn announces new appointment. Randall S. Baldwin has joined Gerber Coburn Optical Inc. as group product manager, reporting directly to Todd Rhodes, director of product management.

l White House recognizes Marchon OfficeMate. Seventy-five corporate representatives from around the country attended a White House meeting in July that brought together the best innovative business ideas in the United States. Dr. Frank Puzio, developer of ophthalmic patient information system (OPIS) Software and consultant for OfficeMate Software Solutions, represented Marchon Eyewear, Inc. The Bush administration recognized Marchon's software as perfect examples of innovative technology.

l Illinois College of Optometry alumna receives honor. University of Chicago's Louise Sclafani, O.D., has been named Outstanding Lecturer of the Year by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

l CIBA appoints new manager to global marketing group. CIBA Vision has appointed Keiko Kawasaki to global marketing manager within its contact lens business. In her new position, Kawasaki will support CIBA Vision's Focus Dailies, Focus Monthly, Focus Toric and Focus 1- to 2-week contact lens brands.

l Zeiss welcomes new changes. Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc. recently promoted Elke E. Washington to the position of customer service lead representative and appointed Kristina Gatti to the position of business systems analyst.

l Prio promotes sales manager. PRIO Corporation has promoted Carole Maxwell from the position of regional sales manager to national sales manager.

COMPANY NEWS

l Proclear products in Canada. Centennial Optical is now the exclusive provider of Proclear products in Canada. By moving the sales and distribution functions of its Canadian business to Centennial, Biocompatibles hopes to increase sales and support levels for Canadian practitioners.

l An alliance between two "Webs." VisionWeb and EyeWeb have announced a strategic technology and distribution alliance. VisionWeb agreed to license and jointly develop EyeWeb's distinctive business-to-business frames ordering and order management engine for the worldwide optical market. It will also promote and offer EyeWeb's in-store imaging technology and business-to-consumer Internet merchandising solution to VisionWeb's participating U.S. eyecare professionals.

l CIBA and WHO sign agreement. CIBA Vision and Wound Healing of Oklahoma, Inc. (WHO) have signed an agreement giving CIBA Vision exclusive worldwide marketing and distribution rights for CellPlant, a device that's inserted during standard filtration surgery in glaucoma patients.

l VSP event focuses on children's eye care. VSP's first annual Children's Vision Awareness Day on September 26 provided vision screening and eyecare education to more than 2,000 children in 25 cities across the country. Children in two other cities received educational materials from the program.

l Rodenstock consolidates. Rodenstock North America's Director of Wholesale Distribution, Ed Morris, recently announced the consolidation of the Wholesale Lab Management teams from separate frame and lens teams into a single spectacles team. All Wholesale Lab Managers will now be able to fulfill your needs for both frames and lenses.

FOUR-EYED SMART GUY
Link Between Myopia and Education Level

Calling those who wear eyeglasses "brainy" may not be unfounded after all. Researchers in Singapore have found that myopia is more common among the highly educated and those on the academic fast track. The study's lead author, Dr. Seang-Mei Saw, of the National University of Singapore, said that educational level and academic achievement seem to be predictors of myopia. He suggests that these factors could be related to reading and other "near work" activities performed at a close distance.

Dr. Saw and his team conducted a study of 429 young male recruits in the Singapore military. The participants underwent an eye exam and responded to a questionnaire about their education, close-up activities and family background. The investigators found a link between education and nearsightedness. Here are a few of their findings:

Unfortunately, the link between close-up work and nearsightedness was not as clear to the investigators. Dr. Saw recommends future large studies to examine not only potential genetic causes, but also the influence of near-work activities, including reading, computer use and video games to better understand why some people become nearsighted.

Test this information yourself by interviewing your own myopic patients. See if you discover any links between their education level and their prescription.

POSSIBLE LINK
Menopause and Glaucoma

Researchers in Holland suggest that there may be a link between early menopause and the risk of open-angle glaucoma.

In a study of more than 3,000 woman conducted at the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute in Amsterdam, those subjects who went through a natural menopause before age 45 were more than twice as likely to develop open-angle glaucoma as women who underwent menopause at age 50 or older.

Female hormones may be protective against open-angle glaucoma, and it's thought that hormone- replacement therapy reduces pressure within the eye. The study authors caution, however, that more research is needed because this patient group was small.

SPINACH POWER
Protein May Restore Sight

Move over carrots, there's another vegetable in the running that may offer new hope for the blind. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Southern California hope to learn whether a protein from spinach could replace a non-functioning light receptor in the eye.

Eli Greenbaum of ORNL's Chemical Technology Division and his colleagues propose replacing these non-functioning photoreceptors with a spinach protein that gives off a small electrical voltage after capturing the energy of incoming photons.

Greenbaum's collaborator and his research team showed that if retinal tissue is stimulated by pinhead-sized electrodes implanted in the eyes of legally blind patients, many see image patterns that mimic the effects of stimulation by light. 

 

Eyes on Fire! 

Use care when using Lacri-Lube S.O.P. with lasers or any other heat source. Lubricant applied to the eyelid and periorbital area of a 4-year-old child caused his eyelid and eyelashes to ignite during laser surgery to remove warts from around the eye. The hospital where the incident took place will now use water-based products for procedures where a heat source might come close to the lubricant.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: November 2001