Article Date: 8/1/2002

Practice Pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

NEW NIGHTLIGHT NEWS
Light at Night May Counter Diabetic Damage

You're all aware of the controversy over nightlights and myopia in small children, but we've got a new one for you: The June 29th issue of The Lancet published the study findings of researchers at Cardiff University in Wales.

In the study, Dr. Neville Drasdo looked at seven adults who have type 2 diabetes but no apparent retinopathy. He compared them with eight non-diabetic adults and found that activity in tissue near the surface of the retina was reduced after being in the dark but was bumped up with exposure to oxygen. The non-diabetic individuals showed no changes.

Dr. Drasdo's team suggests that "night-time illumination" during sleep could ward off diabetic retinopathy. He does admit that we need to conduct more research before diabetics start a permanent, "full night-time illumination" regimen because, for example, it's unclear whether sleeping with the light on regularly has negative effects such as sleep pattern disruptions.

B&L APPEALS DECISION
PureVision Halted in United States

A recent court ruling halted the sale and manufacture of Bausch & Lomb's PureVision lenses in the United States. In June, a U.S. District Court ruled in favor of CIBA Vision's wholly-owned subsidiary, Wesley Jessen Corporation, in a patent infringement lawsuit filed against B&L. CIBA Vision claims that B&L's PureVision lens infringes on WJ's patent, which covers various silicone hydrogel materials. The ruling forced B&L to stop manufacturing and selling its PureVision contact lenses in the United States until the patent expires in 2005.

B&L won a temporary stay of the injunction through the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in late June. However, the appeals court declined to issue a permanent stay that would allow B&L to continue to manufacture and sell PureVision during the appeals process, which could take from 6 to 18 months.

B&L will now make the lenses in its Waterford, Ireland plant to continue to serve Europe and Asia. About half of the sales of PureVision come from Europe and Asia.

ETHICAL GUIDELINES
PhRMA Changes Voluntary Code

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Executive Committee voted to adopt a new Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals. The voluntary code, which became effective in July, outlines guidelines for how sales reps and others involved in marketing pharmaceuticals should interact with healthcare professionals. Here are some of the code's main points:

The code became effective on the first of last month. For more information, visit www.phrma.org/publications/documents/ backgrounders//2002-04-19.388.phtml.

Did You Know?

The Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) approved a resolution to revise the name of rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses to oxygen permeable (GP) contact lenses. The CLMA will spearhead an industry-wide effort to use the new terminology as "the best way to describe the benefits of this lens as the best option for vision management," commented CLMA President Keith Parker.

CONTACT LENSES WITH POTENTIAL
Holden Looks to Extended Wear Contact Lenses for Future Help

At recent CIBA Vision-sponsored symposiums addressing more than 1,300 European eyecare practitioners (ECPs) and academics, Professor Brien A. Holden, Ph.D., director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Eye Research and Technology in Sydney, Australia, reported on global vision trends. According to Dr. Holden, by the year 2020, 5.3 billion people, or roughly 70% of the world's population, will require vision correction. Dr. Holden attributes this fact to a rapid increase in myopia and an increase in the need for vision correction for reading because of the aging of the world's population.

Dr. Holden remarked that the challenge facing ECPs is to determine the best form of vision correction for this population, determine ways through research to slow the progression of myopia and to reduce the prevalence of unnecessary vision impairment. He said, "The advent of contact lenses that eliminate hypoxia and that can be worn for up to 30 days and nights has opened up new possibilities in contact lenses for people needing vision correction, and with further research, the main beneficiaries could be children and presbyopes." What does the future hold for this modality of contact lens wear? Only time will tell.

O.D. NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE AND PROMOTIONS

AOA elects new officers in New Orleans. The American Optometric Association (AOA) elected a new slate of officers at its 105th annual Congress, held in June in New Orleans. Pat Cummings, O.D., is the new AOA president; former president David Nelson, O.D., became immediate past president/chairman; Victor Connors, O.D., was named AOA president-elect; Wesley Pittman, O.D., was elected vice president; and Richard Wallingford, O.D., is the new AOA secretary treasurer.

Promotions at Paragon. Paragon Vision Sciences promoted Kathy Shafer to vice president, marketing. The company also announced the promotions of Paul-Michael Hawkins to vice president, professional services, and Tim Koch to director of clinical and professional development.

Donne to oversee Eyefinity Internet portal. Eyefinity appointed David Delle Donne to vice president of sales and marketing. He'll oversee the development and implementation of the Internet portal's marketing and sales strategies.

Welch Allyn execs appointed to other positions. Dr. Robert J. Corona, chief medical officer at Welch Allyn, Inc., was recently reappointed to the New York State Board of Medicine for a second term. Dr. Corona's position is effective until 2007.

As for more news in the company, Welch Allyn president and CEO Peter H. Soderber was elected to the board of directors for Hillenbrand Industries Inc. Hillenbrand is a publicly traded holding company for three major wholly owned businesses serving the funeral services and healthcare industries.

Transitions creates and fills new position. Transitions Optical has appointed Denis Fisk to the newly created position of director of global education.

Cooper president embraces extra role. The Cooper Companies has elected CEO/President A. Thomas Bender to the additional position of chairman, succeeding Allan E. Rubenstein, M.D.

Executive change at LDT. Laser Diagnostic Technologies, Inc. hired a new Vice President of Marketing to support the company's launch of the new GDx product featuring Custom Corneal Compensation. Robert Foster will be filling the position.

Ocu-Ease hires vp. Clay Kowarsh has recently joined Ocu-Ease Optical products as the company's new vice president of sales and marketing.

Mr. Kowarsh will develop an exclusive, limited distributor network to accommodate the expanding line of Custom Fit soft specialty lenses now available.

COMPANY NEWS

MaximEyes HIPAA approved. First Insight Corporation recently announced that BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont approved its newest version of MaximEyes practice management and medical records software to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.

Brown added to Expressions line. Do your patients want brown eyes? Well CooperVision added the color brown to its Expressions line of colored contact lenses. Now the line offers seven color choices: gray, green, blue, blue topaz, hazel, aqua and brown.

Corning launches new Web site. Corning Ophthalmic's new worldwide Web site features its family of lens materials and has generated much viewer interest since its launch this past May.

The site features answers to many common questions about photochromic lenses. Visit the company's Web site at www.corning.com/ophthalmic.

President Carter Addresses Congress

In his keynote address to the 105th American Optometric Association Congress, former President Jimmy Carter urged optometrists to work on initiatives to insure that all children receive full eye exams before starting school. The president is seen here with executives from Essilor (from left):
Dr. Rodney Tahran, vice president of professional relations and clinical affairs for Essilor of America and Andrew Weir, Vice President and General Manager of Essilor Lenses/ Wholesale Group. Essilor sponsored the president's appearance at AOA. 

DRY EYE TRIAL RESULTS
Six-Month Study Reveals Positive Findings for INS365

With the promise of further good results for Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s INS365 Ophthalmic in clinical trials, you may have another option to offer to your dry eye patients in the not-too-distant future.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals recently announced the results of the second Phase III clinical trial for INS365 Ophthalmic for the treatment of dry eye. The 6-month study was a double-masked comparison of the safety and efficacy of INS365 Ophthalmic 1.0% and 2.0% eye drops to a placebo. The study found statistically significant improvement over the placebo in corneal staining and showed improvements in other ocular symptoms at multiple time points. Results from the safety analysis show a safety profile comparable to a placebo.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals announced that enrollment in its third Phase III pivotal trial is more than one-third complete and expects results from that trial in the first quarter of 2003.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: August 2002