Article Date: 10/1/2002

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Optometry to HHS: No Deregulation

No doubt you've all heard about the recent ado concerning the black market sale of nonprescription cosmetic contact lenses and the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) proposal to deregulate said lenses. So you're fully informed on the subject, here's a recap of what has happened.

First, we heard from the LA Times that Daniel E. Troy, the FDA's general counsel, sent a letter to the director of the Agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health signaling interest in deregulating cosmetic lenses. And that's what started the uproar on this subject. These events followed:

At press time (Sept. 30), nothing had stirred the waters since Sept. 18. What will the FDA's ultimate ruling be? We'll let you know as soon as we find out. In the meantime, make your voice heard -- let the government know that you disagree with its deregulation plans.


Dr. George Mertz

George W. Mertz, O.D., F.A.A.O., passed away on Sept. 14 after suffering from two heart attacks the day before. He had been involved in clinical research and professional education in the contact lens industry throughout his career.

Dr. Mertz worked for Vistakon since 1990, first as manager of clinical research/product analysis in R&D, then as director of academic affairs in the professional affairs division.

Dr. Mertz was also president of the American Optometric Foundation and a Diplomate in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry. He published over 25 articles in refereed journals and lectured worldwide on contact lens topics. He is survived by his wife Jill. 

1-Hour Service Fee

You charge for special or extra services. Now, so do Wal-Mart Vision Centers. National Vision's President/ COO, Reade Fahs, recently implemented a $10 additional charge for 1-hour eyeglass service in the chain's 400 Wal-Mart stores. The company also switched from package pricing to separate prices for frames and lenses in all of its Wal-Mart optical departments.

Ortho-K Clarification

In the August issue of OM, Drs. John M. Rinehart and James W. Reese note the May-Grant technique that started orthokeratology about 40 years ago (see Specifically, this technique applied the best possible fitting lens on the eye, which frequently may have been 1.00D flatter than flat K. As the eye flattened, the patient would be refit again to achieve the best possible lens fit. Taking months, this process continued until the eye no longer changed or the desired results were achieved.

Now It's Easy Being Green --

Green-eyed, that is. CIBA Vision recently conducted a survey, in which it polled 1,016 women ages 16 to 35 from the United States. Of the respondents, 60% said they'd be interested in changing their eye color.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents would choose to change their eye color to green and 26% expressed an interest in the newest FreshLook ColorBlends color, amethyst. Eighteen percent of women surveyed said they'd change their eye color to blue and 13 % chose turquoise. But what about brown? Well, only 4 % picked brown, following gray (7%) and honey (5%).


ICO names president. The Illinois College of Optometry's Board of Trustees has named Dr. Arol Augsburger president, succeeding Dr. Charles F. Mullen, who served as president for 6 years.

Luxottica announces promotion. Luxottica Group's CEO of its retail division, Cliff Bartow, has retired but will remain actively involved in the company as a consultant to Luxottica Retail. In light of Barlow's retirement, Luxottica has promoted Kerry Bradley to COO of the retail division.

COMPANY NEWS acquired. For an undisclosed amount of money, OptiSource International has acquired, an eyeglass cleaner and cleaning cloth manufacturer, from its parent, Disop. OptiSource will relocate's distribution operations to its own headquarters in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.


FDA Approves Alcon's New Comfort Claims

The FDA approved new comfort claims for Alcon's Opti-Free Express contact lens solution. The new claims printed on the retail box include: Opti-Free Express MPDS No Rub Lasting Comfort Formula; Comfort That Lasts All Day; Lasting Moisture, Lasting Comfort; Provides Lasting Comfort for All Day Wear, Even for Sensitive Eyes; For Any Contact Lenses Including Silicone Hydrogels.

These claims are all supported by substantial clinical data. In addition, the package inserts for the U.S. starter kits are now written in both English and Spanish.


Optometric Management, Issue: October 2002