Article Date: 2/1/2003

new products
What's Coming in 2003
A Guide for the Optometric Practice
A guide to recently introduced products that will shape patient care and practice management. Read about ophthalmic lenses, contact lenses, pharmaceuticals and more.

The staff of Optometric Management is pleased to bring you a basic guide to new products -- and products that you'll see coming out this year. We hope that you'll use this information to build the practice management and patient management aspects of your practice.

You'll also hear from some industry experts who postulate about the future -- and future trends -- of particular categories. We couldn't include every product and category that we would have liked, but this guide should give you a basic idea of the different tools that are and will be available to help you better define your practice. Take a look at what we've gathered.

Contact Lenses

According to Joseph Barr, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O., in 2003 the major questions in the contact lens field will revolve around the use of overnight, extended and continuous wear high-Dk contact lenses including silicone hydrogels, hyper-Dk gas permeable (GP) contact lenses and corneal refractive therapy (CRT). Practitioners will increasingly use silicone hydrogel contact lenses for daily wear problem-solving situations as well.

Even though most optom-etrists aren't eager to increase their risk with continuous wear or take the time to fit CRT lenses and know little about continuous wear GP contact lenses, patients want these lenses and will find different ways to get them as time goes by. Federal mandatory contact lens prescription release regulations and mail-order contact lens company actions will also be popular topics. Bifocal, daily disposable and GP lenses are great opportunities for optometrists and patients alike, but growth of these modalities will be minimal.

Alcon, Inc.

Contact Lens Care Products: The FDA cleared the company's Opti-Free Express Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution No Rub Lasting Comfort Formula to add a specific indication for use with silicone hydrogel contact lenses to the labeling.

Bausch & Lomb

Contact Lens Care Products: In July 2002, the FDA cleared the use of B&L's ReNu MultiPlus NoRub formula for all soft contact lenses, regardless of replacement schedule. The solution was initially cleared for use with lenses replaced every 30 days or less.

CIBA Vision

Cosmetic Contact Lenses: In August 2002, the company added to its line of WildEyes cosmetic contact lenses, which now includes 19 different designs and colors. The new designs (zebra and black-out) are available in an 8.6-mm base curve and in powers ranging from plano to -6.00D.

CIBA also launched a new category of WildEyes lenses called X-Colors, which, according to the company, are strikingly unnatural, attention-getting solid colored contact lenses. X-Colors are available in an 8.6-mm base curve and in powers ranging from plano to -4.00D in steps of 0.25D.

In the fall CIBA launched GlitterEyes lenses, which encapsulate glitter in the lens that never touches the eye.

Ciba recently introduced FreshLook Radiance contact lenses that feature an inner starburst pattern . The main iris area is clear and allows the natural eye color to show through while a charcoal outer ring pattern provides definition.

Continuous Wear: The FDA recently approved CIBA's Focus Night & Day lenses, sold in packages of six, for up to 30 nights of continuous wear. The lenses are made of the fluorosilicone hydrogel material lotrafilcon A and are available in base curves of 8.4 mm and 8.6 mm with a 13.8-mm diameter. Powers range from +0.25D to +6.00D in 0.25D steps and from -8.50D to -10.00D in 0.50D steps.

Contact Lens Care Products: CIBA Vision received FDA approval for its AOSept Clear Care lens care formula. See this month's Pulse section for details.

Menicon Co., Ltd.

Continuous Wear Lenses: In July 2002, the FDA granted approval of Menicon's application allowing it to market its Menicon Z gas permeable contact lenses for up to 30 days of continuous wear. The approval included spherical, custom toric and multifocal designs.

Ocular Sciences, Inc.

Cosmetic Contact Lenses: The company introduced its new Biomedics Colors lens in the United States and in Canada. The disposable soft cosmetic lenses are available in four opaque colors using OSI's proprietary technology. According to the company, the technology incorporates four patterns of color on each lens, resulting in a natural appearance that closely simulates the many patterns and hues within the human iris.

Ocular Sciences and The Procter & Gamble Company have recently signed a trademark licensing agreement under which OSI will manufacture and sell a line of proprietary cosmetic contact lenses under the Cover Girl brand name.

OSI started marketing Cover Girl Colors for disposable replacement to licensed eyecare practitioners in North America last month. The lenses launched with four opaque colors: Romantic Hazel, Breezy Blue, Gray Whisper and Spirited Green.


Toric Contact Lenses: Last summer, Vistakon announced the introduction of new plus and high minus powers for its Acuvue brand toric contact lenses. The expanded parameters complete the line and will allow optometrists to successfully fit more patients with astigmatism.

In addition to the core minus powers now available, the new plus and high minus powers are available with the same 14.4-mm diameter and 8.7-mm base curve. The plus powers are available in sphere powers from +0.25D to +6.00D (in 0.25D steps) and cylinder powers -0.75D, -1.25D and -1.75D.

High minus powers are available in sphere powers -6.50D to -9.00D in 0.50D steps.

Cosmetic Contact Lenses: In January, Vistakon also introduced expanded powers for Acuvue 2 Colours. The new powers will extend the range from +6.00D to -9.00D and will include +0.25D and -0.25D powers in the opaque colors blue, green, gray and honey and the enhancer colors blue, green and aqua. The lenses are also available for patients who don't require vision correction.


Frame and sunglass collections for 2003 seem to boast muted colors, particularly blacks, grays and browns, and rimless designs also appear to be a continuing trend. Here's an idea of what you else you can expect in the coming year.


The company's predicted sunglass trends for its spring 2003 Kenneth Cole and Reaction lines include smaller shields; bold, embellished shields; large plastics; rimless brow bars; floating lenses; and use of sheet metals, double wire and ultra thin metals.

Viva International Group

In November 2002, Viva launched three new men's sun groupings. "South Hampton," which will be available in stores in March, is designed with a rimless, five-piece drill mount construction in both a modified rectangle and square. Colors include Satin Black, Satin Silver and Green and Grey lenses.

The company also launched a premiere grouping of men's sunwear from GANT Eyewear, also available next month. The new grouping, "Sag Harbor," offers three styles: GS Captiva (a modified square), GS Hyannis (a rounded square) and GS Newport (a modified rectangle). Colors include Black with Grey glass lenses, Burgundy with Brown glass lenses and Demi Amber with the G-15 Green glass lens.

Viva also launched the Montauk men's grouping from GANT Eyewear, which offers GS Harbor, GS Sail and GS Surf. All three Montauk designs feature the CR 39 lenses for safety and increased visual acuity. This grouping comes in Navy on Camel with Grey lens, Black on Burgundy with Grey lens, Wood with Brown lens and more.

Safilo Group

Sunwear: In November, Valentino began offering a finishing touch for a golden winter with its introduction of the limited edition sunglass called "Gold." Safilo Group has created 5,000 "Gold" sunglasses, 2,500 of which have been allocated for the United States and Canada. The sunglasses were released last month in better department and specialty stores and are sequentially numbered from 0001 to 2500 on the inside temple to confirm authenticity and distinctiveness.

Eyewear: Liz Claiborne, Inc. announced in December 2002 that it signed an eyewear licensing agreement with Safilo Group. The initial launch collection, called Liz Claiborne Optics, will be unveiled next month at Vision Expo East and will consist of 16 women's Liz Claiborne ophthalmic styles. The collection is comprised of metal and plastic offerings and is expected to be followed by additional ophthal-mic collections under various Liz Claiborne, Inc. brands including Claiborne, Crazy Horse, First Issue and Villager.


Here's a glimpse of what this company has in store for its product lines in 2003:

Style 2985 is a rimless three-piece mount. Available in Silver with Pale Sky/Snow Flash lens; Sand with Smoke/Gradient Bronze Flash lens; Black Velvet/Grey lens; Sand with Jade/Gradient Bronze Flash lens; and Silver with Pink Blush/Gradient Silver Flash lens.


Luxottica has quite a bit planned for 2003 -- mostly in the area of sun wear. The company plans to release its 2003 Sunglass Collection in the spring and summer seasons. Here's what they're waiting to unveil:

Revo. Four of the styles in the 15 new models (nine in acetate and six in metal) are dedicated exclusively to women and all styles are available in photochromatic.

Ophthalmic Lenses

According to Joseph L. Bruneni, of Vision Consultants, dollar sales generated by ophthalmic lenses currently surpass the dollars coming from frame sales. "This economic news is significant because it has prompted an avalanche of improved lenses and lens materials," he says. That's good news and bad news for optometrists.

Says Mr. Bruneni, "The good news is that optometrists have access to advanced lenses providing patient benefits never before available to eyewear consumers. The bad news is that patients only benefit from improved lenses when the doctor or dispenser recommends them." The rapidly proliferating number of new lens products makes it critical for doctors and dispensers to stay up-to-date on lens advancements.

The following information will help, but Mr. Bruneni advises you to further investigate unfamiliar lens products. "That unfamiliar lens may be exactly what will most benefit the next patient. Call your lab if you see unfamiliar lenses in our listing," he says.

SOLA International, Inc.

Coatings: SOLA and DuPont Fluoroproducts entered into an exclusive, multi-year worldwide agreement where SOLA now markets a newly developed coating for ophthalmic lenses using the DuPont teflon brand. The companies are also exploring further lens technology advances.

Signet Armorlite

Designs: Signet introduced Kodak Precise Progressive, a lens design using advanced, proprietary technologies including Vision First Design. With this technology, the traditional design methodology is reversed. Signet Armorlite designers started by defining the optical properties that constitute superb vision and letting those calculations determine the corresponding lens surface. In addition, horizontal symmetry in the distance and peripheral areas promotes good binocular vision.


Says Bobby Christensen, O.D., F.A.A.O., "2002 was the year of new glaucoma medications. 2003 appears to be the year of new antibiotics." According to him, two new fourth-generation fluoroquinolones (moxifloxacin and gatifloxacin, which we'll discuss later) should debut this year. These drugs will provide better Gram-positive coverage and maintain their activity against Gram-negative organisms.

"These drugs will probably have better penetration into the anterior chamber than the second- and third-generation fluoroquinolones," says Dr. Christensen. A number of other exciting drugs are in clinical trials that are outside the box of our normal perception of how pharmaceuticals now work. Dr. Christensen concludes, "The next two years and beyond are going to bring many changes to how we think about treatment and prevention."

Allergan, Inc.

Dry Eye: Approved in December 2002 by the FDA for the treatment of chronic dry eye disease (CDED), cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion, 0.05% (Restasis), acts as a partial immunomodulator with anti-inflammatory effects. However, according to Allergan, the exact mechanism is not known. The company expects to launch Restasis in the first quarter of 2003. Restasis is the first drug approved for CDED and should provide another treatment for the severe dry eye with no infection present.

Glaucoma: Allergan is currently awaiting approval for brimonidine tartarate/timolol maleate 0.5% (Combigan).

Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dry Eye: Just last month Inspire announced that it would submit a new drug application (NDA) to the FDA for INS365 ophthalmic 2.0% eyedrops (diquafosol) by the middle of this year. INS365 is a P2Y2 receptor agonist that acts on receptors on the surface of the eye and the inner eyelid to stimulate the release of water, salt, mucin and lipids.

The company reports that in Phase II and III trials, INS365 showed statistically significant improvement compared to placebo in corneal staining. This was further supported by statistically significant improvement in conjunct ival staining. Inspire has a licensing, development and marketing collaboration with Allergan for both INS365 and Restasis.


This research-based ophthalmic company introduced its patent-pending BioTears at the "Hawaiian Eye" conference last month. According to Biosyntrx, its next-generation product will effectively combat dry eye syndrome with its twice-daily dosed gel cap formulation. BioTears is designed to enhance the body's ability to absorb and convert the "good" Omega-6 fatty acid to a tear-specific series E1 prostaglandin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate the signs and symptoms of dry eyes.

Alcon, Inc.

Dry Eye: Alcon plans to launch Systane, another weapon in its dry eye armamentarium, later this year. The drops feature the demulcent technology of HP GUAR, which is derived from a legume and has a pH of 7.0.

According to the company, borate ions and GUAR bond together to form a crosslink. This bridges any kind of desiccation, creating an ocular shield that allows epithelial repair in a healthy environment, so dry eye symptoms improve over time.

Alcon says that Systane demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in morning dryness, end-of-day dryness and foreign body sensation.

Fluoroquinolone Update: Alcon filed an NDA in December for moxifloxacin 0.5% ophthalmic solution, its fourth-generation fluoroquinolone. The NDA seeks indications for moxifloxacin as a treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis and ophthal mic neonatorum (with priority review status for the latter).

Alcon says that the fluoroquinolone shows enhanced coverage against Gram positive bacteria including Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, and is also highly active against bacteria resistant to currently used quinolones. According to the company, moxifloxacin is highly soluble, allowing for a higher concentration dosage, and has a nearly neutral pH.

Anti-allergy: Alcon's olopatadine (Patanol) has been approved for once-per-day dosing. The new concentration appears to give relief for 24 hours. A great drug has just been made simpler for the patient to use.

Novartis Ophthalmics

Myopia: The world will soon see the first pharmaceutical treatment for myopia, compliments of Novartis Ophthalmics and licensing partner Valley Forge Pharmaceuticals, Novartis recently announced. Pirenzepine ophthalmic gel is targeted for children and adolescents. It works by slowing axial growth, though the exact mechanism is not known. Novartis reported that Phase II clinical trial results showed that pirenzepine dosed twice daily slowed progression of myopia by up to 50% with an acceptable safety/tolerability profile. The company asked the FDA to convene an advisory panel to help define clinical development guidelines for the drug early this year.


Newly approved prostaglandin: The FDA approved Pharmacia's latanoprost ophthalmic solution (Xalatan) in December as an initial treatment for elevated intraocular pressure associated with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. It's the first prostaglandin to win that designation in all three major markets (the United States, Europe and Japan), the company reports. The first-line indication is supported by five-year safety data submitted to the FDA.

Flooding the pipeline

New items are popping up all the time in the technology sector.

Says Gary Gerber, O.D., "Some new, innovative, affordable and useful tools are now available for today's cutting-edge O.D." Dr. Gerber says that these tools all fall into one of two categories: Clinical or practice building and practice management.

Keep your eyes open for other new products not listed in this article. Try them out and evaluate their benefit to your practice. New products will continue flooding the pipelines, so make sure you don't miss out on the one that will revolutionize your practice.


Optometric Management, Issue: February 2003