Article Date: 7/1/2003

Practice Pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

Two Eyecare Bills Introduced

► Representatives Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced a bill in late May 2003 that amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to recognize and regulate noncorrective (cosmetic) contact lenses as medical devices, as well as their corrective cousins. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this is the first such bill to be introduced. At press time, however, no date had been set for a vote.

► Legislation introduced in Congress last month (HR 2173) by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) seeks to provide states with resources to improve the eye care of U.S. children by educating parents, increasing follow-up after failed screenings, or helping low-income families afford an eye exam. A study published in the March issue of the Journal of Optometry indicated that one in seven kindergarten-aged children enter school with an undiagnosed vision problem. And another 10% who pass vision screenings do have vision problems.

The legislation represents the first attempt by the federal government to address this problem, with a similar bill expected to be introduced in the Senate soon.

The Vision Council of America (VCA) encourages its members to ask their Congressmen to support HR 2173. For further information, contact Joseph LaMountain of the VCA at (703) 548-4560.

Study Says Obesity May Worsen AMD

A recent study published in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology followed 261 patients at least 60 years old and who had signs of mild age-related macular degeneration (AMD) over an average of 4.6 years. Researchers measured the patients' height, weight and blood pressure annually and determined that overweight and obese participants were more than twice as likely to have their macular degeneration worsen to the advanced form of the disease during the course of the study than those who were thinner. They also associated a larger waist-to-hip ratio with an increased risk of disease progression.

According to Studies, Omega-3 Health Benefits Extend to Eyes

A compound containing highly concentrated Omega-3, acetyl-L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 provides a statistically significant improvement in visual function to patients in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration, a study says.

The compound, Phototrop, by Sigma-Tau HealthScience, Inc., was tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study over a period of 12 months. The findings were reported at the recent Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting. Phototrop is currently available only in Italy, but the company is investigating options for U.S. distribution.

Another study presented at ARVO indicated that Omega-3 oils found in flaxseed and fish decreased the risk of developing Dry Eye Syndrome. Researchers interviewed 32,470 female health professionals aged 45 to 84 years who gave information on diet and diagnosis of dry eye. Omega-3s are deficient in the typical American diet, claims Advanced Vision Research, maker of TheraTears. The company's founder, Jeffrey P. Gilbard, M.D., was one of the study's investigators.

CIBA Vision has launched a new Web site designed to offer eyecare professionals in the United States and in Canada the quickest and most convenient way to order CIBA Vision contact lens and lens care products, track shipments and communicate with various CIBA departments. According to the company, its user-friendly site will save professionals time by enabling them to conduct business with CIBA Vision 24 hours a day, seven days a week at their own convenience.

FDA Approves CustomVue

VISX, Inc. received FDA approval in May for its CustomVue laser vision correction, which employs the WaveScan aberrometer, a diagnostic system that VISX says captures a map of the eye 25 times more precise than what was previously measurable by standard methods. The FDA's indication is for wavefront-guided LASIK for correction of myopia up to 6.00D and astigmatism to 3.00D.

The FDA clinical study data presented at the 2003 American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Symposium showed that at one year post-op, 98% of the study participants had an uncorrected visual acuity of 20/20 or better.

The company is now pursuing an FDA-approved clinical study for CustomVue treatment of hyperopia.

CL Products Make Strides


FDA Approves Acular LS

The FDA has approved Allergan, Inc.'s Acular LS (ketorolac tromethamine ophthalmic solution 0.4%) for the reduction of ocular pain, burning and stinging following corneal refractive surgery. The company expects to launch Acular LS in the third quarter of this year and will offer the ophthalmic solution in a convenient multi-dose bottle.

SimPlus Cleared for GPs

Bausch & Lomb recently received FDA clearance for its Boston SIMPLUS Multi-Action Solution for GP contact lenses. According to the company, its new solution is the first and only one-bottle daily lens care system that cleans, disinfects, removes protein and conditions GP lenses daily. B&L predicts that the solution will be available by July 2003.


RPB elects two to board of trustees. Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has elected John E. Bryson and John Kusmiersky to its Board of Trustees.

LDT adds new VP. Laser Diagnostic Technologies, Inc. added James Carter as vice president of U.S. Sales.


New leasing program offered. Paragon Vision Sciences and Carl Zeiss Meditec have announced the new Platinum Advantage Program, which incorporates the Paragon CRT Diagnostic Dispensing System, the Extended Set and all Paragon CRT practitioner marketing tools. The Humphrey Atlas 995 corneal topographer is also included with a software package, topographer table and printer -- all in one simple lease program with one monthly payment.


Scotlens offers contact lens design software. Scotlens is offering software that designs rigid and soft contact lenses. To learn more, e-mail

C&E Vision and G.P. Specialists to work together. On July 1, C&E Vision and G.P. Specialists combined forces.

AR Council offers new handbook. The AR Council has published Take the Lead in Patient Satisfaction and Practice Profitability with AR Lenses, a four-page handbook that identifies product features, candidates for anti-reflective (AR) lenses, and tips on how to present AR lenses to patients. The handbook also features sales tools available through the AR Council.

"Our goal is to provide tools to sell AR lenses, motivate consumers to buy AR lenses and bring technological expertise to all AR coaters and manufacturers," says Lee Anderson, executive director.

For more information, visit, e-mail or call (877) 254-4477.


Optometric Management, Issue: July 2003