Article Date: 1/1/2004

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A GLIMPSE AT THE STATE OF CONTACT LENSES
CL Makers Focus on Academy Meeting

Major contact lens manufacturers released a flurry of news during last month's American Academy of Optometry meeting in Dallas.

Vistakon. The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary introduced its Acuvue Advance contact lens with Hydraclear. Vistakon claims that it provides three times more oxygen than the leading contact lens brand and that the Hydraclear internal wetting agent moistens the lens from the inside out, thus overcoming the two main handicaps of hydrogel contact lenses. (An estimated 2.7 million people stopped wearing contact lenses last year alone because of discomfort, the company said.) In a recent clinical trial, 87% of patients who wore Acuvue Advance lenses said they were still comfortable after nine or more hours of wear.

The Acuvue Advance lens also features "very low" protein build up and blocks more than 90% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays. They will be available nationwide next month.

Bausch & Lomb. Presbyopic patients prefer the B&L SofLens Multi-Focal contact lens for comfort, performance and overall visual quality, according to two separate, multi-site clinical evaluations. The SofLens Multi-Focal beat two top competing lenses in all vision categories: near vision, distance vision and intermediate vision.

CooperVision. One out of two contact lens wearers experiences lens discomfort during a normal work day and 60% remove their lenses before the end of the day, claims a recent study that CooperVision conducted. Patients attribute discomfort to environmental conditions or their lens care habits. All contact lenses are alike, say 71% of the patients, who don't think that their doctors can do much to improve comfort.

"Patients were reluctant to discuss these issues with the doctor," says Doug Brayer, marketing manager for CooperVision's Proclear contact lens.

These findings provided the foundation for the new marketing campaign, "Get the Conversation Going," which will encourage doctors to discuss lens comfort with their patients. New office materials for Proclear will include the headline "Proclear: Contacts that stay comfortable until you call it a night."

CIBA Vision. CIBA Vision announced that Focus NIGHT & DAY accounted for an estimated 6% of U.S. soft contact lens industry sales in 2003, up from 3% in 2002. The extended-wear silicone hydrogel lens is likely to surpass $100 million in U.S. manufacturer sales in 2004, says CIBA Vision.

The company presented a recap of research projects related to lens. Among these, Peter Bergenske, O.D., reported that habituated low-Dk soft contact lens wearers showed rapid improvements in certain signs of corneal health and symptoms when they switched to the NIGHT & DAY lens.

Citing a number of studies and his own experience, Joe Shovlin, O.D., reported that patients who wore the silicone hydrogel contact lens as a therapeutic lens experienced improvements ranging from pain relief, improved corneal healing time and decreased time in the eyecare practitioner's office.

O.D. NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE & PROMOTIONS
Vistakon names new VP.
Vistakon appointed J. Patrick Cummings, O.D., F.A.A.O., Vice President of Professional Affairs. He will replace Stan Yamane, O.D., F.A.A.O., who will retire on April 30. Dr. Cummings, a former president of the AOA, is currently in private group practice.

Swalgen joins Santinelli. Santinelli International welcomed Steve Swalgen to the company's newly-developed position of National Director of Lab Business.

COMPANIES, ETC.
New claims for CIBA's Clear Care.
The FDA cleared two comfort claims for CIBA Vision's Clear Care multipurpose contact lens solution.

Pfizer introduces ophthalmics unit. Pfizer recently launched Pfizer Ophthalmics, a business unit that combines eyecare products from Pfizer and Pharmacia Corp. The new line includes the glaucoma drop Xalatan. Pfizer Ophthalmics is also co-developing Macugen (pegaptanib sodium) for the treatment of the "wet" form of age-related macular degeneration with Eyetech Pharmaceuticals.

Johnson & Johnson to distribute drugs. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVCI) says it has entered a distribution and supply agreement for three prescription drugs (Quixin, Betimol and Alamast) from Japan-based Santen Pharmaceutical. JJCVI will become the exclusive U.S. distributor for these pharmaceuticals.

Drugstore.com expands into eye care. Drugstore.com acquired online retailer of contact lenses and eye wear, International Vision Direct Corp.

AR Council announces goal. "The AR Council is an association of companies and professionals dedicated to 100% usage of anti-reflective lenses," according to a new mission statement the group released.

PROGRAM RECOGNIZES HIGHEST IDEALS
B&L Seeks Nominations for Visionaries

As part of its 150th anniversary celebration, Bausch & Lomb will honor the contributions of U.S. eyecare professionals through the launch of its Visionaries Recognition Program. Eyecare practitioners may nominate their peers and view selection criteria online at www.perfectingvision.com. You may nominate any practicing, U.S.-licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist, but you must do so by the February 29, 2004 deadline.

An independent selection committee will select five honorees who embody the highest ideals in vision care to the program in 2004. Each will share equally in a $150,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The selection committee will announce the honorees by June.

CHANNEL YOUR PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS ONTO THE TV SCREEN
Making Appearances
By Margaret Dowaliby, O.D., West Hollywood, Calif.

After representing our profession on television with more than 500 appearances on national and local stations for the past 50 years, I feel it's of interest and of importance to offer optometry guidelines that can and will result in television coverage for members of the vision care field.

Getting your 15 minutes

A television appearance happens in one of two ways: either you instigate the possibility or the television program contacts you.

1. You contact them. Start with a one-page letter addressed to the show (call the station to get the exact address) explaining a development in vision care (e.g., a newly approved contact lens). Remember that appearing for a taped interview doesn't necessarily mean that the show will air your segment. Also:

DO include your credentials, any articles you've had published, faculty appointments, etc.

DO NOT include articles

DO NOT address the letter to the host of the show

DO provide contact information where they can reach you at any time

DO take their phone call right away

DO be enthusiastic and to the point

DO arrive early on the day of the taping

DO NOT wear a white coat unless the interview takes place in your office.

2. They contact you. If the television program contacts you, you'll almost certainly receive an interview date if the booker finds that you can explain the topic in an interesting manner. Many programs contact professionals whom they've heard about through patients, a friend in the entertainment field or even newspaper articles. Host interviews usually last less than five minutes, so reach your point immediately when asked a question. And one more thing:

DO NOT say that you're a contact lens specialist. Everyone's a specialist in the minds of the program coordinators. Instead talk about a specific lens. Who can wear it? How does it enhance a patient's lifestyle, etc.?

Is it worth the trouble?

Optometry must be seen and heard from on television. Such coverage carries great prestige and is the most effective way to promote vision care. Remember, in most cases, you have to do the work yourself. But it's worth it.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: January 2004