Article Date: 4/1/2004

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PATIENTS FIND RELIEF
Protective Eyewear Fights Dry Eye

According to a recent study, patients who wore Panoptx eyewear for normal outdoor activities experienced reduced dry eye symptoms (by 57%). The eyewear, which Panoptx launched at the recent SECO International meeting in Atlanta, contains an "orbital seal" that provides the benefits of a goggle with the style of sunglasses.

The 110 patients who participated in the study fell into one of three groups: post-op LASIK surgery, long-term contact lens wear or chronic dry eye. Richard Lindstrom, M.D., and Douglas Weberling, O.D., who conducted the study, issued patients a pair of the Panoptx eyewear and encouraged them to where them for at least four weeks when they would normally wear sunglasses.

Drs. Lindstrom and Weberling found that the eyewear alleviated nine common symptoms including burning, stinging, grittiness, dryness and a sensitivity to light. In follow-up surveys and interviews, 97% of the patients who wore the glasses when they walked outdoors reported improved eye comfort. Ninety-five percent reported improved comfort when driving.

TWO MEDICAL SOCIETIES WEIGH IN
Getting Serious About Goggles

More than 42,000 sports- and recreation-related ocular injuries were reported in 2000, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Most of those injuries were associated with baseball and basketball. In their joint policy statement, "Protective Eyewear for Young Athletes," the organizations strongly recommend protective eyewear for all those who participate in sports in which there's a risk of eye injury.

Polycarbonate, the AAP and AAO say, is the most shatter-resistant clear lens material and should be used for all safety eyewear. They also recommend that athletes discard sports eye protectors that are damaged or yellowed with age. Experts recommend 3-mm thick polycarbonate lenses. Additionally, all protective eyewear should bear a seal from the Protective Eyewear Certification Council.

STUDY TO SILICONE HYDROGEL CL COMPLICATIONS
Szczotka-Flynn Wins NEI Award

The National Eye Institute (NEI) awarded Loretta Szczotka-Flynn, O.D., M.S., a five-year Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award. Dr. Szczotka-Flynn is an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University and is director of Contact Lens Services at University Hospitals of Cleveland. She's also a member of OM's editorial advisory board.

As part of the five-year study, Dr. Szczotka-Flynn will seek to provide a better understanding of the factors and mechanisms of inflammatory and mechanical complications associated with silicone hydrogel continuous wear contact lens use. The NEI and CIBA Vision Corp are funding the study.

 

www.eyedock.com

Eyedock.com released an online ocular pharmaceuticals reference that allows eye care practitioners to search ocular drugs by generic or trade name, class of drug and manufacturer. The free service features quick-reference information for each medicine that includes typical dosing, approximate retail cost, available dispensing sizes, pediatric rating, use in nursing mothers and pregnancy class.

Todd Zarwell, O.D., and Brian Chou, O.D., F.A.A.O., developed the pharmaceuticals section of Eyedock's Web site.

 

MANAGING SAC
Allergy Steroid Lives Up to Claims

A peer-reviewed, multi-center study in the January issue of Eye & Contact Lens reinforced Bausch & Lomb's claim that its corticosteroid Alrex (loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension 0.2%) is a "safe steroid," the company reports. The study found Alrex safe for long-term treatment of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) after retrospectively reviewing data at three U.S. sites from 397 patients who used the steroid on a long-term basis. Of those, 159 patients used Alrex for a duration of between one and four years, as often as four times a day. None of the 159 long-term users showed incidences of elevated IOP, cataract formation or infections at any point during the treatment.

"Our study clearly demonstrated that patients who suffer from the signs and symptoms of ocular surface inflammation as a result of chronic allergic conjunctivitis can safely use the Alrex brand for extended periods of time with no adverse effects," lead investigator Charles Slonim, M.D., said.

 

NEW APPROVALS
FDA Approves IQUIX

Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. won FDA approval for IQUIX (levofloxacin ophthalmic solution) 1.5% for the treatment of bacterial corneal ulcers. The new ocular anti-infective is active against a broad spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative ocular pathogens. The company says that IQUIX's high solubility, at neutral pH, allows formulation with a higher concentration of active drug (1.5%), three times higher than any other ophthalmic fluoroquinolone on the market. IQUIX is preservative-free.

In two clinical studies, IQUIX achieved a clinical cure rate of 73% to 87%, Santen reports, and was found well tolerated and safe. Vistakon Pharmaceuticals will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for IQUIX.

IQUIX is the company's third approval in four years. Vistakon Pharmaceuticals, LLC will be the exclusive U.S. distributor of the topical ophthalmic solution.

O.D. NOTEBOOK

IN MEMORY
Joseph L. Bruneni.
Recognized for his 40-plus years in the eyewear industry, Joe Bruneni, F.N.A.O., passed away in March. Mr. Bruneni contributed to many industry organizations and was educational director for the Optical Laboratories Association. He wrote for countless books and publications, including Optometric Management.

Lloyd Cates. Lloyd Cates, whose career in ophthalmic sales spanned more than 30 years, passed away last month. Mr. Cates started his career with Vigor Optical. He also worked for AIT and most recently, Gerber Coburn.

PEOPLE

Bausch & Lomb names new vice president. B&L appointed Brian Levy, O.D., as its corporate vice president and chief medical officer.

New president for SECO. SECO International elected Richard W. Phillips, O.D., of Johnson City, Tenn., as its new president in February.

INDUSTRY WELCOMES IPORT
Initial Rollout of Private Internet
Broadcast Network Successful

According to its maker, the private broadcast network iPort Media is designed to increase per-patient revenue for ophthalmologists, optometrists and optical retailers through targeted, point-of-sale, informational messaging that promotes the sale of premium, high-margin eyecare products. iPort Media delivers customizable, educational and marketing messages directly to patients in waiting rooms and in just the first 90 days after it was launched, eyecare professionals in nine states installed the system in their locations. That said, more than 10,000 patients each month are viewing the information that iPort pipes through the Internet to individual offices.

Eyecare professionals can create their own unique messages by accessing iPort's simple, click-to-add Web interface. iPort is available on a subscription basis and one monthly turn-key fee includes all hardware, software and content costs. Additionally, iPort teams install all the necessary equipments (large, flat screen plasma TV, computer, server and audio equipment) and trains eyecare professionals and their staff to use it. Visit www.iportmedia.com to learn more.

RTA SALES TRIPLE IN
Talia Celebrates the Year of the Customer

In 2003, Talia Technology tripled sales of its retinal thickness analyzer (RTA), a diagnostic tool for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, AMD and other retinal pathologies. As a result of this rapid growth, the company has labeled 2004 the "Year of the Customer."

The company has added personnel to its sales force and its production and customer service departments. As part of the Year of the Customer, the company says it will invest resources to support customers in the areas of education, customer service support and optimization of the RTA in the practice.

In the area of education, Talia will schedule additional user group seminars, Web seminars and local training symposia to encourage the exchange of information, local support and improved customer accessibility to RTA experts both within and outside Talia.

The company also plans to support clinics in its marketing and educational efforts. It developed a marketing kit that includes templates and examples of marketing materials to help customers promote their services in their communities. This support is in addition to the marketing and educational materials that the company will continue to provide to optometrists, RTA operators and patients.

STUDENTS RECEIVE HANDS-ON EXPERIENCES
Vistakon Launches Vision Care Institute

"Awesome" is the word Ketan Sheladia used to describe the new Vision Care Institute of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. Sheladia, a student at the Illinois College of Optometry, was one of the first students to attend the institute's three-day class, which consists of intensive teaching and interactive labs, tours of the Vistakon manufacturing facilities, instruction from leading optometric educators and an opportunity to meet Vistakon representatives.

Vistakon launched the educational facility to enhance the technical training of students and practitioners and to serve as a resource for the most current information in the vision care field.

Cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremonies of the Vision Care Institute are (left to right): Howard Purcell, O.D., director of The Vision Care Institute; Phil Keefer, president, Vistakon Americas; and Don Casey, group president, Vistakon Global Franchise and Americas.

Real-world scenarios

"The mission of the Vision Care Institute is to help prepare students for their careers as eyecare professionals (ECPs)," says Howard B. Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O., director of the institute. "Putting participants in real-world scenarios and guiding them through the technical and communication skills process will benefit the new ECP as well as his patients."

In its first year, the institute will work with optometry schools and colleges to give fourth-year students hands-on, patient-focused experiences using the latest products, with a focus on Acuvue brand lenses. Vistakon estimates that half of the approximately 1,100 fourth-year optometry school students will attend the institute in 2004.

The short tour

Located at Vistakon headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., the Vision Care Institute is a 7,000-square-foot facility that features state-of-the-art conference rooms, lecture suites, labs, administrative workstations and fully equipped operatories.

Attendees can experience the latest developments in exam equipment, including automated refraction systems and wavefront analyzers, in the "Exam Room of the Future," which will be upgraded continuously to incorporate the latest advancements in equipment.

The facility also includes two "acuity lanes," advanced vision testing systems that adjust for normal variances in luminance and contract to provide a more real-world vision assessment.

Complementing curricula

The Vision Care Institute curriculum complements the curricula at optometry schools. In addition to technical training, the Vision Care Institute includes related instruction on communication skills that can help new ECPs better educate patients and engage them in conversation following the exam. Some sessions are videotaped to allow students to critique their communications skills, while giving experts a chance to offer advice.

Classes at the institute are given by leading optometrists including Ann M. Hoscheit, O.D., of Gastonia, N.C.; Janet M. Mint, O.D., F.A.A.O., of Jacksonville, Fla.; and Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O., chief optometric editor of Optometric Management, of Brentwood, Tenn.

 

Photo courtesy of SECO International, LLC.

PROFESSIONALS RECEIVE AWARDS
SECO Recognizes Industry Service

SECO President Dr. Bill Spearman presented Dr. Stan Yamane, vice president of Professional Affairs at Vistakon, with a President's Award for meritorious service to the profession during the recent SECO International 2004 (see photo at right).

Drs. Bob Lopanik and Gerald Thomas received awards for meritorious service. Dr. Spearman also presented the following awards to the following individuals: 2004 Optometrist of the South to Dr. John Amos; Paraoptometric of the South to Ms. Janice Payne; Award for Merit to Dr. Mary-Jean Sanspree; and Award for 20 year service, SECO to Mrs. Lillian Graham.

 

ARBO TRACKS CL PROBLEMS
Optometry Deals With "Fairness"

In an effort to support eyecare practitioners' concerns regarding the recently passed Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) is conducting a study of patients who have experienced problems with contact lenses dispensed without a valid prescription. The study seeks to support the contention of many in the eyecare community that improper contact lens sales pose "a real safety issue," in the words of Joseph Barr, O.D., and chief optometric editor of OM's sister publication, Contact Lens Spectrum.

To access ARBO's reporting form, go to www.arbo.org/arbo.asp?dt=R&Doc=complications_repform.

Also, the FTC has published its proposed rule implementing the FCLCA. There is an open comment period. If anyone would like to submit a comment, the proposed rule is available at www.regulations.gov or on the FTC's Web site -- just search for "Contact Lens Rule." Or, access the PDF version at www.regulations.gov/fredpdfs/04-02335.pdf.



Optometric Management, Issue: April 2004