Tips, Trends & News You Can
PATIENTS FIND RELIEF
Protective Eyewear Fights Dry Eye
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 is the company's third approval in four
years. Vistakon Pharmaceuticals, LLC will be the exclusive U.S. distributor of
the topical ophthalmic solution.
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
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,
Bausch & Lomb names new vice president.
B&L appointed Brian Levy, O.D., as its corporate vice president and chief
New president for SECO. SECO International
elected Richard W. Phillips, O.D., of Johnson City, Tenn., as its new president
INDUSTRY WELCOMES IPORT
Initial Rollout of Private Internet Broadcast
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
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.
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.
"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
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.
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
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