Article Date: 10/1/2004

practice pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

Preschool Eye Exams Would Reduce Vision Loss

A recent study concludes that by providing eye exams to all preschool children, the United States would detect, treat and cure more cases of vision-threatening amblyopia. In addition, the study reports that eye exams produce greater returns on investment than many other common medical interventions.

Economist Alan J. White, Ph.D., of Abt Associates in Cambridge, Mass., authored the study. An electronic copy of Eye Exams for Children: Their Impact and Cost Effectiveness and a copy of the executive summary are available for download at

Canadian Retailer Doesn't Require Rx or Fitting, based in Ontario, Canada, is selling color plano contact lenses "for cosmetic purposes only." U.S. residents and Canadians can log on, and for $29.50 or $32.50 (plus shipping and handling), buy one set of lenses, a trial size bottle of solution, a carrying case and a wear and care guide. No prescription is required. Company President and Founder Anthony Masciangelo declined to reveal the material of the contact lenses but says, "The lenses are manufactured under certain specifications and it's under patent.

Nothing to Fear with Fluoroquinolones

Some healthcare professionals have expressed reservations over prescribing fourth-generation fluoroquinolones for reasons of cost or the potential to create more resistant strains of bacteria. Both reasons are unfounded, says Kirk Smick, O.D., F.A.A.O. He explains that it would take two simultaneous mutations, at the DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV sites, to achieve resistance, which is rare. The case for prescribing fourth-generation fluoroquinolones (e.g., Zymar and Vigamox) becomes even more conclusive when we consider that many bacterial strains have developed resistance to third-generation fluoroquinolones (e.g., Ciloxan, Ocuflox and Quixin).

Dr. Smick relates the case of a patient who presented with a 3 mm central ulcer and 3+ conjunctival injection OS. The patient was discouraged because after seven days, his therapy -- Ciloxan q.h., prescribed by a local M.D. -- resulted in no improvement. Dr. Smick prescribed Zymar and at the two-day follow-up visit, the patient's eye improved to 1+ conjunctival injection and the ulcer measured 1 mm. After five days, there was no injection.

In the area of cost, Dr. Smick notes:

OM presents a review of fluoroquinolones on page 51.

Freddo Takes Post in Ophthalmology

Thomas F. Freddo, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., was recently promoted to the position of vice chairman for Research in the Department of Ophthalmology at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Freddo is a professor of ophthalmology, pathology and anatomy there. The appointment of an optometrist to such a prominent position in ophthalmic education appears to be a first. "In this time of renewed interprofessional tensions, I truly never expected this to happen -- certainly not in Boston," Dr. Freddo said.

Dr. Freddo practices comprehensive optometry on the staff of The Boston Medical Center Hospital and also serves as a senior consultant in Diagnostic Ophthalmic Pathology in the Pathology department. He was the first optometrist elected to the American Association of Ophthalmic Pathologists.

CooperVision Fills its Multifocal Lens Portfolio

CooperVision recently introduced four new multifocal contact lenses.

► The Proclear Multifocal addresses discomfort and dryness, the chief problems cited by existing multifocal wearers, with its omalfilcon A material, which creates a biocompatible lens material.

► The UltraVue 2000 Multifocal and the UltraVue 2000 Multifocal Options offer extended parameters to fit a broader range of patients with presbyopia. (CooperVision acquired the Ultra Vue 2000 line of products from Opti-Centre.)

► The UltraVue 2000 Multifocal Toric was designed to accommodate presbyopes with astigmatism.

The company becomes the first to offer presbyopic correction with multiple product lines and materials. CooperVision designed the lenses using Balanced Progressive technology. Every lens utilizes a two-lens design system featuring distance and near lenses, which, according to the company, provides excellent binocular vision and stereopsis across a wide range of parameters.

All of the company's multifocal lenses come with a 100-day/100% guarantee. CooperVision introduced the lenses as part of its new strategic focus on the growing multifocal lens market. According to the company, its "Total Multifocal Solution" allows eyecare practitioners to fit more presbyopes with the widest range of multifocal products, materials and parameters in the industry today.


Advanced Vision Research Inc. (AVR) is now the single largest private benefactor of The Schepens Eye Research Institute (SERI), which is dedicated to the fight against blinding and painful eye disease. AVR has provided more than $1.5 million in royalty payments to SERI.

Transitions Healthy Change Sweepstakes winner Conway S. Cox, O.D., of Princeton, Ind., says his family will adopt a child from China with the $25,000 prize money. The Healthy Change Sweepstakes features three grand prize drawings with two $25,000 winners each time.

A team of almost 300 volunteers from Clear Vision Optical and Kenneth Cole Productions raised more than $51,000 for the recent AIDS Walk New York.

Signet Armorlite Gives Away $1 Million

For the second consecutive year, Signet Armorlite will award a total of $1 million to independent retail businesses that dispense Kodak progressive lenses. Each month the company awards eight cash prizes. At the American Optometric Association Congress in 2005, Signet Armorlite will award four grand prizes of $100,000.

The sweepstakes is open to Signet Armorlite's PracticePlus members. PracticePlus is the company's ongoing program designed to strengthen private practices. For further details or to register for the program, call (800) 950-5367 or visit the site

Allergan Sues Alcon Over Generic Drug

Allergan Inc. has filed lawsuit against Alcon Laboratories Inc., Alcon Research Ltd. and Alcon Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The suit is in response to Alcon's filing of a New Drug Application to market a generic brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution in the United States. Allergan currently markets brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution under its Alphagan trademark. The company says that Alcon's proposed drug infringes on certain patents held by Allergan.


Soft K for Post-Refractive Surgery Enhancement

The recently FDA-approved Eni-Eye Soft K contact lens (xylofilcon A) for keratoconus is now also indicated for post surgical visual enhancement and for the correction of irregular astigmatism caused by natural or post-surgical conditions. Call (800) 525-2470 for more information.

Contact Lens Grows ECPs' Practices

In a survey of 150 eyecare professionals, 86% agreed that the Acuvue Advance contact lens with Hydraclear had contributed to the growth of their contact lens business. In the survey, released by Vistakon, 87% of the ECPs reported that the contact lens helped increase their overall practice growth and 85% said it increased new patient referrals.

Six months after the launch of the Advance contact lens, the ECPs surveyed reported that their practices grew an average of 8%. However, those who proactively recommended Advance saw their practices grow an average of 10%, while those who didn't proactively recommend the lens experienced practice growth averaging 5%.

The survey also found that 87% select the lens when fitting contact lens wearers who express comfort concerns, while 82% choose it as the brand for lapsed contact lens wearers. In addition, 71% report Advance as their preferred brand for new adult contact lens wearers and 63% say it's their choice for new teen contact lens wearers.

Companies Tout "High Definition" Vision

Ophthonix and contact lens maker Optical Connection have announced a strategic alliance that will produce wavefront-guided contact lenses. The Ophthonix Z-View abberometer captures low- and high-order abberation measurements, which can be used to create Ophthonix iZon spectacle lenses (see OM August, page 61). Under the new alliance, these wavefront measurements can also be used to produce "iZon by Definition" contact lenses, made by Optical Connection.

According to Ophthonix, iZon lenses will provide "high definition" vision -- excellent acuity, better contrast, minimal glare and high color perception -- where traditional lenses are only able to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and some astigmatism. The spectacle lenses will be available to patients by the end of the year; iZon contact lenses will be available no later than the first quarter of 2005.

The contact lenses are available through Ophthonix and Optical Connection. Both companies will support sales and marketing activities involved in placing and servicing the abberometers in eyecare practitioners' offices throughout North America.

ARBO Introduces CE Tracking System; AAO and SECO Will be First to Use It

The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry has introduced an education tracking program that will streamline the process of capturing data related to continuing education for optometrists.

Under the program, ARBO will issue an Optometric Education Tracker card to each optometrist in the United States. Each card will contain a unique identification number, which optometrists can use for registration and attendance at CE sessions. The card also contains a magnetic strip for electronic registration. ARBO will store this CE data on its Web site ( where optometrists and state boards will be able to verify CE completion.

The program will first be available at the American Academy of Optometry meeting in December and at SECO International in February 2005. ARBO and the American Optometric Association are discussing use of the tracker cards at the AOA Congress in June 2005, says Robert L. Sorrell, O.D., chair of ARBO's Data and Information Committee. He says that ARBO welcomes other organizations across the industry to use the unique I.D. numbers in their education programs.

ARBO assures the security and confidentiality of the database. Dr. Sorrell says that the association will not sell or rent the data to other organizations.

ARBO plans to mail all 39,000 cards by the first of November. Optometrists who do not receive a card by Nov. 1 can call the ARBO hotline at (866) 869-6852 or log onto the

Alcon and Essilor of America have underwritten the cost of producing and mailing the cards. Mikrotec Developers provided a grant for ARBO to redesign its Web site to accommodate the new program.



l Hoya appoints new executive. Hoya Vision Care appointed William B. Harris as vice president of Operations. Mr. Harris will have responsibility for the nationwide operations of the 16 ophthalmic laboratories in the Hoya Full Spectrum Laboratory Network.

l Dougherty passes away. The LifeStyle GP Company of Lakewood, Colo., announced the recent death of its President, David J. Dougherty, last month after a brief illness. Robert A. Smart, head of LifeStyle GP manufacturing, will assume day-to-day management responsibilities on an interim basis until the company names a successor.

l New DO at Santinelli. Santinelli International hired Donna Gilbert as its new director of Operations. Ms. Gilbert's background includes supply chain, logistics, customer service and IT project management, Santinelli says.


l Transatlantic merger. Spanish-based Indo Internacional S.A. purchased a majority interest in AIT industries. The INDO group manufacturers optical frames, sunglasses, ophthalmic lenses and equipment, and shop interior design services; the Illinois-based AIT manufacturers and distributes automatic pattern and patternless bevel edgers.

l Accu Lens expands. Accu Lens added Boston contact lenses and lens care systems to its product portfolio.

l Rose K2 launch. Blanchard Contact Lens will launch the Rose K2 Aberration Control lens throughout North America on Dec. 1, 2004. Beginning in November, Dr. Paul Rose will present COPE-approved lectures on the lenses in San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo and Portland, Or. Contact your local Rose K2 distributor or Blanchard at (800) 367-4009 for information.

Johnson & Johnson Tests Definity

With three zones of vision correction, progressive lenses correct patients' distance, mid and near vision. Unfortunately, with the near vision zone located at the bottom of the lens, three-zone progressives do not address activities that require ground-level vision.

However, clinical tests show that the Dual Add design and exclusive Fourth Zone of the Definity progressive lens significantly enhanced visual comfort when looking downward.

The double-masked studies, sponsored by the Spectacle Lens Group of Johnson & Johnson, report that wearers preferred the Definity lens by a margin of five-to-one over the market-leading progressive in fitting heights between 18 mm and 22 mm. The preference level grew to 30-to-1 with fitting heights of 23 mm or greater.

The tests replicated tasks that required a downward gaze, including walking across an uneven surface, maneuvering through an office and viewing items on the floor.

Another study by the Spectacle Lens Group reports that wearers prefer Definity lenses at 16 mm and 17 mm fitting heights over leading short-corridor progressives. The lenses had a five-to-one overall preference at 16 mm and a six-to-one preference at 17 mm. Ami Gupta, the company's vice president of research and development, attributes the superior performance to the Dual Add design, which divides the prescription on both sides of the lens.

AOA, CLES and Eschenbach Offer CE

► The Education Task Force of the Contact Lens and Eyecare Symposium (CLES), which is composed of educators from the American Optometric Association, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the Contact Lens Society of America, has released the CLES 2005 Preliminary Education Program. More than 90 hours of approved CE have been developed. For more information, visit CLES 2005 is scheduled for January 19 to 22, 2005 in San Diego.

► A new online CE aims to help O.D.s diagnose chronic dry eye. "Advanced Principles in the Treatment of Ocular Surface Disorders" contains two educational modules featuring video presentations and a slide show. It's free and available through Dec. 31. Go to or The CEs were developed in conjunction with the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and the American Optometric Association, with an unrestricted educational grant from Allergan.

► Eschenbach presents "Understanding Visual Impairments and Functional Rehabilitation of Visually Impaired Patients." Presented by the faculty at the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center at Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the course includes 22 lectures and is approved for 15 CEUs by JCAHPO, ACVREP and the Maryland Board of Occupational Therapy. For more information, go to


Optometric Management, Issue: October 2004