Article Date: 12/1/2004

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AMO to Acquire VISX for $1.27 Billion

Advanced Medical Optics (AMO), the ophthalmic surgical devices and eyecare products company, announced it will purchase VISX, a manufacturer of laser vision correction technologies, for $1.27 billion. The transaction, which will create a $1 billion global enterprise, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005. The acquisition creates the world's leading refractive surgical business focused on fast-growing segments of the ophthalmic medical device market. It "represents a bold step forward to achieve one of AMO's core strategic goals to build a leading refractive surgical business," says James Mazzo, AMO president and CEO.

According to a Merrill Lynch research report, AMO will become the leader in terms of installed laser systems at an estimated 29% share, versus a 19% share for Bausch & Lomb and 13% for Alcon. "The acquisition makes strategic sense as it provides AMO with a significant presence in the higher growth, higher margin refractive surgery market," the report comments.

The combination of AMO and VISX will provide surgeons with a portfolio of leading technologies that includes the VISX laser system and custom ablation technology, as well as AMO's microkeratome and phakic and multifocal IOLs.The purchase will also shift AMO's revenue mix, says the Merrill Lynch report, with 50% of sales in the cataract surgery segment (59% pre-acquisition), 33% in the eyecare segment that includes the contact lens care line (39% pre-acquisition), and 19% in refractive surgery (2% pre-acquisition). Under the terms of the agreement, VISX shareholders will receive 0.552 shares of AMO stock and $3.50 in cash for every share of VISX common stock they own. The total consideration will be about 29 million shares of AMO stock and $184 million in cash. Upon completion of the transaction, AMO stockholders will own 58.5% of the company.

Okla. Governor Reaffirms O.D.s' Role

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry last month signed the new rule established by the Oklahoma Board of Examiners in Optometry confirming the existing scope of practice and more narrowly defining the surgical procedures optometrists may perform. As reported in Optometric Management in June 2004 (page 12), Oklahoma's H.B. 2321, which reaffirmed optometrists' rights to bill for surgical codes, precipitated a challenge from organized ophthalmology within the state.

The Board of Examiners had to formulate a new rule when the state attorney general issued an opinion last April that the wording of the statute did not specifically allow or disallow surgical procedures.

The Oklahoma Board of Optometry began working in October on new rules to define the "non-laser" surgeries that the Board of Examiners does not authorize optometrists to perform.

According to the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians, the new Rule "in no way expands, amplifies or changes the scope of practice for optometry . . . . [it] merely enables optometric physicians to continue providing the same level of quality care and perform the same procedures they have in the past." These procedures include removal of corneal foreign bodies and laser posterior capsulotomies.

Online Shopping Made Easier

Gerber Coburn recently unveiled a new and improved online shopping site with a new name, It features a complete inventory of Gerber Coburn supplies, parts and accessories, the company promises, as well as user-friendly features. These include product browsing and search capabilities, order tracking, online customer registration, customer shopping carts and simple checkout. The site also features large color photographs and detailed descriptions. A summary screen indicates a desired item's availability.



l Moore rises at B&L. Bausch & Lomb named Robert J. Moore vice president and general manager of it U.S. Vision Care and OTC Pharma commercial business. He'll be responsible for general management of B&L's contact lens and lens care, vitamin, general eye care and vision accessories businesses.

l New president for Talia. Talia Technology selected Daniel D. Bondi as president of its North American Operations.

l Gerber appoints Patry, Hancock. Clement Patry will become president of Gerber Coburn as of Feb. 1, 2005, the company said. He'll also serve as a vice president of parent company Gerber Scientific. Additionally, current president of Gerber Coburn John R. Hancock, will become president of Gerber Technology.

l Fancher promoted at CooperVision. David E. Fancher is the new president at CooperVision Surgical, a unit of CooperVision. Fancher previously held the post of senior vice president of sales for the Americas in the company.


l Inspire licenses glaucoma technology. Inspire Pharmaceuticals entered into an agreement to license exclusively several patents from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for use in developing and commercializing new therapeutics for treating glaucoma.

l Alcon supports senior eye health in United States. Alcon has extended a $1.125 million, five-year, unrestricted grant to the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's public service program (EyeCare America) to support its Seniors EyeCare Program.

l Eyefinity accelerates online ordering. Eyefinity launched a service enhancement that enables customers to place frame orders in seconds while processing claims and orders online. Go to

Texas Optometrists Find a Win-Win

The Texas Optometric Association has found a way to offset increases in membership dues and other fees -- even in the face of rising costs. Through the Signet Armorlite PracticePlus program, the association receives $1 for each pair of qualifying Kodak lenses that an optometrist dispenses.

"The association receives tens of thousands of dollars each year through PracticePlus," says John Coble, O.D., of Greenville, Texas. "And the potential is there to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The Texas association actively seeks creative methods of funding, says Dr. Coble. He calls PracticePlus a success because it encourages doctors to continually dispense quality optics. "It's a win-win-win for the patient, the optometrist and the association," he says. "The program could have a huge impact on state associations that don't make a lot of money."

In addition, as PracticePlus members, optometrists receive $10 for each pair of qualifying lenses, which can be put toward staff incentives, education, training or other programs that promote a strong practice.

Eyecare practitioners can apply for the program at, or by calling (800) 950-5367.

Marketing Makeover for O.D.s

Starting next month, Ideopia, Haag-Streit USA and Boucher Communications Inc. (publisher of Optometric Management) will join forces to offer one optometrist a $135,000 marketing makeover. The marketing makeover sweepstakes includes $100,000 in both web and advertising creative services from Ideopia and $35,000 worth of Haag-Streit equipment.

Optometric Management will report on the marketing makeover in upcoming issues, so other optometrists can learn from the experiences of the sweepstakes winner. Says Doug Parry, publisher of Optometric Management, "Our mission is to give optometrists the tools they need to succeed in business. We hope to set a few standards for optometric marketing."

For information or to enter the contest, visit

Computer Use Possibly Risky?

In the December 2004 issue of Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Japanese scientists reported that hours spent in front of a computer screen may increase the risk of glaucoma in myopic individuals. They studied about 10,000 workers in Japan who completed a questionnaire about how much time they spent using a computer and any eye problems they experienced. Approximately 5% of the workers in the study had visual field problems and tests revealed that about one-third of them had suspected glaucoma. According to the scientists, there appeared to be a link between glaucoma and heavy computer use in myopic individuals.

Hall of Fame Recognizes Inductees

The National Optometry Hall of Fame celebrated the work of its 2004 inductees in a ceremony held during the EastWest Eye Conference in Cleveland. The inductees -- Jimmy Barlett, O.D., D.O.S., Sc.D.; Anthony J. Adams, O.D., Ph.D.; Irving Bennett, O.D.; Melvin D. Wolfberg, O.D.; Joan Exford, O.D. and Frank Brazelton, O.D. (inducted posthumously) -- were acknowledged not only for past accomplishments but for their foresight and abilities as leaders in a continually evolving field.

"When I entered the profession in 1970, optometry was essentially a 'drugless' profession," says Dr. Bartlett. "Now, in 2004, optometrists in every state use medications to both diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions."

Over his career, Dr. Bennett noted that "there is no most significant development; instead there are a multitude of changes in optometry's rapid maturation process."

Log on to for further coverage of the National Optometry Hall of Fame 2004 inductees.

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Silicone hydrogels on the cutting edge. Dr. Cary Herzberg explains how contact lens manufacturers, practices and patients are taking advantage of the benefits of silicone hydrogel lenses.

Does natural mean safe? Not always, answers Frederick T. Fraunfelder, M.D. In an interview with OM, Dr. Fraunfelder, a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Oregon State, reveals the side effects of herbal remedies and nutritional supplements.

A Hall of Fame interview. Managing Editor Karen Rodemich interviews the most recent Optometry Hall of Fame inductees who offer insights into where optometry has been and where it's headed.

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It's A New Look

CIBA Vision plans to introduce new packaging for its Night & Day contact lens, which, according to the company, will more strongly support the hyper-oxygen transmissibility of the lens by dropping the word "Focus" on the package and adding the phrase "breathable contact lenses." The company has made no changes to the Night & Day contact lens but subtle and modern graphic design improvements have been made to the package design.



Optometric Management, Issue: December 2004