Article Date: 2/1/2005

practice pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

WEB PROGRAM PROMOTES PATIENT RETENTION
Site Allows Patients to Reorder Contacts

Eyefinity last month launched ReorderContacts.com, a service designed for private eyecare practitioners, which gives them the means to let their patients reorder their contact lenses online. Through ReorderContacts.com, private optometrists can direct their patients to a user-friendly Web site that offers a simplified reordering process as well as direct delivery to their homes ("Strengthen Your Contact Lens Practice -- Go Online" on page 42 of this issue also advocates this approach). This allows eyecare practices to compete with other online contact lens companies and major chains with minimal staff effort, Eyefinity says.

Doctors set their own online retail pricing; Eyefinity offers customized in-office market materials to assist their staffs in marketing the service. All contact lens patient information and prescription data is authorized by patients' optometrists to ensure ocular health and patient compliance.

"Doctors can now more effectively compete for the retain sales contact lens patients represent, while fostering patient retention, compliance and satisfaction," says Eyefinity Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dave Delle Donne. The company said it expects thousands of customers to enroll.

For more information, visit www.eyefinity.com or www.reordercontacts.com.

 

A NEW ACUVUE ADVANCE
Vistakon Launches Toric Contact Lens

Vistakon has taken the technology behind its silicone hydrogel contact lens, added the results of extensive research, and arrived at the Acuvue Advance Brand Contact Lens for Astigmatism.

Vistakon says the toric contact lens will establish a new level of stability. Unlike dual thin zones and prism-ballast designs, the design of the new lens harnesses the pressure of the blinking eye to prevent the lens from rotating while keeping it in its proper position.

According to the company, this design allows eyecare professionals to go "from zero to fitting in 60 seconds." The lens settles into place within one minute as the eyelid works to stabilize the lens. The traditional fitting process required a wait of up to 15 minutes for the lens to settle before assessing its fit.

THIN & LITE EFFECTIVELY BLOCKS UV RAYS
AOA Grants Seal to New Lens

The American Optometric Association's (AOA's) Commission on Ophthalmic Standards recently granted its Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet (UV) Absorbers/Blockers to Essilor of America's Thin & Lite 1.67 lens. It's the only 1.67 high index lens to have the AOA seal, the company says. Essilor provides better UV protection with the lens through a built-in UV-blocking agent (396 nm UV cut off).

The AOA's Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbers/Blockers is the newest category in the Association's Seal of Certificate and Acceptance Program.

Products meeting the new Seal's criteria provide significant protection to the eye from naturally occurring environmental UV radiation. The AOA requires that the product not transmit more than 1% UVB or UVA. The product must also meet all appropriate ANSI and International Organization for Standardization standards for its product category to qualify.

 

THE LATEST INFORMATION ONLINE
Assessing the Cooper-OSI Merger

As the Cooper Companies completed the acquisition of Ocular Sciences, optometrists wondered how the transaction, which created the world's third largest contact lens manufacturer, would affect their practices. In response, the company has launched a new Web site, www.CooperVisionOSI.com, dedicated to providing eyecare professionals with information about the integration of the two businesses.

The new site allows practitioners to submit questions or comments regarding the transition and includes a "frequently asked questions" section. The current CooperVision and OSI Web sites remain operational.

 

OM Regrets . . .

A In the article "Practice Excellence in Two Clicks of a Mouse," (OM, December 2004, pg. 28) we listed an incorrect phone number for the EPMS vendor First Insight on page 29. First Insight's correct number is (800) 920-1940.

A Also, in the same article, the company Dynamic Billing Solutions Inc. was omitted from the chart. Dynamic Billing Solution's phone number is (480) 237-3030. Its Web site is www.dynamicbilling.com.

OM apologizes for any inconvenience to our readers.

 

New GP Technology

ABB Optical has introduced a new generation of contact lenses featuring the proprietary Controlled Zone Technology. The collection consists of Versare, Everyday, E-cone and E-Corneal, made with Boston XO Super-Dk material. To find out more about ABB's limited-time special offer, including a free programmed Palm Zire for easier fitting, call (800) 225-1812.

 

O.D. NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE & PROMOTIONS

Essilor gets new VP. Essilor of American named Joni Schon its vice president of Business Growth. Ms. Schon will spearhead a series of initiatives that will accelerate the company's growth over the next three to five years, Essilor says.

VCA welcomes new chair. The Vision Council of America announced that Gerard Santinelli, president and chief executive officer of Santinelli International, is the newly elected chairman of its Lens Processing Technology Division.

 

COMPANY NEWS

Successful first year for Crystalens. Eyeonics Inc. reports that more than 13,000 of its accommodating IOL, the Crystalens, were implanted in the United States during the company's first year in the U.S. market.

Unilens Vision's new lens. Unilens Vision's new C-Vue 55 contact lens is a soft, multifocal toric, which is designed for the patient with astigmatism and presbyopia. The front surface contains aspheric shifts and power jumps that use the company's ray-trace software technology to create the power profile that the ECP desires. The company says the technology results in a contact lens that provides all-day comfort, ease of fit and optimal visual acuity at every distance.

B&L gets a new license. Bayer Healthcare LLC granted Bausch & Lomb an exclusive worldwide license to Bayer's Plasmin technology for ophthalmology. B&L says it will pursue the development of Plasmin technology for potential use in treating indications for which vitrectomy surgery is currently used.

Paragon CRT reaches milestone. Paragon Vision Sciences announced that at the close of 2004, more than 3,500 eyecare practitioners were certified to prescribe Paragon CRT for overnight Corneal Refractive Therapy.

 

IMPLANT CHANGES PERCEPTION FOR BLIND WOMAN
IOL Takes Patient from Seeing Distortion to Seeing Fine Lines

Saudah Pleasant was legally blind, having lost most of her eyesight as a child. The San Diego native's eyeglass prescription read ­14 OD, ­16 OS (her vision was 20/800+ OS). In 2004, at the age of 37, she couldn't identify anything more than colors and vague shapes and shadows through her left eye. Other than a combination of astigmatism and myopia, however, she had healthy eyes.

Although not a candidate for LASIK or lens exchange, Ms. Pleasant underwent an implant of phakic IOLs (Verisyse) in each eye. She described the surgeries -- one for her right eye (March 2004) and one for her left (May 2004) -- as "quick, simple and painless." Ms. Pleasant's vision post-surgery on the days of the surgery was 20/20 OD and 20/40 OS. She told OM that her "visual perception improved 100%." Her life has gone from "distortion and abstract images" to "fine lines and details," she says.

The Verisyse lens received FDA approval to treat adults with myopia ranging from ­5.0D to ­20.0D. A surgeon inserts the lens through a small incision into the anterior chamber of the eye in front of the iris. ABC's Good Morning America covered the procedures, performed by Kerry Assil, M.D.

 

NEW LENS ON THE BLOCK
The Latest in Photochromics

Transitions Optical is offering eyecare practitioners the opportunity to explore the evolution of photochromic technology with a new Transitions Partners in Education program module. The program starts this month and coincides with the launch of Transitions V Lenses with ESP.

The aptly named Transitions V with ESP: The Next Step in Photochromic Lens Technology presents the results of research on 140 patients and 100 eyecare professionals who wore the lenses during a trial conducted earlier this year.

For more information, contact your Transitions Solutions Team representative or Transitions Optical Customer Service at (800) 848-1506.

 

AMD STUDY RESULTS
Program Helps AMD Sufferers Cope with Life

Researchers reported the results of their six-month follow up of an age-related macular degeneration (AMD) self-management program consisting of health education and enhancement of problem-solving skills in improving quality of life as shown by measures of mood and function in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Two hundred and fourteen older adult volunteers (mean age = 80.8 years) who have advanced AMD were randomly assigned to a 12-hour, self-management program (n = 82), a series of 12 hours of tape-recorded health lectures (n = 66) or a waiting list (n = 66). At the six-month follow up, participants in the self-management program reported significantly less emotional distress (P = .008), better function (P = .05) and increased self-efficacy (P = .006) compared with control subjects.

 

HEALTH Notes
Surgery for AMD Complications Doesn't Improve Vision

According to the results of nationwide clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, vision doesn't improve substantially for patients who have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and who undergo surgery to remove lesions of new blood vessels, scar tissue or possible bleeding beneath the retina. The NEI-funded Submacular Surgery Trials (SST) investigated the outcomes of surgery being practiced by retinal surgeons to remove choroidal neovascularization that are linked with AMD and other causes. The journal Ophthalmology published four of a total of six main result papers on the SST. The four papers address surgery for two groups of AMD patients (454 patients who had centrally located lesions that weren't predominantly blood and 336 patients who had more extensive bleeding under the retina).

 

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT TIP
Increase Your Profitability by Meeting Patients' Lifestyle Needs
By Barbara Anan Kogan, O.D.

Assess your community's lifestyle needs and tweak your services, hours, etc. to meet these needs. Doing so will ensure patient loyalty while at the same time increase your profitability. Consider the following.

Keeping close to a patient's scheduled appointment time can prevent losing that patient to another practice. (For example, parents often don't like to have to take time off from work to take their child out of school and then wait an excessive amount of time in a doctor's office.)

Patients who are bringing in an aging parent often find that it's easier to do so in the daylight and in the morning, when that parent is more cognitive, or on a Saturday, if the parent resides out of town. College students home for the weekend also prefer the option of scheduling an appointment for a Saturday.

Many employees and business owners start work as early as 7:30 in the morning, so think about offering a 7:00 a.m. appointment time slot. You can easily manage opening early by yourself -- just leave the office door locked and the answering machine on. Schedule dilation, visual fields testing and binocular vision evaluations at another time -- not in this prime time slot. Another option to consider is to stay open late one or two nights each week. Switch your office hours on those days from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. or from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

It's time to consider your patients' needs. They'll notice the effort and appreciate you for it.

 

CYCLOSPORINE UPDATE
Treatment Allows Patients to Increase Wear Time

Milton Hom, O.D., F.A.A.O., recently conducted a study in which he evaluated the efficacy of cyclosporine supplemented with rewetting drops as necessary. Seventeen patients participated in the randomized, investigator-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Dr. Hom gave the test group cyclosporine 0.05% ophthalmic emulsion and the control group carboxymethylcellulose rewetting drops. Both groups received their treatments b.i.d. before and after contact lens use. The study examined the groups at baseline, Week 1, Week 4 and Week 5.

The cyclosporine-treated patients showed "significantly greater" improvements in ocular dryness and frequency of rewetting drop use vs. the control patients. Additionally, cyclosporine treatment "significantly increased" contact lens-wearing time. As for safety and tolerability, Dr. Hom said he saw no significant differences between treatment groups in biomicroscopy and visual acuity exams; all patients tolerated cyclosporine well.

 

Learning Tool for Low-Vision Patients

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, a nonprofit, volunteer organization, is the nation's largest library of audio textbooks. To learn more about the group or become a volunteer reader, call (800) 221-4792 or visit their Web site at www.rfbd.org.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: February 2005