TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE
PRACTICE ACT AMENDED
Requires Rx for Plano Lenses
In response to a number of reported incidents in which
young women harmed their eyes by wearing plano contact lenses bought from retailers,
Tennessee has passed a law requiring a prescription to purchase the lenses. "The
young ladies purchased the lenses for cosmetic reasons," explained Tennessee Optometric
Association Executive Director and State Representative Gary Odor. "They had no
prior contact lens-wearing experience and did not receive counseling."
Plano lenses were not regulated
in Tennessee because a ruling from the FLA and an opinion from the Tennessee Attorney
General held that they were not subject to the Optometry Practice Act. HE 114 amends
the act, defining plano lenses as contact lenses and placing them under the existing
prohibition that retailers may not order, sell or dispense contact lenses. Mr. Odor
says that the state will probably do what it originally did to enforce the law -
the state licensing board of optometry will write to any retailer reported to be
selling plano lenses to cease and desist; a failure to comply will result in legal
EXAMS MANDATES FOR CHILDREN
New Law Requires Tougher Screening
Arkansas law (Act 1438) aims to help prevent vision loss caused by amblyopia by
requiring that all children receive a vision screening by a school nurse. Any children
who fail must undergo another screening by the nurse. If the child fails a second
time, he or she will be required to receive an eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
The new law tests not only distance
acuity, but also near vision acuity, lateral and vertical muscle balance, binocularity
and color vision.
Additionally, it requires screening for kindergartners, elementary and middle school
students. The new law will take effect in the 2006-2007 school year. A copy of the
law is available at
The National Women's
Health Resource Center has declared July "Dry Eye Awareness Month." This complements
the NWHRC's campaign on chronic dry eye, which affects one in 12 women over the
age of 50. The center has partnered with Allergan for both events. More information
and patient educational materials can be found at
By Bob Levy, O.D.
Studies of consumer behavior indicate
that only 13% of people make buying decisions based strictly on price. That means
87% of people consider price, but also look for quality care, service, convenience,
a personal relationship and more from service providers.
Does it really make
sense to gear your practice and fee structure to the price-conscious 13% of the
population? You may drown in overhead costs trying to keep prices low enough to
suit them. And by definition, they'll shop elsewhere is if they can find lower fees.
may think that more than 13% of your community is price-conscious. Perhaps so. But
even if you double the number, that leaves 74% of people who are interested in factors
besides cost, still a sizable target population for your practice. Triple the figure
to 39% and you could still target 61% of the population as prospective patients.
learned lesson: "There's nothing wrong with competing on price," says Robert B.
Tucker, author of Win the Value Revolution, "but if being the "low price leader"
in your market isn't your ... strategy then flirting with price competition could
become your firm's eventual death certificate."
check: If price were everything, supermarket shelves would be filled with generic
products priced lower than branded counterparts. Fine restaurants would be overtaken
by cheap fast-food outlets. And we'd all be driving '83 Elf Casinos and shopping
at Dollar General on Mother's Day.
can't be all things to all people. So why not provide quality care, personal service,
convenience and one-to-one relationships that meet the needs of the majority of
people to whom price isn't everything?
LEGISLATION FAVORS PRESCHOOL EYE EXAMINATIONS
Congressman Introduces Children's
New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell last month introduced
legislation that would establish a grant program to provide comprehensive eye examinations
and follow-up care for children. H.R. 2238 would be available to all states and
would supplement a state's efforts to test and treat children that do not have the
financial means to do it themselves. It would also encourage states to educate parents
of ocular health.
Although the American Academy of
Pediatrics, as well as other medical organizations, contend that all children should
receive a vision evaluation before entering school, the group says that only one
in three children do so. "It is a national disgrace that only a small number of
children are actually receiving the preventive care that they need in order to ensure
healthy vision, Rep.
said. "This lack of vision care places children at greater risk for permanent vision
loss, as well as learning difficulties in school. Unless we act, children will continue
to fall through the cracks."
FIRST DESCRIPTIVE MUSIC VIDEO
Sight-impaired Get In On Videos
Wonder is making music history with a new video that reaches out to the vision-impaired.
The music video for his new song, "So What the Fuss?", contains a second, descriptive
audio track, recorded by hip hop artist Busta Rhymes for people specifically designed
for who are blind or have low vision. According to Universal Motown Records Group,
there are two versions of the video: one is a traditional music video, serviced
to music channels. The second is accompanied by a special video description technique.
It will air on channels featuring SAP (Science Access Project) technology. Wonder
unveiled the video at a news conference last month to reporters who were blindfolded.
"Until now, music videos have been
very one dimensional for those who are blind or have low vision," Wonder said. "Now
all music video fans will be able to apply their vision to my video, thanks to the
descriptive technique and, of course, a great narration by Busta Rhymes."
Vision Council of America has launched
www.2020advocacy.com, a source for VCA's
advocacy efforts that includes news on vision issues, grassroots activities and
legislative information. The site also contains research that supports vision-related
legislation. Through the site, visitors can track the status of legislation, write
elected representatives, download alerts for other Web sites and draft letters to
submit to local newspapers.
OFFERS "ADVANCE" NEWS
Advance Lenses Receive High
Patients and eyecare professionals rated Acuvue Advance
contact lenses higher than a competing silicone hydrogel lens, according to a new
Study participants rated Advance
significantly higher in overall comfort and vision quality. Twenty-six ECPs conducted
the study where the lenses were evaluated in a two-week daily-wear monadic study.
Both lenses were sponsor-masked to the doctor and double-masked to patients. ECPs
provided comments and ratings on perception and observation of each patient fitted
at the dispensing visit and at the final visit.
In other news, Vistakon has announced
that Advance contact lenses for astigmatism, the first silicone hydrogel daily wear
contact lenses for astigmats, are available in 750 skus from plano to -6.00 in 0.25D
steps, Cyls: -0.75, -1.25, -1.75; Axis: 90 & 180 +/- 20 (no obliques). Additional
parameters will be available in July.
In addition, Vistakon recently began
airing national television commercials for Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism. The ads
reference the ECU and focus on the lens' ability to provide consistent, all-day
vision and comfort. Patients can receive a free trial pair certificate by visiting
BRAND WILL CONSIST OF SEVEN PRODUCT DIVISIONS
OptiSource Gets A New Identity
International last month announced that it was integrating all 7,000 of its products
into one recognizable brand name, "OptiSource," in the interest of clearing up any
confusion among its customers. The new brand will consist of seven distinct product
divisions: finishing, edging, surfacing, lens cleaners, optical tools, accessories
and exam supplies. Each is represented by a graphical icon augmented with the legend,
"7 Divisions, One Source," which the company will phase into all communications.
"The timing of this brand integration
is perfect," says Daryl Squicciarini, vice president of OptiSource International.
"We have recently completed construction of our new building ... allowing us to
operate and manage all our divisions under one roof."
ldvanced Medical Optics exercises its options.
Advanced Medical Optics Inc. (AMO)
acquired Quest Vision Technologies last month, an option granted the company as
part of it's year-long research and evaluation licensing agreement with Quest for
the development of accommodating IOLs. "Our research has been very productive and
we are enthusiastic about the potential of Quest Vision's proprietary technology,
which is distinct from others under development because it uses the concept of a
shape-changing optic to provide accommodation, rather than an axial movement used
in single- or dual-optic alternatives," says AMO chief executive officer Jim Mazzo.
New identity for Ophthalmic.com. The company formerly known as T.C. Ophthalmic LLC announced that it is now
called Ophthalmic.com, which is also it's Web address (instead of the former refracting.com).
The company says that its new web site provides eyecare professionals quick and
easy access to important equipment, information and supplies for their practices.
Its line of products includes used and new ophthalmic equipment.
Eyefinity integrates. Eyefinity
announced that it will integrate its online services into Crowell Systems's Medformix
Practice Management Software. The move provides Medformix users with access to Eyefinity
online services for VSP.
OccuLogix gets new BOD member.
Santen appointed that its chief executive officer, Adrienne L. Graves, Ph.D., to OccuLogix's board of directors.
Volk promotes one of its
own. Volk Optical announced that it has promoted Steve Cech to the position of Vice
President of Research and Development and appointed him to the company's board of
directors. Cech joined Volk last year as Manager of R&D.
MARKETING & COMPANY PROMOTIONS
Carat Advantage sales package from Carl Zeiss contains several tools to help partner
labs introduce new products to eye care professionals.
more information, go to www.zeiss.com/lenses/
Optical announces its Contact Lens Success program guarantee: Practitioners can
get a full refund on up to two opened, and partially used boxes of the company's
disposable contact lenses if patients aren't satisfied, or convert to another product.
Whether you order one box or eight, Imperial will credit the entire order when
the unopened boxes are returned with the partially used box or boxes. Lenses must
be returned within 90 days of original shipment.
details, go to
PSA EDUCATES THOSE
LIVING WITH LOW VISION
Check Yearly's Latest Outreach
Yearly. See Clearly. has launched a print public service announcement (PSA) urging
caregivers and family members of those with low vision to seek the advice of an
eyecare professional for options on living with the problem. The PSA directs readers
to a toll-free low vision hotline (1-800-455-8006) and to the low vision section
of the Check Yearly Web site (checkyearly.com/lowvision). Check Yearly says that
it will distribute the PSA to approximately 7,000 media outlets, including daily
and weekly newspapers, trade journals and consumer magazines.
Additionally, VCA's Low Vision Division
will promote the PSA by using customized versions as advertising slicks and distributing
copies to their accounts.
OFFERS VIRTUAL EXHIBIT HALL
Taking A Conference to The Vision-Impaired
recently presented its first online conference for the visually impaired and the
service providers who support them. OcuSource Expo was created, company chief executive
officer Dr. Lou Lipschultz explains, to address the access issue that he believes
keeps so many who suffer from
form of vision loss away from vision impairment trade shows.
The "exhibit halls" feature "booths"
staffed by vendors, agencies and organizations. Each conference booth has its own
online voice-chat and presentation room. For more information, go to
Linked to Genetic Mutation
at Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Iowa believe AMD occurs
when a common inherited gene variation is triggered, according to a study published
in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study examined 900 AMD patients
and 400 healthy controls. Results showed nearly half of all AMD patients had an
inherited pattern of genetic variants in the Factor H gene. This gene is responsible
for encoding protein to regulate immune defense against infections. Patients with
an inherited variation in this gene are less able to control inflammation, which
may spark AMD later in life, according to the study.
The results of the study suggest
targeting molecules involved in immune system response may provide powerful new
therapies for treating and preventing AMD. Some options now under investigation
include extracting stem cells from the eye so they could be reengineered and re-implanted;
delivering healthy Factor H to the eye to short-circuit the disease; and partial
transplantation of the liver, the body's main source of Factor H.
Diabetes and Dry Eye
to Jeffrey Gilbard, M.D., if you have diabetes, there's about a 50/50 chance you
also have dry eye the result of decreased corneal sensation that is often
associated with diabetic retinopathy. Studies have shown consumption of Omega-3
fatty acids can provide dry eye relief. Dr. Gilbard is the inventor of TheraTears
Nutrition for Dry Eyes, an Omega-3 supplement with flaxseed oil, fish oil and Vitamin
MAKES FITTING TORIC CONTACT LENSES EASIER
Online Calculator For Toric
Bausch & Lomb has introduced a free online calculator
to further simplify the process of fitting its SofLens 66 Toric contact lenses.
To determine the most appropriate lens for a patient, eyecare practitioners just
enter the patient's best sphero-cylindrical refraction or spectacle prescription,
and the appropriate vertex distance. The company says that the software application
also automatically adjusts the spherical equivalent when selecting the nearest available
cylinder power in the SofLens 66 Toric range. You can access the B&L calculator
OPTICAL TO MANUFACTURE AND DISTRIBUTE THE
New Lens to Meet Ortho-K Demand
announced the addition of the BE Retainer for Optimal Orthokeratology to its product
line. The BE is one of the GP contact lenses approved for the ortho-k procedure,
and Art Optical is an authorized manufacturer of Bausch & Lomb's Vision Shaping
Treatment (VST) program. The company says the BE is unique in that it is a software-driven
fitting system. Further, as a screening tool, the BE Studio Software predicts the
amount of refractive change in the patient's cornea that is possible, as well as
the treatment zone size for each patient.
Optometric Management, Issue: June 2005