COSMETIC CLS MADE SAFER,
LOWERING THE BOOM ON COUNTERFEITERS
Lenses are Now Regulated
President Bush last month signed
into law S. 172, or The Contact Lens Regulation Act, a bill that amends the Federal
Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to protect patients from eye injuries due to the misuse
of decorative plano contact lenses. These lenses are now again regulated by the
FDA as medical devices and consumers must obtain a prescription from a licensed
eyecare professional to purchase them. The House of Representatives approved the
bill in November.
In other legislative news, Congress took steps to strengthen
anti-counterfeiting laws last month, passing the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured
Goods Act in both houses. While the eyecare industry is a small part of this overall
issue, counterfeiting has been a long-standing problem in the industry, explains
Eve Zartman-Ball, manager of government relations and advocacy at VCA. Moreover,
it's a threat to consumers counterfeit goods are not medically and safety
tested, Ms. Zartman-Ball points out. For instance, "knock-off" sunglass lenses are
not tested with the FDA, and so may not provide ultra-violet protection.
The counterfeiting bill is expected to be signed into law by President
Bush in the coming weeks.
1-800 Blames Loss on Regulation
on the Web
Corneal Reshaping Update
Web Site Exclusive
From newly-marketed lenses to those awaiting FDA approval, Barbara
Anan Kogan, O.D., discusses the latest offerings from the companies that manufacture
corneal reshaping contact lenses. Included is a report on corneal reshaping from
the FDA's perspective.
for the online contact lens discounter 1-800 Contacts fell in the third quarter
for a net loss of $0.6 million, or $0.04 per diluted common share. For the year-ago
quarter, the company reported a net income of $1.4 million, or $0.10 per diluted
common share. According to Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Coon, a major reason
for the loss is "the growing problem of 'doctors' only' lenses."
The company believed that language in the recently-passed
appropriations bill, H.R. 2744, titled, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and
Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 to require contact
lens manufacturers to sell lenses through all sales channels. However, that provision
was not included in the final version of the bill Congress passed in October.
"We are currently turning away thousands of customers each week
who want to order lenses we cannot obtain," Coon said. 1-800 said that addressing
the "threat" of doctors-only lenses will be a top priority.
The company also attributed their third-quarter results to the
prescription verification practices of a leading online seller, claiming that Coastal
Contacts shows a "pattern of ... non-compliance."
MARKETING CAN BENEFIT YOUR PRACTICE
By Bob Levoy, O.D.
The Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS)
announced that it will publish an electronic journal that covers issues
related to glaucoma. Optometrists can receive the journal free of charge
by registering at the OGS Web site (www.optometricglaucomasociety.org)
At one time, the mass market was every O.D.'s
target population. However, today's best strategy is "niche marketing." This
means targeting a specific population of patients, identifying their needs, and
then addressing those needs more competently than anyone else.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a well-documented example of this
strategy. Instead of competing for the highly lucrative frequent-traveler (main
stream) car renter, Enterprise caters to the occasional renter the infrequent
renter. Usually, this is someone in need of a car for a few days while his or her
car is being repaired. This is a person who is not likely to want to travel out
to a Hertz or Avis airport location to rent a car for a few days' use.
The single most significant characteristic of Enterprise Rent-A-Car's
strategy has to do with its choice of customers. Everything else flows from this
decision. The infrequent renter typically has a unique set of needs that aren't
well met by the competition. These are the needs Enterprise has chosen to meet,
and they are meeting them better than their competitors can. (Enterprise Rent-A-Car
has nearly $7 billion in revenues).
step: Give some thought to the type(s) of patients on whom you might focus
exclusively or otherwise. How about Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) patients? Sports
enthusiasts? Patients with ocular allergies? Or perhaps other types of patients
with special needs that are not being met by other optometric practices?
If you're the only practice in town, you can be all things to
all people. But if you're in an urban area or in a community with more than two
or three other optometric practices, consider the many benefits of setting yourself
FREDDO ELECTED PRESIDENT
Will Lead International Research Society
New GP material
Lagado received FDA marketing approval
for TYRO-97 (hofocon A), a hydrophilic surface GP contact lens material. It is a
fluoro-silicone-acrylate GP lens. The approval includes spherical, aspheric, toric
and bifocal contact lenses for daily wear.
Thomas F. Freddo, O.D., Ph.D.,
F.A.A.O., was recently elected to become the next president of the International
Society for Eye Research (ISER). The Society (www.iser.org) was founded in 1968
to establish an international organization to support eye and vision research. It
is comprised of vision research scientists from more than 34 countries, and includes
national chapters in China, Japan, Israel, and Russia. ISER's official journal is
Experimental Eye Research.
Dr. Freddo serves as professor and vice-chairman for Research
in the Department of Ophthalmology at Boston University School of Medicine. He practices
on the clinical staff of the Boston Medical Center Hospitals. Dr. Freddo serves
as adjunct professor of optometry at the New England College of Optometry and is
a member of the Board of Directors of The American Academy of Optometry.
OBESITY INCREASES RISK
Type 2 Diabetes no longer called "Adult
affecting only adults, type 2 diabetes now accounts for 8-45% of new childhood diabetes
cases (depending on geography and cultural heritage). "Of the more than 20% of new
diabetes cases in kids, many in their late teens have complications," says Francine
R. Kaufman, M.D., Los Angeles Children's Hospital Director, and chair of the National
Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney
Diseases study, Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY).
Dr. Kaufman cites the NIH's alarming statistic that one in six
overweight adolescents is at risk for type 2 diabetes. She also reports that at
the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles' Diabetes Center, 25% of the diabetic children
treated have type 2 diabetes, compared with 4% a decade ago. This prevalence, seen
in approximately two million U.S. children ages 12-19, stems from abnormally high
blood sugar levels after not eating for several hours, causing "impaired fasting
The number of people with type 2 diabetes rose from 18.2 to 21
million in just two years and now afflicts 7% of the U.S. population. The Centers
for Disease Control estimates that rate may greatly increase due to the now estimated
type 2 acquisition risk of 41 million pre-diabetics. Optometrists can look for risk
factors for diabetes, such as obesity, and educate patients about the risks before
they're confronted with troubling signs at the fundus.
To learn more about type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes in your younger
patients, including patient/parent information, go to: the National Diabetes Education
Program and the NIH's National Eye Institute's Health Education Program at
To learn more about impaired fasting glucose occurrence of type
2 diabetes in youths, go to these sources:
■ www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and type in "impaired fasting glucose prevalence, adolescents."
article in the November, 2005 issue of the journal Pediatrics (the official journal
of the American Academy of Pediatrics), "Prevalence of Impaired Fasting Glucose
and Its Relationship with Cardiovascular Disease Factors in U.S. Adolescents, 1999-2000,"
can be found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org.
Your Patients from CL Outlets
LENSCO's new patient Web portal, www.DirectContactLenses.com, allows its network
of eye care professionals (ECP) to register their patients for convenient replacement
service of contact lenses. The service enables LENSCO, "to partner with our ECP
network to capture patient revenue that may be lost to mail-order and other big-box
outlets," company president Kevin Lippert said. ECPs can establish individual patient
accounts, upload patient prescription information, set pricing and provide their
patients with secure, password-protected access. The patient can then access their
account and have lenses shipped directly to any location.
launches TV outreach
Vistakon started a new national television campaign for its Acuvue
Oasys with Hydraclear Plus contact lenses. The ad depicts the lens as a breakthrough
for contact lens wearers whose eyes feel tired and dry in conditions such as long
hours of computer use, frequent air travel, or everyday exposure to heated or air
conditioned surroundings. You can also see the ad on
PROGRAMS CONTRIBUTE TO CONTINUING
Send Your Case Studies for REAL
Inc. is asking for "real-life" Optomap Retinal Exam case studies in which the use
of the device has made a difference in clinical diagnosis of a patient for its new
Retinal Exam Advanced Learning Program. Doctors can submit materials to the program
for analysis and discussion on the Optos Web site and in monthly "webinars." One
winner and five runners-up will be highlighted each month in the interactive learning
format. To submit case studies, send them to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail a
disc to Sandi Hughey at Optos, 199 Forest St., Marlborough, MA 01752. Doctors must
obtain written consent from the patient that the Optos images can be used for educational
purposes and potentially published.
PARENTS FORGET SNOW'S REFLECTIVITY
Remind kids to Wear their Sunglasses
joint survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and Vision Service Plan
(VSP) found that only 8% of parents make sure their child wears sunglasses when
going out to play in the snow, leaving them at risk for UV damage. Many seem to
associate sunglasses with the beach, but snow can reflect up to 85% of the sun's
UV rays upward into the eyes. Because UV exposure is cumulative, the AOA warns,
even small children should protect their eyes now to prevent problems later. O.D.s
can educate parents on how to protect their family's eyes each season.
nominees. The American Optometric Association's Paraoptometric Section requests
nominations for the 2006 Paraoptometric of the Year Award. The award recognizes
an optometric assistant or technician who has made the "most outstanding and worthwhile"
contribution to the profession of optometry, paraoptometry, and the general public.
For a nomination form, call (800) 365-2210 x 222, or e-mail
merger moves along. At a recent Eyetech stockholders meeting, more than 71% of the
company's outstanding shares of common stock were voted in favor of adoption of
the merger agreement.
PEOPLE & PROMOTIONS
V.P. at Fashion Optical. Fashion Optical Displays promoted Ed Muehlberger to Vice
President of Sales and Development. He'll coordinate the company's domestic and
international sales staff, design staff, and its plans for corporate expansion.
names an executive director. The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO)
selected Jennifer L. Parker as its new Executive Director. She succeeds Thomas E.
Eichhorst, who retired on August. 18.
facilitates interface. Kowa created a new software enhancement that allows complete
interface with Officmate's ExamWriter program. The electronic bridge gives practitioners
direct access to the ExamWriter program information without integrating ExamWriter
directly into the VK2 system.
to answer imaging needs. Topcon Medical Systems and Anka Systems announ- ced a strategic
partnership to integrate their proprietary imaging solutions and jointly develop
new products for capturing, storing and retrieving digital information.
grows. Allergan Inc. announced a proposal to acquire Inamed Corporation, a global
healthcare company. Inamed's aesthetic brand names include various dermal fillers,
complementary to Allergan's Botox Cosmetic (botulinum toxin type A). The acquisition
is expected to enable Allergan to offer a broad portfolio of aesthetic products
and leverage significant growth and cross-marketing opportunities.
for anti-cataract drop
Othera Pharmaceuticals recently
began a Phase-2 clinical trial for OT-551, a topically-administered eye drop to
prevent the formation of cataracts. The 12-month, double-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled
study will evaluate the compound's ability to prevent or arrest the development
of cataracts in patients who have undergone vitrectomy surgery. One hundred and
twenty-six eyes will be treated in the study.
Patanase brings faster onset of action
says an onset of action study indicates that olopatadine hydrochloride nasal spray
665mcg brought faster allergy relief than mometasone furoate monohydrate nasal spray
50mcg for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. The study included 425 patients
who had a history of seasonal allergic rhinitis and sensitivity to ragweed. Patients
were randomized to a single intranasal dose of either olopatadine hydrochloride,
furoate monohydrate or placebo and exposed to 12 hours of high levels of ragweed
in an environmental chamber. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
In the article, "Digital Slit Lamp Photography"
(October '05), the correct CPT code for photography is 92285. On page 86 of the
article, the captions for photographs #2 and #4 were transposed. OM regrets the
Optometric Management, Issue: December 2005