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O.D. Notebook: SECO International Holds Annual Conference in New Orleans

Updates From the Week of August 13, 2018
 
SECO International will host its annual optometry conference in New Orleans Feb. 20 to 24 at the Ernest Morial Convention Center. For registration information, visit attendseco.com. 
 
Associations
  • American Optometric Association trustee Fred Farias III, O.D., has been appointed to the Texas Higher Education Foundation’s board of trustees. The foundation is a nonprofit partner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which Dr. Farias was appointed to in 2015. It raises funds to support the state’s higher education strategic goals. 
  • The Vision Council’s 2019 Executive Summit is open for registration. The event will be held Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando. The event’s theme is “Contagious Leadership – Strategies for Cultivating People While Producing Business Results.” Speakers include: Lou Holtz, Jeff Cherry, Liz Wiseman and Brian Beaulieu. To register, visit thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit. 
 
Companies 
  • ABB Optical Group appointed Thomas E. Burke III to CEO. Angel Alvarez will remain with the company as chairman. 
  • Adult Americans spend, on average, 6 hours and 43 minutes per day looking at a screen, finds research from CooperVision. This adds up to almost 8,000 days in a lifetime.  
  • EyePoint Pharmaceuticals appointed John Weet, Ph.D., as senior vice president of regulatory affairs and quality. 
  • Transitions Optical created several marketing and point-of-sale tools for its new brand and lens offerings tailored for eyecare professionals. It includes: patient brochures, an information sheet, Transitions Style Collection Guide, lens swatches and dispensing mat with inserts. These tools can be custom-ordered, viewed online and, where possible, downloaded at: www.TransitionsPRO.com/freestyle.
  • Web Vision Technologies was awarded two grants from the Translational Research Institute for Space Health at the Baylor College of medicine to develop vision-testing devices for NASA to be used on the International Space Station. 
 
FDA Approval
  • The FDA has approved the Hydrus Microstent, from Ivantis, a microinvasive glaucoma surgery device used to treat patients who have mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma in conjunction with cataract surgery. 
 
Nonprofit
  • Dr. Akio Kanai, CEO of Fuji Optical, has been awarded the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award for 2018, for his efforts in delivering vision care to refugee communities for more than three decades. 
 
Research notes
  • Aerie Pharmaceuticals has released results of a double-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effect of Rhopressa on aqueous humor dynamics in patients who have open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The results: Rhopressa produced a statistically significant increase in trabecular outflow facility of about 35% over baseline, between 20 mmHg and 30 mmHg. Patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension in both eyes, unmedicated and with the baseline IOP of… 
 
State news
  • Michigan Optical, founded by Douglas E. Cramer, A.B.O.C., N.C.L.E., has partnered with Great Lakes Management Services Organization. Established in 2006, Michigan Optical provides a full line of eye care services for the entire family. 
 
Updates From the Week of August 8, 2018
Associations
  • Five scholarship opportunities are available to optometry student members of the American Optometric Association and the American Optometric Student Association. They include: Vision West and Healthy Eyes Advantage Scholarship for InfantSEE, including cash rewards for the top to place holders; Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, $10,000 for one third-year student; Dr. Pat and Patrick Cummings Scholarship; $5,000 for a fourth-year student; Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship, $2,500 for one third-year student; and Dr. Larry J. Alexander Scholarship for Education, $2,500 for one third-year student. Full information on each of the scholarship programs can be found on Optometry Cares website: www.aoafoundation.org/scholarships/scholarship-grant-information/
  • International Sports Vision Association appointed Gary Esterow as executive director. He also serves as the executive director of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International and operator of Esterow Communications. 
  • The Vision Council’s Lab Division announced the industry veterans who will be recognized during the Directors’ Choice Award and 19thAnnual Lab Division Hall of Fame celebration on Sept. 26 in Las Vegas. Dave Cole, former president of Transitions Optical, will receive the Director’s Choice Award. Inductees to the Hall of Fame include: Ronald F. Cooke, O.D., Diversified Ophthalmics Inc.; Ralph G. Kent Jr., Luzerne Optical Laboratories; Daniel C. Lundberg, Digital Vision Inc.; Mike Nathe, Essilor of America; Richard C. Palmer, Practical Engineering Inc. / Walman; Mike Sutherlin, Sutherlin Optical; Michael Walach, Quest Optical Specialty Lab; and Dana Weeks, Optical Services International. 
In other news, Vision Expo West, Sept. 26 to 29 in Las Vegas, will expand its offerings to include education on: attracting and retaining customers, ocular aesthetics, supporting the practice experience, clinical concepts for opticians and technicians and private equity and eye care: should I stay or should I go?. In addition, the conference will include a special live event titled, “Private equity takes root – What does it mean for optometry?” and ODs on Facebook After Dark. Learn more, and register at VisionExpoLV.com.  
 
 
Companies
  • Bausch Health Companies Inc.has completed its name change from Valeant Pharmaceuticals. It is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange as “BHC.” 
  • CareCredit has added 25 new markets where the card is accepted, including primary care and general practice, gastroenterology, physical therapy, ambulatory surgery, durable medical equipment and urgent care. Additionally, it has launched CareCredit Rewards Mastercard, allowing patients to earn points in certain categories. 
  • EyePoint Pharmaceuticals Inc. appointed David Price as chief financial officer. 
  • General Vision Services, a vision benefits provider, and 20/20NOW have partnered to create a mobile eye care center featuring ocular telehealth. Beginning this month, the center will provide on-site eyecare and eyewear services at General Vision Services client locations. The benefits provider indicates it serves more than three million members. 
  • Guardion Health Sciences  was issued two patents for method and apparatus for VA testing. The first is a targeted automatic light calibration of the display screens used for vision testing. The second adds proprietary protection for the methodology to continuously monitor and adjust screen lighting. The second patent also added methodology to compensate for other testing factors, such as room illumination. 
  • Lombart Instrument has acquired Enhanced Medical Services, a distributor of pre-owned ophthalmic instruments in the U.S. Founder and CEO of EMS, Tony Genovese, will join Lombart as executive vice president of Lombart’s national accounts and executive vice president of pre-owned business. Lombart is owned by Atlantic Street Captial. 
  • Nemus Bioscience Inc. has reached an agreement with Albany Molecular Research Incfor the development and manufacture of Nemus’ proprietary cannabinoid-based active pharmaceutical ingredients. 
  • Nicox has initiated a Phase 2 clinical study evaluating NCX 470, a second-generation nitric oxide-donating prostaglandin analog, for the reduction of IOP in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. It enrolled 10 patients. 
  • Opternative has appointed a new chief marketing officer: Lori McInerney. 
  • Presbyopia Therapies announced the primary efficacy and safety endpoints have been met in a Phase 2b study of its PRX ophthalmic solution. Patients between the ages of 48 to 64 who used PRX demonstrated a three line or greater improvement in monocular distance- corrected near acuity and in some patients for up to seven hours. The study is a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled evaluation via two unique miotic-based test candidates of PRX vs. a placebo for the treatment of presbyopia. 
  • Safilo and Fossil Group Inc. have renewed their eyewear license agreement, to extend Safilo as the manufacturer and distributor of the brand’s eyewear. The agreement is for the next five years, up to Dec. 31, 2023. 
 
Nonprofit
  • Centre for Ocular Research & Education’s Director Dr. Lyndon Jones was awarded an honorary degree from Aston University. 
  • Prevent Blindness and the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health announced Vision in Preschoolers Study Group, under the direction of Paulette Schmidt, O.D., M.S., and Richard Bunner, retired from the Ohio Department of Health, as recipients of Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision, group and individual award, respectively. 
  • Think About Your Eyes has added California, Delaware and Massachusetts state optometric associations to the current group of leadership states. The total number of state associations is now at 44. 
 
New products
  • VES Falcon Autofocus Bioptic Telescope, from Ocutech, is an autofocusing bioptic for low-vision patients. The device provides a 12.5° field of view and a focusing range of as close as 13 inches and weighs 3.2 ounces. It operates for eight hours on a single charge. The product is set for release in the fall.  
  • X-Cel Specialty Contacts has released the Atlantis Scleral patient kit to assist the scleral lens patient in keeping her supplies easily accessible and organized. The mirrored kit contains application and removal tools, unpreserved saline solution and a contact lens case. www.xcelspecialtycontacts.com.
 
State associations
  • Texas Optometric Association has formed Focus Texas, a non-profit public awareness initiative. It’s goal: “…to highlight inefficient and outdated state laws that limit how Texas optometrists can care for their patients,” says Dr. Tommy Lucas, director of advocacy for Texas Optometric Association. Under current laws, doctors of optometry are limited in the oral medicines they can prescribe to treat eye conditions and cannot perform in-office laser therapy treatments. Additionally, the law requires an O.D. have their glaucoma diagnoses confirmed by an ophthalmologist, a process that can add the burdens of additional time, travel and expense on the patient. The non-profit includes doctors, patients and citizens who are concerned about the state of eye care in Texas, which has the fourth most restrictive laws in the country, “and that leads to many roadblocks to care for patients who depend on our expertise,” Dr. Lucas says. 
Updates From the Week of August 1, 2018
Associations
  • National Optometric Association and National Vision Holdings announced the winners of National Optometric Student Association grant. The winners, in order, are Jaelyn DeBerry, Priscilla Chang and Sterlin Blakley. The three students were awarded a total of $7,000 for submitting excellent responses to the essay topic “What is your why?” 
  • The International Sports Vision Association announced the appointment of Gary Esterow as executive director. Mr. Esterow also serves as executive director of The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International and operates Esterow Communications, a consulting agency. 
  • The Vision Council’s Eyecessorize fashion eyewear campaign is releasing its fall/winter 2018 trend kit to about 250 fashion, health and lifestyle editors nationwide. It provides expanded product imagery compared to previous seasons. The digital kit will include an online booklet featuring optical and sunwear. For more information: Eyecessorize.com.  
 
Companies
  • Thomas W. Burns has joined the Avedro board of directors. Mr. Burns is president, CEO and a member of the board of directors at Glaukos Corp
  • Aerie Pharmaceutical’s Rhopressa has been nominated to the Best Pharmaceutical Product category for the Prix Galien U.S.A. award, presented by the Galien Foundation. Winners of the award will be announced in October. In other news, the company has expanded its agreement with DSM Biomedical Inc. The agreement covers research, develop and licensing for the sustained delivery of certain Aerie compounds using DSM’s bioerodible polyesteramide polymer technology. 
  • The proposed combination between Essilor and Luxottica has been approved in China. 
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued two patents to Guardion Health, both for “Method and Apparatus for Visual Acuity Testing.” According to the company, the proprietary technology provides an easy way to automatically standardize vision test lighting to a level recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and the FDA.
  • Heidelberg Engineering made the following changes to its leadership team: Ali Tafreshi will head product management and clinical affairs; Krysten Williams will move to the headquarters from the UK subsidiary and support marketing and education efforts. 
 
In the Pipeline
  • Eton Pharma announced positive topline results in the Phase III study of its EM-100 pharmaceutical solution, a topical, preservative-free formula for the treatment of ocular itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Kala Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced a milestone in its Phase III trial of KPI-121 0.25% for the short-term treatment of dry eye disease: the first patient has been dosed. 
 
New products
  • Topcon Medical Systems has released Topcon Augmented Reality app. The application uses features, such as augmented reality scanner and the ability to record, share and save AR experiences, to enhance products and promotional materials. Its first instance will be in the Image of the Month ad campaignin Retinal Physician.* The application is available for download through both Apple and google. 
 
Nonprofits
  • Prevent Blindness announced Linda M. Chous, O.D., chief eye care officer of UnitedHealthcare, and Jeffrey L. McClellan, president/owner of Anthologie Inc., to its board of directors. 
  • Aug. 1 marked the beginning of the World Sight Day Challenge, an annual fundraising campaign to raise money and awareness to help provide eye care to those in need. To participate, visit https://www.givingsight.org/giving/world-sight-day-challenge.html to make donation or pick a fundraising activity to involve family, staff, patients and community in the event. (Find support materials for events through the link as well. It is estimated that 1.22 billion people around the world who are blind or vision impaired and do not have access to an eye exam and eyewear they need, according to The Lancet Global Health. The funds raised through the challenge will help an additional one million people receive eye care in 2018. Optometry Giving Sight supports World Sight Day, to occur Oct. 11. The challenge will continue through the end of November. [photo: 08_18 HeroOGS_CambodiaGirl-]
 
Research Notes
  • Individuals who were older, were nonwhite, had lower educational levels, were less affluent, and had prior cataract surgery were found to be significantly less likely to use eyeglasses, according to JAMA Ophthalmology
  • Researchers were able to preserve and restore retinal function via insulin treatment in mice with glaucoma, according to July’s Brain
 
Schools
  • SUNY College of OptometryAlumni Association and Optometric Center of New York, the college’s affiliated foundation, have merged. The merging will combine resources to coordinate fundraising and relationship-building activities. 
 
State news
  • Several paraoptometric assistants have completed the first optometric assistant class at Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii. The program provides 145 hours of classroom training designed to support and complement daily experience in the practices they work. Students include, Cherily Alejandro, Charito Galiza, Joanna Ngo, Samantha Cheng, Brie Duarte, Amandah Calamayan, Brie Duarte and Naomi Leigh Kukac. [photo: 08_18 PHOTO KCC OA Inaugural Class] 
For more news from industry and around eye care, see July’s O.D. Notebook
 
*Retinal Physician and Optometric Management are both published by PentaVision Media.