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O.D. Notebook: The Latest Industry News

 
Associations

  • Academy 2018 San Antonio was the largest in the Academy’s history with 7,948 registrants, a 3% increase from the year prior, including 4,625 optometrists and vision scientists and 1,168 students. The Academy also confirmed 303 new fellows and awarded 17 individuals diplomate status. 
  • The Vision Council’s 2019 Executive Summit’s keynote speaker is George Blankenship, former executive at Apple Computer, Tesla Motors and GAP Inc. The Executive Summit is held Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando and has a theme of “Contagious Leadership — Strategies for Cultivating People While Producing Business Results.” Registration can be done at thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit. Additionally, registration is now open for Vision Expo East, occurring March 21-24 in New York City. Early registrants, those who complete the process before Dec. 31, will have their fees waived. To register visit VisionExpoNY.com. The Vision Council is also updating the Chemical Management and OSHA compliance resources to reflect regulatory changes. A series of memos will be released over the next few months. The first of which can be found here: http://visioncouncil.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT03MTgyOTM4JnA9MSZ1PTkxNzM1Mzc1MCZsaT01NDMwMzcxOQ/index.html
  • Michael Marcroft has joined Vision Source as senior leadership, replacing Randy Sones, as vice president of marketing. Mr. Sones is retiring after 27 years at Vision Source. 
 
Company news
  • ABB Optical Group is offering four coding and compliance seminars in California in January: Jan. 12 at the Hilton Glendale; Jan. 13 at Marriott Spectrum; Jan. 26 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento; and Jan. 27 at San Ramon Marriott. Register at PrimaryEye.net. 
  • Acculens has created an in-house training facility at their manufacturing location in Denver. The 1,200 square-foot addition that will host Scleral Lens Academies in a 12-person, classroom style conference room to offer hands-on instruction. The training schedule for 2019, when announced, will be available at http://www.acculens.com/education.html.
  • Alcon launched a new website, AlconScience.com for U.S. and Canada-based eye care professionals and academic institutions. It includes information for Alcon’s scientific, academic and related activities into one portal. 
  • Kemberly Grizzaffi, N.C.L.E., has joined the Eaglet Eye. Her primary responsibility will be to coordinate and execute installation, training and support for those eye care practitioners who have acquired an Eye Surface Profiler.  
  • Essilor has signed a letter of intent with the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Central Monastic Body to strengthen the country’s vision care infrastructure. The partnership will address the two biggest barriers: access and awareness through training and capacity building, philanthropic support and awareness-raising. 
  • Ron Honig, Esq., has been appointed senior vice president, general counsel and company secretary to EyePoint Pharmaceuticals
  • Notal Vision announced the retirement of CEO Quinton Oswald at the end of the year. Replacing him is Susan Orr, O.D., chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs effective Jan. 1. In related news, the company has announced that the FDA  U.S. Food has granted its Home-based Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) System with a "Breakthrough Device" designation. The technology is indicated for automated identification of intra- and/or subretinal fluid in the central 10° of eyes diagnosed with exudative age-related macular degeneration (eAMD).
  • Opternative, the creator of an online vision test that allows its users to, “renew their prescription anywhere, anytime,” has changed its name to Visibly, citing that the new name better represents the solutions the company offers optometrists and the eye care industry. 
  • Versant Health has partnered with Transitions Opticalto create a vision loss simulator, which can demonstrate the vision of patients who have glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, presbyopia, glare and AMD. The tool was sent to 10,000 vision care providers to use in their practice. www.versanthealth.com/VLS
  • Peg Achenbach, O.D., F.A.A.O., has been appointed vice president, professional services and clinical science at Visioneering Technologies Inc
New Products
  • SK-LS-1B, from Coburn Technologies, is a portable slit lamp. Key features: increased slit angle, one-hand operation, stronger LED illumination, iPhone adaptation and long-term operation with AA batteries. 
Nonprofits
  • CEO and President of Prevent Blindness, Jeff Todd, along with Heather E. Whitson, M.D., and Edwin C. Marshall, O.D., have been published in JAMA Ophthalmology: “Eye and Vision Health for Tomorrow: From Recommendations to Coordinated Action.” Additionally, the nonprofit is launching Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness, which will direct collaboration with experts from medical, scientific, public health, research and corporate sectors. More information: http://bit.ly/2G8GsI7  
 
State News
  • Alabama Optometric Association presented awards for the Young Optometrist of the Year, Valencia Wells, O.D., and Educator of the Year, Adam Gordon, O.D., during its 2018 convention. Dr. Gordon is the director of the Cornea and Contact Lens Service, Chief of the Sports Vision Service and Coordinator for the Residency Program in Cornea and Contact Lenses at UAB School of Optometry. Dr. Wells practices optometry in Birmingham at Morris Avenue Eyecare. 

Surgical/Co-management News
• Avedro, Inc. announced that Anthem, the largest member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, has issued a positive coverage policy for the company’s FDA-approved corneal cross-linking procedure bringing the total number of commercial plans covering the Photrexadrug formulations and the KXL® System to 60, the company says. This addition affects 31 million beneficiaries, or 10 percent of the United States population.
 
Updates from Dec. 5
In light of holiday gift purchasing season and as the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are 240,000 toy-related injuries last year, with 45% of the total injuries to the head and face area, Prevent Blindness offers tips for Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month (December), which you may want to share with your patients. They include:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or dangerous edges.
  • Check the lenses and frames of children's sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries. Make sure they have UV-blocking lenses.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
 
News From Associations
  • AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting convenes at America’s Center Convention Complex, in St. Louis, from June 19 to 23. The theme of the meeting: “Meet me in St. Louis.” 
  • The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and National Board of Examinersin Optometry have released the pass rates for the 2017-2018 academic year. The data can be found at bit.ly/1718passrate. 
  • A Go Fund Me page for the employees of Fashion Optical Displays has been launched, many of whom were affected by the Camp Fire in Northern California. It can be accessed at gofundme.com/fashion-optical-employee-fund. The fundraising is supported by The Vision Council. 
Updates From Companies
  • Bausch + Lomb received FDA clearance for its ULTRA multifocal for astigmatism contact lensesThe monthly lens will be available as a standard offering in the eye care professional’s fit sets, allowing patients to be fit with the lens on their initial visit to the ECP.
  • Data from CooperVision shows that eye care professionals choose daily disposable contact lenses, with 72% preferring silicone hydrogel, for themselves, yet only 33% of patients are prescribed the same material. The disparity was revealed in research that can be found here: bit.ly/CVResearch. 
  • Eyenovia completed patient enrollment for its Phase 3 MIST-1 study and has enrolled the first patient in its second Phase 3 study, the MIST-2 trial. The MIST studies will investigate the safety and efficacy of the company’s fixed-combination phenylephrine 2.5%-tropicamide 1% ophthalmic solution, administered as a micro-dose using the Optejet dispenser to produce mydriasis.
  • Brian Banks, president of Natural Ophthalmics, passed away in early December due to an aggressive cancer.  
  • Notal Vision’s home-based OCT system has been designated as a “Breakthrough Device” by the FDA. The system is an artificial intelligence-based home use device indicated for the automated identification of intra- and/or subretinal fluid in the central 10° of eyes diagnosed with exudative AMD. The company anticipates bringing the system to the market in 2020. 
  • Safilo has appointed Andrea Bulgarelli as digital transformation director. 
  • Williams Group has expanded its services to include “Total Freedom,” a package that allows optometrists to continue to own their practices and see patients, while leaving the day-to-day management to Williams Group. More information at thewilliamsway.com. 
  • Visioneering Technologies Inc. has appointed Peg Achenbach, O.D., F.A.A.O., as its vice president of professional services and clinical science.
 
Events
  • The inaugural Myopia Meeting is set for Feb.10 at the Mandarin Oriential in Washington, D.C., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The meeting will include information on research, clinical pearls and practice management strategies, as well as five hours of CE. Register online at regonline.com/THEmyopiameeting. 
  • Envision’s annual conference will split into two events in 2019. Envision Conference East will be held March 22 to 23 at the University of Alabama Birmingham; Envision Conference West will be held Oct. 5 to 6 at the College of Optometry at Western University of Health Sciences’ in Pomona, Calif. The nonprofit is now accepting CE and research abstracts involving low-vision rehabilitation for consideration on the conferences agenda. Details on submissions and the conferences can be found at university.envisionus.com/Conference.
 
State news
  • Fresno County Calif. was the location of Diabetes Clinic Day, a partnership between Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Health Plan, California Optometric Association and Clinica Sierra Vista, to connect with members of the health care plan to provide comprehensive diabetes care, including eye exams. This effort was in response to multiple reports indicating the booming rate of diabetes in the area. 
 
Surgery/Co-Management News
  • Alcon launched the Alcon Retina Fellows Institute with an inaugural cohort competing in a weekend-long training at the Alcon Experience Center in Fort Worth. Forty fellows participated in the event in November to broaden their eye health education through experiential surgical trainings. The training is expected to occur annually.
  • Bausch + Lomb and Modulight Inc., a designer and manufacturer of lasers and optics, will collaborate to develop a new laser specifically designed for use with B+L’s Visudyne (verteporfin for injection) photodynamic therapy. The therapy is an injectable photosensitizer indicated for the treatment of patients who have classic subfoveal choroidal neovascularization due to AMD, pathologic myopia or presumed ocular histoplasmosis.
  • Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals dexamethasone intraocular suspension 9% (Dexycu), a single dose, sustained-release, intracameral steroid indicated for treatment of postoperative inflammation, has been given a permanent J-code from CMS: J1095, effective Jan. 1. 
  • Ocular Therapeutix has announced the FDA approval of  dexamethasone ophthalmic insert 0.4mg (Dextenza), an intracanalicular insert that delivers dexamethasone, for the treatment of ocular pain following ophthalmic surgery. 

Update: This article has been updated to correct a previous version, which indicated The Vision Council launched the Go Fund Me page for Fashion Optical employees. 

For more news from industry and around eye care, see November’s O.D. Notebook.