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O.D. Notebook: Annual AAO Meeting Attracts 8,000 in San Antonio.

AAO 2018: Optometry Converges on San Antonio
The recent American Academy of Optometry (AAO) annual meeting, held last month at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, drew about 8,000 attendees, including optometrists, researchers, students, industry professionals and others who have an interest in eye care.  
Attendees chose from more than 250 hours of lectures and workshops, as well as Section and Special Interest Group symposia and hundreds of scientific papers and posters. Also, attendees could explore the offerings of more than 170 companies in the meeting’s exhibit hall.  
The plenary session, “Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Practice: The Future of Health Care Delivery” explored topics, such as telemedicine, government’s involvement and the patient experience in the future. Presenters included Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, Gordon H. Guyatt, M.D., MSc., distinguished professor at McMaster University and Anthony Cavallerano, O.D., F.A.A.O., executive director, Clinical Training and Patient Care and adjunct professor at the New England College of Optometry.
The annual press conference was introduced as a “hidden gem” of the 2018 AAO annual meeting by Edward Chu, O.D., F.A.A.O., press conference chair. The conference, which included 20 rapid-fire scientific and industry presentations, was dedicated to Gay Tokumaru, O.D., who, at the age of 55, lost her battle with cancer in March. Dr. Tokumaru was active in a number of organizations, including the AAO and National Association of VA Optometrists.
The scientific presentations, which were selected by the AAO, offered the following conclusions:
• Benefits exist for photochromic contact lens (CL) wear with respect to photostress recovery time, glare discomfort and glare disability. - “A Contralateral Comparison of the Visual Effects of Clear vs. Photochromic Contact Lenses,” (presenter Billy Hammond, Ph.D.)
• Photochromic soft CLs show benefits during daytime and nighttime driving, as well as in logMAR and contrast sensitivity testing. - “The Impact of Photochromic Contact Lenses on Daytime and Nighttime Driving Performance” (John Buch, O.D., F.A.A.O.)
• In children who view electronic devices, closer viewing distance, reduced environmental lighting monocular viewing and the increase in angular size associated with near viewing, all increase in accommodative lag and the amount of hyperopic defocus. - “Accommodative Behavior and Hyperopic Defocus in Children Viewing Electronic Devices” (Raman P. Sah)
• Binocular vision symptoms are prevalent in adolescents who suffer a sports-related concussion. Vision symptom assessment could play an important role in concussion evaluation for a more complete understanding of performance deficiencies in adolescents who have sports-related concussion. - “The Influence of Binocular vision symptoms on Computerized Neurocognitive Testing in Adolescents With Concussion” (Adam J. Peiffer, O.D., M.S.)
• Quantifiable accommodative, vergence and visual tracking deficits may guide study into the underlying pathophysiology of visual deficits post-concussion and improve management of post-concussion patients. - “Accommodative and Vergence Deficits Predict Performance on the Development of Eye Movement Test in Adolescent Post-concussion Patients” (Emily K. Wiecek, O.D., Ph.D.)
• An adaptive intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cell-driven dopamine pathway may exist where shorter eyes take advantage of light exposure to inhibit the growth of the eye to reduce the risk of onset of myopic refractive error. - “The Association Between Axial Length and Pupil Responses to Blue and Red Stimuli Depends on the Season” (Marielle Blumenthaler) 
• A glaucoma staging system using bilateral 24-2 visual field loss (VFL) corresponds well with the stage of glaucoma disease, as defined by the NEI’s Visual Function Questionnaire cumulative score, suggesting that mean VFL may have value in estimating patient-specific quality of life.  - “Employing Vision-related Quality of Life Scores to Construct a Glaucomatous Visual Field Loss Staging System” (Tran N. Bianconi, O.D.)
• An sustained release, intraocular implant has an excellent safety profile out to one year. The implant shows promise in addressing the high rates of patient non-adherence to topical glaucoma drop regimens. - “Interim results of a prospective, randomized Phase 2 Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Travoprost Intraocular Implants” (Mitch Ibach, O.D.)
• Translaminar pressure difference (TLPD) variability, coupled with telemetry, should allow the testing of the hypothesis that IOP, intracranial pressure (ICP) measurements and/or TLPD fluctuations contribute independently to glaucoma onset and progression. - “IOP and intracranial pressure With Continuous Wireless Telemetry to Quantify Translaminar pressure difference in Nonhuman Primates” (JessicaV. Jasien)
 
Associations
  • SECO International released a graphic showcasing trends in the industry that will be covered during SECO19. Among them: Eye care professionals say sales of progressive addition lenses and anti-fatigue/digital device lenses will increase the most over the next two years; demand for corneal health technology is increasing, and poor patient compliance with yearly eye examinations has hampered revenue growth. To register, visit attendseco.com. 
 
Company news
  • Digital Eye Lab Network, a division of ABB Optical Group, received the Corporate Partner Award from The Arc Westchester, for its commitment to people who have intellectual and development disabilities. 
  • CooperVision held the Myopia Management Expert Forum on the eve of the American Academy of Optometry meeting in San Antonio. At the meeting, global experts gathered and discussed new study information and the impact of contact lens management and orthokeratology on myopia management, among other topics. Additionally, data from the company shows that U.S. eye care professionals who wear daily contact lenses prefer silicone hydrogel, at 72%, however, only 33% of patients are prescribed the same material. Also, about 58% of optometrists who wear a 1-day contact lens choose to wear only silicone hydrogel material. 
  • Haag-Streit USA has partnered with Berkeley School of Optometry, and the partnership includes a donation to the school. Its donation will go to the pre-clinic at Berkeley Optometry, creating the opportunity for students to be introduced to a laboratory, medical and diagnostic equipment early in their careers, says dean and professor John Flanagan. 
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision, the Singapore National Eye Centre and the Singapore Eye Research Institute announced a $26.35 million strategic research collaboration that will work to help combat the onset, progression and treatment of myopia. The partnership will develop a deeper understanding of how the condition develops, how it progresses and how it may be intercepted. 
  • Sightbox has launched a new website. It includes shareable resources specifically for optometrists. 
 
Nonprofit
  • Prevent Blindness has called for nominations for the 2019 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health. The award is presented to an individual, team or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 13 and more information can be found at https://www.preventblindness.org/2019-jenny-pomeroy-award-call-nominations.
 
Research Notes
  • A prospective and on-going clinical trial of NaturalVue (etafilcon A) 1 Day Multifocal Contact Lenses (Visioneering Technologies) reveals a statistically significant decrease in myopic refractive error change in children at a six-month follow-up appointment for the lenses. Dr. Thomas Aller’s data follows three cohorts of about 24 children since 2017. 
 
Update from Nov. 7

To assist concussion sufferers and their caregivers, as well as health care professionals who may see or treat a patient following a concussion or other TBI, the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association and Concussion Legacy Foundation have developed a new educational resource titled “Common Vision Problems & Symptoms Following a Concussion.” The resource can be viewed and downloaded on NORA’s Patient Caregivers Resourcepage (http://bit.ly/2qww4iA) and CLF’s  Post-Concussion Syndrome Resourcespage (http://bit.ly/2qxjYpr). 

Associations
  • American Academy of Optometry announced the 2019 Academy Career Development Award recipient: Alexandra Benavente-Perez, MCOptom, Ph.D., F.A.A.O. The award provides a maximum of $50,000 in direct costs per year for up to two years.
  • Professional Eye Care Associates of America hosted its inaugural Strategic Partner Summit Oct. 14 to Oct. 16, bringing together senior leadership from integral industry vendor partners to discuss changes impacting the industry and explore solutions. 
Company news
  • Patients wearing CooperVision’s Biofinity Energys contact lenses with Digital Zone Optics design experienced less change in accommodative micro-fluctuations, according to research from the company. Additionally, the lenses may help reduce ciliary muscle stress during digital device use. 
  • In 58 subjects, eyes wearing Johnson & Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology contact lenses experienced, on average 43% faster photostress recovery, 38% less squint, 27% less impairment of vision and 32% improved chromatic contrast compared to transparent contact lenses, according to a study by the company. In another study, the company found that 24 subjects wearing photochromic contact lenses demonstrated equal or better performance across several measures compared to subjects wearing transparent contact lenses alone or with photochromic spectacles.  
  • I-MED Pharma Inc. has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Iogen Oy for its I-DROP and I-LID ‘N LASH product lines, as well as I-RELIEF Hot and Cold Therapy Eye Mask with THERMABEADS and the I-PEN Tear Osmolarity System. 
  • Notal Vision announced the following leadership changes: CEO Quinton Oswald will retire from his position at the end of the year. He will continue to serve on the board of directors. Susan Orr, O.D., chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs, has been appointed CEO, effective Jan. 1. Grace Chang, M.D., Ph.D., will assume the role of chief medical officer. 
  • Optos and Amydis Inc. have created a clinical alliance focused on the development of an eye test, by Amydis, to detect Alzheimer’s disease. Amydis has developed a pipeline of compounds to detect amyloid proteins in the retina to be visualized by Optos’ Optomap ultra-widefield retinal imaging device to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in patients. 
Nonprofit
  • Brien Holden Vision Institute launched a new online Global Myopia Centre to bring its expertise and resources in myopia research, practitioner training and global advocacy all in one platform to eye care professionals for education and to equip them to manage myopia. Visit the site at www.globalmyopiacentre.org . 
  • Prevent Blindness elected three new members to its national board of directors: Paul Delatore, global head, market access at Alcon; Jim McGrann, chairmain and CEO of Healthy Eyes Advantage; and Rajeev S. Ramchandran, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Rochester Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology.  
State news
  • VisionCenter of West Texas opened its second office in Lubbock, at 12122 Salisbury Blvd. The second location will provide area residents with greater convenience and access to a wider range of optometric services, according to the press release. 
 
 
For more news from industry and around eye care, see October’s O.D. Notebook