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O.D. Notebook: Research Grants Awarded

O.D. Notebook – updated 10.31
 
Halloween Riddle: The maker of this product does not want it, the buyer does not use it, and the user does not see it. What is it? (See answer below.)

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation, in partnership with the Allergan Foundation, announced the 2018 to 2019 recipient of the Allergan Research Grant: Alison McDermott, Ph.D., professor of cellular and molecular sciences at Northumbria University. She has been awarded a $60,000 grant for her project “Therapeutic Potential of Medicinal Maggot Secretions for Ocular Surface Disease.” William Cheung, Ph.D., scientific officer of metabolomics/proteomics, also at Northumbria University, is a co-investigator on the project. 

Associations
  • Jane Balek has been appointed executive director of Think About Your Eyes
  • International Association of Contact Lens Educators(IACLE) has released its 2018 IACLE Membership Survey. The results will be discussed at a special strategic planning meeting at the American Academy of Optometry meeting in San Antonio on Nov. 6. Key findings include: 
  • The New IACLE Contact Lens Course is the most used of IACLE resources, also rated highest for satisfaction and most important. 
  • Standard student assessment forms for practical examinations/clinic are the most popular future IACLE resources. 
  • Fellowship Scheme, Distance Learning program and Student Trial Exam are the most important IACLE Programs. 
  • Among potential future IACLE programs, a contact lens awareness campaign/event is the most popular option. 
  • Educator meetings are the IACLE events’ most likely to have been attended, and World Congresses are considered most important. 
  • How to use technology in teaching is the most popular topic for future IACLE events, and members want more educator meetings.
  • Collaboration with contact lens educators in other institutions/countries is the type of IACLE support members would most like to see in the future. 
 
Companies
  • ABB Optical Group will donate between $1,000 and $5,000 to seven non-profit organizations nominated by eye care professionals nationwide. Details as follows:
Nonprofits
  • Prevent Blindness has declared November as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month to help educate the public on the disease, its effects on vision, eye disease risk factors, treatment options and more. Free resources can be found at www.preventblindness.org/diabetes.
 
Answer: A coffin.
 
O.D. Notebook – updated 10.24

American Academy of Optometry’s executive director, Lois Schoenbrun, C.A.E., F.A.A.O., will step down from her position in April 2019. She has served in the position since 1996. The organization is initiating a search to identify a new leader. 
 
Associations
  • Registration is now open for the third annual International Sports Vision Association conference on Feb. 7 to 9 at the Zermatt Utah Resort and Spa in Midway, Utah. Visit sportsvision.pro/annual-meeting-2019/ 
  • SECO International has opened registration for the 2019 industry event taking place Feb. 20 to Feb. 24 in New Orleans. Visit attendseco.com.  
  • Southwest Florida Optometric Association announced its 2019 educational retreat for  April 2 to April 4 at South Seas Island Resort, Sanibel Island, Fla. Details at swfoa.com. 
  • OptiCon @ Vision Expo resulted in a 16% increase in optician turnout and a 22% increase in all OptiCon-related titles compared to Vision Expo West 2017. The dedicated program for opticians and contact lens technicians sold nearly 700 packages in 2018. 
 
Companies
  • ABB Optical Group announced Jonathan Mish has joined the company as chief information officer.
  • DryEyeAccess.com is a subscription-based education website for optometry practices to help understand how to identify, diagnose and treat patients who have dry eye disease. Built on content from Dry Eye University, created by clinicians and staff at Bowden Eye & Associates, DryEyeAccess.com consists of more than 25 clinical learning modules, white papers, case studies, diagnostic and therapeutic product overviews and more, with future modules expected. 
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision has launched its MyACUVUE subscription program, designed for convenience to patients who are purchasing an annual supply of an Acuvue brand lens through their eye care provider. Orders are through the eye care professional’s practice and shipped directly from the manufacturer to the contact lens wearer. Patients are able to spread out costs of an annual supply into payments with a subscription or have savings incentives through MyACUVUE Rewards. Shipping is free; eye care practices set pricing for their patients, and the program allows wearers to use their full insurance benefit. Learn more by contacting your Johnson & Johnson Vision rep or calling customer service at (800) 843-2020. In other news, the company has appointed Carol Alexander, O.D., as head of North America Vision Care Professional Relations. 
  • MacuLogix Inc. has entered into an international distribution agreement with Clarion Medical Technologies, a Canadian provider of medical equipment.
  • Topcon Healthcare Solutions has received clearance for Harmony, a class II medical diagnostic software. Harmony is a replacement of Synergy with a redesigned browser-based user interface that includes new features and vendor-neutral connectivity. 
New Products
  • Compulink Healthcare Solution’s Advantage SMART Practice is an EHR/practice management solution powered by artificial intelligence (AI). AI technology and real-time data from the clinic automate tasks, such as billing, and eliminate steps with an eye on improving patient flow. Among the features included: Advantage SMART Workflow, which pulls patient records up in their assigned rooms, lets staff know who is waiting and where they need to go next. Also, Advantage PracticeWatch task automation allows staff to schedule eligibility, claims submission and remittance posting. Further, the software automatically communicates personalized content to the patient’s mobile device.  
 
Nonprofit
  • Prevent Blindness has launched an interactive photo campaign to encourage the public to enjoy sights that healthy vision provides. To participate, share photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, including the hashtag #EyeSeeAmerica, or upload photos on the program website, see-america.org. 
 
Research Notes
  • Examination of six likely portraits and self-portraits of Leonard da Vinci exhibit a consistent exotropic strabismus angle of -10.3°, according to JAMA Ophthalmology.  
Updated from Oct. 17

CooperVision presented findings from its Best Practices EYEdea Lab at Vision Expo West. Two primary data-backed insights emerged: 1. The doctor-patient relationship remains essential to consumers, with technology advancements viewed as enhancing, but not replacing, the in-person experience. 2. Consumers are wary of in-office experiences that place too much of a focus on ancillary products and amenities, creating opportunities for ECPs to more intently focus on transparent, efficient and personalized eye care. 

Associations
  • American Academy of Optometry has donated $5,000 to Fuji Vision Aid Mission in honor of Akio Kanai, O.D., the 2018 recipient of the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award. The funds will be used to provide patient care to overseas refuges. 
  • The American Medical Association released the following statement on the proposal to increase transparency in consumer drug ads. Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., and president: "Although the American Medical Association is opposed to direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, as long as the practice is allowed, the ads should come with at least a small dose of transparency. Last year, the AMA called for egulations requiring the ads to include the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of those drugs, and we supported similar legislative efforts by Senators [Chuck] Grassley (R-Iowa) and [Dick] Durbin (D-Ill.) earlier this year. While this proposed rule alone won’t remove the often-misleading nature of prescription drug ads, it will give consumers a data point that is currently unavailable. That is a step in the right direction." Additionally, the AMA had this statement on the approval of the CVS-Aetna merger: “While the AMA welcomes the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requiring Aetna to divest its Medicare Part D drug plan business, we are disappointed that the DOJ did not go further by blocking the CVS-Aetna merger. “The AMA worked tirelessly to oppose this merger and presented a wealth of expert empirical evidence to convince regulators that the merger would harm patients. We now urge the DOJ and state antitrust enforcers to monitor the post-merger effects of the Aetna acquisition by CVS Health on highly concentrated markets in pharmaceutical benefit management services, health insurance, retail pharmacy and specialty pharmacy. “Patients are better served by promoting competitive health care markets. The AMA is committed to ensuring that competition in health care is not compromised. We will continue to examine proposed health care mergers as they arise and take every opportunity to challenge those that are detrimental to the patients we serve.” 
Companies
  • 20/20NOW has announced its use of AI to allow for the early detection of retinal disease. Via FDA-approved equipment and software, retinal images are immediately enhanced using the AI program, allowing optometrists to diagnose, with more confidence, conditions that affect the retina. This AI technology is now available to all optometrists who use the company’s Ocular Telehealth System. 
  • Alcon has launched the Air Optix Colors contact lenses sweepstakes, with the prize a trip for two to New York Fashion Week. To enter, interested parties should wear their favorite Air Optix Color Lens or virtually try on one of the 12 colors and upload a photo of their look to Instagram. For complete rules, visit https://bit.ly/2NIzV5u.
  • Costa has expanded its Ocean Ridge and Mariana Trench Costa Optical ophthalmic frames with additional colorways, such as matte black fade to navy, patient styles, such as a smaller eye size of the curvy cat eye design, and face sizes. 
  • Essilor Sun Solution, the Essilor Group division dedicated to plano sun lenses, supported the first 100% female expedition team to ever summit Mount Everest. Pictures of Kanchhi Maya Tamang and her team can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EssilorSunSolution/.Additionally, Essilor of America has developed a trailer, “Out of Focus” to be shown nationwide in theaters. The trailer depicts a child who struggles in life because they live life out of focus. View it here: https://bit.ly/2xnbTrk.
  • EyePoint Pharmaceuticals has received FDA approval of fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant (Yutiq) for the treatment of chronic, non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye. 
  • Oculus Keratograph 5M now comes with a new joystick that includes a release function, enabling the user to capture images and video sequences with the push of a button. 
  • ZEISS has received FDA approval for ReLEx Smile PMA, which provides for a small entry incision, allowing the SMILE procedure to be potentially less disruptive to the corneal surface. This expands myopia treatment to patients with astigmatism.  
Nonprofit
  • The Centre for Ocular Research & Education has appointed William Ngo, Ph.D., O.D., F.A.A.O., as head of biosciences. He will join the organization in early 2019. 
  • The Envision Oculus Award was presented to Gary Asano, O.D., F.A.A.O., a full-time staff optometrists focusing on low vision rehabilitation at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. The award in low vision research was given to Walter Wittich, Ph.D., F.A.A.O., C.L.V.T., an assistant professor at the School of Optometry, Universite de Montreal.  
Research Note
  • Injections of corticosteroids directly into the eye are superior to those placed adjacent to the eye for treating uveitic macular edema, one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, according to Ophthalmology.
 
Updates from Oct. 10

The optometric community comes together on Oct. 11 each year to help the 1.2 billion people worldwide who are unnecessarily vision impaired due to lack of access to eye care. Organized by Optometry Giving Sight, World Sight Day is supported by coalition members, including ABB Optical Group, Alcon Foundation, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, Essilor of America, Eye Recommend, EyePromise, Vision Source, VSP Global, WestGroupe and Carl Zeiss Vision. Some of these efforts in conjunction with the holiday include: 
  • ABB Opticalis donating a percentage of its Digital Eye Lab Network sales through the month of October. 
  • Alcon Foundationis running its Cycle for Sight 20/20 Challenge. 
  • Bausch + Lombis holding a national employee fundraising initiative, in addition to a social media campaign. 
  • CooperVisionis organizing its Fight for Sight, which includes multiple fundraisers led by employees and matched by the company. 
  • EyePromise will fundraise through its employees and customers. 
  • Essilor of America will recognize eyecare professionals who embody the spirit of bettering lives by improving sight through its Difference Makers campaign, which launches on Thursday. Additionally, Essilor Vision Foundation hosted its annual Kids Vision Fest. 
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision has launched a worldwide campaign to #spotlightsight for World Sight Day, Oct. 11, by shining a spotlight from its vision headquarters in Florida and California and donating one dollar for every photo posted through the Donate a Photo app. 
  • Seva Foundation, in conjunction with World Sight Day and its own 40th anniversary, has sent delegations to Nepal, India and Guatemala. Seva works internationally to prevent and treat curable blindness.
  • Vision Source will raise funds through donations for its member practices. 
  • VSP Global is matching donations through employee fundraising activities in the month of October. It is also raising awareness through social media. 
  • ZEISS donated more than 300,000 eyeglass lenses to communities in Haiti and Central America. 
  • WestGroupe has a #WithoutMySight Challenge, which asks employees with eyesight to complete daily tasks or routines blindfolded. A video of the task is shared through social media and a donation is made to Optometry Giving Sight. 
For more information and to donate, visit www.givingsight.org/giving/world-sight-day-challenge.html.
 
Associations
  • Vision Expo West announced record-braking numbers for its 30thanniversary. The show saw an increase in attendance with pre-audit numbers close to 13,000 eyecare professionals. This includes an increase across professions. In other news, The Vision Council has developed a study on contact lens subscription services. The study aims to examine the potential impact on the contact lens and optical retail industries. For more information, including a look at the questionnaire, visit thevisioncouncil.org. 
 
Companies
  • Aerie Pharmaceuticals’ application for marketing authorization for Rhokiinsa (netarsudil ophthalmic solution 0.02%), marketed in the U.S. as Rhopressa, has been accepted by the European Medicines Agency. An opinion is expected in the second half of 2019.        
  • Marcolin Group has renewed its licensing agreement for the design, production and worldwide distribution of Timberland optical frames and sunglasses. 
  • RightEye vision system has received 510k clearance from the FDA for recording, viewing and analyzing eye movements in support of identifying visual tracking impairment in patients. 
  • Tangible Scienceand X-Cel Specialty Contacts announced a partnership to provide an educational series with four leading contact lens specialists. Programs include case reports. Currently scheduled events are: Oct. 23, Let’s get comfortable with Tangible Hydra-PEG; Nov. 13, Since contact lenses don’t have defrost buttons; Dec. 12 Defending your patient’s lenses from deposits; Jan. 9 Not a dry eye in the house. 
  • If you’re interested in registering for one of the webinars, visit www.xcelspecialtycontacts.com/aboutus/events 
  • Transitions is accepting nominations for the 2018 Transitions Innovation Awards Program at TransitionsPRO.com/Awards through Oct. 31. To nominate, visit TransitionsPRO.com/Awards.
  • Uprise by Vision Web, a cloud-based practice management and EHR system, is now integrated with Glimpse, a healthcare analytics provider, the results of which will offer eyecare professionals performance dashboards that measure their business success.  
New Products
  • Essilor Instruments USA has released the Pro-E 700 edging system. It is designed for high-volume production and includes features, such as engraving, half-jacket wraps, Chemistrie clips, safety beveling, super chamfering and creative shapes. Visit essilorinstrumentsusa.com. 
 
Nonprofit
  • Professor Brian Layland, O.A.M., O.L.M., has resigned as chairman and director of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Board, effective Oct. 31. The board has elected Frank Back as the new chairman, and Sandra Bailey has assumed Professor Layland’s duties as alternate director. 
  • Lighthouse Guild recently presented the 2018 Alfred W. Bessler Vision Science Symposium and The Pissart Seminar. The event honored two individuals: Botond Roska, M.D., Ph.D., and Joshua D. Stein, M.D., M.S., for their significant achievements. 
  • Our Children’s Vision has reached 27 million children around the world in two years in its efforts to offer pediatric vision services internationally. 
  • Donna Fishman, M.P.H., has been named the new director of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. She has taken over the role from Kira Baldonado, who is now the vice president of public health and policy at Prevent Blindness.
 
Schools
University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science has a new virtual reality training lab, which will help Canada’s next generation of optometrists learn how to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases. The lab was funded through an $800,000 investment by FYidoctors. The VR experience simulates a patient’s eye and provides students the opportunity to practice on many cases. The total cost was $1.5 million, and the lab is called the FYidoctors Simulation Lab. 
 
Updates from Oct. 3
 
Associations
  • The Vision Council announced the winners of best exhibitor booth at Vision Expo West: Costa for Most Creative Booth Design and Europa Eyewear/STATE Optical Co. for Best Brand Activation. Additionally, the following companies were awarded Vision Choice Awards, in order of first to third: Miraflex, Lunette and Mo eyewear. (Attendees voted on products on display in the product gallery.) In related news, The Vision Council’s research team released a report in September detailing the potential industry impact of U.S. tariffs on eyewear manufactured in China. The full report can be found on the Vision Council’s member portal, bit.ly/2Iw2Atm.
  • Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International, has added six new members to its advisory board: Tanya Polec, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.; Hannu laukkanen, O.D., Med, F.A.A.O.; Jill Schulz, O.D., F.A.A.O.; Shirley Ha, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., Patti Andrich, M.A., O.T.R./L., C.O.V.T.; and Gina Kim, M.O.T., O.T.R./L., C.B.I.S.
 
Companies
  • CooperVision has a new website that highlights its sustainability efforts. Data and stories that provide information about environmental initiatives, such as saving water, conserving energy and recycling, can be found at coopervision.com/sustainability. In related news, the company has introduced online training to help optometrists upgrade contact lens patients to silicone hydrogel 1-day lenses. Registration for the on-demand webinars can be found at learning.coopervision.com.  
  • Eschenbach Optik of America Inc has announced a new partnership with Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. Through this partnership, the manufacturer has provided a charitable commitment to sponsor breeding, raising and training of Fidelco German Shepherd guide dogs. Interested parties can follow the guide dogs from puppies to placement at www.eschenbach.com/partner_project.asp.
  • NovaBay Pharmaceuticals has named Jack McGovern interim CEO. This expands on his responsibilities as chief financial officer. The company’s previous CEO, Mark M. Sieczkarek, remains NovaBay’s chairman. He will focus on strategic growth opportunities. 
  • TruForm Optics  announced the therapeutic use of its DigiForm Scleral contact lens through the company’s partnership with Contamac. Contamac received FDA clearance for Optimum Extra and Optimum Extreme contact lens materials to treat dry eye conditions. 
 
New Products and Notes
  • Costa has a new line of eyeglass frames, created from recycled nylon fishing nets, called Costa Optical Untangled Collection. Every year, discarded fishing nets and gear that pollute the oceans grows by 640,000 tons. The line comes from a partnership with Bureo, a company working to recycle discarded fishing nets. 
  • Shamir now offers Shamir Autograph Intelligence, a lens design that adapts to the needs of presbyopes. The progressive lens design operates on a one design concept, providing everyone with the same solution and is backed by proprietary technologies Eye-Point Technology AI, Continuous Design Technology and Visual AI Engine. It is now available from a select group of validated Shamir Partner Laboratories. 
  • Rev360 has announced a new service in a technology alliance group: RevAlliance. RevAlliance connects RevolutionEHR users with their vision-correcting product suppliers, which includes CooperVision, Hoya, New Era, OOGP and WVA. There’s no cost to RevolutionEHR users. Among the benefits the alliance may offer: efficiency, accuracy, transparent product pricing, discounts and rebates. 
  • X-Cel Specialty Contacts announced simplified pricing and an extended warranty structure for its line of custom soft lenses, including Flexlens and Westcon designs. The pricing model goes into effect Nov. 1. Optometrists will no longer be required to purchase an initial lens to purchase the multipack. The custom soft lens warranty is being extended to unlimited exchanges within 120 days of the original date of invoice. 
  • ZEISS introduced its digital diagnostic solution: Integrated Diagnostic Imaging platform. It aids in the management of retinal diseases and glaucoma through the coordination of the multiple imaging platform into a simple, individualized assessment that helps doctors make treatment decisions. For example, the platform works with CIRRUS OCT, Humphrey Field Analyzer HFA3, CLARUS 500 and others. Additionally, on the refractive surgery front, the company announced 1.5 million small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) procedures have been done worldwide. 
 
Nonprofit
  • Prevent Blindness has announced the 2019 Prevent Blindness Persons of the Year Award: Glenn Ellisor, O.D., and Jim Greenwood, of Vision Source. 
  • RestoringVision celebrated its 15-year anniversary on Oct. 2. Through its network of non-profit, corporate and individual supporters and donors, the non-profit organization has brought new reading glasses to over 12 million people living in impoverished communities in 135 countries. Looking to its future, RestoringVision has set a goal to help 20 million people see clearly by the end of 2020. To learn more, visit www.restoringvision.org.
 
Research notes
  • Loss of vision and cognition often coincide during aging, says research funded by the NEI and National Institute on Aging. Specifically, the study found that vision loss precedes loss of mental capacity, suggesting that maintaining eye health could help protect cognition in older adults. The findings were published in JAMA Ophthalmology
Schools
  •  After announcing Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry would change its name to NSU National Vision College of Optometry for a period of 10 years after a philanthropic gift from National Vision, the College and National Vision Mutually ended the philanthropic agreement. In a press release, Dr. George Hanbury, NSU’s president and CEO said, “ . . . We have come to realize that the issues associated with corporate philanthropy in the health sciences are still too nascent.” 
 
Surgery
  • The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery has convened a Cypass (Alcon) withdrawal task force to aid physicians in the next steps following the voluntary withdrawal of the micro-stent. The task force will review the data from the COMPASS-XT study and related research and develop an independent guidance physician document. Its preliminary statement can be found here ascrs.org/CyPass_Statement. The FDA also issued a statement that can be found here bit.ly/2zLOFwP. And details from Alcon can be found on its website, specifically at bit.ly/2zLYDhv. 
  
For more news from industry and around eye care, see September’s O.D. Notebook.