Trivia: On this day, July 31, 1790, the United States Patent and Trademark Office opened, enabling inventors to protect their ideas and provide various products and technologies, including several in eye care, to an appreciative public.
• Alcon has launched a new website https://www.yourlasiksolution.com/home/to help educate patients about LASIK and surgery options. The company gathered input from LASIK patients regarding the type of information that is critical to making an informed decision and included it in the website, alongside an overview of Alcon’s technology.
• Advanced Vision Technologies’ Naturalens products include Naturalens MINI Scleral. It features a smaller diameter range from 13.8 mm to 15.5 mm. Best candidates are patients who have smaller fissures or who experience problems with insertion and removal of larger sclerals.
• CooperVision is on track to donate up to $500,000 from its MiSight Sales to Our Children’s Vision by the end of 2020. A percentage of sales of the MiSight 1 day contact lens goes to the organization.
• EssilorLuxottica is set to acquire Hal Optical Investments B.V. (HAL)’s majority interest in GrandVision. After the transaction closes, which is expected in the next 12 months to 24 months, the company will launch a mandatory public offering for the outstanding shares of GrandVision. Through this acquisition, EssilorLuxottica will expand its optical retail platform, primarily in Europe, by adding more than 7,200 stores globally and over 37,000 employees. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
• Glaukos Corp. has entered into a licensing agreement with Intratus Inc. under which Intratus has granted Glaukos a global exclusive license to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize Intratus’ patented, non-invasive drug delivery platform designed for use in the treatment of dry eye disease, glaucoma and other corneal disorders, such as allergy, blepharitis, conjunctivitis and related conditions.
• Safilo announced that all globally produced point-of-purchase marketing materials, namely counter card or show cards, will be FSC (or Forest Stewardship Council)-certified starting with the fall 2019 selling season. FSC certification ensures items come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
• Transitions Optical Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey found that six in 10 Gen Z employees are enrolled in a vision plan, compared to half of Gen Z employees reported in the 2018 survey. Additional data shows that 44% of Gen Z employees, those between the ages of 18 and 24, say vision benefits are an important factor in their decision to accept a job.
• Valley Contax and Contamac recently held the sixth annual Residency Summit Celebration, a three-day event including scleral lens education and fitting. Twenty-five residents attended and competed in teams in challenges, such as best slit lamp photos and lens fitting strategies. It took place in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Updated July 24
Trivia: Today, July 23, is Amelia Earhart Day! In 2009, a pair of the pilot’s aluminum goggles was auctioned off. Accompanying the goggles was a letter Ms. Earhart wrote to aerial cinematographer Ray Fernstrom, in which she complimented the padded goggles because she said they clung around her unconventional nose.
Trivia: Today, July 23, is Amelia Earhart Day! In 2009, a pair of the pilot’s aluminum goggles was auctioned off. Accompanying the goggleswas a letter Ms. Earhart wrote to aerial cinematographer Ray Fernstrom, in which she complimented the padded goggles because she said they clung around her unconventional nose.
Recalled OTC Eye Care Products Expanded
At the beginning of July, Altaire Pharmaceuticals Inc. voluntarily recalled various over-the-counter (OTC) eye care products and lots sold at Wal-Mart and Walgreens, due to concerns over the sufficiency of Quality Assurance controls in Altaire’s manufacturing facility. The recall was then expanded this past week to include CVS Health-brand OTC eye drops and ointments. To date, the manufacturer has not received reports of adverse events nor acquired any out-of-specifications results, including sterility testing, for the products. The recall, carried out at the retail level, includes lots that are sold under each company’s private labels. For a full list of products, visit the FDA website, https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts, and search “Altaire Pharmaceuticals.”
• EssilorLuxottica has confirmed it is in discussions to purchase the 76.72% ownership interest in GrandVision N.V. of HAL Holding N.V. No agreement has yet been reached, and no assurance can be provided that these discussions will lead to such an agreement, the company says.
• Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals Inc. has appointed Wendy DiCicco, CPA, to the company’s board of directors and Audit Committee, where she will serve as chairwoman of the committee.
• Notal Vision Inc. has celebrated the completion of six million patient tests performed with ForeseeHome, a home-monitoring device for patients who have intermediate, dry AMD and are at-risk for developing wet AMD.
• Visioneering Technologies Inc. promoted Cynthia Flynn to senior territory manager in the Austin and San Antonio markets.
• Roughly 1,100 Vision Source member practices will be rewarded by the Southern New England Practice Transformation Network (SNE-PTN) for their performance in the transformation toward value-based care, according to the company. Each practice will receive payments of up to $2,500. Vision Source and SNE-PTN have been collaborating to implement skills to guide practitioners in the value-based payment world.
• Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) will launch the third course in its Myopia Education Program: The Business of Myopia on Aug. 20. The course will deliver the business knowledge and expertise to successfully integrate myopia management into a practice, BHVI says. Building upon the foundation of practical skills offered in the first two courses, The Business of Myopia provides guidance in areas such as marketing, communications and education to drive awareness and reverse the trend in the global rise of myopia. For more information or to register, visit https://www.brienholdenvision.org/academy.html. Early bird registration ends July 30.
• Centre for Ocular Research & Education’s director Lyndon Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc, FCOptom, F.A.A.O., was recognized by Expertscape as the No. 1 global expert among contact lens authorities.
• The Foundation Fighting Blindness has appointed Judy Taylor as vice president, development.
• Prevent Blindness has teamed up with the National Optometric Association to promote August’s Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. The shared goal is to educate the public on the importance of healthy vision for kids and its impact in the classroom. In other news, the nonprofit held its Annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit in Washington, D.C. The presentations and discussions related to the theme: A lifetime of vision. At the event, Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., was awarded the 2019 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision.
• Southern College of Optometry awarded scholarships to four students in recognition of their clinical excellence in contact lenses as demonstrated at the Custom Stable Cup competition, presented by Valley Contax, at Optometry’s meeting in 2019. Each student received $500. These students: Morgan Thorson, Zachary Shriver, Lindsay Estel and Jaelyn DeBerry.
Updated July 17
Trivia Fact: Today, July 17, is World Emoji Day. Emojis related to optometry include an eye, glasses and sunglasses. Why not check out your smartphone to see what else may be available?
AOA Passes Eight Resolutions at Optometry’s Meeting
The 122ndAOA Congress adopted several resolutions focused on advancing optometric practice and public access to eye care before adjourning at Optometry’s Meeting, which took place June 19 to June 23, in St. Louis.
“ . . . This year’s session was exceptionally productive with the approval of eight policy-based resolutions, including one aimed at taking on the special interests lobbying Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to undermine the standard of care America’s veterans need and deserve,” says Barbara L. Horn, O.D., AOA President.
1. American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) support. The AOA resolved to recognize the AOSA’s renewed dedication and commitment to the success of its membership, the AOA itself and the optometric profession, and it requested that all AOA-affiliated groups recognize the student association’s achievements and reward the group’s efforts by enhancing outreach to recent optometry school and college graduates and current students.
2. MIPS activity credit. The organization resolved to have its membership engage with non-O.D.s in their communities to inform them of the need and value of comprehensive eye health care, as well as the MIPS activity credit available to these non-O.D.s.
3. MIPS registry/participation. The AOA resolved to support utilization of AOA MORE (Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare) (https://bit.ly/2xK73nC), voluntary MIPS participation by doctors not required to do so and the reporting of MIPS data to the registry by current MIPS program participants vs. through the CMS site.
4. Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief (OFDR) program. The organization resolved to cheer the success of this program, along with the O.D.s, among others, who have supported it. Further, the AOA resolved to recognize OFDR as the primary charity that supports optometrists and optometry students who have endured hardships due to natural disasters and to encourage all AOA members and supporters to donate to OFDR.
5. State scope-of-practice issues. The AOA resolved to amend its 1996 resolution to support state scope-of-practice issues to not only continue to encourage AOA-affiliated organizations to use the resources created by the Advanced Procedure and Future Practice Education Task Force (https://bit.ly/2Jsbryq) and the Future Practice Initiative (https://bit.ly/30qWulU), but also embolden AOA-affiliated groups to promote the resources to their members, while the AOA Board of Trustees continues to look into methods of helping the state associations defend and expand their scope of practice to meet the skillset of optometrists.
6. Think About Your Eyes campaign. The organization resolved that its members utilize the campaign’s resources to prompt patients to seek comprehensive eye health exams (https://bit.ly/2XDW12Z).
7. United in Possibilities Campaign support.The organization resolved to call upon AOA-affiliated groups to adopt and actively support this campaign, which was created to better educate potential AOA members of the organization’s benefits (https://bit.ly/2S5ICdT).
8. US Veteran’s standard of care safeguard. The AOA resolved that it applaud optometrists who provide comprehensive eye health care to US veterans, recognize AOA member and affiliated groups for their efforts in protecting the standard of care given to US veterans, and that the AOA and affiliated groups continue to work together on and prioritize protecting this standard of care.
• American Academy of Optometry has recognized the following award recipients for 2019: Raymond A. Applegate, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Susan A. Cotter, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O., Uduak C. Udom, O.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.O., Thomas R. Stelmack, O.D., F.A.A.O., J. Daniel Twelker, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Andrew D. Pucker, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Rami Aboumourad, O.D., Thomas G. Quinn, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O., Thomas A. Aller, O.D., F.B.C.L.A., Maria Liu, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Christine Wedsoet, DipAppSci(Optom), Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Heather A. Anderson, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Donald O. Mutti, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Philip B. Morgan, Ph.D., M.C.Optom., F.A.A.O., S. Barry Eiden, O.D., F.A.A.O., and Robert N. Kleinstein, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O.
• CooperVision has appointed Joel Kamp as U.S. Commercial Director at Paragon Vision Sciences, a part of CooperVision’s Specialty EyeCare division. In the role, Mr. Kamp is responsible for sales and marketing strategy and execution, including enhanced support for ECP-centered initiatives.
• Costa’s Waterwoman frame won the title of Best of Category – Eyewear during the International Convention of Allied Sportsfishing Trades (ICAST) 2019 New Product Showcase Awards in Orlando. The honor marks Costa’s first female style that has won an ICAST award.
• MediXall Group Inc announced its plans to launch Vision Services throughout Florida through its online healthcare marketplace platform beginning Aug. 1. Visit www.medixall.com for more information.
• National Vision Holdings Inc.hosted more than 1,000 optometrists from its affiliated practices during the company’s annual Continuing Education Symposium June 1 to 4 in Dallas. The event provided 22 hours of COPE-approved CE over a three-day period, as well as business updates and presentations.
• Transitions Optical has launched a refreshed PRO website with resources for eyecare professionals at TransitionsPro.com. Available are downloadable resources to educate teams, market practices and talk to patients. In related news, Transitions Academy 2020 will be held Feb. 2 to Feb. 5 at JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla.,
• Trefoil Therapeutics raised $29 million in an oversubscribed Series A financing. The company is developing novel engineered fibroblast growth factor-1 proteins as a regenerative pharmacologic therapy to treat serious corneal endothelial diseases and epithelial disorders. Financing included new investors Bios Partners and Access Biotechnology.
• X-Cel Specialty Contacts announced that it has divested Hydrogel Vision Corporation, the manufacturer of the Extreme H20 brand of disposable contact lenses, to Clerio Vision, a developer of laser-branded vision correction solutions. The move allows X-Cel to focus on the expansion of specialty lens designs. For Clerio, the acquisition brings together Hydrogel Vision Corporation’s manufacturing and distribution of contact lenses with Clerio’s product pipeline.
• Zeiss completed the “steel topping out” phase of its high-tech site in the San Francisco Bay Area. The new site in Dublin is an element in a string of international projects aimed at expanding, modernizing and realigning sites that Zeiss has been implementing in various locations. The new center is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020.
• The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) has enlisted Golin, a public relations agency, to establish GMAC’s communications strategy for raising awareness of myopia. Through research, education and promotion, Golin and GMAC will share information through various consumer, government, NGO and healthcare professional channels. Engaging with Golin shows GMAC’s “commitment to educate the public about pediatric myopia,” says Matt Oerding, chairman of GMAC and co-founder of Treehouse Eyes. “Golin’s proven experience in implementing cause-related campaigns will accelerate our efforts to have parents bring their children to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam, and be more receptive to considering myopia treatment,” Mr. Oerding says.
• Silk, from Signet Armorlite, is a premium Kodak AR Lens Coating. The ultra-slick topcoat enhances AR lenses and features a lens surface that repels oil, water and particles and minimal deterioration, among others. For more visit KodakLens.com/pro or www.signetarmorlite.com.
• Xelpros Xpress, from Sun Ophthalmics, is an access program for patients prescribed Xelpros (latanoprost ophthalmic emulsion 0.005%), recently FDA approved for the reduction of elevated IOP in those with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Through Xpress, patients who have a prescription can obtain Xelpros for a fixed price of $55 for a single month or $37 per month for a three-month supply. Eye care professionals and patients can obtain more information at www.xelpros.com.
• Clarus 700, from Zeiss, is a high-definition, ultra-widefield imaging device with true color and a range of fundus imaging modalities, including fluorescein angiography. It has received FDA clearance.
• Genentech and Roche have completed patient enrollment in the Phase 3 Archway clinical trial investigating the port delivery system with ranibizumab in people who have wet AMD. The port delivery system is a refillable eye implant designed to continuously release a customized formulation of ranibizumab over a period of months.
Updated July 10
Awareness Month: July is Dry Eye Awareness Month. Dry eye disease is also the theme of Optometric Management’s“Practicing Medical Optometry” series, which appears in the July issue of OM. Visit https://bit.ly/2LKFkLT for practical information on the diagnosis, treatment and practice management issues related to this common chronic condition.
Tennessee-Based University Pursuing Optometry School Accreditation
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has authorized Greenville, Tenn.-based Tusculum University to add doctorates to its menu of available degrees. This clears the way for Tusculum to grant a Doctor of Optometry to those who will graduate from the Niswonger College of Optometry once that college receives required approvals. As Tusculum pursued the level change, it also worked on securing the necessary approvals from the Accreditation Council of Optometric Education. The Niswonger College of Optometry is seeking accreditation from that organization and has completed the first step in that process. Tusculum projects that it will enroll the first class of 70 students in the four-year program in fall 2020, pending the receipt of preliminary approval for accreditation.
• American Academy of Optometry Foundation announced the recipients of the Joe and Janet Barr Early Career Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award: Pabita Dhungel, an MS/Ph.D. candidate at Pacific University College of Optometry, and Rabia Mobeeen, a Ph.D. scholar at University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science.
• AOA’s Health Policy Institute has created the brief, The Role of Doctors of Optometry in the Identification, Treatment and Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, on the heels of a recent surge of such cases, as reported by the CDC. To access the brief, visit https://bit.ly/2S8DTrN.
• AOSA’s Optometry Student Bowl, supported by Essilor, and held during Optometry’s Meeting in St. Louis, awarded Nora Kuby, of the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), first place, giving ICO $1,000, the Ventura Cup, Volk Optical diagnostic lenses and a Keeler portable slit lamp. The University of Waterloo College of Optometry took second place, and third place went to the University of California Berkley College of Optometry and the Ohio State University College of Optometry.
• ABB Optical announces the integration of its products with RevolutionEHR’s SmartFlow for Sight ordering technology, an automation process for ordering products for delivery either to the office or to the patients. In other news, the organization welcomed Mike Austin as the company’s new director of Strategic Partnerships. In his new position, he will be instrumental in identifying, developing and maximizing the relationships between ABB Optical and leading organizations in the optical industry.
• Altaire Pharmaceuticals Inc. has voluntarily recalled various over-the-counter eye care products and lots sold at Wal-Mart and Walgreens, due to concerns over the sufficiency of Quality Assurance controls in Altaire’s manufacturing facility. To date, the manufacturer has not received reports of adverse events, nor acquired any out of specifications results, including Sterility testing, for the products. The recall, carried out at the retail level, includes lots that are sold under each company’s private labels. For additional information and a full list of recalled products, visit https://bit.ly/2S1T3Px (Walgreens) and https://bit.ly/2LgdGH6 (Wal-Mart).
• CareCredit has joined forces with Glimpse, a division of ABB Optical Group to provide an Independent Optometry Key Performance Metrics Trend Report for eye care professionals. The report details industry benchmarks, including gross revenue, revenue per patient, total eyewear revenue and other data ECPs can use to better evaluate their practice performance. Access the report at www.carecredit.com/OpticalStrategies.
• Dry Eye Doctor is a new company that specializes in eyelid hygiene and offers products for blepharitis, dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and styes. For more information, visit www.thedryeyedoctor.net.
• EnChroma Inc. added three executives to the company’s leadership team: Rob Maser, vice president of sales; Katherine O’Connor, vice president of marketing, ecommerce and brand strategy; and Ann Sullivan-Cross, creative director.
• Essilor International’s Points De Vue, the company’s online review of ophthalmic optics, and the International Opticians Association have agreed on a partnership to develop CE for eye care professionals.
• NuSight Medical announced that the U.S. Patent Office has issued Patent No. 10,314,763, which is directed to methods related to the treatment of dry eye disease. The patent covers the use of the NuLids System for the treatment of dry eye/ocular surface disease, blepharitis and related conditions. All 29 claims were approved, providing key declarations that involve stimulating the meibomian glands to effectively treat dry eye disease, according to the company.
• OcuSoft has acquired the intellectual property portfolio of Digital Heat Corporation, a science and technology-based company whose portfolio includes an eyelid warming device, which will be marketed as OcuSoft Thermal 1-Touch.
• Physician Partnered Products is a vision-medical start-up that creates strategic partnerships with eye doctors and eye clinics throughout the United States to enable doctors to obtain research-based diagnostic and treatment technology, along with mentoring programs and collateral support to optimize treatment outcomes via reduced expenses. The company's initial launch will focus on ocular surface disease, specifically meibomian gland disease. For additional information, visit www.physicianpartneredproducts.com.
• RightEye announced it’s working with USA Baseball for the third consecutive year to provide baseline sports vision assessments via its Vision EyeQ eye-tracking tests to athletes entering the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP), a collaboration between USA Baseball and Major League Baseball (MLB). Additionally, RightEye will recommend local optometrists who can help athletes correct functional vision issues and improve performance on the field.
• Safilo is planning to open a North American Distribution Center in Denver, Colo., to further improve its speed-to-market and increase service levels to customers across the region, the company says. The existing North American distribution centers in Clearfield, Utah, Montreal, Canada and the other existing facility in Denver will be integrated into the new Center. Also, Safilo’s Clearfield, Utah lab facility, which produces Smith prescription lenses, will be housed in the new Center.
• Transitions Optical is hosting education titled “Lunch. Learn. Explore. Education Tour” for eye care professionals in Chicago (July 18 at Union League Club of Chicago), Dallas (Aug. 14 at Gilley’s), Atlanta (Sept. 5 at The Fairmont) and Washington, D.C. (Oct. 24 at Kellogg Conference Hotel). The event includes an ABO technical credit and admission to the 29Rooms event that it is in conjunction with. Register at www.Transitions.com/RSVP.
• VSP Global has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Visionworks, which has more than 700 stores in 40 states. The transaction will close on approval from regulatory bodies.
• ABB Optical is now offering Hydra-PEG surface coating on GP contact lenses from Paragon Vision Sciences. Specifically, the specialty lens lab will be able to use the coating in its manufacturing of HDS and Fluroroperm GP lenses.
• Air Optix plus HydraGlyde for Astigmatism, from Alcon, is a monthly toric lens equipped with the companies Unique Precision Balance 814 and SmartShield Technology.
• Ocuvite Eye Performance, from Bausch + Lomb's, an ocular nutritional supplement to help strengthen the macula, the company says. It contains nutrients, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, omega 3s, zinc and vitamins C, E and D, vital to eye health.
• Blanchard Contact Lenses, a division of CooperVision, announced that Tangible Hydra-PEG is now available in Boston XO and Boston XO2 from Boston Materials.
• Organic Tears, from Eyeganics, is a 0.2% organic glycerin eye drop for the treatment of eye dryness. Sold exclusively through eye care professionals, the 10 mL bottle features a preservative free multi-dose ophthalmic squeeze dispenser.
• Prevent Blindness will be holding its 14thannual Eyes on Capitol Hill advocacy day on July 16. The event provides an opportunity for individuals across the country to address leaders at the nation’s capital and educate policymakers, whose understanding is needed to support vision programs and funding. For more information on the event, visit www.bit.ly/PBEyesonCap.
• Alan R. Morse, J.D., Ph.D., will step down later this year as president and CEO of Lighthouse Guild after 52 years in the field of vision and health.
• Illinois College of Optometry officially named Dr. Mark Colip its sixth president during a recent inauguration event. Dr. Colip has served ICO for 25 years, as part of the school’s senior administration, along with an involvement in many phases of ICO’s development.
For more industry news, see June's O.D. Notebook.