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O.D. Notebook: PentaVision Launches Educational Event Arm of Optometric Management

Trivia: The FIFA Women’s World Cup is currently taking place in France. Tobin Heath, U.S. Women’s National Team player, told Optometric Management in 2017 that she didn’t realize she needed contact lenses until the team adopted vision testing. “I think [vision] goes overlooked when we think about things we need to do as athletes to feel the most prepared, and nowadays we’re fine-tuning every part of what it means to be an athlete...” she told OM. See https://bit.ly/2X8n8Te.
 

AbbVie to Acquire Allergan

AbbVie Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company in four therapeutic areas, immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Allergan in a cash and stock transaction for an equity value of about $63 billion.
AbbVie Chairman and CEO Richard A. Gonzalez says the transaction “achieves unique and complementary strategic objectives.”
On completion of the transaction, AbbVie will continue to be incorporated in Delaware with its principals in Chicago. The company will continue to be led by Mr. Gonzalez. Two members of Allergan’s board, including Chairman and CEO Brent Saunders, will join the company’s board. The transaction is expected to close in early 2020 and is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.
 
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin a data validation and audit this month (June) for performance years 2017 and 2018, according to CMS’s Quality Payment Program newsletter. It has contracted with Guidehouse to validate data and audit a select number of clinicians eligible for Merit-based Incentive Payment Systems, or MIPS. If selected for the process, clinicians will receive a request for information from Guidehouse via email or certified mail. The clinician will then have 45 calendar days from the date of the notice to provide the requested information. More information can be found on the Quality Payment Program website, qpp.cms.gov.
 
Alliances
  • IDOC will now offer unlimited access to business analytics and reporting as a complimentary benefit to members who have GPN Technologies-compatible practice management systems. This month, IDOC will add a customized Report Card feature to the Insider benefit package, which will provide data-driven practice performance feedback in an easy-to-read dashboard format, the alliance says.
 
Associations
  • The Vision Council is promoting the importance of UV-protective eyewear with National Sunglasses Day on June 27. Optometrists can participate by holding events, offering sales incentives and posting to social media, using official hashtags, #SunglassesSelfie and #NationalSunglassesDay, as well as by tagging @TheVisionCouncil, on Facebook and Instragam, and @OpticalIndustry, on Twitter.
 
Company news
  • ABB Optical Group released market data from its Digital Eye Lab Network division showing significant year-over-year growth in the sale of prescription sun lenses. Data show that orders were up 25% in 2018 over 2017, as well as year-over-year increases of 30% for mirrored lenses, 30% for photochromic lenses and 20% for polarized lenses. Silver, blue and gold were the most popular colors ordered in polarized mirrored lenses, the data show. 
  • Alcon received recognition at the 2019 Medical Design Excellence Awards for the iLUX MGD treatment system. The company took home the gold award given in the non-surgical hospital supplies and equipment category during an event on June 11 in New York City. In other news, the company announced the addition of Sean Clark and Dr. Kristin Anderson to its executive team. Mr. Clark was recently appointed general manager of US Vision Care from his most recent role as head of the Vision Care Business Unit for Alcon Japan. Dr. Anderson joined Alcon in the newly created role of director of Professional Education – US Vision Care and Dry Eye. 
  • Compulink provided a preview for its interface Eyecare Advantage at the AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting last week in St. Louis. The new user interface includes an updated look and feel, such as fonts, button styles, colors and pop-up hover menus, the company says.
  • Marcolin and Adidas have entered into a licensing agreement for eyewear products through 2024. Eyewear, under the labels Adidas Badge of Sport and Original, is expected to hit the market beginning in 2020.
  • Polaroid Eyewear announced that it is a silver sponsor of NYC Pride, the official host of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50. A branded float for the eyewear brand’s message “See Beyond” will participate in the NYC Pride March on June 30, in addition to having a presence at other events surrounding the function.
  • Rev360 has named John Fowle chief financial officer. Mr. Fowle has held senior positions with companies, such as Panasonic and GE Healthcare. Most recently, he served as vice president, corporate controller and officer of Welltok, a provider of technology solutions connecting consumers with personalized health improvement resources. 
  • Carl Zeiss Meditec has become a shareholder of MicroOptx Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis. Zeiss believes the company’s MIGS solution will complement its portfolio of equipment and consumables in ophthalmic surgery, according to a Zeiss press release.
 
Nonprofit
  • Envision Research Institute has awarded Jing Xu, Ph.D., a new fellowship for postdoctoral research studies involving low vision and blind rehabilitation. Dr. Xu will explore how to help adults who have vision loss continue to drive safely. Beginning in July, her research will be based out of Gigi and Carl Allen Envision Research Institute and sponsored by Bosma Enterprises.
  • Prevent Blindness is working to educate the public on the dangers of consumer fireworks, as the Fourth of July approaches. An estimated 8,700 fireworks-related injuries are treated in an emergency room around the July holiday. For tips on educating patients about preventing firework injuries, visit preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-fireworks.
 
New product notes
  • Dailies Colors contact lenses, from Alcon, combine eye color enhancement with its daily disposable contact lens. The new line, made of nelfilcon A material, features four colors: mystic blue, mystic gray, mystic hazel and mystic green.
  • Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism contact lenses, from Bausch + Lomb, are multifocal toric lenses available as a standard offering in a fit set. The company says the new monthly silicone hydrogel lens was specifically designed to address the lifestyle and vision needs of patients who have both astigmatism and presbyopia. The lens combines the company’s 3-Zone Progressive multifocal design with the stability of its OpticAlign toric design, as well as its MoistureSeal technology.
  • Ocutech Falcon Autofocus Bioptic is now available in 3x, 4x and 5.5x powers.
  • Virtual Eyewear Assistant (VEA), from Thelma Optical, is a biometric technology that lets consumers custom-design eyewear that is manufactured to their unique facial measurements. Using 3D camera scans, the system creates a facial rendering that the customer can use to virtually try on more than 1 million style and color combinations in Thema’s iGreen Hi-Tech collection, the company says.
  • X-Cel Specialty Contacts is now manufacturing sclerals and corneal GP lenses in the new Optimum Infinite hyper Dk GP lens material. Optometrists may request this material effective immediately. The material, from Contamac, is wettable and scratch-resistant.
 
State news
  • California Optometric Association released a statement from President Ronald G. Seger, O.D., F.A.A.O., in response to the state budget passed by the legislature on June 13: “California’s doctors of optometry applaud Governor Newsom and California’s legislators for recognizing the opportunity to improve sight and save lives by restoring eyeglasses and vision aid coverage for adults participating in Medi-Cal.”

Updated June 19
PentaVision Launches Educational Event Arm of Optometric Management

 
PentaVision, publisher of Optometric Management, has formed a new venture with Distinctive Strategies and Leadership LLC to bring Optometric Management Education, which will develop, produce and manage clinical and practice management educational events. Additionally, April Jasper, O.D., F.A.A.O., who co-owns Distinctive Strategies and Leadership with Katie Gilbert-Spear, O.D., J.D., M.P.H., has been named chief education director for the Optometric ManagementSymposium. Drs. Jasper and Gilbert-Spear serve as this magazine’s chief optometric editor and legal contributor, respectively. Optometricmanagement.com will provide more details on the venture as they become available. 

Trivia: The 1904 World’s Fair, which took place in St. Louis, this year’s location of Optometry’s Meeting, which kicks off today, is credited with popularizing iced tea, the ice cream cone and the hot dog, according to the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission.
 
Associations
• Contact Lens Manufacturers Association and GP Lens Institute bestowed the 2019 GP Clinical Excellence awards to fourth-year optometry students, selected by the contact lens faculty at their respective schools, for exemplary performance in GP contact lens fitting during the course of their education: Kennedy Antoniuk, O.D., Jacqueline Benoit, O.D., Nha Cao, O.D., Roxanne Chalifoux, O.D., Jennifer Chan, O.D., Theodore Chow, O.D., Alexandra Gada, O.D., Amanda Gerson, O.D., Simon-Pier Falardea, O.D., Nicole Malone, O.D., Kathleen Nelson, Lauren Nicholas, O.D., Kellen Plomski, O.D., Ryan Rutschilling, O.D., Sadie Steinsbeisser, O.D., Justin Ullrey, O.D., Joshua Walek, O.D., Connie Minah Woo, O.D., and Charlotte Wang, O.D. 
 
Company news
• Aerie Pharmaceuticals has appointed Jeffrey Calabrese, CPA, as director of accounting, reporting to Christopher Staten, vice president of finance. Mr. Calabrese will lead external financial reporting, technical accounting and equity accounting. 
• EyePACS LLC announced it has surpassed 750,000 patient encounters in April for its cloud-based retina assessment and diagnostic service focusing on diabetic retinopathy. EyePACS began in 2003 with its first deployment in California. 
• Harrow Health will locate its headquarters to Nashville. The company plans on moving into an existing building to house the company’s headquarters and executive positions.
• McDougall Communications programs were recognized with Public Relations Society of America awards, including those programs created for CooperVision, Centre for Ocular Research & Education and the America Academy of Optometry Foundation. 
• NovaBay Pharmaceuticals has appointed Justin Hall as president and CEO and Jason Raleigh as chief financial officer. Mr. Hall has served as interim president and CEO and Raleigh as interim CFO since March. 
• Ocutrx revealed that its Oculenz AR Wear Glasses, in a pre-pilot patient trial, significantly improved the ability of subjects to read small letters and print at near and far and viewing distances when compared to their own standard near correction (or not correction) in subjects who have scotoma impairment from advanced AMD. 
• Sight Sciences announced the enrollment of its first subject in Olympia, the U.S. trial to assess the safety and efficacy of TearCare for dry eye disease. TearCare is a wearable, personalized open-eye technology that delivers regulated, localized heat to the eyelids to help clear the diseased meibomian glands of oily obstructions. 
 
Nonprofit
Centre for Ocular Research & Education has published five-minute overviews of each recent white paper published by the International Myopia Institute, authored by the CORE clinical science team. In addition, the organization has created a downloadable set of practical tips on how to implement the clinical management guidelines in practice. Find them all here: www.bit.ly/COREmyopia.
 
New products
Screen Shield Pro, from EyePromise, is an ocular nutritional supplement designed to protect and relieve the associated symptoms of digital eye strain in adults who spend more than eight hours staring at screens, according to the company.

Updated June 12
Practice Tip: 
To address issues with staff attendance, determine what you think is excessive, in terms of absences, while giving your employees the wiggle room to be human. This and other related tips can be found on this week’s Optometric Management “Tip of the Week” at https://bit.ly/31sd8my
 
Associations
  • The International Sports Vision Association has appointed Donald Teig, O.D., F.A.A.O., and Greg Appelbaum, Ph.D., to its board of directors. Dr. Teig is founder and medical director of The A Team — High Performance Vision Associates, while Dr. Appelbaum is an associate professor in the Duke University School of Medicine, where he heads the Human Performance Optimization Lab and directs the Brain Stimulation Research Center. 
  • To assist individuals who may be experiencing visual dysfunctions that contribute to dizziness and balance problems, the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) and the Vesibular Disorders Association (veDA) have developed The Vestibular-Vision Connection. This patient-education resource can be viewed and downloaded from https://bit.ly/2yzQc8f and https://vestibular. org/ vision_hearing.
  • The Vision Council hosted the second of four events in its Summit Series: The Optical Innovation Summit, held June 5 to June 6 in Boulder, Colo., which gathered executives from companies in the vision care market to discuss changes affecting optical retail. 
Company news
  • Acuity Pro has created a 90-second animated video for its Acuity Pro Digital Acuity System called, “Learn About Vision With Dr. Frank and Gwen,” based in part on the late Frank Fontana, O.D. The video will be used primarily as a distance fixation target.
  • Bausch + Lomb announced a multi-city workshop to offer eye care professionals hands-on training using the Zenlens family of scleral lenses to support their patients who have challenging visual conditions. Workshops will take place in the following cities and dates: Houston, June 11 and June 12; St. Louis, June 13; West Conshohocken, Pa., July 16; Pearl River, N.Y., July 17; Schaumburg, Ill., Aug. 6; Oakbrook, Ill., Aug. 7; and Tarrytown, N.Y., Sept. 17. For more information, visit www.aldenoptical.com/events
  • EyePoint Pharmaceuticals appointed Scott Jones chief commercial officer. Mr. Jones will be responsible for the commercialization of Dexycu (dexamethasone intraocular suspension 9%), for the treatment of post-operative inflammation following cataract surgery, and Yutiq (fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant 0.18 mg), for the treatment of chronic, non-infectious posterior uveitis.
  • Goldmann Sachs’ West Street Partners VII fund has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Capital Vision Services (CVS), which owns MyEyeDr. MyEyeDr. practices provide patients with exceptional full-service vision care, a wide selection of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses and standard and specialty contact lenses, according to the company. Additionally, CVS provides affiliated, independent optometrists with a slew of financial, marketing, human resources and accounting services and managed care credentialing and claims processing.
New products
  • OcuSoft Lid Scrub Allergy removes oil, debris, pollen and other contaminants from the eyelids, while employing Green Tea Extract, Tea Tree Oil and PSG-2 (Phytosphingosine) to effectively decrease redness, inflammation and allergy-related itching, according to the company. The Scrub is available at CVS Pharmacies and at www.ocusoft.com. Discounted pricing is available for doctors' offices.  
Updated June 5
Observance: Today, June 5, is World Environment Day. What are you and/or your staff doing in your practice to protect the environment? We’d love to hear from you! Please email Jennifer.Kirby@pentavisionmedia.com to share.
 
Alliances 
  • Professional Eye Care Associates of America hosted its annual meeting May 16 to May 18 in Austin, Texas. The event drew more than 900 individuals from the PECAA community and included elective courses and more than 20 speakers. This year marked the first time PECAA offered enhanced staff track courses, which featured office manager training and certification, as well as optician training and certification preparation. Next year’s meeting will be in Denver, April 30 to May 2. 
  • Primary Eyecare Network is offering a leadership seminar for office staff members on July 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at PEN Education Center, 1750 N. Loop Road in Alameda, Calif. For registration and more information, visit PrimaryEye.net. 
Company news
  • ABB Optical Group appointed Tom Calhoun as senior vice president of operations. Mr. Calhoun will be responsible for streamlining ABB Optical Group’s business operations for enhanced efficiency and productivity. In other news, ABB Cares is accepting applications for the program beginning Aug. 1. Grants from the program, accounting for more than $65,000, are awarded to non-profit organizations across the country. For information and to nominate a charity, visit www.ABBOptical.com/ABBCares
  • To explain the simplified diagnostic fitting process of the Ampleye scleral lens, Art Optical has produced a seven-minute animated instructional video. The video explains the benefits of the incorporated 150 μm toric haptic on Ampleye trial lenses, as well as the consistent limbal lift (LLZ) and scleral landing (SLZ) zones. To view the video, head to https://www.artoptical.com/ampleyequickfit.
  • John Phillips, Stuart Cockerill and Paul Chamberlain were recognized with an industry award from the British Contact Lens Association for their work in the development, research and commercialization of CooperVision’s MiSight 1 day contact lens. 
  • Costa has launched a creative consumer brand campaign designed to attract water lovers and adventurers. The campaign, which uses the tagline “for those who need water to breathe,” and uses imagery of men and women on the ocean, will run in and outside of the United States.
  • Eyenovia announced it has enrolled the first patient in its Phase 3 Chaperone study of MicroPine for progressive myopia. The U.S.-based, multi-center, randomized, double-masked trial will enroll more than 400 children and investigate the safety and efficacy of MicroPine, a proprietary atropine topical micro-formulation for the reduction of myopia, delivered by the company’s Optejet dispenser. 
  • British optical group Eyoto has announced an expansion of operations in the U.S. with the appointment of Kurt Gardner as vice president and general manager – North America. He will oversee the group’s sales, logistics and operational activities in the U.S. and Canada. 
  • Healthy Eyes Advantage (HEA) Inc. has appointed James Kirchner, O.D., to the newly created position of executive consultant for State and Professional Relations. In this capacity, Dr. Kirchner will serve as the primary practitioner liaison between HEA and professional associations.
  • Marcolin Group has renewed its licensing agreement for the design, manufacture and distribution of eyewear for the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. 
  • Visioneering Technologies Inc. (VTI) has announced that Mat Hamilton has joined VTI as the executive territory manager to serve eyecare professionals (ECPs) in the Boston Metro Area. In this role, he will support the growth of VTI in this market. 
New products
  • TheraTears Sterilid antimicrobial eyelid cleanser and facial wash, from Akorn, is a 0.01% hypochlorous acid formula with pH balance to be gentle on the eyelids. It is available in retail stores, as well as through Amazon and eye care professionals.
  • Diopsys ffERG/Flash Plus Photopic Negative Response vision test is a full field electroretinography protocol designed to aid in the detection of early signs of glaucoma. The test provides objective information on the function of retinal ganglion cells, primarily damaged by glaucoma, and their axions. 
  • Vera180, from Lacrivera, is a synthetic absorbable lacrimal plug to provide extended temporary occlusion and is ideal for the treatment of post-surgical dry eye and treating dry eye components. The plugs are made of poly-p-dioxanone and are available in a number of sizes. 
Schools
  • The University of Massachusetts has received a gift of $1 million to establish the Manning Innovation Program. Named for its donors, the program provides three years of support in advancing research initiatives, including funds for the research into Stargardt disease, by Abigail Jensen, associate professor of biology. 
 
For more industry news, see May’s O.D. Notebook