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O.D. Notebook: Trivia and the Latest Industry News

Trivia: As Women’s History Month winds down, here’s our quiz this week! Match the women below with their corresponding “first” achievement:

Famous female Achievement
1. Jennifer Smythe Coyle, O.D.  A. Becomes the first female president of an optometry school in 1920
2. Dori Carlson, O.D. B. Becomes the first female licensed optometrist, circa 1899
3. Dr. Mae Booth-Jones C. Becomes the first female president of the American Academy of Optometry in 1993
4. Joan Exford, O.D. D. Becomes the first female president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry in 2013
5. Gertrude Stanton E. Becomes the  first female president of the American Optometric Association in 2011

See answers next week.

Last Week's Trivia Question: This former NBA player recently revealed he wore goggles during play to help kids who were teased for wearing glasses.
Answer: Horace Grant

Associations

  • The National Board of Examiners in Optometry will allot $3.25 million in a cash settlement fund to compensate some 61,000 victims of an alleged data breach, according to the AOA. In a court ruling, the Maryland judge gave preliminary approval to the class action settlement that establishes a means of financial reimbursement and credit monitoring services for affected individuals and outlines steps the NBEO will take to significantly upgrade its data security practices. 
  • Vision Source Executive Chairman and Founder Glenn Ellisor, O.D., and President and CEO Jim Greenwood are recipients of Prevent Blindness’s 2019 Person of Vision Award. 
Company news
  • Aerie Pharmaceuticals has four appointments: David Ellis, Ph.D., to director, chemistry; Angela Justice to western regional director, medical science liaison; Brian Sakurada, Pharm.D., to director, scientific market access; and Karisma Sharma to vice president, human resources. 
  • Avedro appointed Patrick B. Jacques as vice president of sales, effective immediately. 
  • CooperVision named its Best Practices honorees. They include: Azman Eye Care Specialists/Global Complex Eye Care, Timonium, Md.; Briggs Vision Group, Dunswoody, Ga.; Drs. Quinn, Foster & Associates, Athens, Ohio; Lakeline Vision Source, Cedar Park, Texas; Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons, Kent, Stow and Akron, Ohio; Shoreline Optometry, Mountain View, Calif.; Spring Hill Eyecare, Spring Hill, Tenn.; Vancouver Vision Clinic, Vancouver, Wash.; Vision Source of Farr West, Farr West, Utah; and West Shore Eye Care, Ludington, Mich.
  • Novartis confirmed that conditions necessary for the spin-off of Alcon eye care business have been met. Completion of the transaction is expected on April 9. 
  • Ocular Therapeutix has elected Leslie J. Williams to the board of directors. Ms. Williams is the founder of biotechnology company ImmusanT Inc. and has served as a member of its board of directors and as its president and CEO since December 2010. 
  • Raindrop Near Vision inlay, from Optics Medical, is subject to a Class I recall from the FDA due the increased risk of corneal haze. Visit the FDA website for details: http://bit.ly/2FAStUe
  • The Global Specialty Lens Symposium, produced by PentaVisionOM’s parent company, Program Committee is accepting letters of nomination of individuals for the GSLS Award of Excellence. The award is given to distinguished clinicians, scholars and/or scientists to recognize their lifelong achievements in the field of contact lenses, including development, practice, translation of knowledge and education and scholarly activity, all of which move the field of contact lenses forward in seminal ways. To make a nomination (including a self-nomination) for the 2020 GSLS Award of Excellence, please send a letter of nomination to jjn@uab.edu. All nominations must be received by April 15.
  • UnitedHealthcare launched a national vision laboratory network in collaboration with Essilor. The network is now being used by UnitedHealthcare’s eye care provider network. 
  • VSP Global Premier Program members now have access to savings, customer service and complimentary staff trainings via a partnership with Maui Jim. Patients of these member practices also receive a money-back guarantee on an eyewear prescription. In other news, VSP Global has announced the appointment of Steve Baker, president of eyefinity, to lead VSP Ventures, the newly formed business unit to serve a variety of practices — private, dispensary-owned and VSP — in transitioning as doctors look to retirement or a different model. 
New products
  • Eyecare Advantage, from Compulink Healthcare Solutions, debuted a new user interface at Vision Expo East. It includes an updated look and feel with new fonts, button styles and colors and pop-up hover menus. 
  • Costa has expanded its Del Mar collection of acetate sunglasses by adding seven new frame styles in multiple colorways, inspired by the beauty of the ocean’s natural colors and patterns. Frames included in the collection are named: Apalach, Bimini, Coquina, Isla, Flagler, Ponce and Fernandina. 
  • EnChroma Clip-On lenses are a line of indoor lenses for color blindness. The lenses complement two new frames for the company’s indoor collection. The collection now includes four frames and two clip-on options for kids and adults.  
  • Advanced Vision Accuracy (AVA), from Essilor of America, is an integrated solution for eye care professionals. The platform integrates with the phoropter Vision-R 800. AVA expected commercial launch is July. 
  • Mr Blue Infinite Vision, from Essilor Instruments, is an edging system. Its key functions include mechanical tracing, optical tracing and milling for a greater number of mountings, as well as automation to streamline operational steps. 
  • Screen Shield Teen, from EyePromise, is an ocular nutrition supplement formulated to help preserve and support visual comfort and wellness for children ages 4 to 17. 
  • AngioWellness Scan, from Optovue, is testing available on the company’s AngioVue OCTA technology, allowing the doctor to assess and diagnose new pathologies in patients. It combines structural information on retinal and ganglion cell thickness with objective metrics on retinal vasculature into one easy-to-read report. 
  • ABSolu, from Quantel Medical, is an A/B/S ultrasound platform that received FDA approval. The five-ring annular technology 20MHz B probe offers a single scan high-definition image of the vitreous, retinal wall and orbit. 
  • Tangible Clean, from Tangible Science, is a multi-purpose cleaning solution specifically designed for use with Tangible Hydra-PEG coated contact lenses. The solution can be used for cleaning, conditioning, disinfection, protein removal, rinsing and storing coated GP lenses safely. 
  • Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses are the next generation of Transitions Signature photochromic lenses. The new lens technology incorporates a fully reinvented system, including new photochromic dyes and a reinvented matrix in which the dyes reside.  
Nonprofit
  • April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, according to Prevent Blindnessdesignation. Find information on the organization’s website. Also, look to April’s Social Media Toolkit for assets and messaging ready-to-use on social media, at https://www.optometricmanagement.com/social-media-hot-list/2019.  
Research
  • The Phase 3 ALLEVIATE trial of 0.25% and 0.5% reproxalap topical ophthalmic solution has garnered positive results. Aldeyra Therapeutics announced the clinical trial met the primary, evaluation of ocular itch score under the curve from 10 to 60 minutes after allergen challenge, and key secondary endpoint, two-point responder rate, which is a measure of clinical relevance, for both concentrations. 

 
Updates from March 20
 
Associations

  • AAO announced that Peter Scott, C.A.E., A.P.R., M.B.A., will serve as executive director beginning mid-April. Outgoing executive director, Lois Schoenbrun, C.A.E., F.A.A.O., will retire from her position at the end of April. She has held the position since 1996.
  • The AOA Foundation is accepting nominations for the Dr. W. David Sullins Jr InfantSEE Award, which recognizes an individual doctor of optometry in his/her community for outstanding public service involving the InfantSEE program. Nominations are to be submitted online at http://www.aoa.org/sullins.
Alliances
  • Steve Vargo, O.D., M.B.A., and IDOC practice management consultant, is celebrating the release of his book “But I Don’t Sell: An Eye Care Professional’s Guide to Being More Persuasive, Influential and Successful.” The book is available in print and digital formats via Amazon https://amzn.to/2HGU5NS
Companies
  • Alcon has acquired PowerVision, a privately held U.S.-based medical device development company focused on creating fluid-based IOLs. Commercial availability of the company’s IOL technology will be determined following additional development and clinical trials. 
  • Advancing Eyecare, a holding company owned by private equity firm Atlantic Street Capital, appointed Brad Staley as CEO. 
  • Avedrohas appointed Patrick B. Jacques vice president of sales. 
  • CooperVision affirmed its support for the publication of eight white papers by the International Myopia Institute. The reports are available via a special edition of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Scienceat https://iovs.arvojournals.org/issues.aspx?issueid=937872#issueid=937872
  • Shannon Collins Thackray has been named vice president of human resources for Rev360.
  • SynergEyes VS scleral lens is available with Tangible Hydra-PEG on Contamac material. The lens is available in the U.S. in Contamac Optimum Extreme material and Menicon Z material. 
  • Transitions Opticalhas launched a new website, http://www.healthysightworkingforyou.org, that aims to increase awareness of the importance of regular eye exams and premium eyewear options available through a comprehensive vision benefit. The website provides a wide range of information, educational resources and quantitative tools to reinforce the value of offering — or enrolling in — a premium vision plan.
  • VSP Global intends to open three brick-and-mortar Eyeconic locations with the launch of VSP Ventures, a new business unit. The stores will be open in the Chicago market throughout the year. 
Nonprofit
  • Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation has received a donation of $225,000, the largest single donation in the history of the foundation. The donation will be used to fund scholarships to train Aboriginal optometrists and providers of vision care services within regional areas of Australia. 
  • Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, can benefit from donations via  AmazonSmile, http://smile.amazon.com/ch/33-0941845. Amazon will then donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchase. 
Products
  • Visionix Eye Refract, from Luneau Technology, is a refraction system that combines Dual Hartmann-Shack Aberrometer with a digital phoropter. It debuts at Vision Expo East. 
 
Research
  • Ab-interno trabeculotomy using one of Sight Sciences’ OMNI Surgical System’s Predicate Devices provides a favorable safety profile and substantial long-term reductions in both IOP and IOP-lowering medications, according to a single center retrospective study of glaucoma surgery patients in January’s Clinical Ophthalmology.  
  • Use of iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent during cataract surgery delivered a 38% reduction in mean IOP to 14.7 mmHg after five years of follow-up, found a Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery study .
  • Investigators observed a higher tendency of comorbid DED among candidates with migraine headaches, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology.
  • Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have created a hydrogel that could one day be made into a contact lens to more effectively treat corneal melting, an incurable eye disease that can be initiated by a number of different causes, such as autoimmune disease, chemical burns or some surgical procedures. The hydrogel deactivates certain zinc-dependent enzymes, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), by removing the zinc ions. 
 
Schools
  • Wei Li, Ph.D., from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been awarded a five-year, $9.12 million R24 grant from the NEI to develop a new drug that would protect infants from potentially blinding eye disorders due to retinopathy of prematurity. 

Updates from March 13
Trivia: John McCormack made what St. Patrick’s Day song famous?
Answer to last week’s trivia: Billy Pilgrim
 
Alliances

  • Opti-Port members had the opportunity to partake in personal, on-the-spot consulting sessions with business strategist Jay Abraham at the semi-annual Opti-Port SPARK Conference at Vision Expo East. Mr. Abraham has been an advisor for Microsoft and AT&T, among other companies. 
  • PECAA has promoted Jamie Hughes, the former general manager of the alliance, as senior vice president. 
Associations
  • The AOA Foundation’s Optometry Cares is now accepting applications for its Healthy Eyes Healthy Children (HEHC) community grants program, which will award up to $5,000 each for projects that align with HEHC’s goal: to spread awareness and increase vision care to underserved children across the country. To apply, visit www.aoafoundation.org/hehc.
  • The AOA’s 74thpresident, Donald E. Jarnagin, O.D., died on March 3 from cancer. Dr. Jarnagin was also a founding father of the Great Western Council of Optometry and received numerous awards, including the Circle of Vision Distinguished Individual Philanthropist Award, from the Southern California College of Optometry. In the 1970s, he served as a Captain and Optometry officer in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps, from which he received an Army Commendation Medal.
  • Alecko Eskandarian, a two-time Major League Soccer All-Star, will be the key-note speaker at the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association International 28thannual General Conference, to take place Sept. 21 to 22 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resorts, Scottsdale, Ariz. More on the conference: https://noravisionrehab.org/about-nora/annual-conference
  • SECO International wrapped up its 2019 meeting with the following statistics: More than 400 hours of CE, a 33% increase over previous years; and more than 70 courses for O.D.s and allied healthcare professionals. Its 2020 meeting will be in Atlanta, March 4 to 8. https://attendseco.com
Companies
  • ABB Optical welcomes Donna “Dede” Reyes to its team of specialty contact lens consultants. 
  • Novartis shareholders approved the proposed 100% spin-off of the Alcon eyecare division, as previously endorsed by the Novartis Board of Directors. In addition to shareholder approval, completion of the spin-off remains subject to certain conditions precedent. The spin-off is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.
  • MacuLogix completed a Series D round of financing totaling more than $38.7 million. Funds will be used to expand personnel and company infrastructure to support growing sales. 
  • Notal Vision Holdings Inc. announced winners for its 2018 to 2019 optometry student grant program. First prize went to Sherene Vazhappilly, University of Waterloo, $5,000 grand prize; runner up prizes of $1,000 were given to Astiney Franklin, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Natalie Wu, New England College of Optometry. 
  • RightEye has published an education guide, “5 Ways to Differentiate Your Practice,” which discusses how to incorporate sports medicine, concussion care and other specialized services into the optometric practice. The guide can be downloaded at https://info.righteye.com/differentiate.
  • Sightbox survey of 1,000 U.S. adults shows thatalthough 81% of respondents say they are likely to undergo an eye exam within the next 12 months, just half report being very likely to do so.
FDA Approvals/Clearances
  • Netarsudil 0.02% and latanoprost ophthalmic solution 0.005% (Rocklatan, Aerie Pharmaceuticals) received FDAapproval to reduce increased  IOP in open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension patients. To see the full product label, visit http://investors.aeriepharma.com.
  • Cirrus HD-OCT platform, from Zeiss, has received FDA clearance to expand its anterior segment premiere module to include epithelial thickness mapping (ETM). ETM provides a 9 mm map of epithelial thickness that enables an assessment of patients before refractive surgery, allows monitoring of the cornea's response to treatment and aids in managing patients who have ocular surface disorders, such as dry eye and progressive corneal diseases, such as keratoconus.
Nonprofit
  • Lighthouse Guild announced that Tiffany Schmidt, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2019 Pisart Award. Her work in sensory research and circadian biology is advancing the understanding of adult retinal function and retinal development. In other news, the nonprofit offers several tips for Diabetes Alert Day, March 22: Take control with regular physical exams; see an eye care professional immediately for any sudden changes in vision; join a diabetes support group to learn from others; and learn more through organizations, such as Lighthouse Guild. 
  • Prevent Blindness elected Jim Brocato to its board of directors.  
Products
  • Art Optical has launched a new online calculator to accompany its fitting tools supporting the Ampleye scleral lens. Developed in partnership with the KATT Design Group, the Ampleye Initial Rx Lens Calculator is intended to assist fitters with determining patients’ initial prescription lens parameters based on inputs from the diagnostic assessment process. 
  • AB Max, from Myco Industries, is an adapter that is used with Algerbrush, converting it into a multi-purpose device, for the treatment for anterior blepharitis.
  • TommyXZendaya, from Safilo, is an eyewear collection of women’s sunwear. Design features include metal embellishments and the Tommy Hilfiger logo. Also from the company is Kids by Safilo, an eyewear collection for children through age 8. Features of the collection include softly rounded profiles with integrated hinges and lightweight, stable frames with flexible strong materials that are discreet on the child’s face, the company says. 
Research
  • Small blood vessels in the retina are altered in patients who have Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Duke Eye Center found that imaging with OCTA, they can distinguish between people who have Alzheimer’s and those with mild cognitive impairment, according to a study published in Ophthalmology Retina.

Updates from March 6

Trivia: What was the name of the optometrist in “Slaughterhouse-Five, ” which was released in March 1969?(See answer in next week’s post.) From last week: the answer to the question "Who was the first African American to graduate from optometry school?" is H. Edward Welton, O.D.

CDC Promotes Healthy Contact Lens Wear and Care During Spring Break

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a marketing program targeted at college-age contact lens wearers that promotes healthy contact lens wear and care behaviors around spring break. The outreach efforts will go out on various social media outlets through March 8 to coincide with many universities’ spring breaks.

Key messages will include the following: Take out your contact lenses before going to sleep; bring enough contact lens supplies and a spare pair of glasses with you in case you need to use them while traveling; never swim or shower while wearing contact lenses; never "top off" solution in the case to store contact lenses; and do not wear contact lenses without a prescription from an eyecare provider.

Practitioners can find free downloadable related images at http://bit.ly/2J2PvMm
— From Contact Lens Today, a round up newsletter delivered on Sundays. Subscribe here
 
Associations

Company news
  • Alcon launched a new Multifocal Virtual Reality training module in partnership with Microsoft and Elara Systems. The virtual reality experience gives eyecare practitioners (ECPs), fellows and students a three-dimensional view into actual multifocal contact lens fittings.
  • Bausch Health Companies successfully bid to acquire certain assets of Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a cash purchase price of $195 million and the assumption of certain assumed liabilities. The sale was subject to approval of the Bankruptcy Court, which the company received on March 1. Synergy filed for Chapter 11 in December. The sale includes assets to Trulance (plecanatide), dolcanatide and other intellectual property. The purchase is expected to close on March 5. 
  • CooperVision’s program to boost the knowledge of its U.S. Salesforce has received an Excellence in Technology Award from Brandon Hall Group, an independent human capital management research and analyst firm. In related news, a clinical study determined that clariti 1 day multifocal lens power recommendations generated by the company’s OptiExpert app closely matched eye care professional recommendations following the fitting guide at initial fit and follow-up. The independent study was conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education. 
  • FoxFire Systems Group was recently recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Promising Healthcare Solution Providers of 2019 by CIO Review, a world-renowned resource for emerging technology information. 
  • Scott Filion has been promoted to CEO of Rev360, the company that provides a suite of eyecare practice advancement solutions, such as RevolutionEHR, to eye care professionals. Formerly the company's president and COO, Mr. Filion will now oversee RevolutionEHR, the Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA) and Visionary Partners. Rev360’s founder and former CEO, Scott Jens, has been named a senior advisor to the Rev360 Board of Directors.
  • TopiVert Pharma’s first patients have been dosed in the THEIA-1 Phase 2b/e clinical study evaluating TOP1630, a novel anti-inflammatory kinase inhibitor, as an ophthalmic solution for the treatment of dry eye disease. The study is multi-centered, randomized, double-masked and placebo-controlled and will enroll about 200 adults who have moderate to severe dry eye disease. It will measure the effectiveness of the solution with a primary endpoint at day 29 of ocular grittiness and ocular surface health, via lissamine green staining. 
  • Transitions reports that nearly all, 98% of employees, indicate that seeing well at work is important to them. However, according to the company’s Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey, eight in 10 people report vision-related symptoms at work, such as eye fatigue and headaches, dry eye and blurred vision.  
Products
  • Eaglet Eye announced a major upgrade to its Eye Surface Profiler (ESP) software. In addition to bringing the total number of contact lens designs embedded to more than 35, the software can now calculate four quadrant peripheries, bitoric sclerals and toric haptics. According to the company, the most significant upgrade is SmartMerge, which allows practitioners to combine up to five full images. This allows full functionality (optimal coverage), should one image not have sufficient data.The software upgrade is expected to be released after thorough testing within the next two weeks. The ESP upgrade is available to users worldwide. 
  • Functional Vision EyeQ, from RightEye, is an automated test that allows optometrists to identify functional vision issues. Once a problem is identified, the program recommends computer-based exercises for patients to do at home, under the supervision of their optometrists. The test is conducted using the RightEye eye-tracking system. 
Nonprofit
  • Edward Ross, LCSW-r, BCD, has been named the director to lead Lighthouse Guild’sbehavioral health program. 
  • March is workplace eye wellness month, according to Prevent Blindness. Visit the website,  
    http://bit.ly/2IVUheg, for information and graphics. 
For more from industry and around eye care, see February’s O.D. Notebook