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

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

  • 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. 
  • 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
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.  
  • 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. 
  • 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
— From Contact Lens Today, a round up newsletter delivered on Sundays. Subscribe here

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.  
  • 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. 
  • 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,, for information and graphics. 
For more from industry and around eye care, see February’s O.D. Notebook