B&L to Launch Center for Patient Insights
Bausch & Lomb will soon launch the Center for Patient Insights, an initiative that strives to increase access to unbiased industry information, trends, market research, and insights for eyecare professionals across the United States. The Center for Patient Insights' main goal is to deliver news and insights that help eyecare professionals better understand their patients, their industry, and the information and opportunities available to them. According to Bausch & Lomb, this will help to ensure that the doctor-patient dialog is as beneficial as possible for both practitioner and patient, and it will help eliminate the space between practitioners and patients.
The Center for Patient Insights is designed to be an accessible, simple, and efficient source of easy and quick-to-read newsworthy information. The Center will utilize a variety of channels to publish timely, relevant, and comprehensive data gathered from patient and consumer research commissioned by Bausch & Lomb and nationally recognized data providers such as HPR and Gallup.
The Center's interactive portal on www.CenterForPatientInsights.com, which will become available on Sept. 10, will provide practitioners with brief PatientPoints summarizing industry trends, as well as research insights on patient attitudes and beliefs. PatientPoints and research insights will be downloadable and printable, and the site will also include a search function to help users easily locate specific information via keywords and categories such as vision conditions, patient outcomes, and patient preferences.
Walt West, OD, FAAO, chief optometric editor, Optometric Management, says, “With the Center for Patient Insights, Bausch & Lomb has created a great opportunity for eyecare practitioners to access and reference the market information needed to make informed decisions for their practices and their patients.”
CooperVision to Close Virginia Plant
CooperVision, Inc. plans to discontinue the operations of its soft contact lens manufacturing plant in Norfolk, Va., over the next 15 months, citing increased manufacturing efficiencies gained over the last year.
The Norfolk facility manufactures approximately 7 percent of the company's annual lens production. CooperVision plans to relocate lens manufacturing from Norfolk to Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, and Hamble, UK. It also intends to transfer part of its lens manufacturing operations in Adelaide, Australia, to Hamble, UK, over the coming four months. No additional hires are anticipated as part of this transition.
“Our manufacturing employees are first-rate, and this is an extremely difficult decision,” says Robert S. Weiss, Cooper's president and CEO. “Over the past year, we have increased manufacturing throughput while reducing manufacturing headcount by roughly 685 employees. We expect these additional moves will allow us to reduce headcount by roughly 570 more employees while continuing to increase production.”
Once completed, CooperVision anticipates annual cash savings of approximately $14 million beginning in 2011 and earnings improvements of approximately $7.5 million in fiscal 2011 and $15 million per year thereafter.
Remembering Dr. Rob Breece
Robert Breece, OD, a pioneer in specialty contact lens design, died August 10 at age 59. Dr. Breece was the president of and lens design consultant for Medlens Innovations, where he used his experience as a practitioner, biomedical engineer, lens designer, and manufacturer to consult with practitioners on custom lens designs. Dr. Breece developed lens designs for keratoconus, post refractive surgery, orthokeratology, and other medical conditions.
After graduating from the Southern California College of Optometry in 1978 and receiving a degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1979, Dr. Breece established the largest contact lens specialty practice in Washington, DC, where he developed new lens designs to solve contact lens problems. In 1983 he founded Applied Optical Corporation, a producer of soft and GP specialty lenses. From 1990 to 1999, Dr. Breece was president of BioMed Devices Corporation, a company consulting in all phases of the contact lens industry.
Dr. Breece held U.S. patents on manufacturing methods for soft and toric lenses. He wrote study protocols and supervised several clinical investigations of new lenses for FDA approval. He recently received the 2009 Achievement Award from the American Optometric Association's Contact Lens and Cornea Section. He also received the 2008 Creative Design & Process Award from the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association.
“Rob Breece was one of the most innovative and creative contact lens designers of this generation,” said Ed Bennett, OD, MSEd, director, Student Services, University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry and executive director, GP Lens Institute. “His legacy will be the many successful specialty GP and soft lens designs that he developed as well as the many clinicians that he encouraged and mentored.”
Dr. Breece's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The National Keratoconus Foundation, Attn: Robert Olin Breece.
In Memory of Dr. Jeffrey Gilbard
Pioneering dry eye researcher Jeffrey P. Gilbard, MD, died Aug. 12 from complications related to a bicycle accident. He was 55 years old.
Dr. Gilbard founded Advanced Vision Research (AVR) in 1995 to market and distribute TheraTears, an over-the-counter eye drop he created to treat dry eye. His holistic approach to eye care included the use of nutritional supplements to improve the ocular surface and to treat and prevent retinal disease. This research resulted in additional products including TheraTears Nutrition, Macutrition and NutriDox.
“We will continue his mission of improving people's quality of life. This is what Jeff would want us to do and there's no better tribute to him than to continue his work,” says Leigh Reynolds, AVR chief operating officer.
“Jeff was blessed with extraordinary intellect and dedication. He combined the two and made a significant difference in the world,” says Neil D. Donnenfeld, AVR senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing. His legacy will live on through the relief that dry-eye sufferers receive when they use one of his products. We have lost a giant of a man.”
“He was the first person to understand the importance of tear film osmolarity and his development of hypotonic artificial tears containing bicarbonate and potassium is a landmark event in the treatment of dry eye disease,” said Dr. Edward Holland, director of Cornea Service at the Cincinnati Eye Institute. “Dr. Gilbard's legacy will be the scientific papers he authored, the revolutionary products he developed to help patients with ocular surface and retinal disease and most notably the people whose lives he'll continue to improve.”
AOCLE Honors CL Educators
At the annual Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) workshop hosted by the Houston College of Optometry in June, AOCLE presented several awards.
Recipients of the George Mertz New Educator Travel Award receive a certificate and a travel grant to attend their first AOCLE meeting. This opportunity helps novice educators network with other educators from all of the North American schools and colleges of optometry. The 2009 recipients were Dr. Peter Kollbaum (Indiana), Dr. Dawn Lam (SCCO), and Dr. Frederic Gagnon (Montreal).
The Lester Janoff Memorial Award goes to an optometric educator of the AOCLE who has demonstrated excellence in the area of contact lens education, research, and publication. The 2009 recipient was Dr. Edward S. Bennett (UMSL).
The AOCLE Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an optometric educator who has demonstrated exemplary commitment and dedication to the organization and to contact lens education over numerous years. The award was presented for the first time to Dr. Lester Caplan, professor emeritus (UAB).
■ CooperVision has changed the name of Biomedics EP, its multifocal contact lens for emerging presbyopes, to Proclear EP. The name is the only change; there will be no changes made in the lenses' manufacturing, parameters, or price.|
■ Aton Pharma reports that a recent article in The Ocular Surface includes results of a retrospective case series study of dry eye patients using Lacrisert (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert). Researcher Bruce Koffler, MD, stated that, “the hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert can be a valuable treatment for dry eye patients, either alone or in conjunction with other therapies. The reports of symptom improvement and extremely low rate of adverse effects suggests that the inserts are an appropriate long-term therapy.”
■ An emerging issue for eyecare practitioners to watch for in coming months will be possible attempts to introduce generic versions of such key ophthalmic drugs as Alcon's eye allergy treatment Patanol and Allergan's dry eye drug Restasis. One Restasis patent for “method of use” has just expired, but a critical “formulation” patent is effective until 2014. In the case of Patanol, one patent expires in December of next year but another remains in effect until 2015. Patanol patents have already been challenged by Apotex and Barr Labs, which produce generic versions of market-leading drugs. Alcon has vigorously defended the patents.
■ National Lens, a leading independent distributor of contact lenses, has obtained exclusive distribution rights of Impression colored contact lenses in the United States. The distributor reports that the opaque lenses, available in nine colors, are extremely comfortable and offer a major price advantage over the leading competitor's lenses. National Lens' Web site is www.national-lens.com.
■ Aton Pharma has launched new education, distribution, sampling, and reimbursement programs for Timoptic in Ocudose, the only preservative-free medication for glaucoma available in the United States. Aton will support Timoptic in Ocudose with ophthalmic journal advertising, a coupon program, direct mail promotion, and a patient information Web site at www.ocudose.com.
■ Optometrists world-wide are being invited to take part in this year's World Sight Day Challenge, coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight, on Oct. 8, 2009. This year's theme is enhancing vision care for women. Many optometrists choose to donate their eye exam fees for a day in October, making a personal or practice contribution and/or encouraging staff and patients to give the gift of sight. To register, go to www.givingsight.org or call (888) OGS-GIVE. You will receive a free kit with World Sight Day Challenge materials.
■ ABB Concise and Paragon Vision Sciences have announced their Practice Partnership Education Series. As part of the companies' commitment to ongoing education for both eyecare practitioners and staff, they will sponsor free monthly webinar training programs on topics that support successful contact lens treatment options and outcomes. The webinars are offered in two sessions for East Coast and West Coast time zones.
■ The FDA recently approved Allergan's Acuvail (ketorolac tromethamine ophthalmic solution) 0.45%, an advanced, preservative-free formulation of ketorolac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), indicated for the treatment of pain and inflammation following cataract surgery.
■ Alcon has entered into a five-year collaborative research agreement with AstraZeneca for the exclusive ophthalmic discovery and potential development rights to AstraZeneca's compound library. The two companies are targeting development of drugs to treat sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma, wet and dry age-related macular degeneration, and other retinal disease, as well as ocular allergy, dry eye, and other inflammatory eye conditions.
■ Bausch & Lomb Surgical has announced the U.S. launch of its new Akreos AO Micro Incision Lens (Model MI60L). In the U.S., the company refers to this lens as the Akreos MICS lens. B&L says its design and material allow implantation through a 1.8mm incision, while maintaining optical quality and stability.
|Patent Dispute Decision Reached|
|■ A United States District Court ruled that the Acuvue Oasys (Vistakon) spherical silicone hydrogel contact lens infringed upon the “Nicholson” patents owned by CIBA Vision, Inc (Novartis), which protect CIBA's silicone hydrogel contact lenses. This case is one of several patent infringement cases that the two companies have filed against each other in the United States. At this time, Acuvue Oasys products remain available in the United States. It is expected that Vistakon will appeal the decision.|
|Nidek Founder Remembered|
The founder and Chairman of the Board of Nidek Co., Ltd., Hideo Ozawa, passed away in July in Gamagori, Japan. He was 79 years old.
In 1971, Mr. Ozawa led six people to found Nidek in Gamagori, Japan. His goal was to link optics and electronics. Nidek developed the first Xenon photocoagulator in Japan in 1973 and in 1982 introduced the first auto-refractor. Mr. Ozawa received the prestigious “Order of the Rising Sun” award from the Emperor of Japan in 2004. He also served for years as chairman of the Japanese Ophthalmics Instrument Association.
His ambition was to make things from “invisible to visible.” Mr. Ozawa spent half of his time traveling, meeting with eyecare practitioners and industry leaders, and developing new technologies in optics, lasers, coating, and diagnostic devices.
|Gap Revealed in Vision Care Attitudes and Behavior|
|A new survey finds that across cultures and national boundaries, nearly half (44 percent) of respondents share the misguided belief that seeing well translates to good eye health. Gaps in vision care attitudes and behavior are a recurrent theme throughout Global Attitudes and Perceptions About Vision Care, a new survey conducted on behalf of The Vision Care Institute, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company. This gap may be preventing people from seeking proper treatment and diagnosis for themselves and their children.|
Globally, survey respondents demonstrate a strong belief that good vision positively impacts quality of life. Parents/caregivers around the world strongly believe that improving their children's vison would have comparatively more impact on their children's lives than on their own. Despite these reported beliefs, only half (54 percent) of survey participants have ever had a comprehensive eye exam. More than one-in-three parents/caregivers have never taken their child under 18 years of age for any type of vision assessment.
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