Global Perspectives at GSLS
The fourth Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) took place from Jan. 27 to 30, 2011 at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. More than 540 participants, including 390 eyecare professionals from 31 countries, plus more than 150 sponsors/exhibitors, attended the meeting.
The two-and-one-half day meeting, hosted by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) and with Contact Lens Spectrum as the exclusive media partner, was focused on the latest techniques and technologies for managing ocular conditions using today's specialty contact lenses. The meeting included information for vision care professionals in all disciplines, with both surgical and non-surgical options. Accredited for continuing education under COPE, NCLE, and JC-AHPO, the meeting offered 30 credit hours. In addition, meeting sponsors and exhibitors from 37 companies shared new insights and cutting edge products with attendees.
The education committee, comprised of Craig Norman, FCLSA; Ed Bennett, OD, FAAO; Pat Caroline, FCLSA, FAAO; Eef van der Worp, BSc Optom, PhD, FAAO; and Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO; constructed a program that covered every aspect of specialty lens practice, from fundamentals to post-surgical fitting and patient management issues. The international faculty provided insights into emerging diagnosis and treatment standards. Popular topics included large-diameter lenses, custom soft lenses, myopia control, lens care and compliance, and ocular surface disease. A report of the meeting will appear in a future issue of Contact Lens Spectrum.
Audio CDs of the event are available for purchase at www.GSL-Symposium.com. The 2012 Global Specialty Lens Symposium is planned for Jan. 26 to 29, 2012 at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Study Looks at Patient Preferences
Vision is the most important consideration for selecting eyecare products, according to a recent global study.
The Needs, Symptoms, Incidence, Global Eye Health Trends (NSIGHT) study, commissioned by Bausch + Lomb, surveyed 3,800 spectacle- and contact lens-corrected subjects, 15 to 65 years old, from China, Korea, Japan, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The study's goal was to determine a hierarchy of patient needs in selecting eye-related products, based on respondents' scoring of 40 features representing eight categories of potential product features.
The eight categories of eyecare product benefits, in descending order of importance to patients, were vision, health, environment, eye condition, convenience, comfort, personal performance, and personal appearance.
B+L Gets License for KeraSoft Lens
United Kingdom-based UltraVision CLPL will market and sell KeraSoft soft contact lenses throughout the world through the network of Bausch + Lomb (B+L) lab channel partners under a global licensing agreement with B+L. As part of the agreement, B+L acquired the KeraSoft trademark. The global rollout of KeraSoft lenses will begin later this year and will be executed around the world in phases.
KeraSoft's patented technology allows for custom-made contact lenses for irregular corneas and keratoconus.
By utilizing B+L distribution channels throughout the world, B+L and UltraVision plan to significantly increase the number of patients who are able to benefit from customized KeraSoft contact lenses.
“Extending the KeraSoft technology allows the labs to expand the ability of practitioners to offer life-changing vision correction to a wider range of patients who have a variety of irregular cornea conditions resulting from keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration,” said Jerry Warner, vice president, Marketing and general manager, B+L, Global Contact Lens.
KeraSoft lenses, which are recognized with the U.K.'s Queen's Award for Enterprise and Innovation, are a patented combination of the latest technologies in soft and silicone hydrogel materials using geometries from complex mathematics to offer comfortable wear and excellent vision.
Reminder Tool Improving Replacement Compliance
Studies show that many lens wearers do not comply with recommended replacement frequencies and fail to discard their lenses after the scheduled time. Forgetting which day to change their lenses is most commonly cited by wearers as the reason for not changing them as instructed.
A new survey of contact lens wearers indicates that Acuminder, a complimentary online reminder tool developed by Vistakon that sends an automatic reminder via e-mail and/or cell phone text message on when to change contact lenses, is helping them change their behavior. The Acuminder tool now also prompts wearers on when to buy new lenses and when to schedule an eye exam.
Nearly 700 Acuminder users responded to a questionnaire about their contact lens wearing habits. Virtually all (95 percent) said they find the reminder tool useful in helping them remember when to change their lenses, with two-thirds (66 percent) noting that it has improved their contact lens replacement.
Prior to enrolling in Acuminder, 40 percent of survey respondents who wear two-week lenses self-reported that they changed their lenses at or less than every 14 days (average wear time: 19.9 days). Since using the reminder, 76 percent say they now change their lenses at or less than every 14 days (average days worn = 14.7).
Alden Optical Expands Program
Alden Optical, Inc. has expanded its Phoenix Program to include additional lenses recently discontinued by major manufacturers.
“Recent announcements of further discontinuations and holds on spherical lens brands have put practitioners in a difficult position. In many cases we can help by replicating these lenses with our custom manufacturing,” said Tom Shone, president, Alden Optical.
The Phoenix Program was developed in 2010 to provide practitioners with a solution when faced with discontinued soft sphere brands. Alden Optical offers lenses in polymacon, methafilcon, Benz 3X and Benz 5X in any base curve/diameter combination and with spherical powers of ±30.00D. To use the program, practitioners may call Alden Optical or an authorized distributor with the patient's prescription and current brand with specifications. Alden Optical will custom manufacture a very close replacement to the original lens and ship it within two business days.
|For the Record|
|In the January 2010 article “Contact Lenses 2009” and the January 2011 article “Contact Lenses 2010,” both by Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, the company market share for CooperVision was incorrectly reported as 22 percent for the second quarter of 2009. The correct company market share for CooperVision in Q2 2009 was 16 percent. Contact Lens Spectrum regrets the error.|
|DAC International Names New President|
|■ DAC International has appointed Peter Brierley as the company's president. He assumed the role in February from Rod Keller, who was interim president following the retirement of Jim Drain in October. Mr. Keller will resume his role as vice president of Engineering and Operations.|
Mr. Brierly has had leadership positions at Bausch + Lomb, Dow Corning, Al-lergan Optical, and CooperVision. In 1980, while at Dow Corning, Mr. Brierly first began discussions with DAC for the development of lathes to machine its 100 percent silicone resin material. Working closely with Rod Keller, DAC's first computer controlled lathe was created and implemented.
In 1988, Mr. Brierly became Senior Director of Global Process Development for Allergan Optical. In 1990, Mr. Brierly joined Coastvision, which was acquired by CooperVision in 1993. Over the next 14 years, he held roles of increasing responsibility. During this period, working with DAC, he developed a proprietary, second-generation, artificial cornea manufacturing system for CooperVision's Australian manufacturing operation.
|Lens Pioneer Retires|
|Contact lens pioneer Robert B. Mandell, OD, PhD, retired in January after a 37-year career as a consultant to ABB Concise. Dr. Mandell retired from the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1998, but continued to work on research and development as a consultant to ABB Concise.|
Dr. Mandell, a lecturer, educator, and writer who authored the textbook Contact Lens Practice, developed the first one-piece bifocal contact lens without image jump for ABB Concise more than 30 years ago. His innovations include R&D on standards for contact lens edges, minus lenticular designs, prism principles, toric designs, and many other aspects of contact lens manufacturing. Dr. Mandell made an early impact on the contact lens industry campaigning for standardization in manufacturing. In 1968 he became the chairman of the Standards Committee for the American Optometric Association and performed many of the experiments upon which the standards were based.
In 1988, Dr. Mandell and Carl Moore, former Con-Cise president, co-developed the Mandell/Moore guide to calculate bitoric lens powers. Their methodology became the standard and still is.
Dr. Mandell has received numerous awards, such as the AOA Contact Lens Section Korb Award in 2006. He was inducted into the Optometry Hall of Fame in 2001 and the University of California Optometry Hall of Fame in 2009. He holds five contact lens patents.
|■ Allergan Launches Optometry Site|
Allergan recently announced a new Web site that is specifically designed to meet the needs of optometrists throughout the country. As part of Allergan's “Made for Each Other” campaign, the site will provide optometrists with single site access to information about Allergan therapeutics. It also includes information on patient cost-saving programs such as rebates, unbranded disease state backgrounders that can be printed as handouts to patients, and practice management tools. Visit www.allerganoptometry.com.
■ AllAboutVision.com Launches News Feed for Facebook Pages
AllAboutVision.com has launched a free eye health news feed that eye-care practitioners can use to automatically post breaking eyecare news to their Facebook pages. Each week the news feed will feature two or three patient-friendly news items on eye health topics as they are added to AllAboutVision.com. Practices with Facebook pages can set up automatic wall postings from the feed through Facebook applications, delivering news to their patients on a continual basis without any effort or cost.
|■ To help allergy sufferers better understand and manage the condition, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) offers a free educational brochure titled “Eye Health & Allergies.” The brochure, sponsored by 1-Day Acuvue Moist (Vistakon), provides patients with information on how eye allergy symptoms occur, common signs and symptoms, and practical advice on how to treat and prevent eye allergies. Eyecare professionals can request a PDF for use on their Web site as well as order a complimentary set (50 brochures) for their practice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests should include name and complete address, including ZIP code.|
■ The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has launched a new Facebook page at “BCLA 2011” to share all the latest information about this year's Clinical Conference and Exhibition, which is scheduled for May 26 to 29 in Manchester. This new initiative is also designed to develop an active online community among the Association, its members, and others within the contact lens profession and industry. If you are already a Facebook member, simply search on “BCLA 2011” to find the page and get started.
■ The Pediatric Cataract Initiative (PCI) has announced its inaugural small research grant recipients for treating and preventing vision loss in children. The initiative, a partnership of the Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute and Lions Club International Foundation, will provide two research grants of U.S. $50,000 each to Lumbini Eye Institute to study the cost and clinical effectiveness of a comprehensive pediatric cataract surgery follow-up system in western Nepal and adjacent northern Indian states, and Calabar Teaching Hospital to investigate the burden and causes of severe visual impairment and blindness among children in the Cross River State of Nigeria.
■ Fera Pharmaceuticals now offers Paralube Ophthalmic Ointment. Fera says it received many requests to bring the product back when the original manufacturer of Paralube discontinued the product. Fera is launching Paralube, a preservative-free ophthalmic ointment (active ingredients: 85% white petrolatum; 15% mineral oil), in a 3.5g tube as well as a carton of 20 1g tubes. It will be available through retail, wholesale, and mail-order pharmacy.
■ The American Optometric Society (AOS) has begun its “Promote Optometry 2011” project. In launching the project, the AOS has produced and launched a series of Public Service Announcements to be aired on hometown radio stations nationwide and on the Army and Air Force Exchange Services radio network. The AOS says that through the campaign, Americans will learn more about the value and scope of optometric care and the services that their optometrist can provide.
■ Transitions Optical, Inc. will once again support a Spanish-language education track during International Vision Expo East, which will be held March 18 to 20. This is the second year that Spanish-language courses will be offered, and six new courses—all approved for ABO credit—will be delivered. Following International Vision Expo East, all Spanish-language courses will be posted to the Educational Section of Transitions Optical's professional trade portal at www.transitions.com/pro.
■ Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) invites optometrists and the optical community to Say YEStoday again this year by making a donation online at www.givingsight.org. Practices can also get involved by putting up a poster of a “vision center” and inviting patients to “buy a brick” and make a donation. Patients can personalize their brick and stick it onto the poster. Large and small posters are available by calling OGS at (888) OGS-GIVE or by requesting one online.
■ The Foundation for Eye Health Awareness has announced the addition of Transitions Optical as a partner in the Think About Your Eyes campaign, a public awareness campaign designed to educate Americans about the importance of vision health and comprehensive eye exams. Transitions Optical will contribute to the effort in part through a donation from the Transitions Healthy Sight for Life Fund.