Article

NEWS SPECTRUM

SYNERGEYES TO OFFER GP AND SCLERAL LENSES

SynergEyes has announced a new partnership with NKL Contact Lens, Europe’s largest specialty contact lens manufacturer and wholly owned subsidiary of Menicon Co., Ltd. The partnership paves the way for SynergEyes to offer a complete line of scleral, GP, and hybrid contact lens products in North America, starting in 2017.

SynergEyes says that as a specialty contact lens provider servicing independent eyecare practitioners (ECPs), it’s a natural extension for SynergEyes to offer other high-quality scleral and GP specialty products. By combining the Synerg-Eyes branding, technical support, and sales team with the lens designs of NKL, the company says that independent ECPs will now have access to a complete line of specialty contact lens products from SynergEyes. Providing a robust continuum of specialty products will allow a seamless transition for ECPs from one lens type to another, optimizing the visual outcome and comfort for each specialty contact lens patient, according to SynergEyes.

Menicon is a leader in lens materials, lens designs, and lens care solutions. NKL has been a producer of GP lenses for more than 40 years and is recognized globally for state-of-the-art lens designs and manufacturing technology.

The new line of SynergEyes GP and scleral lenses was introduced in January at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas.

In other SynergEyes news, the company recently announced a licensing agreement with Tangible Science LLC that enables SynergEyes to offer Tangible Hydra-PEG, a polymer coating, on its lenses.

SynergEyes received FDA clearance for Tangible Hydra-PEG in August 2016, and the lubricous coating is now available on Duette and Duette Progressive lenses. Both are currently available in the United States and will be available internationally in 2017.

CONTAMAC ANNOUNCES U.S. LAUNCH OF TANGIBLE HYDRA-PEG

Contamac Ltd, manufacturer of the Optimum line of GP materials, announced the official U.S. launch of Tangible Hydra-PEG at this year’s Global Specialty Lens Symposium, which took place Jan. 26 to 29 in Las Vegas.

Available on Optimum Comfort (Dk 60), Extra (Dk 100), and Extreme (Dk 125), Tangible Hydra-PEG is a novel contact lens coating technology that encapsulates the Optimum GP material in an ultra thin layer of a PEG-based polymer (polyethylene glycol), creating a lens surface that is designed to be extremely wettable and lubricous.

Specialty lens laboratories that now offer Tangible Hydra-PEG coating on their lens designs include AccuLens, Advanced Vision Technologies, Art Optical Contact Lens, Metro Optics, TruForm Optics, and X-Cel Specialty Contacts.

Additional information about Tangible Hydra-PEG, is available at www.tangiblescience.com .

ALCON ENDS ITS UPP

Alcon, a division of Novartis, recently received a ruling from the court in its attempt to block the enforcement of Utah’s Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act. The act prohibits various types of commercial practices by contact lens manufacturers, including minimum advertised pricing (MAP) and unilateral pricing policies (UPPs) on contact lenses.

The company said in a statement that it is extremely disappointed in the court’s decision to allow the Utah law to remain in effect, as Alcon believes the law violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Alcon stated that it was the first company to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah challenging the law and seeking a preliminary injunction against the law’s enforcement. When the District Court denied Alcon’s motion for preliminary injunction, permitting the law to take effect, the company appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

The company said that it believes that continuing to challenge the Utah law, and maintaining different policies for retailers in Utah from those in other states, could distract from efforts to serve customers to the best of its ability. Accordingly, Alcon ended its UPP effective immediately.

Alcon said that the company remains committed to supporting customers through its differentiated portfolio and innovative partnerships.

ESSILOR AND LUXOTTICA TO MERGE

Essilor and Delfin have signed an agreement designed to create an integrated player dedicated to visual health and superior consumer experience through a combination of Essilor and Luxottica Group. Luxottica has a portfolio of proprietary eyewear brands, operates a retail and wholesale network in both developed and emerging markets, and has e-commerce platforms. Essilor provides a full array of ophthalmic spectacle lenses as well as custom contact lenses. Essilor also has developed new approaches in the sunwear segment and online retail.

Essilor would become a holding company with the new name EssilorLuxottica via a hive-down of all of its operating activities into a wholly owned company, to be called Essilor International, and the contribution by Delfin of its Luxottica shares. Together, Luxottica and Essilor would have more than 140,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries. Based on the companies’ 2015 results, the new company would have posted combined net revenues of more than 15 billion euro.

Luxottica’s Executive Chairman, Leonardo Del Vecchio, will serve as executive chairman and CEO of EssilorLuxottica. Essilor Chairman and CEO, Hubert Sagnières, will serve as executive vice-chairman and deputy CEO of EssilorLuxottica with equal powers as the chairman and CEO. They will also keep their positions of executive chairman of Luxottica and chairman and CEO of Essilor International, respectively.

According to reports, no operational changes will occur until the transaction is completed and logistics are worked out over the next one to three years.

LENSFERRY S EXPANDS TO INCLUDE ALL CONTACT LENS MODALITIES

EyeCare Prime, a subsidiary of CooperVision, Inc., announced that LensFerry S has expanded to include all modalities, bringing the convenience of automatic monthly payments and quarterly or semi-annual contact lens deliveries to a broader spectrum of patients while maintaining a central role for eyecare professionals (ECPs).

When it launched in April, the subscription-based ordering service focused specifically on one-day contact lenses. With this announcement, LensFerry S includes monthly, two-week, and one-day lenses from multiple manufacturers at ECPs’ specified prices. When patients enroll in the service, the annual cost of their lenses is divided into automatic monthly payments, and they receive a three- or six-month supply of lenses, depending upon modality. The prescribing practice receives the sales revenue as if the lenses had been paid for in-office.

LensFerry S is available to all eyecare practices in the United States. It costs $49 per month, plus $2.50 per shipment. For every completed patient annual subscription through LensFerry S, EyeCare Prime makes a donation to Optometry Giving Sight for an eye exam.

WHAT’S NEW IN CLS IN 2017

Debuting this month in Contact Lens Spectrum (CLS) is a new department on hybrid contact lens prescribing called Hybrid How-To. This column will present insights into many options and cases associated with the use of hybrid lenses for contact lens patients. Hybrid How-To is authored by Stephanie Ramdass, OD, MS, a clinical researcher at the Vision Research Institute and adjunct faculty member at the Michigan College of Optometry.

Dr. Ramdass will also author a new department on custom soft lens prescribing that will make its debut in the April issue. It will explore both everyday and unique approaches in the use of custom soft lenses for contact lens wearers.

Joining CLS this month writing for the Refractive Focus department is Shanda Ross, OD. Dr. Ross is clinical director at Clarity Refractive Services of West Orange, NJ, and specializes in corneal and refractive surgery.

Making its debut in the March issue will be the International Perspectives department, in which Eef van der Worp, BOptom, PhD, delivers the latest developments from the international contact lens community with the help of regional experts. Dr. van der Worp is an educator and researcher from Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and is affiliated with the University of Maastricht as an associate researcher, an adjunct professor at the University of Montreal College of Optometry (Canada), and an adjunct assistant professor at Pacific University College of Optometry.

GPLI OFFERS NEW RESOURCES, CONTINUES WEBINAR SERIES

The Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI) introduced two new resources at last month’s Global Specialty Lens Symposium.

The new Staff Module includes an 84-page document that provides a comprehensive overview on lens care as it pertains to corneal and scleral GP lenses, hybrids, and custom soft lenses. In addition, “how-to” videos on lensometry and the radiuscope are provided. A five-video staff training module from Advisory Board member Dr. Roxanna Potter is also included in the module. This includes areas such as contact lens care instruction, front desk reception training as it pertains to contact lenses, pre-testing, and checkout and follow-up training. Twenty-four of the GPLI’s archived webinars will also be part of the module, including contact lens care and fundamental programs on all forms of specialty contact lenses. Finally, soon to come will be generic patient education booklets that will pertain to GP lenses, scleral lenses, custom soft lenses, and hybrid lenses.

The Scleral Lens Troubleshooting FAQs Module also made its debut. In conjunction with the Scleral Lens Education Society, this module launched on both www.gpli.info and www.sclerallens.org . It consists of commonly asked questions that practitioners ask about scleral lenses and answers from experts who are leaders in the Scleral Lens Education Society and Advisory Board members of the GPLI. Photos will accompany the responses, which should serve as a beneficial resource for all practitioners fitting scleral lenses or who are interested in learning how to do so.

The GPLI is also continuing its webinar series in 2017. Monthly webinars for the remainder of 2017 will include:

February 15 – Incorporating technology into specialty contact lens practice: Barry Eiden, OD

March 21 – The lost art of corneal GP fitting: Buddy Russell

April 18 – Specialty GP case grand rounds: Matt Kauffman, OD

May 16 – GP correction of presbyopia: Jason Jedlicka, OD

June 20 – Corneal and scleral contact lens care update: Susan Gromacki, OD, MS

July 18 – Amniotic membrane and specialty soft lens update: Stephanie Woo, OD

August 15 – How to optimize contact lens comfort: Mile Brujic, OD, and Dave Kading, OD

September 19 – Clinical controversies with scleral lenses and their management: Patrick Caroline

October 17 – Myopia control update: Jeff Walline, OD, PhD

November 21 – Scleral lens update: Muriel Schornack, OD

December 19 – Getting started with orthokeratology in your practice: Melanie Frogozo, OD

Current information about all of the webinars can be found at www.gpli.info/webinars .

FOR THE RECORD

In the January 2017 article “Contact Lenses 2016” by Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, information in Figure 3 was incorrectly labeled. The orange bars are the 2015 data, and the gray bars are the 2016 data. Also, in Tables 2 and 3, the GfK data for the Change from 2015 is incorrect. The correct numbers for Table 2 are Spherical: 0.4%, Toric: 4.2%, Multifocal: 0.2%, and Cosmetic: –3.4%, and for Table 3 the correct numbers are Daily: 13.7%, Weekly/Two-Week: –6.2%, Monthly: –1.0%, and Conventional (3 Mo +): –13.9%. These have been corrected online.

ART OPTICAL LOWERS PRICES, INTRODUCES TECHNOLOGY

Paragon Vision Sciences and Art Optical have renewed their long-standing relationship, resulting in lower Paragon material prices and a long-term commitment to continued leadership of Paragon CRT distribution services and practice management support. New lower prices on Paragon HDS, Paragon HDS 100, and the FluoroPerm family of GP lens materials became effective Jan. 25, 2017. Art Optical has also extended its CRT distribution agreement with Paragon and will continue serving existing CRT practitioners, welcoming newly certified CRT fitters, and offering CRT practice management support.

Through a sub-license agreement with Contamac, Art Optical is also offering the new Tangible Hydra-PEG coating technology exclusively on Optimum GP materials. Hydra-PEG will be available on Art Optical’s complete suite of specialty lens designs, including the Ampleye Scleral and Renovation Multifocal product lines.

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Bausch + Lomb’s Specialty Vision Products has announced the addition of Karen Slaughter to Bausch + Lomb’s sales team. She will be responsible for growing the Western United States region while increasing Bausch + Lomb’s fitter base for the specialty lens market. She brings more than 20 years of sales experience in the contact lens industry, with previous senior roles at Ocular Sciences and CooperVision.
  • Paragon Vision Sciences has announced China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) approval and commercial availability of its corneal reshaping/orthokeratology brand, Paragon CRT, in China. Essilor China will serve as the exclusive distributor for Paragon CRT lenses in China. The lenses will be widely available to eyecare practitioners within the next few months.
  • Novartis has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Encore Vision, Inc., a privately held company in Fort Worth, TX that is focused on the development of a novel treatment in presbyopia. This acquisition would add a first-in-class disease modifying topical treatment for presbyopia to the Novartis ophthalmology pipeline, providing a potentially disruptive innovation to patients in a new therapeutic area of high unmet need and high prevalence, according to the company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. The financial details of this transaction are not disclosed. Encore Vision’s lead investigational product, EV06, is a topical treatment for presbyopia.
  • Shire has announced that Sushanta Mallick has joined the Ophthalmics team as Vice President & Global Development Lead for Clinical Development, Ophthalmics. He has a strong background with more than 20 years of experience in ophthalmology research and development. He most recently worked at Aerie Pharmaceuticals as VP, Clinical Research/Glaucoma. Christie Markowitz has also been recently appointed as the senior director and ECP Marketing Lead for Shire Ophthalmics. She will report to Vic Noble, vice president and Head of Marketing for Ophthalmics. In this role, she will lead the ECP Marketing Team and the professional educational and marketing endeavors for the Ophthalmics franchise. She most recently served as the ECP launch lead for Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution) 5% as well as executional rollout to the market.
  • IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company, has acquired the North American rights to develop and commercialize NM133, an investigational medicine designed to help treat dry eye, from its developer, Nanomerics, Ltd. Nanomerics is a privately held, UK-based, research-stage company with a proprietary Molecular Envelope Technology (MET) licensed from University College London that allows a hydrophobic drug such as cyclosporine to be encapsulated and delivered to the tissues of the eye. NM133 is a nano enabled form of cyclosporine A that is being investigated for the treatment of dry eye.
  • CareCredit’s Caring Communities Program is making a difference in the vision health of children with a $25,000 grant to Optometry Cares - The American Optometric Association Foundation’s InfantSee program. CareCredit is a leading health, wellness, and beauty credit card, and this marks the fifth consecutive year the company has contributed to InfantSee. Care-Credit’s grant will be used to expand awareness of the InfantSee program among new parents through print advertising, brochures, signage, and displays as well as online efforts.
  • Bausch + Lomb has raised more than $40,000 in support of the 2016 World Sight Day Challenge, which will be donated to Optometry Giving Sight, a global fundraising organization that specifically targets the prevention of unnecessary blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error. In conjunction with the company, Bausch + Lomb employees from several of its sites across the United States organized fundraisers throughout the month of October to support the cause. In addition to the company’s support of the 2016 World Sight Day Challenge, Bausch + Lomb also provided a donation of $50,000 earlier this year to Optometry Giving Sight as well as offering eyecare professionals and their patients the opportunity to use a portion of their Bausch + Lomb contact lens rebate to directly support the organization through its enhanced rebate website.
  • Haag-Streit USA and Reliance Medical Products began a new national authorized distributor partnership with Walman Instruments on Jan. 1, 2017. The expansion of the working relationship grants customers additional access to Haag-Streit and Reliance’s industry-leading ophthalmic equipment throughout all 50 U.S. states. Haag-Streit USA also retains a national distributor relationship with Lombart Instrument.