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NEWS SPECTRUM

2017 GSLS EDUCATES RECORD NUMBERS ON SPECIALTY LENSES

More than 700 attendees from 35 countries, 43 states, and Puerto Rico traveled to the 2017 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS), presented by Contact Lens Spectrum, which took place from Jan. 26 to 29 at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This year’s meeting also featured the largest sold-out exhibit hall in GSLS history, with live demonstrations of GP lens fabrication by Contact Lens Manufacturers Association member companies in the exhibit hall.

The education program provided information on all aspects of specialty lens fitting. A pre-conference program featured information on myopia management, building a specialty lens practice, diagnosing and managing keratoconus and corneal ectasia, and how to use scleral lenses in practice.

The general sessions of the main conference covered topics including new and future specialty lens designs and indications, scleral lenses, myopia control, presbyopia, soft lens evaluation and fitting, irregular corneas, corneal surgeries, and dry eye. In addition, CE breakout sessions were available on cosmetic lenses, social media, lens care, instrumentation, custom soft lenses, and more; two Free Paper sessions explored such topics as corneal cross-linking, scleral lens design, and simulated views through multifocal lenses. Manufacturer-sponsored sessions educated attendees on the latest specialty lens technology and how practitioners can use it in their practices.

In additional to the many educational sessions, the 2017 GSLS featured more than 100 clinical and scientific posters and more than 30 entries in the annual Photo Contest. Winning photos will appear on the cover of the April issue.

Stay tuned for a feature article on educational highlights from the 2017 GSLS in the April issue.

The 2018 GSLS will take place from Jan. 25 to 28 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas.

FDA JOINT MEETING TO DISCUSS PEROXIDE-BASED LENS PRODUCTS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold an advisory committee meeting of the Ophthalmic Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee and the Risk Communication Advisory Committee open to the public on March 17, 2017 at the Hilton Washington, DC North/Gaithersburg in Gaithersburg, MD.

The committee will discuss and make recommendations regarding the potential risks of misuse of peroxide-based contact lens products. Specific issues to be discussed include adequate labeling and packaging of these over-the-counter products. The FDA intends to make background material available to the public no later than two business days before the meeting at www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/default.htm .

IN MEMORIAM: DR. HARUE MARSDEN

On Feb. 2, 2017, Harue Marsden, OD, MS, passed away after a long battle with breast cancer.

Dr. Marsden was a professor and the associate dean for clinical education at Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) at Marshall B. Ketchum University. She was a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and a diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Section. She was also an owner of two private practice offices with Vicki Leung, OD, and Eric Leser, OD.

Dr. Marsden’s primary clinical responsibilities included the cornea and contact lens service, where she also served as chief for many years. She lectured internationally and previously served as president of the California Optometric Association (COA) from 2010-2011. She was currently serving on COA’s Legislation and Regulation Committee.

An inspiration for many upcoming students, Dr. Marsden mentored many in her role as assistant dean of SCCO. She also was an advocate for optometrists both locally and nationally. She volunteered with the American Optometric Association, AAO, COA, Orange County Optometric Society, Great Western Council of Optometry, and the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators.

Dr. Marsden is survived by her twin sister Midori, sisters Yuki and Fumi, and brother Akira. A memorial service was held at SCCO’s Marshall B. Ketchum University campus on Feb. 10.

Editor’s Note: I was fortunate to get to know Harue early on in my career, when I was considering Cornea and Contact Lens Residency training options. Her knowledge and passion for cornea and contact lenses was incredibly deep and inspirational; her advocacy for the profession was unwavering; and her sense of humor was indeed remarkable. She was an inspiration and mentor to so many of us and she will be deeply missed. Our most sincere regrets go out to her family, in addition to the many others of us whose lives she touched.

COOPERVISION ANNOUNCES 2017 BEST PRACTICES

Following a nationwide search for eyecare practices that advance the profession through innovation, industry leadership, and patient experience, CooperVision recently announced its 2017 Best Practices. CooperVision said that the new class of 10 honorees were chosen because they have forged new pathways to success in the face of industry changes and increased competition, finding unique ways to provide exceptional, inspirational patient care.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Amarillo Vision Specialists
    – Amarillo, TX
  • Blount County Eye Center
    – Maryville, TN
  • Caruso Eye Care
    – Lake Worth, FL
  • Castle Pines Eye Care
    – Castle Pines, CO
  • Complete Eye Care of Medina
    – Medina, MN
  • Havasu Eye Center
    – Lake Havasu, AZ
  • Lawrenceville Family Eyecare
    – Lawrenceville, GA
  • Little Eyes
    – Carmel, IN
  • Premier Eyecare
    – Knoxville, TN
  • Specialty Eyecare Group
    – Kirkland, WA

All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses were eligible for consideration in Fall 2016. Candidates were evaluated and honorees were selected by a panel of judges including past Best Practices honorees, industry experts, and CooperVision leaders. A full list of judges is available at www.eyecarebestpractices.com/program . Evaluation was based on insights and experiences shared about the practices’ innovation, patient experience, and business culture.

In the months to come, the 2017 Best Practices will be broadly recognized and presented with opportunities to help educate and elevate the profession through the telling of their stories across the United States. In addition, honorees are invited to attend an educational meeting at CooperVision’s research and development facilities in Pleasanton, CA. To stay up to date on this program and learn more about this year’s honorees, visit www.eyecarebestpractices.com .

NOVARTIS CONTEMPLATING ALCON SPIN-OFF

In the recent Q4 earnings call, Novartis AG CEO Joe Jimenez stated that Novartis is considering spinning off its Alcon eyecare business. He noted that one of the company’s priorities was to improve Alcon’s performance, but that it fell short, even though there was some improvement. Mr. Jimenez noted that the company will review Alcon during 2017 and look at various options, including retaining the business, a sale, an initial public offering (IPO), or a spin-off. Novartis also announced a $5 billion share buyback.

B+L ENDS UPP, LAUNCHES NEW SITES

Following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit decision to uphold Utah’s Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unilateral pricing policies (UPPs) on contact lenses, Bausch + Lomb (B+L) made the decision to terminate its UPP, effective immediately.

B+L says it will continue to invest in innovative lens materials and designs intended to support eyecare practitioners’ ability to provide the latest technology to their patients. The company will continue to provide programs and tools that help make its products more affordable and accessible.

In other company news, B+L’s Specialty Vision Products (SVP) business has launched www.bauschSVP.com , which features both general and specific information on its specialty lens offerings. In addition, the portal serves to educate consumers and practitioners through downloadable videos in addition to a series of academic educational guides.

The SVP business has also launched the new Specialty Vision Products Web Store at www.bauschSVPstore.com . In addition to specialty vision products, eyecare professionals can order Boston Solution Care Systems from the Web Store and will have access to educational resources. The Web Store will offer patients the convenience of 24/7 ordering, with free shipping on orders of $20.00 or more. Additionally, the Web Store will offer lens care and handling tips, plus product information to help support compliance.

GLASSESUSA.COM NOW OFFERS CONTACT LENSES

GlassesUSA.com , an online retailer for prescription eyewear, has added contact lenses to its available eyewear products. GlassesUSA.com already provides designer and in-house brands in prescription eyewear and sunglasses. It will now round out its product line with the addition of contact lens brands in a total of 79 different varieties including Acuvue (Johnson & Johnson Vision Care), Biofinity and BioMedics (CooperVision), and Dailies and FreshLook (Alcon).

As with all of the brand’s eyewear offerings, GlassesUSA.com will offer free shipping and returns for contact lenses, five- to seven-day shipping, and 24-hour customer service seven days a week.

PARAGON OPENS EDUCATION AND TRAINING CENTER

Paragon Vision Sciences recently announced the launch of the Paragon Education and Training Academy, a state-of-the-art learning and training center, located at the company’s new headquarters in Gilbert, AZ. The facility includes a fully-equipped media suite that is capable of offering live-streaming content worldwide. The Academy will host a series of live monthly webinars from industry experts to help practitioners keep up to date on techniques and developments in myopia management, specialty contact lenses, and other subjects. Additionally, Paragon Vision Sciences will work with its strategic laboratory partners and leading experts from around the world to produce high-quality original digital video content in any language. Visit https://player.vimeo.com/video/200846646 for more information.

ABB OPTICAL GROUP OFFERS FREE SCLERAL LENS EDUCATION WORKSHOPS

ABB Optical Group is offering a series of free hands-on workshops and luncheons featuring the new ICD FlexFit scleral lens. Led by research scientist and clinical instructor Randy Kojima, the three-hour program for novice and advanced scleral fitters will provide practitioners with a comprehensive understanding of scleral lenses and the confidence to introduce sclerals into their practices, according to ABB Optical. Participants will also have a hands-on chance to evaluate fits through group instruction as well as an opportunity to apply, evaluate, and remove lenses on themselves or colleagues.

All upcoming workshops will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dates and locations include:

March 12 – Newport Beach, CA
March 18 – Sacramento, CA
April 22 – Salt Lake City
May 27 – Kansas City, MO

To register, visit abboptical.com/sclerallenseducation .

BLANCHARD CONTACT LENSES ANNOUNCES SPRING SCLERAL LENS WORKSHOP TOUR

Blanchard Contact Lenses has released the cities and dates for its upcoming spring Beyond the Limbus Scleral Lens Workshop tour. Beyond the Limbus workshops, in their seventh year, are a component of Blanchard University, the company’s educational division. These intensive, one-day workshops deliver hands-on training and tools to ensure that eyecare professionals leave with the skills and confidence they need to successfully incorporate Blanchard’s scleral lens designs into their practice, according to the company.

Attendees will learn how to fit Blanchard’s Onefit scleral lenses, MSD Select scleral lenses, Onefit Asian design lenses, and XLC—the new Extra Limbal Clearance option.

Registrations are now being accepted for the following workshops:

March 19: Arlington, VA
March 19: San Diego
March 26: Dallas
April 2: McAllen, TX
April 9: Los Angeles
April 23: King of Prussia, PA
April 30: Columbus, OH
May 7: Sacramento, CA
June 4: Fort Lee, NJ
June 4: Honolulu
June 11: Chicago

To register, visit blanchardlab.com/blanchard-u/beyond-the-limbus , call (800) 367-4009, or contact your Blanchard sales representative.

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • BostonSight recently introduced the BostonSight Scleral fitting system. BostonSight, a nonprofit eye healthcare organization that for 25 years has been known as Boston Foundation for Sight, is best known for the BostonSight PROSE (prosthetic replacement of the ocular surface ecosystem) treatment. The BostonSight Scleral fitting system leverages six years of patient data from approximately 7,000 eyes. It offers the first-ever, evidence-based, data-driven fitting system that lets eyecare practitioners predictably and accurately fit patients with scleral lenses with far fewer, if any, modifications, according to BostonSight. More information on this lens will appear in a future Product Spectrum.
  • The first-ever BCLA Awards will be handed out at the British Contact Lens Association’s (BCLA) forthcoming Clinical Conference and Exhibition as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, which are being held from June 9 to 11 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Categories will include Dry Eye Practitioner of the Year, Young Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year, and the BCLA Presidents Award, which will be awarded to an individual for his or her contribution to the contact lens and anterior eye profession. Applications are due by April 7. Visit www.bcla.org.uk .
  • Comfort Vision has entered into a new distribution agreement with Wisconsin Vision Associates that enables Comfort Vision to offer ProOcular daily disposable dual aspheric lenses to practitioners across the United States. The company says that 90-lens packs of ProOcular daily disposables are available today from Wisconsin Vision Associates. Visit www.wisvis.com .
  • Paragon Vision Sciences has received approval from the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) for its corneal reshaping/orthokeratology brand, Paragon CRT Contact Lenses. The contact lenses are now available in 51 countries around the world, including the United States and China. Paragon CRT lenses will be widely available to eyecare practitioners within the next few months.
  • TearLab Corporation has received approval for the TearLab Osmolarity System from the Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS) in Mexico. This approval allows TearLab to begin selling the product in Mexico. TearLab has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Cyan Medica, a sales, marketing, and distribution organization offering knowledge, experience, relationships, and proven success across the ophthalmic market in Mexico, according to the company.
  • Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI) has announced that Pam Wyman has joined its sales organization as director, Sales Operations & Inside Sales. She will be responsible for introducing the NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Multifocal Contact Lenses and other NaturalVue Brand products to eyecare professionals across the country and in supporting the sales team with strategic analysis. Ms. Wyman has spent more than 29 years in the optical industry in sales and marketing roles at Ciba Vision and then with Alcon.
  • Think About Your Eyes, the vision industry’s national public awareness campaign, launched its 2017 national advertising campaign on Feb. 13, with an increase in advertising budget and updated advertising placements. Think About Your Eyes ads will be seen or heard through the end of September. The ads include 15 million spots on podcasts and online audio (Pandora and Spotify), 14 million online video spots, and 6 million digital banner ads across 2,000 top websites such as The New York Times and ESPN. Broadcast ads will appear in primetime across 27 cable networks. For the first time ever, Think About Your Eyes ads will appear on broadcast networks, specifically ABC and NBC, during primetime programming and sporting events, including NBA and MLB games. The campaign has also announced a new milestone, with 3 million visitors to the campaign website since its launch.
  • Allergan plc has launched See America, an initiative to fight preventable blindness in the United States. Through See America, Allergan aims to make vision health a priority for all Americans, increase awareness of the diseases that can cause preventable blindness, and, critically, help improve access to vision care for those who need it most. Through See America, Allergan will partner with Prevent Blindness to champion better access to vision care. Through a series of vision-screening events in various cities, sponsored by Allergan, attendees will receive free one-on-one professional eye exams, follow-up treatment plans, and education about the most common diseases affecting people’s vision. In addition to sponsoring Prevent Blindness, Allergan will look to partner on programs from like-minded organizations that support the goals of See America. Visit www.seeamerica.vision .