Article Date: 3/1/2010

NEWS spectrum

GSLS Growing Strong

The 2010 Global Specialty Lens Symposium, presented by the Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Healthcare Conference Group and with media sponsor Contact Lens Spectrum, took place from Jan. 28 to Jan. 31, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nev. Attendance was up this year in spite of the economy, with more than 500 participants including 380 eyecare professionals from 25 countries and more than 100 exhibitors representing 40 different companies in attendance.

The educational program offered 17+ hours of COPE, JCAHPO, and NCLE continuing education credits. Developed by the Educational Program Committee of Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD; Craig Norman, FCLSA; Ed Bennett, OD, MSEd; Patrick Caroline, FAAO; and Eef van der Worp, BOptom, PhD, the educational program included two new fundamentals tracks this year—Fundamentals of Contact Lenses for Presbyopia and Fundamentals of Contact Lenses for Irregular Astigmatism—for practitioners who wanted to learn or brush up on the basics of these modalities.

The general sessions covered such topics as the state of the contact lens industry; myopia control and orthokeratology; scleral lenses; fitting irregular corneas; post-surgical management; advances in lens care for soft, GP, and hybrid lenses; tinted contact lenses for cosmetic, medical, and theatric use; dry eye and lens wear; billing and coding for medically necessary contact lenses; hybrid and custom soft contact lenses; pediatric contact lens fitting; medical and surgical advancements in treating keratoconus; and sports vision. With prescribing trends differing among countries, the international presenters provided attendees with a global perspective for managing specialty contact lens fitting.

The meeting also included free paper sessions, breakout sessions with hands-on demonstrations, and breakfast seminars presented by the meeting's sponsors. Between sessions, attendees had the opportunity to review the 45 posters presented at the meeting.

If you missed GSLS and are interested in learning about the topics presented, the complete set of audio CDs from the meeting is now available for purchase at www.gslsymposium.com. A full report on the meeting will appear in the May 2010 issue.

The next GSLS meeting will take place from Jan. 27 to Jan. 30, 2011 in Las Vegas.

36th Bronstein Seminar Held

The 36th Annual Bronstein Contact Lens and Cornea Seminar took place from Jan. 15 to 17, 2010, in Scottsdale, Ariz. The meeting offered 19 hours of COPE-approved CE on topics including corneal reshaping and myopia control, contact lenses after surgery, contact lenses for children, ocular allergies, keratoconus, irregular cornea, corneal disorders, GP troubleshooting, fitting presbyopes, and technology in contact lens practice.

The Dr. Leonard Bronstein Memorial Award was presented to two co-recipients. One was presented to Ralph Stone, PhD. Dr. Stone has a PhD in chemistry and has spent more than 25 years in the ophthalmic industry. He has been a leader in the development of care systems for contact lenses. Dr. Stone also authored the classification system for contact lenses (Groups 1 through 4) that is still used today for testing traditional soft hydrogel lenses and care systems. Lensco, a distributor and manufacturer of optical goods to eyecare professionals, was also honored with the award for 35 years of outstanding service to the eyecare industry and to the Arizona Optometric community.

ABO Outlines Certification

The American Board of Optometry (ABO) has moved forward in its mission to oversee a process of board certification of optometry and subsequent maintenance of certification program. The organization incorporated, accepted bylaws, and held its initial meeting in October at the SUNY State College of Optometry in New York. The requirements for initial board certification were adopted, and the board is in the process of selecting vendors for software infrastructure and for examination development.

“Online applications should be available in April and our goal is to have a computer-based test for initial board certification early in 2011,” says David A. Cockrell, OD, chairman of the ABO Board of Directors. The requirements for initial board certification follow the recommendations of the profession, allowing a three-year phase-in period, similar to processes of medical specialties in their formative years. The educational requirements during this phase-in period allow numerous ways to qualify for the examination. Initial application requirements include graduation from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE); active license to practice therapeutic optometry in a state, District of Columbia, U.S. commonwealth or territory; and state adherence to principles of the Optometric Oath.

Upon confirmation of the application requirements, the American Board of Optometry will confer active candidate status for a period of one year. Active candidates may renew this status for up to three years by submitting proof of completion of 50 points toward the post-graduate educational requirements for each year of eligibility. Candidates can earn these points in several ways including residency (ACOE Accredited), fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry and fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. For examination application requirements, applicants must complete 150 Points within the prior three years; submit evidence of three years of active licensure and clinical practice or completion of an ACOE-Approved Residency; and submit the online examination application and schedule Board Certification Examination.

Active candidates should pass the examination within 12 months of submitting the application. Any optometrist who does not pass within 12 months may re-apply for the examination, but is subject to the post-graduate education requirements. In addition, active candidate status applies for a maximum of four years.

Upon successful completion of the Board Certification Examination, the American Board of Optometry will confer Board Certified status for a period of 10 years. Board Certification must be kept current through enrollment in the American Board of Optometry 10-year Maintenance of Certification process.

To read the complete list of bylaws and certification requirements, visit the ABO Web site at www.abopt.org.

Residency Award Winners Named

Vistakon and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF) announced the 2010 recipients of the Dr. Terrance Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Awards, the Dr. George W. Mertz Contact Lens Residency Awards, and the Dr. Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Awards.

The Vistakon Residency Awards are intended to promote post-graduate Optometric clinical education by supporting residents who demonstrate talent and commitment in the fields of children's vision and contact lenses. Recipients are selected by the AOF from more than 30 applicants.

Erin C. Jenewein, OD, MS, NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry, and Vivian M. W. Wong, OD, Southern California College of Optometry are recipients of the Dr. Terrance Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Awards.

The Dr. George W. Mertz Contact Lens Residency Awards winners were Sara N. Gaib, OD, University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry and Shannon Zollinger, OD, The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Natalie Corey, OD, Indiana University at Bloomington, School of Optometry, and Anna M. Sleeper, OD, New England College of Optometry were recipients of the Dr. Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Awards.

Each will receive $4,000 toward their graduate education, including a $750 travel fellowship to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry in San Francisco, Nov. 17 to 20.

Vistakon has partnered with the AOF for more than a decade, providing more than $1 million of support for scholarships, residency awards, fellowships, and research grants. “We will continue to be strong supporters of Optometry and Optometrists through our products, programs, and services,” says Colleen Riley, OD, MS, FAAO, Dipl CL, vice president, Professional Development Group, Vistakon.

“Through the support provided by Vistakon, we are truly changing the future of optometry by supporting the education of our students and the advancement of research,” says Mark A. Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO, development director, AOF.

Vistakon Names Medical Safety Officer

Arthur Shedden, MD, MBA, has been named medical safety officer, Professional Development, for Vistakon, responsible for pre- and post-marketing product assessment from a medical safety perspective. He will continue overseeing Medical Affairs for Pharmaceutical Products reporting to Colleen Riley, OD, MS, FAAO, Dipl CL, vice president of Professional Development for Vistakon.

Dr. Shedden joined Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in 2008 as director, Medical Affairs, Vistakon Pharmaceuticals, overseeing Phase 4 clinical development for many of the company's pharmaceutical products. Before joining Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Dr. Shedden held positions at Merck & Co., Inc. and Pharmacia/Pfizer and Schering Plough.

Dr. Shedden received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh and fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami. He completed his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pittsburgh.

“Art's breadth of clinical research experience will strengthen our safety surveillance through a strategy of enhanced active surveillance methods, more sophisticated safety data analytics and increased medical input on product safety,” says Dr. Riley.

Custom Monthly Lenses

Alden Optical, Inc., manufacturer of custom soft and GP contact lenses, now offers its HP Toric and HP Sphere lines in six packs for monthly or bimonthly replacement. The lenses also remain available in single and four-pack configurations for annual and quarterly replacement. Alden Optical President Tom Shone said, “We know that monthly replacement is a very popular schedule and we are excited to offer yet another custom option to our portfolio.”


OAA Holds Annual Meeting

■ The Orthokeratology Academy of America (OAA) held its annual meeting and education conference in Phoenix, Ariz, from Oct. 15 to 18, 2009. The international meeting drew more than 175 attendees from 21 countries and offered presentations on a variety of topics including myopia control; corneal reshaping for myopia, severe myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and high astigmatism; microbial keratitis; peripheral refraction; topographic analysis; pediatric ortho-k; and corneal crosslinking. The general meeting was preceded by several workshops and a BootCamp for newcomers to ortho-k.

John Mountford, FAAO, FCLSA, Dip.Apo.Sc. received the “Excellence in Ortho-k” award, which is presented annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the development of ortho-k. For their contributions to the field of corneal reshaping, research fellowships (FOAA) were awarded to Nick Despoditis, OD, FAAO; Sami El Hage, OD, PhD, DSc; and Tung Hsaio-Ching, MD.

The OAA is an international organization of orthokeratologists. Its mission is to establish policy and to develop and update protocols and education for practitioners performing corneal reshaping.

The next OAA meeting. Vision by Design 2010, will be held from Oct. 20 to 24, 2010, in Oak Brook, III.


WEB UPDATE

Alcon has launched a new patient education and retention communication program for eyecare professionals called EyeVIP. The Web-based program provides eyecare professionals with a communication tool to service their patients' eyecare needs. One of the goals of the EyeVIP program is to help practitioners improve patient compliance with their lens care while building relationships with their patients. The EyeVIP program reminds patients to care for their contact lenses and glasses properly, notifies patients of physician practice promotions—including valuable coupons and special offers—and reminds patients of scheduled eye exams. Alcon has made this patient education program available to all eyecare professional offices as a public service with no cost to the practice. Practitioners can enroll in the program through their Alcon sales representative.

New Scleral Lens Society Forms

The Scleral Lens Education Society (SLS) is an international association for vision care professionals who develop and/or fit scleral contact lenses. It is a non-profit organization committed to teaching contact lens practitioners the science and art of fitting all designs of scleral contact lenses for the purpose of managing corneal irregularity and ocular surface disease. SLS supports public education that highlights the benefits and availability of scleral contact lenses. Eyecare professionals who register (free) on the SLS's Web site (www.sclerallens.org) will have the opportunity to take advantage of numerous educational resources and to participate in an online forum to present cases or to ask questions. SLS also presents workshops that are listed on the Web site's homepage. For questions, please contact Greg DeNaeyer, OD, FAAO, at gdenaeyer@arenaeyesurgeons.com.


Heart of America Names OD of the Year

Former CLS Editor Joseph Barr, OD, MS, FAAO, has received the 2010 Heart of America Contact Lens Society OD of the Year award. This award is presented to leaders in the profession for their accomplishments, particularly in research and clinical studies. Dr. Barr, currently vice president, Global Clinical & Medical Affairs and Professional Services, Vision Care for Bausch + Lomb, is being honored for his years of industry research and service.

“The optometry community has greatly benefited from Dr. Barr's numerous contributions, and we remain grateful for his ongoing commitment to research in the field of contact lenses,” said Larry Davis, OD, director of education and president elect at Heart of America Contact Lens Society.


Donnenfeld Takes Reins at AVR

■ Advanced Vision Research (AVR), makers of the TheraTears and MacuTrition brands for dry eye and macular degeneration, has named Neil D. Donnenfeld as its new chief executive officer and as a director of the company.

Donnenfeld has extensive experience with Advanced Vision Research, serving most recently as the company's senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, a position he held since 2005. Donnenfeld joined AVR in May 1998, shortly after the company was originally formed as an over-the-counter eye-care company to market and distribute TheraTears products.

AVR continues to rebound after the sudden loss of Jeffrey P. Gilbard, MD, the company's founder, CEO and chief scientific officer last August. Noted Donnenfeld, “I'm honored to have been chosen as the new CEO of Advanced Vision Research where we are dedicated to continuing the path blazed by Dr. Gilbard. We are eager to introduce revolutionary new products that are already in the pipeline, and look forward to the development of new advances in eye care treatment that improve patients' lives.”


INDUSTRY BRIEFS

SynergEyes, Inc. has launched a new staff training program at www.fitsynergeyes.com, a Web site dedicated to practitioner and staff education and training. The new staff training section includes five modules: Overview of SynergEyes lenses; Talking to patients about hybrid lenses; Integrating hybrid technology into your practice; Training your patients to handle and care for hybrid lenses; and Working with patients with irregular corneas (keratoconus). The company says FitSynergEyes.com is the first step to prescribing SynergEyes hybrid contact lenses and provides practices with all of the information necessary to be successful with SynergEyes hybrid lens technology.

Jan Wagner was recently named vice president of Marketing for Ciba Vision's Americas Region. Prior to this, she held various Brand Marketing Director positions within the Novartis OTC division. Ciba also announced that Eric Miller has been named vice president of Communications and PR for the company's North America Region. Eric has more than 17 years of experience in corporate communications, public relations, media relations, crisis communication, brand building and reputation management.

■ The North Dakota Optometric Association (NDOA) is the newest Contributing Partner to the Partnership Foundation for Optometric Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to generating funds to provide resources for the advancement of Optometric education and special needs of the profession. The NDOA joins the Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, and Michigan state Optometric associations, as well as 17 U.S. schools and colleges of optometry, in support of the Partnership Foundation. Participation in the Partnership Foundation is open to institutions and organizations that provide Optometric continuing education and to organizations that support the mission and purposes of the Partnership.

■ A Harris Interactive study commissioned by Ciba Vision Air Optix Aqua contact lenses reveals that many women are unaware of healthy eyecare habits. Nearly half (47 percent) of women surveyed have not had an eye exam in the last year or can't remember their last exam (5 percent). Only about 50 percent of women believe that sharing eye makeup with another person is a “high risk” behavior. In addition, some contact lens wearers reported not replacing their lenses according to the schedule provided by their eyecare practitioner (39 percent) and sharing used contact lens cases (9 percent).

Menicon Co., Ltd. has announced the expansion of Optimed products in the Asian market by becoming the exclusive distributor in Japan and Taiwan. Menicon will offer eyecare professionals in Asia the opportunity to grow their practices using Optimed's Captiv8online communication service and iVue Web content driven digital signage software.

ABB Concise has released Ophthalmic Lens Portfolio, a reference guide to the sizes, parameters, features, and best price available for the wide variety of ophthalmic lenses distributed by the company. The portfolio also reports on usage trends, such as trends in lens material types purchased and lens coatings.

AllAboutVision.com has released a free guide to help practices build a better online presence. The AllAboutVision.com Starter Guide to Search Engine Optimization discusses practical techniques for optimizing Optometric Web sites for key terms. The guide explains the basics of search engine optimization and demonstrates how practitioners or their webmasters can improve their sites' rankings. The guide can be downloaded at www.allaboutvision.com/ecp.

■ The American Optometric Society (A0S) will hold its Inaugural Meeting and Practice Management Seminar from March 26 to 28 in San Diego, Calif. The program focuses on creating and maintaining a successful practice in today's challenging healthcare environment. The meeting is open to all optometrists and their staff. Visit www.optometricsociety.org/inaugural-meeting.html.

The Vision Council has launched a new print public service announcement (PSA) developed to increase consumer awareness of ultraviolet (UV) protection. The PSA, created in conjunction with The Vision Council's Sunglass and Reader Division, has been distributed to approximately 5,500 media outlets across the nation. Aimed at women, who are typically the healthcare decision makers for the family, the PSA encourages them to shield their eyes—and their family's eyes—from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses for maximum UV protection.

Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) is challenging optometrists globally to help fund the establishment of 10 vision centers in developing countries in the first half of 2010. As part of its “Say Yestoday for a better tomorrow” campaign, the new centers will give sight to about 300,000 people in need. The centers are planned for Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Sri Lanka, and Guyana. To help, you can become a regular donor, make a single donation, or invite patients to make a $5 donation to “buy a brick” for building a vision center.

■ The leaders of The Vision Council and the Optical Laboratories Association announced at The Vision Council's annual member meeting that the organizations have signed a letter of intent to merge.



Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: March 2010