Article Date: 11/1/2010

AOA Study Gauges OD Prescribing Habits
NEWS Spectrum

AOA Study Gauges OD Prescribing Habits

More than half of optometrists feel it is appropriate to introduce a child to soft contact lenses between the ages of 10 to 12, with daily disposable contact lenses being the most frequently prescribed lenses for this age group, according to a new American Optometric Association (AOA) study.

At ages 8 to 9 (51 percent) and 10 to 12 (71 percent), optometrists most often fit children in glasses as the primary method of vision correction and prescribe contact lenses as a secondary correction. However, data from the survey of 576 optometrists from across the country shows a gradual shift in optometrists' approach to vision correction as children age, with 21 percent noting that they are more likely to fit 10- to 12-year-olds in contact lenses than they were a year ago. One-in-five (20 percent) respondents say that they begin prescribing contact lenses as the principal form of vision correction for children ages 10 to 12; nearly half (49 percent) prescribe contact lenses first for 13- to 14-year-olds, and two-thirds (66 percent) recommend contact lenses as the main form of vision correction for 15- to 17-year-olds.

The AOA Research and Information Center conducted the Children & Contact Lenses study in conjunction with the Sports Vision Section and Contact Lens and Cornea Sections of AOA, with support from Vistakon. The study was designed to gauge current trends in prescribing contact lenses to children ages 8 to 17 and to understand factors that influence optometrists' decisions to fit a child in contact lenses.

Of practitioners who say they are now more likely to fit children in contact lenses, 30 percent attribute their change in fitting behavior to daily disposable lenses; 23 percent cite "improved contact lens materials," 19 percent say they are more likely to fit children with contact lenses because of requests from the child and/or parent, and 10 percent say that "recent research/studies" on the subject and children's participation in activities/sports have influenced their decision.

To view the Executive Summary, visit www.aoa.org/childrenandcontactlenses.

AMO Receives FDA Approval for New MPS

Abbott Medical Optics has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration market clearance for RevitaLens Ocutec multipurpose disinfecting solution for silicone hydrogel and traditional soft contact lenses. AMO says that RevitaLens Ocutec delivers high-quality disinfection and comfort for users with the convenience of a single bottle.

"This advanced, next-generation solution establishes a new standard of disinfecting technology for contact lens wearers," said Jim Mazzo, senior vice president, AMO. "Proper contact lens care, including a rub and rinse regimen using RevitaLens Ocutec, will help patients achieve clean and comfortable lenses while enhancing overall lens-wearing satisfaction."

RevitaLens Ocutec began shipping to retailers last month and will officially launch later this month at the American Academy of Optometry meeting. Additional product information is available in this month's Product Spectrum and in the Contact Lens Care & Compliance column.

Spirits High at Vision Expo West

Preliminary unaudited attendance figures for International Vision Expo West, which took place from Oct. 7 to 9 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, show a 9 percent increase in attendance from 2009. A final third-party audit of the show will be available later this month. In late September, show organizers had reported that more than 16,300 eyecare professionals and buyers had registered for the show, including more than 3,800 registrants for the continuing education program.

Tom Loughran, vice president for Reed Exhibitions, said, "It's a great statement of confidence for the optical industry as a whole that there was such a strong showing," at International Vision Expo West.

More than 450 exhibitors were present at the show throughout the exhibit hall, the Galleria, and The Suites. In addition, a new show floor area was dedicated to the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA), which held its annual meeting in conjunction with the show, offering an expanded audience for exhibitors.

"Not only was our attendance up, but we had 70 new exhibitors and 10,000 more net square feet of booth space on the show floor," said Loughran. "When you add in that we had 66 new continuing education courses, it's clear that the opportunities offered at the show are unparalleled."

Next year the conference for International Vision Expo West will be held Sept. 21 to 24, 2011, and the exhibition will be held Sept. 22 to 24, 2011, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. International Vision Expo West has show dates confirmed with the Sands Convention Center through 2015 and will continue to hold the event each year in September. More information about International Vision Expo West is available at www.visionexpowest.com.

Management Academy Expands

The Management & Business Academy (MBA), which was created by Ciba Vision and Essilor, will be available to all eyecare professionals, and now their staff, at a new venue—International Vision Expo East 2011.

Endorsed by the American Optometric Association and The Vision Council, the MBA provides continuing education on topics including staff management, practice performance measurement, practice growth strategies, utilizing market research, and more.

"Eyecare professionals who attend the MBA get real-world advice from experts who have built highly successful practices," said Rodney Tahran, OD, FAAO, vice president of professional relations/clinical affairs for Essilor. "The focus is on practical, easy-to-implement ideas that have been field tested and proven to increase financial return."

With the addition of the MBA program, the International Vision Expo conference program will now open on Wednesday, March 16 for afternoon sessions. The program will continue on Thursday, March 17 as the International Vision Expo conference begins as previously scheduled.

The International Vision Expo East conference program will be held March 16 to 20, 2011; the exhibit hall will open March 18 to 20. Visit www.visionexpoeast.com.

Safigel Signs First U.S. Distributor Agreement

Safigel has signed an agreement with Optical Distributor Group (ODG) for distribution of Safigel 1-Day daily disposable contact lenses. As the second largest distributor of contact lenses in the United States, ODG will distribute Safigel to eyecare practitioners (ECPs). Practitioners will also have the option of having ODG ship lenses directly to patients for whom they prescribe Safigel lenses.

Eric Sharvelle, Safigel president, said that "ODG is an ideal fit for Safigel because they can offer full-circle service to ECPs combined with an outstanding sales team."

Safigel contact lenses incorporate the natural biopolymer sodium hyaluronate, which is used in many leading eye drops. More information on the Safigel 1-Day lens is available in the October 2010 Product Spectrum.

"We're excited that Safigel chose ODG to help introduce eyecare professionals to the new generation in contact lens technology," said Jeff Rems, ODG president. "With the integration of sodium hyaluronate into their contact lens manufacturing process, Safigel contacts are a perfect addition to an ECP's armament and ideal for patients seeking all-day comfort."

Reimbursement for TearLab Test

TearLab Corporation has announced that the Committee for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its recommended payment determination for new test codes, which includes a proposed reimbursement rate for the TearLab Osmolarity Test, effective January 2011. The new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code that will apply to the TearLab Osmolarity test will be reimbursed by CMS at $24.01 per eye (National Limit). The actual CPT code will be published by the American Medical Association in December 2010.

Reimbursement by CMS will be available only for offices that have a Moderate Complex CLIA certificate until TearLab receives a CLIA Waiver categorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This waiver is currently under review by the FDA.

"With FDA approval last year, reimbursement marks the achievement of the second of our three key milestones for U.S. commercialization. We look forward to receiving our CLIA waiver certificate, which will make it much simpler for individual doctors to provide the test for their patients," said Elias Vamvakas, TearLab's chief executive officer.

INDUSTRY BRIEFS
■ ABB Concise's quarterly Contact Lens Price Monitor, now in its fifth year, provides research to help eyecare practitioners understand the dynamics of pricing soft contact lenses using annual supply discounts. Every quarter ABB Concise surveys 200 randomly selected offices from its account base of over 15,000 to get average pricing of all major brands of soft lenses. It also monitors the pricing of mass merchandisers and online merchants. Visit www.abbconcise.com.

■ Allergan, Inc. has received FDA approval for Ozurdex (dexamethasone intravitreal implant) 0.7mg for the treatment of non-infectious ocular inflammation, or uveitis, affecting the posterior segment of the eye. The efficacy of Ozurdex for this indication was assessed in a 26-week, multi-center, double-masked, randomized clinical study in which 77 patients received Ozurdex 0.7mg and 76 patients received sham injections. After a single injection of Ozurdex, the percent of patients reaching a vitreous haze score of zero (where zero represents no inflammation) was statistically significantly greater for patients in the Ozurdex group versus sham (47 versus 12 percent, respectively) at the week eight primary endpoint.

■ Ista Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has received FDA approval for the company's supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Bromday (bromfenac ophthalmic solution) 0.09% as a once-daily prescription eye drop for the treatment of postoperative inflammation and reduction of ocular pain in patients who have undergone cataract extractions. Ista expects to launch Bromday (formerly called XiDay) before the end of 2010.

■ Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. has announced the completion of a successful Proof of Principle clinical study with its sustained drug delivery moxifloxacin punctum plug. The study was a single-site, single-armed, single-dose study in which 10 patients received the punctum plug immediately following cataract surgery and were evaluated over a 10-day period. Primary outcome measures were plug retention and moxifloxacin levels above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) to stop growth in various strains of bacterial conjunctivitis. The moxifloxacin punctum plug achieved 100 percent retention, and pharmacokinetic data demonstrated that tear sample drug levels were maintained between 2,000 and 3,000 ng/ml over a seven-day period.

■ Bausch + Lomb has launched a patient rebate program called See Better and Save whereby patients who have the Crystalens intraocular lens (IOL) implanted between Nov. 1, 2010, and Jan. 31, 2011, will be eligible for up to $250 per eye rebate from Bausch + Lomb.

■ The Foundation for Eye Health Awareness and the Think About Your Eyes Coalition have signed an agreement setting out the plan for the Coalition to transfer the assets and efforts associated with the Think About Your Eyes campaign to the Foundation. The Think About Your Eyes Coalition, made up of Essilor, Luxottica, and VSP Global, was formed in 2009 in an effort to carry on the messaging ofa successful program tested in Tarrant County, Texas. The Think About Your Eyes consumer awareness initiative resulted in a +7 percent growth in eye exams and +9 percent in new patients in that market during the life of the test campaign.

■ Compulink Business Systems, Inc. has announced that its Advantage/EHR Version 10 is 2011/2012 compliant and was certified as a Complete EHR on Oct. 4, 2010 by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, an ONC-ATCB, in accordance with the applicable Eligible Provider certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

■ Prevent Blindness America hosted a congressional briefing in late September titled, "UV and Our Nation's Vision." The briefing was made possible by the Transitions Healthy Sight for Life Fund. More than 40 lawmakers and invited guests were educated by leading eye health professionals about the dangers of UV. The lawmakers were asked to make protecting the eyes from UV rays a national health priority, specifically by increasing the prevalence of UV and eye-health messages coming from federal agencies, the Surgeon General, and healthcare policies development.



Alcon Names New CFO
■ Alcon Inc. has named a Novartis executive as its new chief financial officer.
Robert Karsunky assumed the duties of chief financial officer on Nov. 1. Mr. Karsunky succeeds Richard Croarkin, who has served as Alcon's CFO since August 2007. He will assist in the transition until Nov. 30, at which time he will return to a financial position at Nestle.
Karsunky joined Novartis in 2006 as CFO in the Consumer Health Division of Novartis. In this role he was responsible for the division's finance, information technologies, procurement, and merger and acquisition activities. Prior to joining Novartis, he served as the vice president of finance for the international division of Medtronic, Inc. He began his career with Eli Lilly.


WEB UPDATE
■ SynergEyes Launches Site for Keratoconus Patients
SynergEyes, Inc. has launched a new educational Web site at www.treatkeratoconus.com for patients seeking information and treatment options for keratoconus. The site provides a resource for patients and their families to learn about keratoconus and available treatment options. It includes a blog with articles written by doctors specializing in treating keratoconus and detailed information on a new program called the Sharing Vision Grant Program, which is sponsored by SynergEyes and was created to provide hybrid contact lenses to selected patients free of charge. Other features on the site include a Common Questions section and an interactive Ask the Expert section in which patients submit questions about their eye disease to a nationally recognized panel of doctors and specialists and answers are posted on the site so other patients can benefit from the knowledge.


Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: November 2010