News Spectrum

NEWS spectrum

AAO Exceeds Expectations

The American Academy of Optometry annual meeting took place from Nov. 11 to 14 in Orlando, Fla., featuring more than 300 hours of education and more than 250 exhibitor booths. The AAO inducted 164 new Fellows and eight new Section Diplomates.

The annual Plenary Session was titled, "Today's Research, Tomorrow's Practice: Longterm Deprivation and Perception." It featured Mike May, who gained sight in 2000 after undergoing a corneal epithelial stem cell transplant and then a corneal transplant. Ione Fine, PhD, of the Vision & Cognition Group at the University of Washington, worked with May to learn more about his newfound sight and the way his brain perceives the objects around him. The Monroe J. Hirsch Research Symposium, "Teaching the Brain New Tricks," examined ways that vision adapts to various changes in visual and auditory input.

The annual Awards Ceremony featured lectures by the Charles F. Prentice and the Glenn A. Fry awardees, Jacob Sivak, LScO, MS, PhD, OD, Doctorat HC, FRSC, FAAO, and Austin Roorda, PhD, respectively. Other awardees included Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, Diplomate, Public Health — Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award; Gullapalli N. Rao, MD — Essilor Award for Outstanding International Contributions to Optometry; Eli Peli, MSc, OD, FAAO — William Feinbloom Award; James Saviola, OD, FAAO — Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Award; Joan Exford, OD, FAAO, and Donald R. Korb, OD, FAAO — Eminent Service Award; Philip R. Keefer — Honorary Fellowship Award; Konrad Pesudovs, BSc, Optom, PhD, DipAdv-ClinOptom, FCLSA, FAAO, FVCO, Esti Garamendi, MSc, and David B. Elliott, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO — Garland W. Clay Award; Gunilla Haegerström-Portnoy, OD, PhD, FAAO — The Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education; Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD, FAAO — Max Schapero Memorial Lecture Award; and John DeCarle — Founder's Award.

ICLS Provides Education on CLs and Cornea

Optometrists, ophthalmologists, and other eyecare professionals met to discuss contact lenses and anterior segment science at the 2009 International Contact Lens Summit (ICLS). The event was sponsored by the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists (CLAO) and took place on Sept. 24 to 26 in Montreal, Canada.

The CLAO ERF Keynote Lectureship "Ocular Surface Disease" was given by Kelly Nichols, OD, PhD, and the ICLS Keynote Lectureship "Past, Present and Future of Contact Lenses" was given by Brien A. Holden, PhD, DSc. The Oliver H. Dabezies Jr. Lectureship "Multipurpose Contact Lens Solutions: Fact or Fiction?" was given by H. Dwight Cavanagh, MD, PhD, and the Harold A. Stein Lectureship "Update on Kerato-conus and its Management" was given by Florence Malet, MD.

Two symposia were named In Memoriam for two former CLAO Members. The "New Uses for Contact Lenses including Contact Lens Delivery of Medications" Symposium was named in memory of J. Pat Cummings, OD, FAAO; the "What's New in Dry Eye" Symposium was named in memory of Jeffrey P. Gilbard, MD.

Remembering Dr. Rex Ghormley

A pioneer in clinical contact lens practice, N. Rex Ghormley, OD, FAAO, died in November after a battle with cancer.

Dr. Ghormley, a graduate of the Southern California College of Optometry and a Vietnam veteran, began his private practice in St. Louis in 1970. He served on the Advisory Committee of the University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry, and as an adjunct assistant professor he continued yearly to educate students at the school and in his practice.

Dr. Ghormley served on the Executive Council of the American Academy of Optometry from 1980 to 1994. While serving as president from 1991to 1992, he was instrumental in the genesis and execution of International Academy Meetings. Dr. Ghormley was a Diplomate of the Academy's Section on Cornea and Contact Lenses and a charter member of the AOA Section on Contact Lenses. He was co-editor of International Contact Lens Clinic for more than a decade.

Dr. Ghormley received many awards including being named "Optometrist of the Year" in 1985 by the Heart of America Society and recognized as Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academy of Practice in Optometry in 1987. He received the St. Louis Optometric Society's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, the 2003 AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section Achievement Award and the 2006 American Academy of Optometry Eminent Service Award.

Memorial donations can be made to the Rex Ghormley Fund of the American Optometric Foundation. Donations can be mailed to: AOF, 6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 506, Rockville,MD 20852. The AOF will work with Dr. Ghormley's family to establish an annual scholarship, fellowship, or award in his honor. For more information call 301-984-1441 or e-mail

B&L Names New Director

Bausch & Lomb has named Mohinder Merchea, OD, PhD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, as director of Medical Affairs – North America (NA), Vision Care. He will primarily be responsible for serving as the liaison with academic institutions and professional organizations in NA in collaboration with his professional relations colleagues, communicating with key leaders in the field, and representing the voice of the eyecare professionals on the B&L NA leadership team.

Dr. Merchea has more than 12 years of experience in medical device clinical research. He joined B&L in 2002 as manager of Clinical Research in refractive technologies. Since 2007, he has led Vision Care, Clinical Affairs for new lens and lens care product development.

Dr. Merchea is a Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Technologies section of the American Academy of Optometry and a member of the American Optometric Association and of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Fellowship, Grant Recipients Named

Vistakon, division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF), announced recipients of the Vistakon Ezell Fellowship program and AOF-Vistakon Research Grants.

The recipients of the Vistakon Ezell Fellowships are Eric Ritchey, OD, MS, FAAO, The Ohio State University, College of Optometry; and Vidhyapriya Sreenivasan, BSOptom, MSc, University of Waterloo College of Optometry, Canada.

Each will receive $8,000 toward their graduate education and $750 in travel grants to the annual meetings of the American Academy of Optometry and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. These are competitive fellowships with the recipients selected from a very talented applicant pool.

The recipients of the AOF-Vistakon Research Grants are:

  • $25,000 Grant: "The Effect of Contact Lens Materials on Expression of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence Factors," Frank Anasra-sopoulos, MSc, and Carol Lakkis, BScOptom, PhD, FAAO, Clinical Vision Research Australia, Victorian College of Optometry, Australia
  • $10,000 Grant: "Nerves and Neuropeptides in Contact Lens Related Dry Eye," Blanka Golebiowski, BOptom, PhD, and Isabelle Jalbert, OD, PhD, FAAO, School of Optometry and Vision Science, The University of New South Wales, Australia

These are highly competitive research awards with the awardees selected solely by the American Optometric Foundation from a record 24 qualified applicants.

Vistakon has partnered with the American Optometrie Foundation for more than a decade, providing more than $1 million of support for scholarships, fellowships, and research grants.

■ CIBA Vision's Academy for Eyecare Excellence at has expanded the breadth and reach of its professional education programs with new online learning modules and an app for iPhone users. Once the no-cost app is installed on the iPhone, users can access the Academy for Eyecare Excellence tools and education from their iPhone.
Metro Optics has launched an exclusive iPhone app that guides users step-by-step through the ordering process for the company's custom soft and GP lenses. Orders are automatically placed through the system and practitioners receive e-mail updates as orders are processed and shipped.
Adventure In Colors, Inc. was recently awarded exclusive worldwide manufacturing and distributing rights for the Zeltzer X-Chrom soft contact lens, which is fitted to the nondominant eye for enhancing color perception for patients who have color deficiency. More information is available at
■ U.K.-based Ocutec Ltd. has received CE Mark approval for its first poly(ethylene)glycol (PEG) hydrogel-based contact lens product. The company says that in initial patient acceptance trials, this next generation of lenses has demonstrated superior oxygen permeability compared to existing hydrogel-based lenses. Ocutec anticipates that the lenses will provide similar health benefits to silicone hydrogels without the drawbacks of incorporating hydrophobic silicone into the lens polymer.
■ New findings from the Adolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment (ACHIEVE) study indicate that wearing times in children show that contact lens wearers typically wear glasses one-to-two days per week. Adjusting for myopia amount, the researchers report that young children wear contact lenses as much as older children do. Data also show that a number of sporting activities, spectacle satisfaction, and appearance in glasses do not affect wearing time.
Lensco is now offering free shipping to eye-care practitioners on all manufacturer annual supply orders mailed directly to patients' homes or offices.
Advanced Vision Research, Inc. has appointed Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD, as chief medical officer. AVR stated that Dr. Donnenfeld is a key thought leader who will play a critical role for AVR as the company moves forward with new product research and development following the untimely death of AVR founder Jeffrey P. Gilbard, MD.
Topcon Medical Systems Inc. and Tracey Technologies Corp., have entered into an exclusive distributorship agreement for iTrace, Tracey's ray tracing aberrometer/topographer. Under the terms of the agreement, Topcon will be the sole distributor for iTrace Combo and iTrace Solo to optometrists and ophthalmologists in the United States.
Inspire Pharmaceuticals has completed patient enrollment in the Prolacria Phase III trials and the AzaSite for blepharitis four-week Phase II trial. The AzaSite Phase II trial has enrolled 250 of the targeted 300 patients. Inspire expects to have results from the Prolacria trial in the first quarter of 2010 and the AzaSite two-week trial to be completely enrolled in the first quarter of 2010.
■ A poster by Rao and Asano at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry presented second year data of a two-year study indicating that cy-closporine-treated patients showed continued improvements in dry eye parameters over a two-year period and that patients using cyclosporine worsened after discontinuing treatment.
■ The United States District Court for the District of Delaware ruled in favor of Allergan, Inc. in its patent infringement suit against Exela PharmSci, Inc., Exela PharmSci Pvt., Ltd., Apotex, Inc., and Apotex Corp. for seeking to market purported generic versions of Allergan's drugs Alphagan P (brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution) 0.1% and 0.15%. The court ruled that all five patents asserted by Allergan are valid and enforceable and that pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is required to delay approval of the Defendants' proposed generic products until the last to expire of the infringed patents, which is 2022.

Menicon Acquires UK Company
■ Menicon Co., Ltd. and David Thomas Contact Lenses Ltd. (DTCL), one of the largest independent manufacturers of both soft and GP custom lenses in the United Kingdom, reached an agreement in mid-November for Menicon to acquire 100 percent of the ownership of DTCL. Menicon says that the acquisition of DTCL will enable Menicon to build on DTCL's successful business in the United Kingdom and abroad. The existing directors and staff will remain with DTCL, and customers will continue to receive the same levels of service as before. All existing DTCL products will continue to be available and, over time, other products from Menicon will be introduced through DTCL, including Menicon's growing range of soft contact lenses.

Alden Optical Names New President
Alden Optical Laboratories Inc, manufacturers of custom made-to-order soft and GP contact lenses, now has a new president.
Tom Shone will lead all commercial and strategic development for Alden Optical. Shone, a 20-year veteran of the contact lens industry, was most recently president of CooperVision's United States business unit.
"Tom brings a wealth of experience to Alden Optical and we look forward to his leadership as we continue to broaden our portfolio," said Charley Creighton, chief executive officer.
"I am excited to be part of the Alden team. Over the years Charley has built a great custom contact lens business based on excellent products and service and I look forward to working with him to grow Alden Optical in both the custom and specialty sectors," Mr. Shone said.
Alden was established in 1969 by Charles "Pat" Creighton, OD.

SynergEyes Launches New Training Modules

SynergEyes, Inc., has launched new practitioner training modules for the SynergEyes A and SynergEyes Multifocal lenses on The new training modules include updated fitting and troubleshooting techniques, tips for patient communication and education, and practice development information. Once practitioners complete the training for each lens design, they are designated as a Certified Practitioner, may purchase diagnostic sets, and have access to the practitioner Web site at

Contamac Adds Professional Section to Web Site
Contamac has launched a new Professional Services Section at As part of a strategic decision to offer clinical data to enhance practitioner expertise, this new educational section will include case studies on specialty designs produced by global contact lens laboratories.

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