News Spectrum

NEWS spectrum

Global Meeting Focuses on Specialty Contact Lenses

Contact Lens Spectrum and the Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Health Care Conference Group hosted the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) from Jan. 15 to 18, 2009 at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Expanding on last year's successful Global Keratoconus Congress, the GSLS was a comprehensive specialty lens symposium that included 17+ hours of COPE, JCAHPO and NCLE accreditation as well as free papers, posters, manufacturer forums, hands-on workshops and exhibits. A total of 324 attendees and guests representing 22 countries came for the conference and exhibit hall, which featured 38 exhibit booths.

The international faculty presented information on contact lenses for pediatrics and adolescents; myopia management with contact lenses; management of keratoconus and irregular astigmatism; large corneal and scleral lens designs for keratoconus and irregular corneas; presbyopia management, including lens options and fitting strategies with current soft, hybrid and GP lens designs; management of astigmatism and other refractive errors and ocular conditions; lens care and compliance; and coding.

Education Highlights

Several speakers presented further evidence that corneal reshaping may show promise as a means of slowing myopia progression in children. In one presentation, S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO, reported one-year interim results of the five-year Stabilization of Myopia by Accelerated Reshaping Technique (SMART) study. One-year refractive outcomes showed that the control group of daily wear silicone hydrogel contact lens wearers demonstrated a significant increase in myopia whereas the test group of overnight corneal reshaping lens wearers did not. However, there was no change in axial length or vitreous chamber depth in either the test or control group from baseline to one year.

Also related to corneal reshaping, Sami El Hage, OD, PhD, discussed a pilot study showing that corneal crosslinking is safe and may increase the length of duration for the reshaping effect, and Randall Sakamoto, OD, PhD, FAAO, presented some cases indicating that higher Dk materials used in orthokeratology lenses may increase the ortho-k effect in some patients.

Large-diameter GP lenses dominated the discussions of irregular cornea fitting, with most presenters advocating their use for improved centration, stability, comfort and visual acuity. In addition, Patrick Caroline, FAAO, discussed one software program that can aid in designing lenses for irregular corneas. Langis Michaud, OD, FAAO, advised practitioners that it takes about a year to complete the learning curve for semi-scleral lens fitting and that you need to go through it to succeed. Eef van der Worp, BOptom, PhD, FAAO, presented information on the shape of the sulcus and sclera, indicating that these are more tangential than curved in shape and so fitting a toric scleral lens may improve stability and comfort. Several speakers advocated using optical coherence tomography to aid in designing larger diameter lenses for irregular corneas. Hybrid lenses and piggyback lens systems were also discussed as options for fitting irregular corneas.

Presentations on managing presbyopia ranged from selecting and educating patients to troubleshooting vision problems with soft, GP and hybrid presbyopic lens designs. Key take-home messages were that you need to learn how each patient uses their eyes on a daily basis to succeed and that eye anatomy and refractive needs can guide you in selecting a lens design.

The meeting wrapped up with discussions about applications for custom soft lenses; free papers on unilateral aphakia management, asymmetric optics hydrogel lenses for keratoconus, wave-front-guided contact lenses, topography and aberrometry; and sessions on lens care and compliance issues including recent and ongoing activity by the FDA regarding its regulations for approving lens care solutions, and coding for both medically necessary and non-medically necessary contact lenses.

Manufacturer breakfast seminars were also presented by the GSLS sponsors, which included Bausch & Lomb, Blanchard Contact Lens, and SynergEyes as Platinum Sponsors; the Gas Permeable Lens Institute and TruForm Optics as Gold Sponsors; and Contamac, Menicon, Valley Contax, CooperVision, SpecialEyes and Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments as Bronze Sponsors.

Audio CDs of the conference are available for purchase at Next year's GSLS meeting will take place from Jan. 28 to 31, 2010, at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Abbott to Acquire AMO

Abbott, a company with a diverse selection of medical technology, announced it is acquiring Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) for a total transaction value of approximately $2.8 billion.

Abbott officials said the acquisition of AMO gives it a leadership position in another larger and growing medical device segment. AMO is comprised of three segments: cataract surgery, LASIK and eyecare products. Globally, AMO holds the number one position in LASIK surgical devices, the number two position in the cataract surgical device market and the number three position in contact lens care products.

"With AMO, Abbott is enhancing and strengthening its diverse mix of medical device businesses and gaining a leadership position in another large and growing segment," said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott. "Additionally, Abbott's significant global presence will help drive growth opportunities for this business, especially in international markets, where favorable demographics are driving demand for advanced eye care procedures and products."

Jim Mazzo, chairman and chief executive officer, AMO, will be remaining with Abbott as president, AMO. "Joining forces with Abbott will fortify our position as a global ophthalmic medical device leader and enhance our ability to serve eyecare practitioners and patients around the world," said Mazzo.

B&L Names New President

Bausch & Lomb has named a new president in charge of North America, Vision Care. Peter Valenti, III, took his new post in January. He will be based in Rochester, N.Y.

Valenti, who was most recently vice president and general manager, Surgical Devices (U.S.) for Coviden, previously spent 12 years with Johnson & Johnson. His various roles there included vice president, Global Strategy and vice president, U.S. market, both in Vision Care.

"Pete possesses deep leadership experience, as well as considerable eye health and general healthcare expertise," said Stuart Heap, corporate vice president and global president, Vision Care, B&L. "His appointment further strengthens our existing team, which is focused on delivering innovation in the contact lens, lens care and vision accessories segments of the industry."

Before his career with Johnson & Johnson, Valenti held several brand management roles with Procter & Gamble. He earned an MBA from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut.

In a special supplement to the January 2009 issue titled, "New Perspectives on Patient Satisfaction: The Science of Comfort," key text was unreadable on a slide. The corrected slide appears here.

Alcon Names New President, CEO

A new president and CEO will take over at Alcon, Inc. on April 1. Kevin Buehler, currently senior vice president, global markets and chief marketing officer of Alcon Laboratories, Inc., will become president and chief executive officer of Alcon, Inc.

Cary Rayment will retire as president and chief executive officer effective March 31, but will continue to serve as a director and the (non-executive) chairman of the board. Buehler will also be nominated as a board member, which shareholders will vote on at the Annual General Meeting on May 5.

As senior vice president, Buehler is responsible for all aspects of the company's Surgical, Pharmaceutical and Consumer groups. During his 24-year tenure at Alcon, Buehler has developed extensive knowledge of Alcon's global operations.

"Alcon is well-positioned as the leader in our industry, and I will do all that I can to build on that sound foundation to allow Alcon to achieve sustained growth in the future," said Buehler.

Rayment joined Alcon when it acquired CooperVision Surgical in 1989. He has been integral to the company's growth throughout his long career as a manager and executive of Alcon. He has been Alcon's president and CEO since October 2004 and chairman since May 2005.

"I have the utmost confidence in Kevin's ability to successfully lead this organization, and I look forward to continue working with the board on the strategic opportunities of Alcon's business," said Rayment.

AOA Scholarship Opportunities

Optometry's Charity-The AOA Foundation has several scholarship opportunities for third-year optometry students. Students may submit an essay for each of the three scholarships administered by Optometry's Charity: the Dr. Seymour Galina Grant, InfantSEE Scholarship Grant – sponsored by Vision West, Inc. and Healthy Eyes Healthy People Scholarship Grant – sponsored by C&E Vision.

Each accredited school or college of optometry is invited to submit one nominee for each scholarship. Applicants must be a third-year student member (Class of 2010) in good standing in the American Optometric Student Association and the American Optometric Association; be a student in good academic standing; and submit a paper, written in English.

Each school will judge submissions and select one nominee based on the criteria. All essays must be received by Optometry's Charity by March 6, 2009. Each grant asks the student to contemplate a separate topic.

Dr. Seymour Galina Grant: (One National Recipient $2,500) Qualities I have developed through my financial planning/work experience during and/or before optometry school, that I believe will be most useful to me in a professional optometric practice. (1,500 word maximum)

InfantSEE Scholarship Grant: (One First Place $5,000, Runner Up $2,500) How will you, as a primary healthcare provider, use your professional skills and patient treatment programs to further the goals of the InfantSEE program? (1,000 word maximum)

Healthy Eyes Healthy People Scholarship Grant: (One First Place $5,000, Runner Up $2,500) How will you, as a primary healthcare provider, aid in achieving the following objective: "Reduce visual impairment due to retinopathy." This objective is included in the 10 stated goals of the "Healthy People 2010: Vision and Eye Care Objectives for the Nation." (1,000 word maximum)

The Optometry's Charity Endowment Fund Advisory Committee will judge submissions. Recipients will be announced in April. Each award check will be addressed to the scholarship grant winner and the recipient's school or college.

WEB UPDATE and Vision Research Center Form Alliance and Vision Research Center, a specialty research company, have reached a strategic agreement giving access to both consumer and professional opinion research on vision-related topics. Vision Research Center will gain access to's consumer audience of vision-related information seekers. intends the research to be both a resource for consumers and an educational aid for eyecare professionals when counseling patients.

CooperVision Relaunches Corporate Web Site
CooperVision has revamped its corporate Web site with new technology and content. The site's redesigned architecture allows users to efficiently navigate information on eyecare conditions, fitting tips and tools and product background. MyCooperVision now features new modules that allow practitioners to customize and manage their online experience.

B&L Launches Facebook Page
Bausch & Lomb's Facebook page allows participants to become fans of B&L and also provides information focusing on the company's products, business units, locations and history. B&L's page has numerous videos and photos for fans to browse and view. Log on as a fan of Bausch & Lomb at

Paragon Vision Sciences has reported that certified Paragon CRT clinicians consider CRT as an alternative to soft contact lens materials that increase lens dehydration and that CRT clinicians view CRT as an emerging answer for prescribing contact lenses to patients diagnosed with dry eye syndrome. The company says that many patients with low to moderate dry eye seem to do well wearing CRT lenses during sleep.

■ The British Contact Lens Association has launched the programme for its 2009 Clinical Conference which will take place in Manchester, UK from May 28 to 31. The conference will include, among others, special sessions on 10 years of silicone hydrogels, optimum interval for lens replacement and aftercare, contact lens fitting for presbyopia, differentiating red eye from both OD and MD viewpoints and interpreting manufacturers’ clinical data about new product releases. There will also be six clinical presentations, a workshop on team leading, poster and photographic competitions and a specially designed course in contact lens fitting for ophthalmologists as well as an expanded Exhibition. The conference brochure is available at

Bausch & Lomb reports that the FDA Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee has voted unanimously to recommend approval of the company's besifloxacin ophthalmic suspension, 0.6%, for treating bacterial conjunctivitis. B&L had developed this broad-spectrum anti-infective drop specifically for ophthalmic use. The company intends to bring the product to market beginning in the United States in 2009.

Alcon has announced that the FDA approved its +3.0 diopter add power AcrySof IQ ReStor intraocular lens. This new IOL, which was introduced in many major markets outside of the United States earlier this year, is now approved in the United States for cataract surgery in patients with presbyopia.

Ista Pharmaceuticals has announced results from the company's Phase III clinical program of Xibrom (0.09% bromfenac sodium ophthalmic solution) QD (once daily). Preliminary results show that Xibrom 0.09% QD achieved statistical significance in meeting the primary efficacy endpoint of absence of ocular inflammation 15 days following cataract surgery and also met the secondary efficacy endpoint of eliminating ocular pain one day post-surgery.

Ista Pharmaceuticals also recently announced positive results from the company's Phase IIb clinical study of ecabet sodium, which is being developed as a treatment for dry eye disease. Patients treated with ecabet sodium achieved a strong positive trend in tear breakup time and a positive trend in quantity of tears produced (Schirmer test).

Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has initiated the first human clinical trial evaluating a resolvin therapeutic, RX-10045, in a Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome. RX-10045 is a synthetic analog of RvE1, a naturally occurring resolvin with potent anti-inflammatory and cell-sparing activities in laboratory testing.

NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has received FDA clearance for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application submitted by Alcon to permit the clinical development of NovaBay's NVC-422 for eye infections. NVC-422 is the lead molecule in the Aganocide class discovered and patented by NovaBay. NovaBay has licensed the use of Aganocide compounds to Alcon for use in treating eye, ear and sinus infections and for use in contact lens solutions.

■ The Paraoptometric Section of the American Optometric Association (AOA) now offers the new Online Paraoptometric Training-Navigator (OPT-N) program that provides online training for paraoptometric staff through the AOA Web site. The new program will be offered for the first six months of 2009 free of charge to AOA Paraoptometric Section members. The program is a skill-focused training format designed for individuals who are new to the field of paraoptometry. The intent is to increase the knowledge base for new support staff before they receive "on the job" training from an optometrist. Visit

Woman's Day magazine recently featured Watch Dog Group, LC's LensAlert! timer for contact lens and case replacement as a "Product We Love." The company has also recently expanded the LensAlert! product line.

Paragon Vision Sciences has launched a book by Dr. Nicholas Despotidis titled, "My Children Are Nearsighted Too." The book was written by parents for parents. The book captures the basics of what you need to know as a parent to make a qualified and informed decision on what options might be best to manage your child's myopia and other vision disorders, according to Paragon.

■ Leading ophthalmic organizations came together in early December for the 34th annual Total Ophthalmic Community (TOC) meeting. The two-day event allowed members from across the vision care industry to share their achievements from 2008 and their proposed goals for 2009, as well as take advantage of valuable networking opportunities. Attendees also heard from keynote speaker Dr. Dan Grippen, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, about the new presidential administration and Congress and how they will affect healthcare reform in America.