News Spectrum

NEWS spectrum

Brochure Outlines Role of Vision for Children

To help parents, caregivers, and others who have an interest in seeing children perform their best, the American Optometric Association (AOA) Sports Vision Section and Safe Kids Worldwide have teamed up to offer a free educational brochure titled Healthy Eyes for Peak Performance.

The brochure offers practical advice on how to maintain children's healthy vision, including information on the importance of regular eye exams, the harmful effects of extended exposure to the sun, and the necessity of protective eyewear during sports activities.

"We know there's a connection between optimal vision and optimal performance, so good eye health and vision correction should be a consideration for performance-minded individuals of all ages — on the field and off," says Graham Erickson, OD, Chair of the AOA Sports Vision Section. "This free brochure provides parents with a better understanding of how to foster and maintain their children's healthy vision for peak performance."

The brochure also sheds new light on a growing body of research about the benefits of contact lens use beyond vision correction alone.

"Studies show that children, some as young as 8 years old, who wear contact lenses feel better about their physical appearance, acceptance among friends, and their ability to play sports than children who wear glasses," says Dr. Erickson.

Healthy Eyes for Peak Performance is supported by Vistakon and can be viewed or downloaded at the following Web sites:,, and The brochure is a free publication. If you would like to order a set (50 brochures) for your office, email your request to Make sure to include your name and address, including ZIP code.

B&L Names New Presidents

Bausch & Lomb has named Peter Valenti III as corporate vice president and global president, Vision Care, a role he will assume effective July 1.

He joined B&L in January 2009 as president, North America, Vision Care. Before being named to that role, Mr. Valenti served as vice president and general manager, Surgical Devices (U.S.), for Covidien. Prior, he spent 12 years with Johnson & Johnson in a variety of U.S. and international roles.

Mr. Valenti replaces Stuart Heap, who will step down from his current role with B&L for personal reasons on June 30. Mr. Heap will remain a strategic advisor to the company.

In conjunction with Mr. Valenti's transition, the company named Steven F. Robins as president, North America, Vision Care.

Robins joins B&L with approximately two decades of consumer healthcare experience at leading companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Warner Lambert. Most recently, he was general manager, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Healthcare Canada, and a vice president of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Group. Prior, he held marketing and category management leadership positions with Pfizer Inc. He began his career at Young & Rubicam, the global advertising agency. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bates College.

LensAlert, a company that makes contact lens case timers so consumers can keep track of when to replace their contact lenses and lens cases, has launched a PR campaign designed to make contact lens wearers more aware of the potential problems that may occur when contact lens cases are not replaced on a regular basis. The company hopes to reach millions of contact lens wearers starting with a simple message about contact lens cases.

Paragon Vision Sciences recently reported that practitioner use of CRT has increased for patients experiencing lens-induced dry eye discomfort with soft contact lenses and for those patients who previously discontinued lens wear for similar problems. The company says that wearing no lens at all during waking hours addresses functional issues associated with daytime contact lens wear.

■ Results from a large (n=520) multi-center patient registry study of Lacrisert (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert, Aton Pharma, Inc.) suggest that the insert can meaningfully improve ocular health and quality of life for dry eye sufferers, including contact lens wearers, in a relatively short time.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has initiated a Phase 2 program with AzaSite (azithromycin ophthalmic solution) 1% to pursue a potential indication for the treatment of blepharitis. AzaSite is currently FDA-approved to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Two trials will evaluate various signs and symptoms of blepharitis as well as safety and tolerability, with results expected in the first half of 2010.

■ The second phase of the Multifocal Electroretinogram (MERG) study recently revealed that patients suffering from AMD experienced long-term benefits from taking Macular Health (Macular Health, LLC), a special combination of supplemental vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. Phase I of the MERG study, completed in 2005, confirmed an average of 16 percent improvement in vision after taking Macular Health for only 12 weeks. Phase II measured the vision function of the same patients two years later and found an average improvement in vision of 17 percent.

ABB Concise has received the 2009 Business of the Year Award from the South Florida Business Journal. With more than 400 employees in three states – Florida, California, and Massachusetts – ABB Concise was cited for its sustained growth, profitability, strong internal culture, and community service.

■ The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted a New Technology Intraocular Lens (NTIOL) designation to Bausch & Lomb's Akreos Advanced Optics Aspheric (Akreos AO) IOL for its spherical aberration reducing design. NTIOL designation means the medicare reimbursement to ambulatory surgery centers for cataract surgery will increase by $50 when surgery is performed with the Akreos AO IOL. This NTIOL subset and adjusted payment will remain in effect until Feb. 26, 2011.

Alcon, Inc. has announced that the company has achieved ownership of more than 95 percent of the share capital of WaveLight AG. Under the provisions of the German Stock Corporation Act, Alcon is deemed the principal shareholder of WaveLight's outstanding shares. The company has notified the WaveLight board of directors of its intention to acquire all remaining outstanding shares in accordance with the "squeeze-out" provisions of German securities law.

Bausch & Lomb and 20/10 Perfect Vision AG, a femtosecond laser developer, have completed their transaction to form a joint venture focused on the laser vision correction industry. The new company, Technolas Perfect Vision, combines the refractive surgery assets of both businesses and will utilize its global service and support infrastructure to introduce new, laser-based vision correction procedures, initially focusing on treatments for presbyopia.

■ The National Eye Institute has awarded Prevent Blindness America a $10,000 grant, which the organization will use to fund "The Diabetic Eye Disease Educator Certification Program," a comprehensive program designed to teach outreach personnel and allied health professionals about the visual system and the signs, symptoms, and complications of the secondary diseases of diabetes.

Vistakon Offers Office Training

In an effort to help practitioners improve patient satisfaction, Vistakon recently introduced a new online staff training program.

The Office Readiness program is designed to help practitioners and staff integrate new Acuvue products, services, and tools into the office to increase efficiency in contact lens services. Current course topics range from improving patient satisfaction by introducing new lens technologies to how to talk to children and their parents about contact lenses. Staff controls which courses they take based on what is most relevant to them and their office.

"Given the speed at which new products are being introduced to the market, and the added challenges of expanding business in a down economy, Office Readiness is a convenient program to help educate doctors' staff on newly available services and products so that they can immediately and confidently begin using and discussing them with patients," says Peg Achenbach, OD, senior director, Professional & Medical Affairs, Vistakon.

Classes are in brief 10-minute sections, and the content is appropriate for staff of all experience levels. Classes are free to anyone who has or creates an account on To register and to review the course offering, go to For registration assistance, call the Vistakon Support Team at (888) 574-0028 or e-mail

Multifocals Discussed on The Martha Stewart Show
■ In support of Bausch & Lomb's national presbyopia awareness initiative, Dr. Rhonda Robinson of Ossip-Robinson Optometry in Indianapolis, IN, an educational consultant for B&L, was interviewed for a special "Health Show" episode of The Martha Stewart Show that aired on Monday, April 27. The episode focused on taking care of your body and health as you age and featured a variety of medical experts, including a gynecologist, gastroenterologist, and cardiologist. Dr. Robinson's segment highlighted the importance of eye care at various stages of life and helped educate consumers about presbyopia. Dr. Robinson also discussed B&L's Multi-Focal contact lenses.
"There are roughly 75 million Baby Boomers in the United States alone, and most of them are, or will soon be, presbyopic," says Dr. Robinson. "Educating my patients and the public on presbyopia is extremely important to me as most people don't know that there are several different contact lens options available to them when it comes to this naturally occurring condition."

New Options for Correcting Presbyopia on the Horizon

Visioneering Technologies Inc. (VTI), a startup company with a breakthrough technology for correcting presbyopia through contact lenses and other on eye/in eye applications, announced the closing of its Series B round of financing led by MB Ventures of Memphis, Tenn.

The company, which has raised nearly $5 million to date, has added investment partners to fund completion of its clinical trials. Other major investors include Charter Life Sciences and Life Science Angels, both of Palo Alto, Calif., and the State of Georgia through its ATDC Seed Capital Fund.

VTI's patented approach to vision correction utilizes induced aperture optics to improve the optical efficiency of the eye's vision system. The technology has a number of on eye and in eye applications including contact lenses, LASIK, intraocular lenses, and corneal inlays.

"VTI's initial play into the marketplace will be the contact lens category, where solutions for presbyopia correction have fallen short of consumer expectations," says Joe DeLapp, VTI's president and CEO.

Sally Dillehay, OD, VTI's vice president of clinical and regulatory affairs, notes that, "VTI's solutions are designed to revolutionize the underdeveloped presbyopia segment by offering a new approach to uncompromised visual acuity and sharper depth of focus, especially in low light such as night driving."

VTI was founded in 2004 by Dr. Richard A. Griffin, an optometrist, optical engineer, and aerospace engineer who spent 20 years developing VTI's breakthrough technology. Dr. Griffin holds two issued patents for his optical solutions for presbyopia.

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AOA Names 2009 Grant Recipients

Optometry's Charity — The AOA Foundation's Endowment Fund Advisory Committee selected five third-year optometry students as the 2009 Scholarship Grant recipients.

Jacoby Dewald from Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry was selected for the $2,500 Dr. Seymour Galina Grant.

Jessica Unruh from the University of Houston College of Optometry was selected as the national winner of the $5,000 InfantSEE Scholarship Grant. Chad Anderson from Pacific University College of Optometry was chosen as the runner up and will receive $2,500.

The essay written by David Barnhart from The Ohio State University College of Optometry was chosen as the national winner for the Healthy Eyes Healthy People Scholarship Grant of $5,000. Brian Moore from Indiana University School of Optometry was chosen as the runner up and will receive $2,500.

Each accredited school or college of optometry was invited to submit one nominee for each scholarship topic. The submissions were evaluated and grant recipients were chosen by Optometry's Charity Endowment Fund Advisory Committee.

Free Practice Building Webinars
Alcon is sponsoring the Web conference "Building Your Medical Practice," featuring reimbursement expert John Rumpakis, OD, MBA. The goal of this non-CME program is to help practitioners get the most out of their practice by offering and marketing more services and coding them properly to ensure accurate patient billing. Dr. Rumpakis will cover topics such as How to Incorporate Medical Eye Care Into Your Practice, How to Become a Medicare Provider and How to Apply Medical Coding to Typical Case Presentations. Using clinical studies involving routine patients, he will take attendees step-by-step through the patient care steps, discussing proper coding and how practitioners and staff can be both compliant and profitable. The free webinars are scheduled throughout the rest of the year. Register at

B&L Launches New Surgical Instrument Sites
Bausch & Lomb announces the introduction of two new Web sites focused on the surgical instruments business. The Bausch & Lomb Storz ophthalmic instruments site is now located at The Bausch & Lomb instruments site designed for the ear, nose, throat (ENT) and plastic surgery markets is located at These Bausch & Lomb sites will continue to serve as the leading resource for product information, quotes, continuing education opportunities, and more.