News Spectrum

NEWS spectrum

Support the International Prescribing Survey

This year, Contact Lens Spectrum is working with U.K.-based Eurolens Research in conducting a survey to investigate the current state of U.S. contact lens prescribing. To best judge current day trends, CLS is making the survey available to readers from the United States who fit contact lenses.

The survey form is available for download at After clicking the link, choose to save the document to your computer so you can fill in and save your data at your convenience.

After downloading the survey form, please fill in the details of the next 10 patients you fit with contact lenses. You'll see that the responses we seek are subdivided into various categories, and we need data for each category.

Please complete the form only if you practice in the United States. When you have completed the survey, please email the form to Lisa Starcher at or fax the completed form to (215) 827-5390 no later than May 15, 2009. Please return the form by this date even if you have not fit 10 patients by this time. The results will be published in the January 2010 CLS article titled, "International Contact Lens Prescribing in 2009." You will be automatically entered into a drawing to receive one of six $50 American Express Gift Checks for returning a completed survey. Simply include your full contact information with your e-mail or fax. Your personal information will remain confidential and will be used only for the drawing.

For the Record
In the December 2008 Dry Eye Dx and Tx column titled, "A Sustained-Release Insert for Moderate to Severe Dry Eye," Aton Pharma, Inc. was incorrectly identified as Aton Pharmacy.

Survey Finds Astigmats Still Unaware of Options

More than four in 10 astigmats believe that their astigmatism is the reason they cannot wear contact lenses, according to a recent survey conducted by Decision Analyst and sponsored by Bausch & Lomb. Two-thirds of astigmats who have never worn contact lenses and nearly half of those who have worn contact lenses in the past said they would be highly motivated to wear lenses if they were available to correct astigmatism.

A total of 993 vision-corrected astigmatic consumers between the ages of 18 and 49 completed this online survey. One-hundred-fifty respondents had never worn contact lenses and 178 had worn contact lenses in the past.

The survey also found that seven out of 10 of those who have never worn lenses would be highly motivated to wear contact lenses if they were available, and if their eyecare practitioner made the recommendation. Half of previous lens wearers said they would be motivated to try contact lenses again if they were available.

"Our astigmatic patients have a need, and we have the tools to meet that need successfully," said Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO. "Our job now is to educate the public about the great astigmatic correcting options available today."

■ The Contact Lens Manufacturers Association has launched the GP Eye Care Professional Locator at, a consumer Web site. The locator helps consumers find an eyecare practitioner in their area who prescribes a variety of specialty contact lenses. U.S. practitioners can add their information by visiting

■ The Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA) 54th Annual Education Meeting will take place March 18-21, 2009 at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The meeting will offer 16 hours of COPE-approved contact lens education and 35 hours of NCLE, JCAHPO and ParaO education. Visit

Edward S. Bennett, OD, MSEd, FAAO, received the Dr. Leonard Bronstein Memorial Award on Jan. 24 during the annual Bronstein Contact Lens Seminar in Scottsdale, Ariz.

VisionWeb now offers a new and improved contact lens ordering service for VisionWeb members. The contact lens engine displays unique product catalogs for each contact lens supplier. A new search feature allows searches for contact lenses based on several categories including lens type, manufacturer, color, series, wear schedule, pack and UPC. Orders can be shipped to the office or direct to patients. Visit

■ A study appearing in the February Archives of Ophthalmology and supported by Allergan, Inc. concludes that topical cyclosporine emulsion, 0.05% (Restasis, Allergan), confers considerable patient value and is a cost-effective therapy for moderate to severe dry eye syndrome that is unresponsive to conventional therapy.

Prevent Blindness America has formed a new internal leadership team. Joining the organization are Jacinda D. Adams as vice president of marketing and development and Jerome D. Desserich, CPA, as vice president of finance and administration/chief financial officer. Andrea M. Densham, formerly the organization's senior director of public health and government affairs, has been promoted to vice president of that department. Jeff P. Todd, formerly vice president of PBA, has been promoted to chief operating officer.

■ The AMD Alliance International (AMDAI) has developed a Macular Disease Patient Charter. The goal of the Charter is to mitigate many of the residual effects of retinal disease diagnoses which often include severe depression and anxiety. Visit

International Vision Expo East (IVEE) will host a Management Academy on March 28 at its annual conference as part of its continuing education program. This workshop is designed to enhance interpersonal skills with co-workers and clients to lead to a higher level of performance for individuals and their organizations. You can register for the Management Academy at IVEE will also present "Visionomics," nine hours of programming as part of its Business Institute that will deliver actionable strategies to help eyecare professionals identify business opportunities, increase efficiencies and build loyalty among their practice base.

New Service For Yearly Supplies

A new service from Vistakon will give patients the convenience and cost-savings of ordering their lenses annually without incurring the expense all at once.

Acuvue Direct lets patients spread out the financial commitment over four equal payments during the year. After signing up for the program at their provider's office, patients automatically receive a threemonth supply of their prescribed Acuvue contact lenses at quarterly intervals, along with a fresh contact lens case (case included only in two-week lens wearers' orders) to encourage good lens care habits, and a reminder about their wearing schedule. During the final shipment, patients are prompted to return to their practitioner's office for an annual exam.

With each shipment, the patient's credit card is charged for one-fourth the cost of the annual supply, with the payment remitted to the doctor's office. Credit card validation is automatically handled by an independent third-party vendor on behalf of the practitioner, so the practice doesn't have to worry about verifying payment information each quarter. All patient financial information is sent through a security portal not visible to Vistakon.

Each month, participating practitioners will receive a report and invoice for the lenses that were shipped that month, notice of cancelled or postponed orders, and a list of patients nearing their prescription expiration. Although patients can postpone a shipment, they can't order any lenses beyond the expiration of their prescription.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Workshop Planned
■ The Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) will conduct an International Workshop on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) immediately following ARVO 2009. The workshop will: conduct an evidence-based evaluation of meibomian gland structure and function in health and disease; develop a contemporary understanding of the definition and classification of MGD; assess methods of diagnosis, evaluation and grading of severity of MGD; develop appropriate norms of clinical trial design to evaluate pharmaceutical interventions for treating MGD; develop recommendations for the management and therapy of MGD; and create an executive summary of recommendations for future research in MGD.
The target date for publication of a Workshop report will be in the Spring of 2010. Workshop Symposia will be planned for ARVO, EVER, the 2010 TFOS Conference and other meetings.

AOF Residency Award Winners

Vistakon and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF) have announced the winners of several 2009 Residency Awards as follows:

Dr. Terrance Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Awards

• Catherine McDaniel, OD, MS, University of Houston College of Optometry

• Aparna Raghuram, OD, PhD, New England College of Optometry

Dr. George W. Mertz Contact Lens Residency Awards

• Gloria Chiu, OD, Southern College of Optometry

• Karen DeLoss, OD, University of Houston College of Optometry

Dr. Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Awards

• Kristine Dalton, OD, University of Waterloo, School of Optometry

• Emily Kachinsky, OD, MS, New England College of Optometry

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.

Alcon Sends Supplies to Soldiers
Toiletries and snacks were just a few items delivered to troops through the partnership of Alcon and Package Brigade, an organization that coordinates the distribution of care packages to troops throughout the world. Along with notes from children thanking troops for their service, packages include bottles of Systane to help service men and women deal with harsh climate conditions that affect their eyes daily. In 2008 alone, more than 800 bottles of Systane were donated to Package Brigade.
"The care packages are an excellent way to show our troops we care and we are happy to be a part of it," said Kim Fisher, marketing manager for Systane. "It has always been an important part of the Alcon culture to give back and support organizations that share our mission."
Last year Alcon donated more than $464,000 through its Foundation and other corporate giving programs to optometric organizations including charities such as the AOA Foundation, Prevent Blindness America and VOSH to improve access to vision exams for uninsured and low income patients. Alcon also sponsors and supports educational programs such as residency training, graduate sub-specialty programs and the ongoing preparation of future optometrists.