News Spectrum

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New ABO Established

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the American Board of Optometry (ABO) has been signed by the American Optometric Association (AOA), the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the Association of the Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and the American Optometric Student Association (ASOA). The ABO is the entity that will develop and implement the framework for optometric board certification and maintenance of certification.

The AOA reports that special counsel engaged to form the ABO recommended the use of an MOU as the first step toward formation of the entity and to establish the basic organizational and governance elements for the ABO.

"I'm pleased with the progress we continue to make with other optometric organizations and look forward to the continued development and implementation of the American Board of Optometry," said Randy Brooks, OD, president of the AOA.

The AOA has made two appointments for the ABO board of directors: David Cockrell, OD, from Stillwater, Okla., and Paul Ajamian, OD, from Atlanta, Ga.

As part of the MOU, the other organizations have also announced their appointed representatives.

"The Board of Directors of the Academy has appointed Past President Dr. Tom Lewis as the Academy's representative, who will work with the representatives of the other stakeholder organizations to make sure the final product is credible and defensible to both the profession and the health care community," said Mark Eger, OD, FAAO, president of the AAO.

ASCO President Dr. Mel Shipp said that "ASCO is pleased to partner with other organizations to ensure the delivery of high quality patient care services by optometrists. As a member of ABO, ASCO will be better able to ensure that the optometric education provided by its member institutions is consistent with this objective." Dr. Shipp appointed David A. Heath OD, president, State University of New York State College of Optometry, as ASCO's representative to the ABO.

Tyson Allard, ASOA president, stated, "Students by their very position must look to the future of optometry. The AOSA Executive Council has appointed Dr. Mary Phillips as the student association's representative on the ABO board, who will work with the other committed organizations toward a product that increases their credibility in the heath care community and the profession they are working to enter."

The MOU also establishes a timetable for circulation of organizational documents, creation and qualification of the ABO as a tax-exempt entity, and implementation of the certification process.

Not All on Board

The Association of the Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) stated that it was unable to sign the MOU due to exclusivity requirements, a required lack of transparency, and non-compete provisions that could usurp the regulatory authority of optometric licensing boards. ARBO's message in response to the MOU was, "The ARBO Board of Directors voted unanimously that it is unable to sign the Memorandum of Understanding distributed by the AOA to the various groups represented on the new ABO Board. This vote was taken after advice from ARBO legal counsel that to sign the MOU was in direct conflict with ARBO's mission as well as the resolutions passed at the ARBO House of Delegates Meeting in June of 2009. ARBO remains fully committed to the concept of demonstrating continued competence within our profession, and is very willing to continue to work with the ABO as appropriate for our organization's mission and responsibility to its Member Boards. We look forward to continued dialogue with the entire profession on how best to protect the public we serve."

According to Dr. William Rafferty, ARBO president, "ARBO must support its Member Boards in the development of appropriate programs to demonstrate ongoing clinical competence. These activities cannot be independent of established licensing and regulatory boards." During its June 2009 meeting, the ARBO House of Delegates passed a resolution that ARBO develop maintenance of competency programs for adoption and use by its board members.

B&L to Consolidate CL Manufacturing

Bausch & Lomb has announced its intent to consolidate worldwide contact lens manufacturing. Specifically, the company proposes to begin migrating most of its global contact lens production to its existing sites in Waterford, Ireland, and Rochester, N.Y.

As a result, B&L is proposing a phased withdrawal from its production facility in Livingston, Scotland, during 2010 and early 2011. The company is holding a 90-day consultation period with employees from that site.

The company also engaged the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise in discussions regarding the matter during the weeks before the announcement and is continuing these discussions through the consultation period.

As part of the proposed consolidation, SofLens Daily Disposable lens manufacturing lines would be moved from Livingston to Waterford and Rochester over the course of the next year. The Waterford plant already manufactures this product. In conjunction, production lines for PureVision SVS lenses would be moved from Waterford to Rochester, joining already existing PureVision lines at that plant. The company reports that it has taken multiple measures to ensure uninterrupted supplies of all products to eyecare professionals and consumers.

B&L anticipates that the collective moves of these highly automated lines will create 30 new positions in Rochester during 2010, but no employment increase in Waterford. The company proposal would affect approximately 500 employees in Livingston on a staggered basis through the next 13 to 17 months.

"We recognize the significant impact to our Livingston employees, their families and the community, and note this is by no means a reflection on our employees' professionalism, dedication, or efforts," said Gerald M. Ostrov, chairman and chief executive officer of B&L.

Vistakon Chooses VP, Professional Development

Vistakon has named Colleen Riley, OD, MS, FAAO, Dipl CL, as Vice President, Professional Development. Dr. Riley will develop and implement strategies and programs that focus on professional and practice development for eyecare professionals, as well as oversee all activities for The Vision Care Institute, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company.

Dr. Riley joined Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in 2004 as assistant director, Research and Development and has served in a number of other positions, most recently as director, Design Research and Development. During her tenure at Vistakon, she has been a leader and team member supporting the development of products such as Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism, from product concept to product launch.

"Colleen is a proven leader, well-recognized for her ability to drive research, innovation, and new product development not only within the organization, but among the eyecare professionals who depend on the Acuvue brand," says Dave Brown, President, Vistakon Americas. "Her commitment to education and to building strong partnerships within the eyecare community will allow Colleen to build on the legacy of the leaders who preceded her."

ABO-NCLE Holds 2nd Conference

The second annual ABO-NCLE National Education Conference, hosted by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE), was held in Cincinnati in September. The conference, designed to improve an optician's technical, professional, managerial and personal performance, drew nearly 600 people from across North America and Europe.

The program was developed in cooperation with educational partners the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA), the National Academy of Opticianry (NAO), and the Opticians Association of America (OAA). Academic partner, the National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS), coordinated and presented the hands-on pavilion.

This year's conference included more than 100 hours of continuing education on contact lenses, spectacles, and practice management. The Basic and Advance certification examinations for both the ABO and NCLE were also conducted.

In addition to the educational program, held concurrently at the conference was The CLSA board of directors meeting; The OAA 2009 National Opticians Convention and Board of Directors Meeting; The NAO 2009 Membership Meeting and Awards Ceremony; NFOS semi-annual meeting; and the ABO/NCLE executive and board of directors meetings.

The 2010 ABO-NCLE National Education Conference will be held Sept. 16 to 19 in Cincinnati. For more information visit

SynergEyes, Inc. has expanded the launch of its new ClearKone lens design for keratoconus. The lens is currently being prescribed in a number of locations in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Keratoconus patients can visit to locate a Clear-Kone practitioner.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has been communicating with the FDA and has increased production of AzaSite (azithromycin ophthalmic solution) 1% in response to the manufacturing supply shortage of erythromycin ophthalmic ointment (0.5%), which is routinely used in neonates for prophylaxis of ophthalmia neonatum. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FDA, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology have asked healthcare professionals to reserve current supplies of erythromycin ophthalmic ointment for neonatal prophylaxis. Furthermore, the CDC recommended AzaSite as an acceptable substitute for neonatal prophylaxis use where erythromycin ophthalmic ointment is not available.

■ A new study released by Vistakon indicates that 40 percent of parents are not comfortable with contact lenses for children, primarily because they believe glasses are easier to keep clean and take care of and because they are concerned about their child's ability to take care of contact lenses. Forty-two percent of respondents indicated that they have no real worries about their child wearing contact lenses.

■ The Optometric History Society will present a "Reminisce-In" on Friday, November 13, 2009 at the American Academy of Optometry Meeting in Orlando. Alden N. Haffner, OD, PhD, former president of the SUNY College of Optometry, will report on the "LaGuardia Meeting" held in January 1968. The Reminisce-In will begin promptly at 10 am, immediately following the Academy's Award Ceremony, and will last for one hour.

■ Recent survey results from Bausch & Lomb's Center for Patient Insights indicate that more than 80 percent of soft toric contact lens wearers in the United States have experienced rotational recovery issues such as blurred or fluctuating vision. The survey also found that rotational issues occur across a broad cross-section of daily activities. As a result, 25 percent of toric lens wearers agree that they have to work harder at their daily tasks and participate for shorter intervals in many activities.

Lens Den LLC, maker of trial contact lens storage systems, announced it now has systems for Frequency 55 sphere storage, Proclear spherical storage, and Proclear EP (all CooperVision). The Lens Den also will soon be expanding its multifocal lens models. Visit

Ista Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has received FDA approval for Bepreve (bepotastine besilate ophthalmic solution) 1.5% as a twice-daily prescription eye drop treatment for ocular itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis in patients 2 years of age and older.

■ The FDA has approved Sirion Therapeutics, Inc.'s New Drug Application for Zirgan (ganciclovir ophthalmic gel) 0.15% as a treatment for acute herpetic keratitis (dendritic ulcers). The FDA granted orphan drug designation to Zirgan for this indication in April 2007.

Bausch & Lomb Storz Ophthalmic Instruments has announced the U.S. release of the ET2057 Singh Akahoshi Prechop Forceps with Paddle Tip, which is used during cataract surgery to segment the lens nucleus prior to phacoemulsification.

■ When NASA recently launched the Space Shuttle Discovery on Mission STS-128 to the International Space Station, on board was a device created by optometrist Dr. Paul Filar of Sturgeon Bay, Wis. The Provizion Anterior Segment and Retinal Camera Attachment allows for telemedicine and photodocumentation of the eyeball. Images and video clips from Dr. Filar's camera can be sent around the world or to Earth from Space. The camera attachment fits onto a PanOptic Ophthalmoscope and is scheduled to be left on the International Space Station as a medical tool for any ophthalmology needs that may arise.

■ The Arizona Optometric Association and the Nevada Optometric Association have both endorsed International Vision Expo West.

Alcon to Acquire Biotech Firm
■ Alcon has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ESBATech AG, a Swiss biotechnology company. Alcon will pay ESBATech shareholders $150 million in cash at closing, plus contingent payments of up to $439 million based upon the achievement of future research and development milestones that would be expected to create value for Alcon.
ESBATech is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that has been developing a pipeline of proprietary single-chain antibody fragment therapeutics for topical and local delivery for safe and convenient therapy.
ESBATech has advanced its antibody fragment technology to preclinical and clinical stages in the eye for various diseases.

Abbott Acquires Ophthalmic Device Company
Abbott announced plans to acquire Visiogen, Inc., an ophthalmic medical device company based in Irvine, Calif., with European operations in Germany, for $400 million in cash.
"Combining Visiogen's accommodating lens technology with Abbott's existing medical optics portfolio expands our ability to offer a diverse set of refractive options to our ophthalmic customers and the patients they serve," said John M. Capek, executive vice president, Medical Devices, Abbott.
Visiogen's accommodating IOL, Synchrony, is designed to deliver improved vision at all distances, potentially eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses, reducing glare and nighttime halos, and improving contrast sensitivity. Synchrony has been implanted in more than 1,200 eyes and has been the subject of extensive clinical studies both in the United States and internationally. Synchrony has received CE mark designation and has been available commercially in Europe since January 2009. It also is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Abbott entered the vision care segment following its February 2009 acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics. This transaction, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009.