ABCO Starts Certification Process for ODs
The newly formed American Board of Clinical Optometry (ABCO) announced that it is accepting applications for board certification in general optometric practice effective immediately.
Board certification by the ABCO is available in the United States and Canada, and its requirements include completion of an accredited course of study resulting in an OD degree, passing required National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) examinations or their equivalent, and licensure by at least one state, provincial, or territorial licensing body. These standards are identical to those required by State licensing boards and are typical for board certification throughout the healthcare professions.
In developing the certification, the ABCO cited criteria and goals that include: recognize the quality and rigors of optometric education, national board testing, and the competency of licensed optometrists; respect the authority of state licensing and regulatory boards to determine optometric competency standards; provide a credible, defensible, and attainable process for demonstrating maintenance of the knowledge and skills required to provide quality eye care to the public; provide a process that tracks the standards for maintenance of certification established by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS); provide a dynamic and continuous maintenance of certification process, moving away from the concept of periodic “recertification”; provide an honest, transparent, unobtrusive, and cost-effective means for optometrists to complete the certification and maintenance of certification process.
The ABCO received the support of the American Optometric Society. In a statement, the board said, “The AOS Board is mindful of its genesis and the variety of views held by its membership about the AOA (American Optometric Association), ABO (American Board of Optometry), and board certification. After much discussion and consideration of the various options available for addressing these differing views, and at all times mindful of the purposes of the American Optometric Society and the concerns of its members, the AOS Board unanimously voted to support the newly formed American Board of Clinical Optometry.”
The AOS Board also offered its thoughts on the also newly created ABO, spearheaded by the AOA, the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO). “The AOS Board continues to believe that board certification in optometry is unnecessary and that the AOA leadership would have served the profession better and more responsibly by promoting, rather than questioning, optometric competence.
Meanwhile, the AOA released its own statement about the ABCO, saying that while the ABO was formed with input from many, “This new organization (ABCO) was formed over the course of eight months behind closed doors and its certification process was developed without the input of most of the organizations that guide and uphold the standards of the profession.”
The AOA added, “ABCO's maintenance of certification is, in part, based on the recommendation of ARBO. While participating as a member of the profession's JBCPT (Joint Board Certification Project Team), ARBO declined a position on the ABO board in late summer of 2009 citing an inability to sign a memorandum of understanding with the other entities.”
For more information about the ABCO, visit www.boardofclinicaloptometry.org; more information about the ABO is available at www.americanboardofoptometry.org.
B+L Appoints CEO, Chairman
Bausch + Lomb announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Directors, as well as several other personnel changes. Current Chairman and CEO Gerald M. Ostrov is retiring, and will serve as a consultant to the new leaders.
Fred Hassan, who served most recently as chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough Corporation until its merger with Merck & Co, is the new chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Hassan has served as a senior advisor to Warburg Pincus LLC since November 2009. Warburg Pincus is the majority owner of B+L.
Brent Saunders, previously senior vice president and president of Schering-Plough's Consumer Healthcare unit, was named chief executive officer and appointed to the Board of Directors. He joined Schering-Plough in 2003 in the new executive committee under Mr. Hassan as the head of a new Compliance and Business Practices unit.
“Jerry Ostrov stabilized a very challenging situation at Bausch + Lomb and helped move us toward a stronger global organization. During his tenure the company improved on many fronts. We thank him for these major accomplishments,” said Mr. Hassan.
Robert Steffen, OD, MS, was appointed director, Clinical Affairs, Vision Care. In his new role, Dr. Steffen will provide clinical support for new product development. Dr. Steffen joined Bausch + Lomb in 2007 as the director of Surgical Product Analysis. He previously spent 11 years at Vistakon, where he held several clinical research and managerial roles supporting product development. He holds several patents relating to silicone hydrogel contact lenses.
Jane G. Mazur was named vice president, public relations, Global/North America, Vision Care. Before joining B+L, Ms. Mazur served as executive vice president, director of national media, for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. Ms. Mazur has more than 20 years of experience in media relations. Prior to joining Ogilvy, Ms. Mazur held positions at Edelman Public Relations, The Walt Disney Company and Gang-wisch & Associates.
NCC 2010 Draws Thousands
The third Netherlands Contact Lens Conference (NCC) took place on March 14 and 15 in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. NCC has become the largest contact lens meeting in the world with more than 1,600 unique registrants and more than 2,600 attendees visiting the two-day conference. A total of 45 speakers presented 82 lectures in four parallel tracks, mostly in English. More than 95 percent of all visitors were from the Netherlands, demonstrating the popularity of contact lenses in the host country.
With a theme of “The Next Decade,” NCC kicked off with Nathan Efron, PhD, DSc; Brien Holden, PhD, DSc, OAM; Lyndon Jones, PhD, FAAO; Helen Swarbrick, PhD; and Philip Morgan, BSc, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, providing their opinion on contact lenses in The Next Decade.
At the end of the first day, Eef van der Worp, BOptom, PhD, FAAO, FIACLE, FBCLA; Ron Beerten, BOptom, FAAO, FBCLA; and Marco van Beusekom, BOptom—with the cooperation of Philip Morgan, Lyndon Jones, Jeff Walline, OD, PhD, Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, Helen Swarbrick, and Sarah Morgan—presented “Cheers!” Based on the television series and the idea that most things are learned in the bar, they sat around a bar onstage and discussed different ways that contact lenses are used worldwide.
Nathan Efron and Eef van der Worp opened the second day with a lecture “The Demise of the Rigid Contact Lens.” The stage was transformed into a graveyard, and the Grim Reaper (Nathan Efron) discussed the death of GP lenses. Next, an eyeball wearing alien from outer space (Eef van der Worp) presented the possibilities that these lenses still provide. Craig Norman, FCLSA, then helped put things in perspective.
Lyndon Jones also moderated the session, “Oxygen – The Holy Grail or Just a Piece of the Puzzle?” Brien Holden, Nathan Efron, Noel A. Brennan, MScOptom, PhD, FAAO, and Philip Morgan presented their views of oxygen transmission in lens wear.
The cover of this issue features the top five photos from the NCC 2010 Photo Competition. The winner, Carlo van der Kleij, received a trip to the next Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas in 2011 courtesy of NCC and Contact Lens Spectrum. Runners up in the photo competition included Rob Koster, Willem Vreugdenhil, Peter Nolf, and Paul Stoltz. Photo descriptions and credits are on Online Photo Diagnosis of this issue. The winning photos were chosen from among 59 entries.
Information and photos from the conference are available at www.ncc2010.nl. The next NCC meeting will take place on March 11 and 12, 2012.
B+L and AOF Grant Fellowships
Bausch + Lomb and the American Optometric Foundation have announced the 2009-2010 recipients of the William C. Ezell Fellowships.
The Ezell Fellowship Program, named after the founding president of the American Optometric Foundation (AOF), William C. Ezell, OD, was established in 1949 to provide post-graduate students with the opportunity to pursue careers in optometric research and education. Recipients are chosen based on excellence in scholarship, research and teaching. In addition to the fellowships, awarded at $8,000 for one year, each Ezell Fellow receives a $750 travel grant to attend the annual meetings of the American Academy of Optometry and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The recipients of the 2009-2010 B+L Ezell Fellowships are:
Johanna Tukler-Henriksson, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Physiological Optics & Vision Science at the University of Houston, College of Optometry (UHCO), where her research focuses on the underlying mechanisms of dry eye.
Yiang Kaccie Li, University of California, Berkeley, whose research is focused on two main areas: foveal cone photoreceptor distribution and retinal stretching, and the design and implementation of robust control algorithms and clinical grade software for future adaptive optics retinal imaging systems. After graduating, Kaccie hopes to contribute research toward understanding myopia progression and to progress adaptive optics controls and image analysis software toward clinically accessible standards.
“With Bausch + Lomb's leadership and support, we are shaping the future of optometric research, education, and clinical care,” said AOF development director, Mark Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO. Since 1998, B+L has provided more than $100,000 in support to Ezell Fellows pursuing studies in physiological optics, vision science, and related fields.
New Materials for Thinsite
By practitioner request and to add greater versatility to the design applications, Art Optical has recently included Boston ES and Boston EO (both Bausch + Lomb) as available material options for the Thinsite 2 lens design. This design continues to be available in Boston XO2.
Inspire Pharmaceuticals Names President, CEO
Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has named Adrian Adams as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Inspire. The company also elected Mr. Adams to its Board of Directors. Mr. Adams brings strong skills in commercialization, business development, and global partnerships, including experience in licensing and developing respiratory products, and an excellent understanding of the evolving specialty pharmaceutical market.
Mr. Adams most recently served as president and CEO of Sepracor, Inc. Under Mr. Adams' leadership, Sepracor conducted multiple strategic business development activities including the in-licensing of seven products and out-licensing deals with two major pharmaceutical companies.
Christy L. Shaffer, PhD, stepped down as president and CEO when her successor joined Inspire. Dr. Shaffer has also resigned from the Board of Directors and will serve as a consultant to Inspire. She became Inspire's CEO in 1999.
For the Record
The March 2010 News Spectrum story titled “Vistakon Names Medical Safety Officer,” should have stated that Arthur Shedden, MD, completed his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania rather than at the Wharton School at the University of Pittsburgh.
Menicon Acquires Tomey
■ Menicon Co., Ltd. has acquired all shares of Tomey Co., Ltd. from Tomey Shoji Inc. Tomey Co., Ltd. is a major Japan-based manufacturer of contact lens care solutions, soft contact lenses, and GP materials. The company has been the contracted supplier to Menicon of contact lens care solutions and exclusive supplier of Menicon monthly replacement soft contact lenses and lathe-able GP and soft lens materials including Menicon Z, Menicon EX, Menisoft and Menicon Soft 72. The acquisition will allow Menicon to completely control the manufacture of its lens and lens care products and will strengthen the company's competitiveness in Japan and global markets. Tomey Co., Ltd. will be renamed MeniconNect. Mr. Minamikawa, a former director of Tomey, will lead MeniconNect as its president while Mr. Tsuchida of Menicon will serve as executive vice president of MeniconNect. All former Tomey employees will remain in MeniconNect and the manufacturing facilities will stay as they are.
PBA Launches Children's Platform
Prevent Blindness America has launched its “Star Pupils” campaign, the organization's children's platform, designed to educate parents on children's vision issues. The campaign also seeks donations to provide disadvantaged children with access to vision care. Parents visiting www.starpupils.org can receive free sight-saving information about their children's eyes including information on common eye problems in children, eye safety, a family at-home vision test, and a database for children's vision care requirements for entering schools. Real Kids Shades (RKS) has signed on to support Star Pupils. RKS is now offering for purchase specially designed infant sunglasses with the Star Pupils logo. Proceeds from the sale of these sunglasses will go directly to Prevent Blindness America in support of Star Pupils.
■ Bausch + Lomb has relaunched Renu Fresh multipurpose solution in a clear bottle that allows patients to see exactly how much solution is remaining. In addition, the company says that the new packaging is easier to recycle, making it more environmentally friendly.
■ EyeDock, LLC, has launched an iPhone application for download from the Apple iTunes store. The app provides a searchable contact lens database according to name, manufacturer, or specific parameters. It also includes tables for keratometry to base curve conversion and for vertexing lens power. The EyeDock app is free to download, but requires either a no-cost 30-day trial subscription or a paid annual subscription from EyeDock.com, allowing access to the contact lens database.
■ Aton Pharma, Inc. has launched an authorized generic version of its Timoptic-XE (timolol maleate ophthalmic gel forming solution). Timoptic-XE is a non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agent indicated in the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients who have ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. Aton will continue to make available branded Timoptic-XE. In related news, based on a survey of ophthalmologists, Frost & Sullivan has named Timoptic (timolol maleate) as the “Best Brand Name of Beta Blockers for Glaucoma,” reflecting strong brand reputation, recognition, and customer loyalty.
■ Inspire Pharmaceuticals has announced results from two Phase 2 clinical trials with Azasite (azithromycin ophthalmic solution) 1% for the treatment of blepharitis. In the four-week trial, improvements for Azasite compared to the vehicle were achieved for a number of blepharitis signs and symptoms at various time periods with p-values 0.05, but statistical significance was not achieved for the primary endpoint of mean lid margin hyperemia. In the two-week trial, there was no statistically significant improvements for Azasite compared to the vehicle, including for the primary endpoint of clearing of lid debris. In both trials, the Azasite treatment group and the vehicle group showed statistically significant improvements relative to baseline for all measured signs and symptoms of blepharitis. Azasite was well-tolerated in both trials.
■ NicOx S.A. and Bausch + Lomb have entered into a licensing agreement that grants B+L exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize NCX 116 (previously PF-03187207), a nitric oxide-donating prostaglandin F2-alpha analog. NC 116 has completed two phase 2 studies in patients who have glaucoma and ocular hypertension that demonstrated promising results.
■ Santen Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. has announced that Adrienne L. Graves, PhD, president and CEO of its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary Santen, Inc., has resigned and will continue to work with Santen as a strategic consultant and advisor to the Senior Management of Santen. Effective April 1, Toshiaki Nishihata, PhD, will become CEO of Santen Inc. in addition to continuing his current role as a member of the Board, senior corporate officer and head of the Research and Development Division. Akihiro Tsujimura, who most recently was the head of the Business Development Department, became the chief operating officer of Santen, Inc.
■ The AOA Foundation and the InfantSee program are inviting nominations for this year's Dr. W. David Sullins, Jr. InfantSee Award, which recognizes an individual optometrist who has made significant contributions to optometry or his/her community for outstanding public service involving the InfantSee program. The award will be presented at Optometry's Meeting in Orlando, Fla. You can download a nomination form at www.optometryscharity.org/infantsee/infantsee-award.
In related news, InfantSee has become an outreach partner of text4baby, a new free mobile information service for pregnant women and new mothers. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week focusing on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health.
■ Compulink Business Systems, Inc. has announced strategic electronic health records (EHR) agreements with Indiana University School of Optometry and the Arizona College of Optometry at Midwestern University. These two institution join 10 other schools and colleges of optometry that have standardized their outpatient clinics on Compulink's Advantage/EHR.
■ Smile Reminder, a service for providing text and e-mail messages to patients, is offering a “Price for Life” guarantee. Practitioners can use Smile Reminder to provide patients with reminders, confirmations, promotions, and even birthday greetings. The company will honor the monthly rate that clients receive at the time of registration without ever increasing or adding additional fees as long as they remain a customer.
■ Prevent Blindness America held the fifth annual “Eyes on Capitol Hill” event in Washington, DC, from March 9 to 12. The program includes activities that are designed to provide citizens the opportunity to meet with their own state's legislators and share their personal stories of how vision loss has affected their lives.
■ TreviColiseum of Italy has announced a North American distribution agreement with National Lens for the distribution of TreviColiseum eyewear.