News Spectrum

NEWS spectrum

Record Attendance at AAO

The 2010 American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Annual Meeting took place from Nov. 16 to 20, 2010, in San Francisco. More than 5,600 attendees came to this year's meeting, over 3,800 of them optometrists, which was up from the nearly 4,800 attendees at the Anaheim 2008 meeting. Academy 2010 San Francisco also offered more than 258 hours of lectures and workshops, section symposia, and hundreds of scientific papers and posters as well as 150 companies exhibiting in 250 booths in the exhibit hall.

Educational highlights of this year's meeting included the Plenary Session Today's Research, Tomorrow's Practice: Policy, Advocacy and Science in Women's Health, in which Susan Wood, PhD, from George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services and Barbara A. Brenner, JD, of Breast Cancer Action discussed connections between breast cancer therapy and vision. They also discussed the failure in women's health care, leading to changes in healthcare delivery regulation.

This year's Monroe J. Hirsch Research Symposium was titled “Ocular Genetics: From Laboratory to Clinical Practice and Back Again,” which addressed molecular diagnosis, using it in practice and how the National Ophthalmic Disease Genotyping Network (eyeGene) can help, and a look at future therapeutic options for inherited eye disease. Speakers included Brian Brooks, MD, PhD, former chair of the eyeGene steering committee and chief of the Unit on Pediatric, Developmental and Genetic Eye Disease at the National Eye Institute; Richard Lewis, MD, MS, professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor School of Medicine; and Rodney Nowakowski, OD, PhD, FAAO, interim dean at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.

Another highlight was the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society's summary presentation of its Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Workshop.

The next AAO Annual Meeting will take place in Boston from Oct. 12 to 15, 2011.

Silicone Hydrogel Gets FDA Clearance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Definitive (Contamac US), a new silicone hydrogel polymer material. Definitive is now available through several partner laboratories including Art Optical, Metro Optics, Unilens, and XCel/Walman. The respective manufacturing laboratories will introduce specialty lenses produced in their own designs.

Alcon's Opti-Free Replenish Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution will be featured as the preferred lens solution for the rollout of the new designs by Contamac's partner laboratories.

Definitive has been available globally for nearly two years.

Ezell Fellowships Awarded

Bausch + Lomb and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF) have announced the 2010 recipients of the William C. Ezell Fellowships. The Ezell Fellowship Program, named after the founding president of the 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, which are awarded at $8,000 for one year, each Ezell Fellow also receives a $750 travel grant to attend the annual meetings of both the American Academy of Optometry and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

The 2010 recipients are Kristine Dalton, OD, MSc, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, OTG Research & Consultancy, London, UK, who is studying vision strategy in sports, and Vidhyapriya Sreenivasan, BS Optom, MSc, School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Canada, who is investigating ocular motor adaptation to lenses and prisms in myopic and emmetropic children. As a first-time recipient, Dr. Dalton has been “inspired to continue to strive for excellence in optometric research as both a scientist and a clinician.” Dr. Sreenivasan feels that it is “truly an honor to be included in this group of highly accomplished optometric and vision science researchers.”

AOF President Tony Adams, OD, PhD, FAAO, said “Bausch + Lomb have sponsored Ezell Fellowships for over a decade. Former Fellows have gone on to become leaders in education, the profession, and the ophthalmic industry. We truly value this ongoing partnership.”

OAA Presents Vision By Design Annual Meeting

The Orthokeratology Academy of America's annual meeting and educational conference, Vision By Design 2010, featured presentations on myopia control as well as corneal reshaping to correct severe myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and more. More than 250 attendees from 13 countries took part in the conference, which included hands-on fitting seminars hosted by Eye-Quip (Wave contact lenses), OrthoTools, Euclid (Emerald Lens), Paragon (CRT), and Global Orthokeratology (GOV lenses). Specialty seminars included Dual Axis fitting (Paragon), Advanced Wave designs, Super Charge Your Practice-power workshop, and a boot camp for newcomers to corneal reshaping.

Speakers included Patrick Caroline, Dr. Helen Swarbrick, Dr. Nick Despotidis, Dr. Sami El Hage, Dr. Earl Smith III, Dr. Jeffrey Walline, Dr. Thomas Reim, Randy Kojima, Dr. Ken Maller, Dr. Cary Herzberg, Dr. Peter Wilcox, Dr. David Bartels, Dr. Rob Gerowitz, and Dr. Bill Berke.

Patrick Caroline was presented the “Excellence In Ortho-K” award, which is presented annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the development of orthokeratology. The academy also awarded a research fellowship to both Dr. Earl Smith III and Patrick Caroline for their contributions to the field of corneal reshaping.

Vision By Design 2011 will be held April 29 to May 1 in Orlando, Fla. The three-day event will offer courses for both beginner and advanced orthokeratologists. The “Boot Camp for Beginners” for both staff and practitioners will be held on April 29. This meeting will include more than 10 hours of corneal reshaping education.

B+L Switching to Rub Labeling

Bausch + Lomb is providing a rub and rinse regimen in the directions for use of its multipurpose contact lens solutions. The initiative includes the removal of the phrase “no rub” from the product labeling of its Renu Fresh multipurpose contact lens solution globally. The company says this is part of an ongoing initiative that promotes an optimal contact lens wearing experience.

“Bausch + Lomb is committed to partnering with eye care professionals to ensure excellent vision, comfort and health for contact lens wearing patients,” said Mohinder Merchea, OD, PhD, MBA, director, Medical Affairs, North America Vision Care, B+L. “By choosing to proactively change our multipurpose solution labeling to only include a rub regimen for cleaning and disinfecting lenses, we are providing patients with the insights we've gained from the 92 percent of eye care professionals who instruct their patients to rub their lenses.”

Bausch + Lomb's product labeling transition has been under way since the beginning of 2010. Two of the company's multipurpose contact lens solutions—Biotrue and Renu Sensitive—already include labeling directions to rub and rinse lenses as part of the care and cleaning regimen. In the United States, the transition from “no rub” to “rub” directions for use of the Renu Fresh brand will be completed by May 2011.

In other B+L solution news, Popular Science magazine has named Biotrue to its Best of What's New Awards, an annual roundup of the 100 most extraordinary innovations of the previous year, in the Health category. Spanning 11 categories, the Best of What's New winners are featured in the December issue of Popular Science, in the iTunes store and at

Barr Receives Max Schapero Award

Joseph Barr, OD, MS, FAAO, received the American Academy of Optometry's (AAO) 2010 Max Schapero Memorial Award at the 88th annual AAO meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Dr. Barr, currently vice president, Global Clinical & Medical Affairs and Professional Services, Vision Care, for Bausch + Lomb, was honored with the award given to a clinician, researcher, or scholar who has made a significant contribution to the cornea and contact lens field through publications, lectures or research efforts.

Dr. Barr, a former editor of Contact Lens Spectrum and Contact Lenses Today, also served on the Executive Committee and was director of the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus Photography Reading Center. He is a member of the inaugural global advisory council to the Pediatric Cataract Initiative, a program cosponsored by the Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute and Lions Clubs International Foundation.

Vistakon and AOF Award Fellowships and Grants
Vistakon and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF) have announced the recipients of the Vistakon Ezell Fellowship program and AOF-Vistakon Research Grants.
The Vistakon Ezell Fellowships recipients are Nicole Putnam, MS, University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry, and Johanna Tukler-Henriksson, BS, University of Houston, College of Optometry. Each will receive $8,000 toward their graduate education and $750 in travel grants to the annual meetings of the American Academy of Optometry and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
The $25,000 AOF-Vistakon Research Grant was awarded to Uncovering the Role of Mucins in Contact Lens Induced Corneal Infiltrates, Loretta SzczotkaFlynn, OD, PhD, and Ilene Gipson, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School.
The $10,000 AOF-Vistakon Research Grant was awarded to Engineering of Novel Contact Lens Materials for Ciprofloxacin Drug Delivery, Alex Hui, OD, and David McCanna, BSc, MA, PhD, Centre for Contact Lens Research, School of Optometry, University of Waterloo.

AOS Initiates Award
The American Optometric Society (AOS) has announced an annual award in honor of Dr. Harvey Yamamoto. The monetary award of $1,000 will be given to a senior optometric student from a school or college of optometry in the United States and its territories at the AOS Annual Meeting and Continuing Education Seminar to be held in Tampa, Florida, April 1 to 3, 2011.
Recognizing Dr. Yamamoto's lifetime of contributions to the profession and his community, the award is based on an original essay of not more than 1,500 words highlighting how the individual plans to give back to the profession of optometry as well as the community after graduation.
The recipient will receive transportation to attend the AOS Meeting, hotel room, a year's paid membership in the American Optometric Society, and a certificate, in addition to the $1,000 cash award. All entries must be submitted by Feb. 1, 2011. Full details on the award and how to submit entries are available on the Student link found on the AOS website at

■ Co-Pay Tool Available for Restasis
Allergan has announced a new digital tool designed to help eyecare professionals quickly and easily determine patient co-pays when prescribing Restasis. With the new tool, available at, practitioners can enter a patient's zip code and immediately obtain the average co-pay for the top managed care providers in the area. The online tool is optimized for smart phone access, providing the added flexibility of accessing the tool away from the computer.

New Eyecare Resource for Professionals
Inspire Pharmaceuticals now has a new, interactive educational web site for eyecare professionals,“Inspired Icare,” at The site offers information about numerous ocular diseases, with interactive features including information and photo libraries, a conference room, auditorium with downloadable presentations, and an exam room with downloadable clinical tools.

Healthy Eyes Healthy People State Grants Awarded
■ Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation and the American Optometric Association recently named the 2010 recipients of the Healthy Eyes Healthy People (HEHP) State Grant program that were generously funded by Luxottica.
2010 award winners include the following individuals: Dr. Chris J. Babin, Wash.; Dr. W. Lee Ball, Mass.; Dr. LeeAnn Barrett, Mo.; Dr. Mark Curtis, Mo.; Dr. Keshia Elder, Ala.; Ms. Jill Gonder, Iowa; Dr. John R. Hayes, Ore.; Dr. Denmark R. Jensen, Utah; Ms. Alissa Johnson, Neb.; Ms. Jessica Miller, Minn.; Dr. Joyce Nations, Ga.; Dr. Joan Portello, N.Y.; Dr. Lawrence A. Ragone, N.J.; Ms. Rina Salazar, Alaska; Dr. Janene Sims, Ala.; Dr. Heidi Sutter, Wash.; Dr. Patricia Westfall-Elsberry, Ark.; Dr. Kenny Wyatt, Ark.; and Dr. Jasmine Yumori, Calif.
The HEHP grants are based on the Healthy People 2010 initiative, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the health of Americans. The Healthy Eyes Healthy People State Grant Program is intended to stimulate community initiatives in health promotion and disease prevention that support the vision objectives of Healthy People 2010.
The HEHP grants should strengthen the outreach of community-based organizations by providing “seed money” to begin or continue vision-related projects.

■ The Ciba Vision European EyeLife Summit took place from Oct. 28 to 30 in Rome and brought together over 750 leading eyecare professionals as well as world-renowned experts to explore key conditions and developments in eyecare research and products. Under the theme of “Learn. Lead. Succeed Together,” the Summit served as a forum for peer-to-peer learning and was divided into six key topics including myopia control, contact lens compliance, contact lens prescribing trends and technology, lens fitting in astigmatism and communicating with presbyopic lens wearers, and antimicrobial innovation in contact lenses.
■ ABB Concise has acquired the soft contact lens distribution business of X-Cel Contacts. In so doing, ABB Concise now offers X-Cel customers access to ABB Concise's inventory of soft lenses, which means that X-Cel customers will experience an increased fill rate of products and receive their soft contact lenses faster, according to ABB Concise. X-Cel will continue to service its customers with its manufacturing of custom soft and GP contact lenses.
■ VSP Vision Care and Bausch + Lomb have announced a contact lens program to provide additional rebates to VSP members, beginning Nov. 1, 2010. Members who purchase an annual supply of B+L contact lenses from one of VSP's network providers will receive an additional rebate amount on top of the current national rebate program offered by B+L. The rebate form is available at
■ Menicon Co., Ltd. has made an agreement with Optimed Ltd. to become the exclusive distributor for Optimed's Captiv8 communication services and i-Vue content-driven digital signage software for North America. Captiv8 is web-based 3D animation software that can be used chairside to enhance communication with patients, while i-Vue is a digital display system, normally located in practice waiting rooms, that uses 3D animation to educate and inform patients about products and services.
■ Bausch + Lomb has named Mariano Garcia-Valiño to the newly created role of corporate vice president and president, Latin America. Mr. Garcia-Valiño was most recently an operating partner with Advent International, a global private equity firm, where he focused on investment opportunities in the Latin American healthcare industry.
■ The Alcon Board of Directors elected Dr. Daniel Vasella as its chairman of the board, replacing Cary Rayment who had served as chairman since May 3, 2005. Dr. Vasella is also chairman of the board of Novartis AG. He has served on the board of Alcon since July 7, 2008. Mr. Rayment will remain on the board and will serve as its vice-chairman.
■ Ciba Vision Academy for Eyecare Excellence now has available the 2010 edition of Key Metrics of Optometric Practice, a comprehensive look at independent optometric practice performance benchmarks. It reveals norms for key productivity measures and enables optometrists to compare their practice performance to norms for similar size practices. Key metrics include gross revenue per complete exam, exam fees, frame turnover, gross revenue per OD hour, expense ratio ranges by category, and staff hourly and annual salaries by position. The publication can be downloaded at
■ The AOA's 2010 American Eye-Q Survey has found that many contact lens patients are not using their lenses safely. Specifically, the survey found that most respondents wear disposable lenses longer than recommended, only a quarter of respondents replace daily disposable lenses every day, a quarter of respondents reported wearing contact lenses while sleeping, 23 percent clean or soak lenses in water, and 12 percent store their lenses in something other than a typical storage case.
■ The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on World Sight Day, which took place on Oct. 14, 2010, that over the past 10 years, Vision 2020: The Right to Sight has contributed to a 10 percent reduction in the number of visually impaired people worldwide. WHO reports that this is an historic event in its own right, but even more so considering that there has been an 18 percent increase in the world's population over 50 years of age, the segment of the population most vulnerable to vision impairment.
■ RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced results of its first non-clinical dry eye study using RGN-259, RegeneRx's ophthalmic preservative-free eye drop for the treatment of dry eye syndrome (DES). In the study, animals were treated with RGN-259, a vehicle control, and a positive control, doxycycline. Animals treated with RGN-259 demonstrated a “dramatic” and statistically significant reduction in corneal staining compared to those treated with the vehicle control and equivalent to original levels seen prior to induction of DES. The treatment effect was also more pronounced than that observed with the positive control.
■ First Insight Corporation has announced that MaximEyes SQL Electronic Health Records, Version is 2011/2012 compliant and was certified as an EHR Module on Nov. 2, 2010 by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, an ONC-ATCB, in accordance with the applicable eligible provider certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.