News Spectrum

NEWS spectrum

New Institute Focuses on Specialty Lenses

Contamac Ltd. has created the Contamac Specialty Lens Institute (CSLI), designed to serve students, residents, practitioners, patients and communities on a global basis in specialty contact lens education, clinical care, research and leadership.

The CSLI's goal is to focus on the education and clinical practice of prescribing specialty contact lenses and to become a vital resource for schools and colleges of optometry, their students, residents and faculty, and the global eyecare community.

The CSLI initially will be launched in the United States, followed closely by a United Kingdom launch. The CSLI hopes to collaborate with all of the schools and colleges of optometry around the world to provide specialty lens education through specific lectures, workshops, newsletters, scholarships, practitioner and research updates, and unique case histories. The CSLI will also introduce a residency club to help past and current contact lens residents stay connected with their peers, their educational institutions and contact lens laboratories.

Advanced technical instruction is designed to improve clinical skills, especially when managing patients who have corneal irregularities, such as keratoconus, corneal trauma, congenital disorders, aphakia, presbyopia and irregular astigmatism, as well as the specialized requirements of sports vision and the pediatric population. The additional training will further equip students for the option of developing a specialty lens practice, thereby improving outcomes and public health at a global level.

“The CSLI will work closely with all of the schools and colleges of optometry to expand their training in specialty contact lenses,” said Peg Achenbach, OD, FAAO, chief medical and academic strategist for Professional Services, Vision Care at Contamac.

“Alongside expert specialty contact lens educators, practitioners and researchers, students will learn about prescribing options and new developments in the specialty contact lens field. The students will forge unique and supportive relationships that last throughout their professional lives.”

Bausch + Lomb Names Sheila A. Hopkins Global President Vision Care

Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has named Sheila Hopkins global president of the company's Vision Care business, and two of the company's senior executives, Peter Valenti III and Steven Robins, have assumed new roles within the organization. Ms. Hopkins will oversee the company's contact lens and lens care product offerings. Mr. Valenti will lead North American Vision Care as president, and Mr. Robins has been named vice president and chief marketing officer, Global Vision Care.

“Sheila Hopkins is a world-class marketer and leader with extensive experience launching and building global brands among consumers and professionals,” said Brent L. Saunders, chief executive officer, B+L. “We're in the midst of an exciting transformation at Bausch + Lomb; Sheila will help us maximize the potential of our existing products and successfully launch breakthrough innovations from the most promising new product pipeline we have had in decades.”

Ms. Hopkins has built global brands, such as Colgate and Oil of Olay, through hands-on leadership roles in retail- and professional-facing companies. She will be based in Rochester, N.Y., and will report to Mr. Saunders.

“I am excited to be joining Bausch + Lomb at such a pivotal time in the company's history,” Ms. Hopkins said.

“We have an iconic brand, a robust portfolio of innovative products and an inspiring mission that together hold great promise for consumers and professionals around the world.”

Avaira Toric Recall Update

CooperVision Inc. continues to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, distributors, customers, practitioners and lens wearers to complete the recall of certain lots of Avaira Toric contact lenses initiated on Aug. 19, 2011.

The recall was initiated because of the unintended presence of a residue on certain lots of Avaira Toric lenses, which may cause temporary hazy vision and discomfort. Since the recall began, the company has received some additional complaints of severe eye pain. To date, the recall has affected approximately 600,000 Avaira Toric lenses in the United States, according to CooperVision.

As part of the recall, CooperVision notified its customers and asked practitioners to contact their patients regarding this recall. Because CooperVision lenses are sold through distributors and practitioners, communication efforts have been focused through these channels to most effectively reach lens wearers.

Within the first 2 weeks of the start of the recall, CooperVision sent notifications to more than 9,000 Avaira Toric customers worldwide. The company contacted more than 7,000 U.S. practitioners who have received or sampled Avaira Toric lenses and provided them with more than 3,500 customized reports, detailing affected lots specific to locations.

The company also posted information for lens wearers on its web-site ( and established a toll-free consumer hotline (1-855-526-6737).

“Our first priority is always the health and safety of all CooperVision lens wearers, and as such, we responded quickly to complaints from our customers by initiating a voluntary recall,” said Christine Moench, vice president, Global Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance.

“We want to ensure that all consumers are aware of this action and know where to go for more information.”

Eyecare Professionals Take the World Sight Day Challenge

A record number of eyecare professionals, optical companies and optometry schools across the United States and Canada signed up for the World Sight Day Challenge, according to Optometry Giving Sight. The World Sight Day Challenge is a major fundraising campaign coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight. It is designed to raise funds for projects that provide vision care, local training and infrastructure support for people who are blind or vision-impaired owing to uncorrected refractive error. Funds raised will support the establishment of sustainable vision care services for people in need in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Funds are also earmarked to help disadvantaged people in the United States and Canada. Optometry Giving Sight is a joint initiative of the World Optometry Foundation, the International Centre for Eyecare Education and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Visit

Blahnik Eye Care in Port Orange, Fla., was among the many practices that participated in the World Sight Day Challenge. Staff members (left) collected donations from patients, and Dr. Suzette Blahnik donated her exam fees from one day in October.

In Memoriam
Ray McWherter, chief lens consultant for 15 years at Lens Dynamics Inc., died on Oct. 17, 2011, at the age of 84. Mr. McWherter was the lead designer of the Dyna Intra-Limbal GP lens and the Quadrant Specific base curve and edge treatments. Mr. McWherter was a Navy veteran of World War II.
Richard C. Mickschl, Milwaukee, Wis., died on Oct. 21, 2011, at the age of 80. Mr. Mickschi owned and operated Great Lakes Contact Lenses for more than 30 years. He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War.

For the Record
In the October 2011 issue (“News Spectrum,”), recipients of the AAO Founders' Award were incorrectly listed. The recipients were The Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit (CCLRU) and Brien Holden Vision Institute.

B+L, WebMD Partner on Web
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) and WebMD Health Corp. unveiled a new online resource for eye health. The consumer resources at WebMD ( will feature assessments to improve eye health knowledge, editorial features and expert-led videos on common eye concerns, as well as steps to preserve healthy vision at every stage of life.
On Medscape (, eyecare practitioners can engage in a clinician challenge and explore clinical topics, imagery and new information about overall eye health. They can also participate in peer-to-peer discussions in a registration-based eye health community. Medical professionals also will be able to explore related resources and information in the Bausch + Lomb Eye Health Center, which can be found on the site.
“Making sure that professionals have the right tools to better serve their patients is the foundation of our commitment to helping people see better to live better,” said Calvin Roberts, MD, chief medical officer of B+L. “This collaboration helps elevate the eye health discussion between providers and patients, a critical component to ensure the proper course for prevention diagnosis and treatment.”

AOA Launches Lens Safety Site
The American Optometric Association (AOA) launched, a new website to help answer consumers' questions about contact lens safety. The AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) created the site with the assistance of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). Topics covered include lens replacement schedules, purchasing contact lenses and contact lens wear in various environments. Also included is an “Ask the Expert” section where consumers can submit their contact lens questions to a panel of experts. For an in-depth description of the new site, see “Contact Lens Practice Pearls” in this issue.

OcuSoft Inc. has appointed Ed Shelton vice president of sales. Based in Collierville, Tenn., Mr. Shelton has more than 25 years' experience in the ophthalmic pharmaceutical and device industry. During this transition, Rose Mary Martinez will assume her new role as vice president of sales operations.

ABB Concise ( and Compulink Business Systems Inc. have begun integrating Compulink's electronic health records and practice management software with ABB Concise's distribution centers. As part of this partnership, users of Compulink's Eyecare Advantage software will now be able to order lenses directly from ABB Concise's catalog of products.

■ In collaboration with educators, vision researchers and specialist advisors, the American Optometric Association (AOA) released a comprehensive report for teachers, students and parents that describes and explains the optimal uses of 3-D in the classroom. The 34-page, full-color public health report, “3-D in the Classroom: See Well, Learn Well,” is available to AOA members at no charge at Printed copies are available for distribution to school district administrators, educators and ODs.

■ The 2011 Eye Ball Gala, held in Tampa, Fla., raised more than $150,000 to support the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research (LEITR), a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to the recovery, evaluation and distribution of eye tissue for transplantation, research and education. The LEITR Eye Bank is the only combined eye bank and ocular research center in the world. Since its inception, it has brought the gift of sight to more than 40,000 people worldwide. Visit

■ The OE Tracker program of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry ( logged its one millionth continuing education (CE) attendance record in August. OE Tracker is used by optometrists and licensing boards to electronically track, report and audit CE attendance.

Addition Technology Inc. will launch the Intacs XL corneal collagen crosslinking system as an additional treatment option for keratoconus and other ectatic conditions. The riboflavin solution will be marketed under the brand names Intacs XL-Solution D and Intacs XL-Solution H for normal and abnormally thin corneas. The UV lamp, an essential part of the procedure, also will be marketed under the trade name Intacs XL. The product has received the CE Mark from European regulatory authorities, and the company plans to begin the product introduction in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Ametek Inc. announced it has acquired Reichert Technologies, a privately held manufacturer of analytical instruments and diagnostic devices for the eyecare market, headquartered in Depew, N.Y. The company was acquired for $150 million from Beecken Petty O'Keefe & Company and has estimated annual sales of $55 million.

■ In conjunction with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council, the American Optometric Association has published the results of a study investigating the level of compliance of prescription eyewear ordered online with optical tolerance and impact resistance requirements. The study was published in the September issue of Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association.
According to the study, although patients may believe that ordering prescription eyeglasses online is an easy way to save money, about half of all eyeglasses (44.8 percent) ordered through the Internet had incorrect prescriptions or did not meet physical parameters to provide sufficient protection to the wearer.

■ New global research, funded by Bausch + Lomb and conducted in 13 countries, shows that compliance with professional and manufacturer recommendations for lens care is lacking among most wearers. Although compliance was slightly better in daily disposable wearers, 85% were still not fully compliant.

The Web-based study revealed several factors that influence compliance, including country, sex and age. In general, women had better compliance rates compared with men, and older people were more compliant than younger people. The behaviors most associated with the lowest levels of compliance were rubbing and rinsing the contact lens, hand-washing, correct lens replacement and lens case cleaning.

For more details about this research, see the the October issue of Contact Lens and Anterior Eye.