FTC Settles With Internet Cosmetic Lens Sellers
Three Internet marketers of cosmetic, “circle” contact lenses, which make wearers' eyes appear larger, have agreed to resolve Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges by entering into settlements that will stop their alleged illegal practices. The settlements bring the FTC's total number of contact lens enforcement actions to 10 since the agency issued the Contact Lens Rule in 2004.
According to the FTC, Jamil Hindi (Royal Tronics Inc.) sold prescription contact lenses and circle cosmetic lenses online through his Florida-based company. New York-based Gene Kim and Minnesota-based Thy Xuan Ho, also known as Brandon Lee, sold circle contact lenses online. The FTC charged that the defendants violated federal law by selling contact lenses without obtaining consumers' contact lens prescriptions or verifying their prescriptions directly with the prescribers, and by failing to keep adequate records.
According to the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from selling contact lenses without a prescription from a consumer or verifying prescriptions by communicating directly with prescribers. They must maintain records of prescriptions and verifications and adhere to the Contact Lens Rule to continue selling lenses.
Jamil Hindi and Royal Tronics received a $68,000 civil penalty, which will be suspended upon payment of $20,000. Civil penalties against Gene Kim and Thy Xuan Ho were suspended because of their inability to pay.
If it is later determined that the financial information the defendants provided the FTC was false, the full amount of their civil penalties will become due. The settlements also contain various record-keeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants' compliance.
Dr. West Joins Vision Source Leadership Team
Walter D. West, OD, FAAO, was named vice president of practice development for Vision Source, a network of private practice optometrists. In his new role with the company, Dr. West will spearhead its practice management education for member doctors and staff. That will include content development and management of the Vision Source Experience program, as well as providing content for the network's online educational programs.
Dr. West, who is chief optometric editor for Optometric Management magazine, most recently served as program director for The Vision Care Institute LLC.
Streaming Video Through a Contact Lens?
New contact lens technology may not only provide crisp vision but stream data, as well. In the December 2011 issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, researchers at the University of ashington discussed their long-term goal to create a display that can be comfortably worn in the form of a contact lens.
The researchers demonstrated the operation of a contact lens display powered by a remote radiofrequency transmitter in free space and on a live rabbit. Researchers said they believe their demonstration verifies that antennas, radio chips, control circuitry and micrometerscale light sources can be integrated into a contact lens and operated on live eyes. They noted that although their display has only a single controllable pixel, they provided the first proof-of-concept technology demonstrations for producing multipixel and in-focus images using a contact lens. They believe this technology they used in their emonstration points toward the potential of integrating other passive and active micro-optical components on a contact lens for vision correction and enhancement.
The researchers also noted that significant improvements are necessary to produce fully functional, remotely powered, high-resolution displays.
Also an issue, they reported, are the limitations of the lens material and its low oxygen permeability. They are currently working on the technology with GP and hydrogel lenses.
McEvoy Named J&J Vision Care Group Chairman
Ashley McEvoy was named company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., effective Jan. 1, 2012, according to a company spokesperson. Ms. McEvoy succeeds Michael Sneed, who will become vice president, Global Corporate Affairs, Johnson & Johnson.
Most recently, Ms. McEvoy was worldwide president of Ethicon Products. Prior to joining Ethicon, she held various positions with McNeil Consumer Healthcare, including vice president of marketing for its consumer over-the-counter (OTC) business, general manager of the OTC business and president of McNeil Consumer Healthcare.
Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson in 1996, Ms. McEvoy managed branding and advertising for consumer products, such as Jif Peanut Butter and Clairol, and product lines for Unilever and Procter & Gamble.
Menicon Acquires Contact Lens Chain in Japan
Menicon Co. Ltd. acquired W.I. System Inc., one of Japan's leading contact lens retail chains. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Tokyo-area based W.I. System, with annual gross sales of $130 million, ranks fourth in contact lens retail sales in Japan.
Menicon officials said the acquisition will significantly bolster Menicon's retail presence in greater Tokyo and will expand opportunities for the company to reach users who do not currently use Menicon products. W.I. System stores will continue to provide lenses and lensrelated products from Menicon and other manufacturers. Company officials said the acquisition will strengthen the company's and the industry's capabilities for developing and marketing lenses and lens care products that meet diverse needs in the broader global market.
W.I. System operates 68 Tokyo-area retail stores and one franchise store that do business under the name Ace Contact or Ekicon. The stores offer primarily contact lenses, and also sell eyeglasses, hearing aids and nutritional supplements for pets.
|BCLA Chooses Olympic Theme|
|The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) will have an Olympics-inspired theme and feature its first ever session on contact lenses and sport.|
The 36th Clinical Conference and Exhibition, “Competing for Excellence,” will be held at the ICC Birmingham May 24-27, 2012. It will feature continuing education, practical workshops and clinical and manufacturers' presentations. Visit www.bcla.org.uk for more information, including a preliminary program and registration form.
|■ Odyssey Medical Launches New Site|
Odyssey Medical Inc. announced the launch of its new website at www.odysseymed.com. According to the company, the new site will make ordering the Parasol Punctal Occluder easier and more convenient. In addition, the simple-to-navigate, educational site provides information on the Odyssey Dry Eye Product Line for practitioners and their patients. Visitors can watch the latest videos, download patient education materials and even submit new product ideas.
■ NovaKone Webinars Planned
Alden Optical Inc. will host a series of weekly webinars to discuss the design and fitting characteristics of the NovaKone soft lens for keratoconus. To register, visit the NovaKone page at www.aldenoptical.com or contact Alden Optical at (800) 253-3669.
|■ Bausch + Lomb acquired 100 percent of the outstanding shares of Laboratorio Pfortner Cornealent SACIF, the controlling entity of Waicon, the market leader in contact lenses and lens care products in Argentina. For the time being, Carina Tarzia will continue as Argentina country manager for B + L and Maximo Pfortner will continue as the general manager of the Waicon business. Tomas Pfortner will serve as special scientific advisor to B+L|
■ SynergEyes Inc. took the 2011 World Sight Day Challenge to help give sight to people in developing countries. The company raised more than $11,000 in the month of October to help provide eye examinations and eyeglasses to children in developing countries. OptometryGivingSight organizes the annual challenge.
■ The registration fee for the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Basic Competency and Advanced Examinations has been increased to $225 per exam. The next ABO and NCLE exams will be offered on May 20, 2012. Registration forms will be available at www.aboncle.org or by calling the office at (800) 296-1379.
■ The American Optometric Foundation and Essilor of America announced the 2011 recipients of the Essilor Technology Grants. Three $20,000 grants were awarded to optometry institutions for projects intended to elevate the standards and visibility of ophthalmic dispensing to students and patients in the training environment. The recipients are State University of New York College of Optometry, University of California Berkeley School of Optometry, and The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
■ OCuSOFT Inc., Rosenberg, Texas, announced an agreement with Scope Ophthalmics of London to exclusively distribute and market OCuSOFT Lid Scrub to the ophthalmic market in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
■ Diversified Ophthalmics Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, named Ronald Cooke Jr. vice president of manufacturing and distribution operations and David Israel vice president of operations.
■ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver to TearLab Corporation for its TearLab Osmolarity System. TearLab customers now have the option of obtaining a CLIA-waived certificate by submitting a CMS-116 form.
■ The University of South Australia's Mawson Institute was awarded an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant to develop the next generation of flexible surface engineered coatings. Researchers from the University will work with their commercial partner Contamac Ltd. to design the next generation of intraocular lenses through the application of advanced surface engineering technologies.
■ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Eylea (aflibercept; Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.) injection, known in the scientific literature as VEGF Trap-Eye, for the treatment of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The approval was granted under a Priority Review, a designation given to drugs that offer major advances in treatment or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists. This approval was based upon the results of two phase 3 clinical studies.