WHO-BHVI Hold Global Scientific Myopia Meeting
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) held a joint Global Scientific Meeting on Myopia last month to discuss the rapidly rising prevalence and impact of myopia. They reported that it is now the leading cause of blindness in older people in Tajimi, Japan, and Shanghai. According to a 2015 BHVI report, an estimated 5 billion people will have myopia in 2050, with almost a billion having high myopia.
The meeting reviewed evidence on the epidemiology, etiology, vision consequences, pathology, social and economic impact, associated morbidity, and interventions that may be helpful in reducing the threat of myopia.
Dr. Serge Resnikoff, MD, PhD, former head of the WHO, said that a notable by-product of the meeting was a definition and description of the retinal condition that causes blindness with myopia. He says this will allow future surveys to record the number of people who have vision impairment and blindness from myopia.
Survey of Myopia Management
As part of a global initiative supported by the British Contact Lens Association, Contact Lens Spectrum, Optometry Australia, and the International Association of Contact Lens Educators, among many others, a survey on myopia management has been developed. You can complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JHLWGKP to share your current thoughts and practice. The information gathered will allow us to report back what is happening across the globe as well as what your peers are thinking/doing.
International Keratoconus Academy Established
The International Keratoconus Academy of Eye Care Professionals (IKA) was recently established to promote ongoing professional education and scientific development in the area of keratoconus and other forms of corneal ectasia. Its mission is to promote and develop the knowledge base and awareness of the state of the art pertaining to the diagnosis and management of keratoconus and other forms of corneal ectasia. IKA was also formed to promote the awareness and understanding of the most appropriate and effective treatment strategies for managing these diseases.
IKA will provide an array of educational initiatives, including live events, web-based education, social media activities, and publications in the professional literature. It also will support ongoing clinical research. IKA will function as a complementary entity to other organizations that support patients who have these diseases, such as the National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF).
The founding executive board of IKA includes S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO; Andrew Morgenstern, OD, FAAO; Timothy McMahon, OD, FAAO; Joseph Barr, OD, MS, FAAO; William Tullo, OD, FAAO; Clark Chang, OD, FAAO; Eric Donnenfeld, MD; and Yaron Rabinowitz, MD. An international physician’s advisory board comprised of expert optometrists and ophthalmologists is also being formed. Membership inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GCLF Gains in Popularity at IVEE
The Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) took place at Vision Expo East in New York City on March 19, 2015. This was the third of an ongoing series of such “meetings within a meeting,” which take place at the Vision Expo conferences. With a 77% increase in attendance compared to last year, 260 attendees came to the GCLF to experience a platform that combined the latest scientific content with critical business strategies related to contact lenses. The content covered topics from profitability, disease, and technology to forecasting the future of the contact lens industry. Free to attendees, the forum was supported by a number of contact lens and pharmaceutical industry representatives including Alcon, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. It was also endorsed by the British Contact Lens Association and the Contact Lens Society of America.
Some of the most highly respected leaders in the contact lens field shared their expertise while covering topics such as “The State of the Contact Lens Industry”; “Gas Permeable Lenses … Going, Going, Gone or Here to Stay?”; “Can Custom Soft CLs and Hybrid Lenses Thrive When Competing with Disposable Lenses?”; “The ‘Dollars and Sense’ of Contact Lens Practice” (a review of billing and coding in contact lens practice); and “How to Manage a Contact Lens Patient from Start to Finish.”
There was a two-hour breakout session in which one group conducted a panel debate on contact lenses in a primary care setting. The esteemed panel of experts, moderated by GCLF Co-Director S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO, debated topics such as establishing a contact lens specialty practice, bringing advanced technology into your practice, the role and future of daily disposable versus reusable lenses, and new approaches to myopia management with contact lens technologies.
The other breakout session was oriented toward non-OD contact lens fitters and reviewed “Contact Lens Challenges – Evaluation and Management Strategies” as presented by Michael A. Ward, MMSc, FAAO, FCLSA.
The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and plans are already underway for the next GCLF to be held at Vision Expo West this coming September in Las Vegas.
The faculty of the GCLF was comprised of Louise Sclafani, OD, FAAO (co-director); S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO (co-director); Scot Morris, OD, FAAO; Robert Davis, OD, FAAO; Clarke Newman, OD, FAAO; and Michael Ward, MMSc, FAAO, FCLSA.
SynergEyes Announces Duette Practitioner Interviews
SynergEyes, Inc. has released 48 unscripted practitioner interview videos that provide tips, advice, and successes from Duette practitioners to their peers. According to the company, the videos emphasize how Duette lenses can transform a patient’s vision while also transforming an eyecare practitioner’s practice. Developed as part of an ongoing strategy to provide impactful tools for practitioners, the videos capture eight ODs answering a variety of questions on topics such as advice for new Duette fitters; patient selection and management; how the lens has made a difference and the role it plays in the practice; what I tell colleagues about Duette; favorite moments; the difference between Duette and a soft toric; application and removal tips; the role of staff and training to success; and Duette for athletes.
The videos are available through the “Colleague Comments” link at SynergEyes.com/professional. They can also be accessed directly at www.synergeyes.com/professional/duette/practitioner-insights.
LensFerry Service Expanding
Following successful initial market testing, WebSystem3 recently announced that its LensFerry service is ready for more widespread use. It is now available to select optometry practices in New York and California. WebSystem3 plans to introduce the service to additional practices and geographic markets using a phased approach over the coming months.
LensFerry is a mobile commerce solution specifically developed for eyecare practitioners that allows patients to order contact lenses via a mobile device, tablet, or computer for direct shipment to their homes. As part of WebSystem3’s EyeCare Prime suite of services, LensFerry includes contact lenses from all manufacturers at eyecare professionals’ specified prices, and the prescribing practice receives the sales revenue as if the lenses had been ordered in-office.
All LensFerry communications are customized for each individual practice, incorporating the practice’s name and/or logo. Practitioners can send wearers custom-branded email and/or text reorder reminders via LensFerry. Wearers can also initiate the text-to-reorder feature, with their phone number serving as a unique identifier for shipping and revenue routing.
B+L Offers PureVision2 for Presbyopia Fitting App
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has announced the availability of the PureVision2 Multi-Focal Fit Guide mobile application (app) in the United States. The app is designed to help eyecare practitioners (ECPs) successfully fit patients into PureVision2 for Presbyopia contact lenses. The interactive app enables ECPs to calculate the initial lens selection by directly entering a patient’s sphere and cylinder information, including add, based on the patient’s most recent refraction. Following evaluation of the performance of the initial lens selection on the eye, the ECP will determine whether further refinement is needed to improve distance or reading vision. B+L says that a selection in the app will provide instantaneous feedback and an updated lens recommendation. The PureVision2 Multi-Focal Fit Guide app is free to download in the App Store and is compatible with all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS 6 or higher. The app will also be extended later this year to include Biotrue Oneday contact lenses for Presbyopia.
Actavis Completes Allergan Acquisition
Actavis plc has completed the acquisition of Allergan, Inc. in a cash and equity transaction valued at approximately $70.5 billion. According to Actavis, the combination creates one of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies by sales revenue, with combined annual pro forma revenues of more than $23 billion anticipated in 2015.
Actavis continues to expect the transaction to generate double-digit accretion to non-GAAP earnings within the first 12 months, including approximately $1.8 billion in operating and financial synergies to be realized within one year following the close. These synergies exclude any additional revenue or manufacturing synergies and are in addition to the $475 million of annual savings previously announced by Allergan in connection with Project Endurance. Actavis further expects to generate strong operating cash flow in excess of $8 billion in 2016, which would enable the company to rapidly de-lever the balance sheet.
Actavis plc, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a global pharmaceutical company with commercial operations in approximately 100 countries. The company is focused on developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative branded pharmaceuticals, high-quality generic and over-the-counter medicines, and biologic products for patients around the world.
Actavis intends to adopt a new global name—Allergan—pending shareholder approval in 2015. For more information, visit Actavis’ website at www.actavis.com.
■ Alcon has released a new contact lens case with marked packages of Clear Care cleaning and disinfection solution. The case is blue and white, with lens baskets differing in color to help consumers more easily differentiate between left and right lenses before and after cleaning. The lens baskets also now have tabs to enable easier opening. Marked packages with the new contact lens cases were on store shelves for most major retailers in March.
■ Alden Optical recently announced that Mika Hague, FCLSA, NCLE-ADV, has joined the company as a product specialist. Her primary responsibility will be to consult with eyecare practitioners on complex specialty fitting toward successful outcomes with Alden designs. She brings substantial fitting experience to Alden with 20 years of hands-on specialty fitting in renowned clinics including Dean McGee Eye Institute in Oklahoma City, OK.
■ The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) Dry Eye WorkShop II (DEWS II) steering committee met in San Francisco on March 31 to finalize the DEWS II mission and subcommittee topics, select the workshop participants from all nominees, establish detailed objectives, and decide upon a timeline. DEWS II will update the definition, classification and diagnosis of dry eye disease; critically assess the etiology, mechanism, distribution and global impact of this disorder; and address its management and therapy.
■ The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has launched the program for its 39th Clinical Conference and Exhibition, calling on all eyecare practitioners to “Come Together” for three days of research, hands-on sessions, posters, education, and products and technology dedicated to contact lenses and the anterior eye. The organization says that the program for this year’s conference—at the ACC Liverpool from May 29 to 31—will offer a highly accessible menu of bite-sized sessions, including 15 free practical workshops. In other conference news, the deadline for online entries to this year’s Photo Competition is April 24. Visit www.bcla.org.uk.
■ CareCredit and VSP Vision Care announced an exclusive agreement to help VSP members increase access to financing for quality eyecare and optical products at thousands of participating VSP network providers. Through the agreement, the two organizations will partner to educate VSP’s nearly 70 million members and CareCredit’s 9 million cardholders about options for managing eyecare expenses for a range of lifestyle choices, including glasses and contact lenses, sunglasses, specialty sport, and other customizable eyewear. The two organizations will also work to connect members and cardholders with the providers who accept CareCredit in the VSP doctor network.
■ Shire plc has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration for its investigational compound lifitegrast for the treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults. Lifitegrast is a novel small-molecule integrin inhibitor. It binds to the integrin LFA-1 (lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1), a cell surface protein found on leukocytes, and blocks the interaction of LFA-1 with its cognate ligand ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1). ICAM-1 is over-expressed in corneal and conjunctival tissues in dry eye disease. Shire states that LFA-1/ICAM-1 interaction contributes to the formation of immunological synapses, resulting in T-cell activation and migration to target tissues.
■ Primary Eyecare Network (PEN), a division of ABB Optical Group, has announced a new monthly webinar series focused on compliance issues, offered in partnership with CS Eye, an independent optometric consulting company. Occurring on the first Wednesday of every month, the series is free for PEN members and costs $15 per webinar for participants who are not members of the network. CS Eye experts will lead the webinars. To register for the webinar series or for more information, visit PrimaryEye.net or e-mail email@example.com.
■ A recent study looked at the aerodynamic benefits of eyelashes and their role in protecting the eye. Measurements of the eyelashes in 22 species of mammals showed them to possess eyelashes of a length one-third the eye width. Furthermore, wind tunnel experiments confirm that this optimal eyelash length reduces both deposition of airborne particles and evaporation of the tear film by a factor of two. But eyelashes can be too long or too short for optimum benefits. The study can be viewed on the Journal of the Royal Society Interface at http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/105/20141294.