Allergan Issues Voluntary Recall of Some Products
Allergan plc has announced that it is conducting a voluntary recall down to consumer level of specific lots of its Refresh Lacri-Lube 3.5g and 7g for dry eye, Refresh P.M. 3.5g for dry eye, FML (fluorometholone ophthalmic ointment) 0.1% (sterile ophthalmic ointment topical anti-inflammatory agent for ophthalmic use 3.5g), and Blephamide (sulfacetamide sodium and prednisolone acetate ophthalmic ointment, USP) 10%/0.2% sterile topical ophthalmic ointment combining an antibacterial and a corticosteroid, 3.5g.
Allergan chose to initiate this recall based on a small number of customer complaints that reported a small black particle at the time of use. This black particle, which is part of the cap, can be created by the action of unscrewing the cap from the aluminum tube and can potentially be introduced into the product. Reported adverse events include foreign body in the eye, eye irritation, ocular discomfort, product contamination, superficial injury of eye, eye pain, eye swelling, and blurred vision.
Specific lots are being voluntarily recalled in the interest of patient safety. The lot number and expiration date may be found on the bottom flap of the carton with the safety seal and on the crimp seal of the product tube. Affected products should be returned to Allergan. Lot numbers involved in the recall can be found at www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm459485.htm?source=govdelivery&utmmedium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.
Survey Finds that Most Contact Lens Wearers Put Themselves at Risk
Almost all of the estimated 41 million contact lens wearers in the United States ≥18 years of age may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report indicated that nearly one-third of contact lens wearers reported experiencing a previous contact lens-related red or painful eye requiring a doctor’s visit, and approximately 99% of wearers reported at least one contact lens hygiene risk behavior. The majority of wearers reported:
• Keeping their contact lens cases for longer than recommended (82.3%).
• “Topping off” solution in the case (55.1%).
• Wearing their lenses while sleeping overnight (50.2%) or napping (87.1%).
Furthermore, and of particular concern according to the report, contact lens wearers of all types frequently reported exposure of their contact lenses to water, including storing or rinsing their lenses in tap water and showering or swimming while wearing lenses.
Each of these behaviors has been reported in previous studies to raise the risk of eye infections by five times or more.
An online survey was administered to a sample of contact lens wearers to determine how often they engaged in behaviors that could put them at risk for an eye infection. CDC collaborated with the Contact Lens Assessment in Youth (CLAY) group, a multi-university group of researchers, to conduct the survey. A separate survey was used to estimate the number of contact lens wearers—about 41 million adults. According to the CDC statement, taken together, the survey results indicate that millions of Americans could be at risk for serious eye infections because of poor contact lens hygiene behaviors.
The complete report is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6432a2.htm?s_cid=mm6432a2_w.
Cooper Expands N. A. Leadership
CooperVision, Inc. has named Michele Andrews, OD, as director of Professional Affairs for North America. In this newly created position, Dr. Andrews will work closely with eyecare professionals in the United States and Canada to help deepen CooperVision’s support of eyecare professionals’ needs in the contact lens market.
Her other responsibilities include providing technical support for new and existing products and representing CooperVision at key industry and professional meetings throughout North America, where she will act as a spokesperson to the professional communities.
Prior to joining CooperVision, Dr. Andrews most recently served as executive vice president of Professional Services at For Eyes Optical Company, where she developed and implemented the organization’s strategy for its affiliated Doctors of Optometry.
Prior to that, she was the senior director of Provider Relations and Clinical Services at Eye-Med Vision Care.
Essilor to Acquire Vision Source
Vision Source, a portfolio company of Brazos Private Equity Partners of Dallas, has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Essilor. Vision Source will continue to be led and managed as an independent company by the current leadership team, which includes the company’s founder and executive chairman, Glenn Ellisor, OD. The acquisition remains subject to standard regulatory approvals. Vision Source, with Essilor’s support, will further invest in eyecare professionals by offering a vast array of business tools, services, and products.
Alcon Announces North American Executive Changes
Alcon has appointed Sergio Duplan as region president, Alcon North America. He succeeds Robert Warner, who assumes a new Alcon executive committee role as Global Franchise Head, Alcon Vision Care.
In his new role, Mr. Warner will lead Alcon’s global Vision Care business, with responsibility for strategy, marketing, portfolio development, commercial execution, and chairing the global franchise team.
Mr. Duplan most recently served as region president, Alcon Latin America and Canada. He joined Novartis more than 11 years ago and held several leadership roles within Novartis Pharmaceuticals before joining Alcon in 2012.
B+L Appoints Rosenblatt
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) recently announced the appointment of Brian Rosenblatt, OD, as director, Professional Strategy. Dr. Rosenblatt will join Dr. Jill Saxon and Todd Love, directors of Professional Strategy, in coordinating the company’s Eye Care Professional (ECP) outreach efforts across Vision Care.
In his new role, Dr. Rosenblatt will be responsible for enhancing Bausch + Lomb’s professional outreach program through its team of U.S. contact lens experts, maximizing communication and support through professional educational events, and continuing to forge relationships with key optometric industry members.
Immediately prior to joining Bausch + Lomb, Dr. Rosenblatt was the president and co-owner of Rosenblatt Family Eye Care Associates in Raritan, N.J., where he worked in private practice for 23 years. A member of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians and the American Optometric Association, Dr. Rosenblatt has served as the principal investigator in numerous ophthalmic studies and as a proctor for the National Board of Optometry. He is a published author in optometric peer-review journals and has lectured nationally.
Blanchard Expands Team, Plans Scleral Workshops
Blanchard Contact Lenses recently announced that Amy Chow has been appointed account manager covering Ontario, and Beth Innarelli will be providing sales and marketing support for the company in both the United States and Canada.
Before joining Blanchard, Ms. Chow worked as a licensed Dispensing Optician at Dr. Edward Chow & Associates, a practice owned and operated by her family in Toronto. She is particularly interested in specialty contact lenses, with a distinct interest in orthokeratology and GP/scleral lens fittings.
Ms. Innarelli has 13 years of marketing experience including social media, event planning, and account management. She will be in charge of marketing efforts to expand Blanchard’s presence in the marketplace, enhance relationships with current customers, and navigate efforts to facilitate new business.
In other Blanchard news, space may still be available for Blanchard’s Beyond the Limbus Workshops. These one-day workshops will be held Oct. 3 or 4, Oct. 24 or 25, and Nov. 7 or 8 in Weehawken, N.J., Pittsburg, Pa., and Syracuse, N.Y., respectively. Call (800) 367-4009, ext. 134 or email Ledonna Buckner at email@example.com.
Poll Reveals CL Wearer Concerns
See Clearly America, a national online consumer opinion survey, revealed that contact lens wearers say they are concerned about the potential for increased risks not only to their visual health, but also to the privacy of their personal data, that could arise from online purchase of contact lenses.
The survey found that nearly 75 percent of contact lens consumers feel that it is riskier to obtain their contact lenses from online and other sources rather than from their local eyecare practitioner, according to Public Opinion Strategies, a public opinion research firm.
Less than 10 percent of contact lens consumers say they believe that their personal health information is more likely to be properly safeguarded by online and other sources rather than by their family eyecare practitioner.
CDC Holds Second Annual Contact Lens Health Week
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy Contact Lens Program held its second annual Contact Lens Health Week from Aug. 24 to 28, 2015. Contact Lens Health Week 2015 was moved to August to coincide with “back to school” health promotion efforts.
The theme for this year’s observance was “Healthy Habits Mean Healthy Eyes.” The campaign targeted teenage contact lens wearers, their parents, and eyecare providers, but the messages and materials were also suitable for contact lens wearers of all ages.
The CDC has developed a number of tools and materials to help promote Contact Lens Health Week and healthy contact lens wear and care throughout the year, including posters, buttons, banners, tear-off sheets, podcasts, infographics, mobile apps, a social media library, and web features. You can also follow the campaign on social media at #OnePairTakeCare. Visit www.cdc.gov/contactlenses.
■ The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) revealed its New IACLE Contact Lens Course (ICLC). The full revision and updating of the ICLC was announced at the 1st World Congress of Optometry, which took place in Medellin, Colombia this past August. The New ICLC will cover all aspects of contact lens education—from the anatomy of the cornea to the business of contact lens practice—in just five modules and 30 lectures in PowerPoint format. Modules cover the basics of contact lenses, contact lens fitting, contact lens care, complications, and advanced contact lens practice. IACLE members will have exclusive access to the New ICLC.
■ The board of the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has appointed Professor Kovin Naidoo, former Deputy CEO, to the position of Interim CEO, following the passing of Professor Brien Holden. Professor Naidoo is a board member and director of Global Programs for the BHVI’s Public Health programs and is a member of the its Management Group. He has served as the head of Optometry at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. He is currently CEO of the African Vision Research Institute and an associate professor of Optometry at UKZN.
■ Blanchard Contact Lenses recently announced that Multilens (also known as Nordiska Lins), a laboratory located in Göteborg Sweden, has signed into an agreement as a manufacturer and distributor of Blanchard’s MSD mini-scleral design lens. The MSD lens was first introduced throughout Sweden and Finland via a series of lectures/workshops in April 2015; This will be followed by another tour through Norway and Denmark in October 2015.
■ Contamac Ltd. has appointed Martyn Lewis as New Business Development and Project Manager. In this role, he will be responsible for the overall commercial management and execution of new projects and technologies such as Hydra-PEG. This builds on Martyn’s previous experience at Contamac in which he was active in promoting Contamac’s range of GP, hydrophilic, and silicone hydrogel products in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He most recently was Group Business Development Manager at Goodfellow Cambridge for the past five years.
■ Shire plc has acquired privately held Foresight Biotherapeutics Inc. for $300 million. With the acquisition, Shire acquires the global rights to FST-100 (topical ophthalmic drops combining 0.6% povidone iodine and 0.1% dexamethasone), a therapy in late-stage development for the treatment of infectious conjunctivitis. This acquisition further strengthens Shire’s late-stage pipeline and has a clear strategic fit with lifitegrast, which is in late-stage development for treatment of dry eye disease.
■ RPS Diagnostics, a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests, has announced that Robert A. Gregg, PhD, has joined the company as senior vice president of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Gregg has more than 30 years of relevant experience and remarkable achievements in the medical device and diagnostics industries, according to the company. Prior to joining RPS Diagnostics, he led Regulatory and Quality Affairs at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Leica Biosystems, and OraSure Technologies, Inc, among other companies. Of note was when he was the executive director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at the Direct Access Diagnostics division of Johnson & Johnson, where he led the approval of the first HIV home collection test kit.
■ On Sept. 1, Alex Lamse joined Procornea in Eer-beek Netherlands as the company’s new global commercial director. He will be responsible for all sales and marketing activities of Procornea and will also promote further development of new products and services. Alex has more than 20 years of experience in various marketing and sales positions, with a very good track record both within and outside of the eyecare business. Procornea is an independent Dutch manufacturer and supplier of GP and soft contact lenses all around the world.
■ Primary Eyecare Network (PEN), a division of ABB Optical Group, is offering educational opportunities for eyecare practitioners and staff in October. A webinar on Oct. 7 will focus on eligibility, copays, and self-pay, and a three-day, intensive Center for Paraoptometric Education program, which will take place Oct. 12 to 14, is designed to train newer optical staff quickly. PEN says that both of these programs are aimed at keeping practices running efficiently, effectively, and productively. Visit www.primaryeye.net.