Global Meeting Celebrates 10th Anniversary
The 2016 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS), which took place from Jan. 21 to 24 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, hosted a record-breaking close to 1,000 attendees and exhibitors from 25 countries, 45 states, and Puerto Rico. Attendees had the opportunity to interact with 64 sponsors and exhibitors in the sold-out exhibit hall. The meeting was presented by Contact Lens Spectrum, a publication of PentaVision LLC, and this year marked the 10th consecutive year of this global meeting, which began as the Global Keratoconus Congress in January 2007 and broadened into the GSLS in 2009.
This year’s education program offered more than 30 hours of COPE, NCLE, and JCAHPO continuing education credits. The preconference program included practice-building tracks focusing on myopia management, building a specialty lens practice, diagnosing and managing keratoconus and corneal ectasia, and using scleral lenses in practice.
The main conference included general sessions on the state of the contact lens industry; scleral, corneal GP, hybrid, and custom soft lenses; myopia control; new contact lens technologies; diagnostic instruments and devices, including different ways that they can be used in practice; multifocal and tinted lenses; and soft lens fitting, among many others. There were also CE breakout sessions as well as manufacturers’ breakfast, lunch, and breakout seminars, some of which included live patient fittings. The education program was once again developed by the GSLS Education Planning Committee, chaired by Craig Norman, FCLSA, and including Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO; Edward Bennett, OD, MSEd, FAAO; Eef van der Worp, BOptom, PhD; and Patrick Caroline, FAAO. An in-depth report on the education program highlights will appear as a feature article in the April issue.
The 2016 GSLS also featured more than 100 scientific poster submissions and nearly 50 photo contest entries. The winners are featured in a separate news story on p. 4, and the winning photos will appear on the April cover.
The next GSLS will take place from Jan. 19 to 22, 2017 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
CooperVision Initiates Limited Rollout of Extended Range SiHy Toric
CooperVision recently announced the limited introduction of Biofinity XR Toric, which will be introduced to a few hundred accounts during the limited rollout period before a broader rollout slated to begin in April. CooperVision says that the Biofinity XR brand is the only silicone hydrogel contact lens range from a major manufacturer designed for patients who have prescriptions beyond the traditional stock range.
Biofinity XR Toric incorporates a similar uniform horizontal ISO thickness and optimized ballast band as the Biofinity Toric design, which the company says makes it an easy-to-fit, stable toric lens with excellent visual acuity.
Additional information on this lens will appear in a future Product Spectrum.
B+L Expands Specialty Business
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has expanded its specialty lens business with the addition of Alden Optical Laboratories, Inc., a privately held company that manufactures specialty and custom soft and GP contact lenses. The acquisition of Alden was made through an affiliate of B+L.
The expanded business, known as Bausch + Lomb Specialty Vision Products (formerly known as Advanced Vision Products, no affiliation with Advanced Vision Technologies, based in Lakewood, CO), is dedicated to delivering innovative products, education, and training for eyecare practitioners in the specialty and custom contact lens space, according to the company.
David Bland, director of custom lens business, who has worked on B+L’s Boston side of the business since 1988, will lead the Specialty Vision Products business under Mark McKenna, senior vice president and general manager, Contact Lenses, B+L. Charley Creighton, CEO, and Tom Shone, president, both of Alden Optical Laboratories, will remain with B+L serving as senior consultants to Mr. McKenna.
In unrelated news, B+L announced that it is now an elite vendor in Vision Source’s contact lens and lens care categories. As part of the relationship, Vision Source will promote B+L’s products in addition to offering marketing programs, pricing discounts, and rebates to its members to help encourage their patients to upgrade to B+L eyecare brands.
In the network’s contact lens category, Vision Source members will be offered B+L’s latest lens technologies, including B+L Ultra and Biotrue Oneday contact lenses. Additionally, B+L’s Biotrue and ReNu multipurpose solutions and PeroxiClear hydrogen peroxide solution will also be available to members in the lens care product category.
OPRI Develops New GP Materials
Optical Polymer Research Inc. (OPRI) recently introduced OPerm MDK, which is produced with a new proprietary Stress Free Technology casting process consistent and compatible to the material’s unique fluorine component. The product, with a Dk value of 62, was launched throughout the United States and internationally at the 2016 Global Specialty Lens Symposium.
OPRI is also moving ahead with the approval process in the United States for OPerm HDK, a hyper-Dk material (Dk 153) manufactured with the Stress Free Technology casting process for both standard and scleral lens designs, with anticipated introduction later in the year. OPerm HDK is currently available for international customers outside of the United States in standard and large-diameter sizes. Visit www.opri.net.
Excellence Recognized at 2016 GSLS
A number of individuals were recognized at the 2016 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) for achievements in the contact lens field.
The Global Specialty Lens Symposium Award of Excellence is given annually to distinguished clinicians, scholars, and/or scientists to recognize their lifelong achievements in the field of contact lenses, especially as they relate to specialty contact lenses. The 2016 honorees are the “Authors.” Gerald E. Lowther, OD, PhD, FAAO; Robert B. Mandell, OD, PhD, FAAO; Anthony J. Phillips, MPhil, FBOA, HD, FAAO; and Contact Lens Spectrum’s own Clinical Features Editor Edward S. Bennett, OD, MSEd, FAAO, were recognized for their significant publications on contact lenses during the crucial growth years when the industry evolved from PMMA to hydrogels to GPs to silicone hydrogels and hybrid designs.
This year’s GSLS also received more than 100 scientific poster submissions and nearly 50 Photo Contest entries. The winners included:
• First Place: Improving a Scleral Lens Fit with a MicroVault Design after Trabeculectomy by Wendy Nguyen, OD, and Harald Olafsson, OD
• Second Place: I’ll Have a Corneal Reshaping Lens Please…With a Twist by Bruce Morgan, OD, FAAO; Nicholas Gidosh, OD; and Craig Norman, FCLSA
• First Place: Scleral Lens Tear Film Reservoir Analysis: Protein And Lipid Concentrations in Midday Fogging by Roxana Hemmati, OD, and Maria Walker, OD, MS
• Second Place: Corneal Toricity and Scleral Asymmetry – Are They Related? by Beth Kinoshita, OD, FAAO; Patrick Caroline, FAAO, FCLSA; Sheila Morrison, OD; Matthew Lampa, OD, FAAO; Randy Kojima, FAAO, FSLS, FIAO; and Mark André, FAAO
The photo contest categories were contact lens or cornea/conjunctiva/lids. Winners were:
• First Place: Dark Side of ICD by Antonio Calossi, Dip Optom, FIAO, FBCLA, FIACLE
• Second Place: Intrastromal Corneal Hemorrhage by Robert M. Kelly, OD
• Third Place: Optic Section of the Eye with Protruded, Iatrogenic Corneal Scar (After LASIK) Wearing Vaulted Hybrid Lens by Halina Manczak, MD, PhD
The winning photos will appear on the cover of the April issue.
For the Record
In Contact Lens Spectrum’s Annual Report titled “Contact Lenses 2015,” which published in the January 2016 issue, we reported that practitioners are seeing an average of 234 patients per week, which was much higher compared to the previous five years. After re-analyzing the data and excluding some outliers, this average dropped down to 124 patients per week, which is similar to what our data have shown over the last five years. An updated version of the article has been posted to the CLS website at www.clspectrum.com to reflect this change.
IDOC Acquires Prima Eye Group
Independent Doctors of Optometric Care (IDOC), a practice development organization dedicated to making independent optometric practices more successful, has acquired Prima Eye Group, a consulting firm and alliance devoted to helping independent optometrists. According to IDOC, with the acquisition, the company remains the largest privately held alliance of independent ODs in the United States, with approximately 3,100 member optometrists.
The two companies will continue to operate as IDOC and Prima during a phased integration period in 2016, with each maintaining their respective corporate headquarters—Prima in Atlanta, and IDOC in Norwalk, CT. Optometrist members of each group will be receiving information during the transition about how to avail themselves of the numerous offerings of each alliance.
Dave Brown will continue to serve as president and CEO of IDOC. The senior management team will include Oliver Spandow, current CFO, IDOC, and Neil Gailmard, OD, co-founder, president, and COO of Prima, both reporting to Mr. Brown. Dr. Gailmard will serve as chief optometric officer of IDOC and will continue as president of Prima.
Jerry Hayes, OD, co-founder and CEO of Prima, will retire from the company effective June 30, 2016.
In conjunction with the acquisition, IDOC Founder and Chairman Mark Feder, OD, will step down from his current role and will continue to remain involved with the company as an advisor to the senior management team.
Funding for the acquisition is being provided by The Riverside Company, a global middle market private equity firm based in Cleveland, OH, and a partner with IDOC. Drs. Feder and Gailmard will both retain ownership stakes in the new company.
Shire Resubmits NDA for Lifitegrast
Shire plc announced in late January that it has resubmitted the New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its investigational candidate, lifitegrast, for the treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults. Shire resubmitted the NDA in response to the complete response letter (CRL) that the company received from the FDA on Oct. 16, 2015.
Addressing the FDA request for an additional study, Shire included in its NDA resubmission package data from OPUS-3, a Phase 3 efficacy and safety trial with a primary endpoint of patient-reported symptom improvement. The resubmission package also included information requested by the FDA regarding product quality.
The NDA for lifitegrast now includes data from one Phase 2 study, three Phase 3 efficacy and safety studies (OPUS-1, OPUS-2, and OPUS-3), and one long-term (one-year) Phase 3 safety study (SONATA).
The FDA has 30 days after resubmission of an NDA to acknowledge receipt and determine whether the submission is a complete response. Upon acceptance, the FDA will provide Shire with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date anticipated to be within six months of the date of submission.
Vision Expo Expands GCLF
International Vision Expo & Conference will once again host the Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at International Vision Expo (IVE) East in New York. The organization says that the GCLF reflects its commitment to the delivery of quality education focused on the latest scientific content with critical business strategies related to contact lenses. The GCLF offers four hours of free continuing education, but pre-registration is required.
The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has announced its continued endorsement and participation for the 2016 program. Sponsors include Alcon, CooperVision, Bausch + Lomb, and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. Contact Lens Spectrum continues as the exclusive media partner.
The 2016 GCLF will present new content in three sessions. Scot Morris, OD, will moderate Session 1: a “State of the Contact Lens Industry Panel,” with leadership of the four major lens manufacturers and a representative of the specialty lens industry sharing views on the current and future state of contact lens business and practice.
Session 2 is “The Contact Lens Trilogy – Specialty areas to boost your contact lens practice,” with presentations on myopia management, fitting irregular corneas, and contact lens treatment of presbyopia and the aging eye. Panelists include Drs. S. Barry Eiden, Louise Sclafani, Joe Barr, and Jeffrey Cooper.
The final Session 3 is titled “Contact Lenses from a Patient’s Perspective,” which will feature a panel of contact lens wearers who will share their experiences and let attendees hear what they typically don’t hear in the exam room. This should be enlightening!
IVE and the BCLA announced an initial content exchange agreement in 2013, creating the GCLF as part of efforts to expand continuing education offerings at their respective conferences. The Forum explores both the scientific and business sides of contact lenses, focusing on profitability, scientific strategies, and the future ahead. It debuted in 2014 at IVE East in New York and has since been held at subsequent IVE conferences. For more information, visit www.visionexpoeast.com.
CLX Software to Provide Easier Online CL Ordering
CLX, a contact lens ordering, managing and marketing system, has introduced enhanced functionality designed to give patients the ability to order directly from their eyecare provider’s (ECP) website.
For ECPs already using the CLX contact lens management software, the My CL Store is easily integrated. CLX System provides a practice-branded link to place on the practice’s website and to use in various patient communications. On accessing the link, patients simply fill out their general personal information and prescription, then select a shipping method and payment choice. All orders are queued in CLX until the practice verifies the order and submits it to its distributor of choice for fulfillment and shipment directly to the patient. Patient payments flow directly into the practice’s bank account. Visit www.CLXsystem.com.
Valeant Names Interim CEO
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. announced in early January that Howard B. Schiller has been appointed interim CEO of Valeant, effective immediately. Schiller has served as Valeant’s CFO from December 2011 through June 2015 and currently serves on Valeant’s board of directors. Valeant also announced that Robert Ingram, lead independent director, will serve as interim chairman of the board of directors.
J. Michael Pearson is recovering from severe pneumonia, for which he entered the hospital in late December. He remains on medical leave until further notice.
Schiller joined Valeant following a 24-year career at Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking firm. From 2009 to 2010, he was the chief operating officer for the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs. He is also on the business advisory council of the University of Chicago Law School.
Ingram has served on Valeant’s board since September 2010 and was the chairman of the board from December 2010 to March 2011. Since January 2007, Ingram has been a general partner at Hatteras Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, and related opportunities in human medicine. Since January 2010, he has served as a special advisor to the chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). He was vice chairman Pharmaceuticals of GSK from 2002 through 2009.
■ Alcon, a division of Novartis, recently launched the Air Optix Colors Color Studio app, which is optimized for use on iOS mobile devices; users can upload a photo and virtually “try on” any of the nine colors of Air Optix Colors contact lenses. Revamped for mobile and tablet, the Color Studio app is equipped with new functionality, including the ability to compare two contact lens colors and to virtually try on individual makeup items to create a custom look. A free download is available for iOS devices from the App Store.
■ AccuLens has announced a new digital education and marketing system designed to increase revenue in eyecare practices. This program will provide marketing services from Eye IQ into one easy-to-administer and hassle-free package. AccuLens Campaigns use video as the primary source designed to deliver education-based marketing to current and new patients in a specific geographical area. The new service will utilize multiple digital media channels including web, social media, mobile, appointment reminders, and digital signage, including automated branding for each practice.
■ The Expert Progressive contact lens from Precilens has been granted a U.S. patent; patents have previously been issued in Europe, Canada, and Japan. Precilens is a Paris-based soft and GP contact lens manufacturer with a particular focus on multifocals and myopia control designs. Designed like an eyeglass progressive lens, Expert Progressive also features a unique edge technology that provides great comfort, according to the company. Art Optical Contact Lens and Essilor Contact Lens Specialists manufacture and distribute the lens under license for the United States and Canada. Visit www.expertprogressive.com.
■ The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has announced the appointment of Mark A. Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO, as its new executive director. Dr. Bullimore is a British-trained optometrist and accomplished scientist who has taught optometry students in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Trinidad and Tobago, and he has lectured to professional groups on four continents. He is the former president and development director of the American Optometric Foundation and the former editor of Optometry and Vision Science, the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry. He will assist the officers, executive committee, and governing board of the WCO in fulfilling the organization’s mission to facilitate the development of optometry around the world and to support optometrists in promoting eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education, policy development, and humanitarian outreach. Dr. Bullimore will ensure that the WCO meets its current and future objectives in line with the requirements of its members through the development, implementation, and review of appropriate strategies. He will also direct all aspects of the WCO’s relationship with its membership.
■ AEA Investors, LP has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest of 1-800 Contacts, Inc. from Thomas H. Lee Partners, LP, who will remain a significant shareholder in the company. Credit Suisse and Barclays, as well as an affiliate of the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, are providing debt financing to support the purchase. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Information on AEA Investors can be found at www.aeainvestors.com.
■ Registration has opened for the 30th annual International Vision Expo & Conference East 2016, April 14 to 17, 2016, in New York. (Education: April 14 to 17; Exhibition: April 15 to 17.) International Vision Expos, the worldwide conference and exhibition for eyecare and eyewear, are trade-only events that draw more than 30,000 eyecare professionals each year. Its co-owners, Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council, state that International Vision Expo gives back to the entire ophthalmic community. To register for Vision Expo East 2016 or to learn more, visit www.VisionExpoEast.com.
■ Ophthalmic diagnostic instrument maker Visiometrics (www.Visiometrics.com) has been acquired by United Kingdom-based safety, health, and environmental technology group Halma plc. Visiometrics will join ophthalmic companies Accutome, Keeler, Medicel, MST, and Volk in Halma’s Medical Sector. Visiometrics’ HD Analyzer objectively measures the quality of a patient’s vision. This measurement assesses the optics of the retina to identify potential issues, such as the early formation of cataracts. As part of Halma, Visiometrics will continue to focus on increasing worldwide adoption of its objective visual acuity system. Halma’s strong culture of product innovation will benefit Visiometrics’ customers as the company expands development of products that better patient outcomes, according to the company.
■ Bausch + Lomb has made a $50,000 donation to Optometry Giving Sight, a global fundraising organization that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error by providing access to eye examinations and glasses. The donation will support a broad range of sustainable training and education programs that help improve eye health for people in developing and under-served communities.
■ A joint effort of CooperVision, Inc. and its employees has resulted in a $125,000 donation to Optometry Giving Sight in support of the 2015 World Sight Day Challenge. This marks the fourth consecutive year that employees organized creative fundraisers, with matching funds pledged by The Cooper Companies. More than 20 CooperVision sites worldwide generated funds through a variety of community fundraising activities. CooperVision is an Optometry Giving Sight Global Gold Sponsor. In addition, the company itself generated additional funds for the organization through industry initiatives.