State Legislation Requires in-Person Exams for Rxs
The state of Georgia recently passed a new law, HB775, which ensures that people can only receive a glasses or contact lens prescription after they have had an in-person eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The law, which was supported by the Georgia Optometric Association, will take effect on July 1, 2016.
Similarly, the American Optometric Association (AOA) reported that in South Carolina, following Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of S. 1016—the Eye Care Consumer Protection Law—both chambers of South Carolina’s General Assembly approved a countermand that effectively sends the bill to the Secretary of State’s office to become law. Jointly supported by optometry and the South Carolina Medical Association, S. 1016 mandates that eyecare kiosks and other similar technologies be held accountable and provide the same standard of care expected of a qualified and competent eyecare physician.
The AOA has been lobbying against an online “vision test,” Opternative, which prompts individuals through a series of charts on their smartphone and home computer. The AOA challenges the validity and accuracy of such tests and has lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that continued marketing of the product violates the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The AOA contends that there are severe pitfalls in separating refractive tests from routine comprehensive eye exams performed in person by an eye doctor.
The AOA reports that eight other states have enacted patient protection safeguards that reinforce the benefits of in-person comprehensive eye examinations, including Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, and West Virginia.
EyePrintPro Receives FDA Clearance
EyePrint Prosthetics Inc. has announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for the EyePrintPro prosthetic scleral device and the proprietary EyePrint Impression Process. The EyePrint Impression Process creates an exact 3D model of the ocular surface, which, in combination with the EyePrint Designer Software, develops a unique and precise scleral device for protection and optical correction of the eye, according to the company. EyePrint Prosthetics says that the EyePrint, like a fingerprint, is unique to each individual and allows for fitting characteristics and optics that are unattainable in other scleral lenses, even in the most difficult eyes. The EyePrintPro scleral device is exclusively manufactured by Advanced Vision Technologies, located in Denver. For more information, visit EyePrintPRO.com.
AOF Names 2016 Jill and George Mertz Fellow
The American Optometric Foundation (AOF) awarded the 2016 Jill and George Mertz Fellowship to Dr. Pauline Kang, an optometry graduate and faculty member of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Dr. Kang is planning to carry out her Mertz Fellowship at the State University of New York College of Optometry to conduct novel research exploring temporal integration of visual signals deriving from peripheral retinal defocus. The AOF will honor Dr. Kang during the annual AOF Celebration Luncheon at Academy 2016 Anaheim on Nov. 12.
In September 2002, the optometric community experienced the sudden loss of a valued colleague and friend, Dr. George Mertz. His legacy exemplified a firm commitment toward the advancement of patient care through education and research.
At the time of his passing, Dr. Mertz was president of the AOF. His mission was focused solely on education and research funding as a basis for improved eye and vision care.
After his passing, Dr. Mertz’s wife, Jill, spearheaded and also chaired a move to establish the George W. Mertz Scholarship Fund. In 2007, she too passed away. As a tribute to George and in keeping with Jill’s wishes; her family estate made a substantial gift that now goes to support the biennial $30,000 award in their name.
For more information, visit www.aaopt.org/AOF/Donate/Mertz.
Blanchard Launches New Scleral Lens Designed for Asian Eyes
Blanchard Contact Lenses recently launched a new scleral lens design, the Onefit A lens, for Asian eyes. Blanchard says that Onefit A addresses the physiological nuances of the Asian eye.
The company states that compared to the Caucasian cornea, the Asian cornea has a smaller horizontal visible iris diameter and is more prolate with a smaller palpebral fissure. Therefore, to provide optimal limbal clearance and easier handling, Blanchard designed the Onefit A lens with a smaller diameter and an altered paracentral geometry.
Onefit A is specifically designed for Asian corneas that have a normal prolate profile, irregular corneas, post-graft corneas (prolate), Forme Fruste keratoconus, and post-refractive surgery corneas. More information and product parameters will appear in a future Product Spectrum.
Valeant Names Chairman, CEO
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. announced that Joseph C. Papa has assumed the role of chairman and CEO. Papa succeeds J. Michael Pearson.
Papa has more than 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, healthcare services, and specialty pharmaceutical industries, including 20 years of branded prescription drug experience. He has been CEO of Perrigo since 2006 and was appointed as chairman of the board of directors of Perrigo in 2007. During his tenure, Valeant reports that he led dramatic and consistent growth across the company, building it into a global leader with net sales of more than $5 billion.
Prior to Perrigo, he served from December 2004 to October 2006 as chairman and CEO of the Pharmaceutical and Technologies Services segment of Cardinal Health, Inc. From 2001 to 2004, Papa served as president and chief operating officer of Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
He has held management positions at DuPont Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacia Corporation, G.D. Searle & Company, and Novartis AG. While at Novartis and Pharmacia/Searle, he was responsible for overseeing the successful launches of Diovan, Celebrex, and Lotrel.
Papa serves as a director of Smith & Nephew, a developer of advanced medical devices. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, and he earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
OcuSoft Launches Lids and Lashes Speaker Series
OcuSoft Inc. launched a new speakers’ series program at International Vision Expo East that is focused on incorporating cosmetic products in optometry. The new educational series—showcasing a variety of professional speakers, including Seema Nanda, OD—will be hosted in numerous locations across the United States.
Often, patients’ interest in contact lenses is to improve their appearance—the same can be said for tinted contact lenses or fashion frames. The impetus behind offering the speaker program answers the following question: Why not offer the full range of products addressing facial features, while increasing practice revenue and adding to the overall patient experience?
“Eyelids & Eyelashes: A Focus on Growth For Your Practice” addresses increasing practice revenue and overall patient satisfaction through the incorporation of cosmetic products into practice development. This includes eyelash intensifying serums, facial cleansers, and makeup removers; they are all offered by Zoria Skin Care from OcuSoft. Zoria brand products are specially developed for patients who have sensitive skin and eyes, and they are all ophthalmologist tested, hypoallergenic, oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic.
Look for future Speaker Series events hosted by OcuSoft at all major trade shows and in select markets.
PEN Educational Opportunities
Primary Eyecare Network (PEN), a division of ABB Optical Group, is offering practitioners several educational opportunities this summer:
July 7 – Forensic Research for Denied Claims Management, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT. Free for PEN members; $15 for non-members. This webinar will help participants avoid common mistakes in billing that lead to denials, reduced reimbursements, and nonpayments.
July 20 – Discipline and Reviews, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT. Free for PEN members; $15 for non-members. This webinar will cover how to determine whether disciplinary action or employee reviews are appropriate and how to proceed when needed.
August 3 – Compliant Billing, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT. Free for PEN members; $15 for non-members. This webinar will focus on the advantages of outsourcing your compliance, billing, and auditing.
August 16 – Lens Selection Without the Guesswork, Alameda, CA from 9:00 a.m. to Noon PDT. Cost: $95 per person for PEN members; $120 per person for non-members. This course will focus on understanding which choices are best for individual patients, effectively explaining lens options, communicating technical information to patients, and increasing overall patient satisfaction. This session is worth two ABO credit hours.
August 16 – Confidence in Selling, Alameda, CA from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PDT. Cost: $95 per person for PEN members; $120 per person for non-members. Also worth two ABO credit hours, this workshop will focus on building in confidence in selling products. The course will help increase your ability to educate and communicate by focusing on offering all patients customized choices that meet their needs and giving patients a better understanding of their options so they can make informed decisions.
More information is available at www.primaryeye.net.
Alcon Academy for Eyecare Excellence Turns 30
Alcon recognized its 30th year of providing immersive, hands-on education and training to optometry students and residents from academic institutions in the United States and Canada. Since 1986, more than 10,000 students and residents have completed the Academy for Eyecare Excellence program, receiving training related to Alcon products.
In 2016, more than 600 students and residents will participate in training as part of the Academy for Eyecare Excellence in the new Alcon Experience Center. Participants in 2016 will learn about Alcon’s broad portfolio of medical devices and practice hands-on training at the Alcon Experience Center, a state-of-the-art, 36,000-square-foot facility at Alcon’s global headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The center features a fully equipped optometric exam lane, an enhanced wet lab for training in the ophthalmic surgical environment, and a variety of interactive technologies to create a world-class training experience in eye care.
■ Novaliq GmbH has completed enrollment in its Phase 2 clinical trial that is evaluating the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of CyclASol for the treatment of moderate-to-severe dry eye disease (DED). CyclASol is a clear, preservative-free ophthalmic solution of cyclosporine A formulated using Novaliq’s proprietary EyeSol technology. The double-masked, placebo-controlled, multi-center Phase 2 trial enrolled 207 patients who were randomized to one of four treatment groups that included two CyclASol groups, a placebo (vehicle control) group, and an open-label cyclosporine A 0.05% ophthalmic emulsion group. Study subjects are self-administering one drop twice daily and returning for examination periodically and at the end of the trial at four months. The trial is being conducted in four sites in the United States. Topline results are anticipated by the end of 2016.
■ NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announces the appointment of Todd Zavodnick to its board of directors. Zavodnick brings extensive senior management and commercial experience in the medical technology and pharmaceutical industries, including serving in a senior capacity at Alcon Laboratories. Zavodnick will serve on the Audit and Nominating and Corporate Governance committees.
■ Online registration is now open for the 2016 Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit. The free event will be held on July 13 in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club. This year’s theme is “Vision to Action: Collaborating Around a National Strategy” with presentations around the soon-to-be released report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine–Health and Medicine Division (HMD), (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine), on vision and eye health. In addition, Prevent Blindness will be presenting the Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health to Bruce Moore, OD, Marcus Professor of Pediatric Studies, New England College of Optometry. The award is presented annually to an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, and/or national level. Visit preventblindness.org/eyesummit.
■ OD Excellence (ODX) has entered into a lead generation and targeted outreach program with Sinclair Marketing Group. The campaign was designed to address and counter the trend to cheap, low-quality care; the group’s principal goal is to remind consumers that their eyes and health deserve the best care by an ODX optometrist. ODX and Sinclair Marketing Group will use Google Search Engine Marketing to generate new patient leads. They will also provide ODX members with location-based advertising and targeted e-mail delivery. All prospective patients will be sent to the “Find a Doctor” page of ODExcellence.com to find the optometrist nearest them. Sinclair Marketing Group will provide detailed performance data and will deliver key insights into how the digital campaign is performing.
■ Prevent Blindness has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month to educate the public on risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options, including surgery. Free information is provided through its dedicated web page at preventblindness.org/cataract or via phone at (800) 331-2020. For those interested in conducting discussions or seminars on the subject, Prevent Blindness offers a free online course on cataract (as part of the “Adult Eye Disorders” module), including a PowerPoint presentation with a complete guide, as part of its Healthy Eyes Educational Series.
■ Vision for the Poor has announced that a new optical lab and service is now up and running at the Divino Nino Jesus Eye Hospital in Lima, Peru. The new optical lab, funded with support from Optometry Giving Sight, is expected to provide 8,000 new eyeglasses to poor patients living in Lima and the Amazon rainforest region over the coming year.
■ The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has issued the call for nominations for the second annual “Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award.” The Award recognizes significant efforts by an individual or group of individuals to improve public health approaches for children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level. The deadline for submission is June 17, 2016. The award was established by the NCCVEH Advisory Committee to commemorate Bonnie Strickland and her groundbreaking work to establish a comprehensive system for children’s vision in the United States.