GSLS Program Added to 2016 OM Symposium
The Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS), the largest contact lens conference in North America, has announced a major expansion. For 2016, attendees to the Optometric Management Symposium (OMS) can experience the depth and breadth of the GSLS in a special one-and-a half-day GSLS program. Conducted at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando on Dec. 1 to 2, 2016, this special GSLS event provides OMS attendees with fully accredited COPE and NCLE courses that bring the excitement and information of the GSLS event in Las Vegas to Florida.
The GSLS program will cover vital issues including understanding the role of ocular shape in custom contact lens fitting, corneal reshaping options, custom soft lenses for unusual corneas, astigmatism, and presbyopia. A panel discussion on myopia control and numerous sessions covering scleral lenses will be presented. Finally, a concluding session on billing and coding for specialty lenses will round out the education program. GSLS faculty and global experts will join together for the multi-speaker educational sessions.
Avedro Receives Approval for CXL System
Avedro, Inc. has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Photrexa Viscous, Photrexa, and the KXL System. Photrexa Viscous and Photrexa are photoenhancers indicated for use with the KXL System in corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) for the treatment of progressive keratoconus. The Photrexa formulations and the KXL System are expected to be available for qualifying patients through their ophthalmologists before the end of 2016.
The approval was based on Avedro’s NDA submission, which encompasses data from three U.S. prospective, randomized, parallel-group, open-label, placebo-controlled, 12-month trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of Photrexa Viscous and Photrexa when used for performing CXL in eyes with progressive keratoconus. These studies included Study 1, which enrolled 58 patients with progressive keratoconus; and Study 2, which enrolled 147 patients with progressive keratoconus. In each study, patients had one eye designated as the study eye and were randomized to receive one of two study treatments (CXL or sham) in their study eye.
JJVCI Replaces UPP
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (JJVCI) has announced its renewed and continued commitment to advocate in support of the practitioner-patient relationship and against legislation that threatens to undermine patient health and deregulate the industry. To support these efforts, the company has discontinued its Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP) and is replacing it with new programs to ensure broad access and to support the needs of patients, practitioners, and customers.
JJVCI stated that proponents of deregulation advocate for online prescribing of contact lenses and extending contact lens prescription expiration limits; the company strongly believes that the safe and appropriate use of contact lenses must be firmly grounded in a legislative and regulatory environment that prioritizes and recognizes the vital role of eyecare providers in ensuring patients’ health and safety.
JJVCI says its new approach will improve patient affordability and access and includes category growth initiatives and a rewards program that allows patients to submit for savings before they leave their eyecare professional’s office. The company says that this rewards program will be simple and convenient for patients and eyecare professionals’ staff.
JJVCI says that the new business strategy is consistent with its overall commitment to lead on:
• Innovation: Four new vision care products launched in 2015 and eight more over the next four years, with the next one in July.
• Investing to Grow the Category: Amplified investment in education and marketing efforts to activate new patients.
• Access & Affordability: The majority of patients are paying less for their Acuvue brand contact lenses today than they were two years ago.
• Advocacy: Working on the ground in states where legislation is being considered that could interrupt the doctor-patient relationship or undermine patient safeguards. For more information, visit www.jnjvisioncareinfo.com.
B+L Names VP of Sales for U.S. Vision Care Business
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has appointed Greg DiPasquale as vice president of sales for its U.S. Vision Care business. DiPasquale brings more than 25 years of experience in sales management, business development, and strategic planning; both within and outside of the eyecare industry. In this role, he is responsible for managing independent, retail, national account, and doctor alliances segments in addition to growing the contact lens and solutions businesses.
Prior to joining B+L, DiPasquale was senior vice president for Zeiss Vision Care, where he was responsible for profit and loss for its eyecare professional practice in addition to managing multiple lab operations and sales personnel throughout the United States.
Global CL Forum Kicks off IVEE
An audience of more than 400 attended the fifth Global Contact Lens Forum to kick off 2016 International Vision Expo East. Contact Lens Spectrum is proud to be the exclusive media partner for this event.
The morning began with Dr. Scot Morris moderating a “State of the Contact Lens Industry” leadership panel comprised of the heads of the major contact lens companies: Robert Warner, Alcon; Mark McKenna, Bausch + Lomb; Jerry Warner, CooperVision; Ashley McEvoy, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care; and Jim Kirchner, OD, SynergEyes.
Dr. Morris began by asking: “Who is a candidate for contact lenses?” The answer: anyone with a refractive error. Panelists agreed and said that the way to grow the number of people using contact lenses is to pair an educated and skilled practitioner with an informed patient. They noted that they are all seeing a lot of collaboration among practitioners and manufacturers to convert more patients to lens wearers. The panel discussed other issues facing the contact lens industry, such as compliance, new technologies, and current legislation.
A well-received, two-hour clinical session titled “The Contact Lens Trilogy – Specialty Areas to Boost Your Contact Lens Practice” discussed the aging eye (Dr. Louise Sclafani), contact lens management of the irregular cornea (Dr. Joe Barr), and implications and management of progressive myopia (Drs. Jeffrey Cooper and S. Barry Eiden).
The final session (“Contact Lens Wear from a Patient’s Perspective”) featured four lens wearers who shared their lifetime experiences and challenges with wearing contact lenses. The patients on the panel had diverse reasons for wearing contact lenses, ranging from medical necessity due to keratoconus to a simple need for refractive correction.
The panel helped attendees better understand what patients experience daily and where eyecare practitioners may fall short in providing the best care possible. “I can tell right away if a doctor is really listening to me,” noted one panelist. They all agreed that patients don’t always know what they don’t know and that good communication between patients and practitioners is key.
The next event at Vision Expo West is scheduled for September 2016 in Las Vegas.
Our Children’s Vision Campaign Launches
Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) co-hosted the official launch of the Our Children’s Vision Campaign at the Australian Consulate in New York last month. This new global campaign has been initiated by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Vision for Life fund, created by Essilor. It seeks to bring together governments, development agencies, the private sector, eye health practitioners, and communities with the goal of screening 50 million children worldwide for vision impairments by 2020 and creating access to appropriate services for those who need them.
Members of the optometric community who are interested in learning more about the campaign can contact OGS, a global partner in the campaign, at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found at www.ourchildrensvision.org.
IACLE 2016 Award Winners
The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) announced the winners of the 2016 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards and the IACLE Travel Award. Each will receive up to $3,000 toward the cost of attending a major international conference during 2016.
Three Educator of the Year Awards, sponsored by CooperVision, will be presented, one from each of IACLE’s three global regions:
• IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year: Dr. Jorge Giovanni Vargas, Universidad de La Salle, Facultad de Optometria, Colombia
• IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year: Dr. Prema Chande, Principal, Lotus College of Optometry, Mumbai, India.
• IACLE Europe / Africa – Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year: Professor James Wolffsohn, Deputy Dean of Life and Health Sciences and a Professor of Optometry at Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
The IACLE Travel Award is a travel bursary for an IACLE Educator Member starting out on his or her career who would not otherwise be able to attend a major international conference. The annual Award is funded by IACLE. This year’s recipient is Eman Alzghuol, lecturer in contact lenses at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.
This year, for the first time, IACLE Awards winners were offered a choice of international meetings to attend. All have chosen to travel to the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry in Anaheim, CA from Nov. 9 to 12.
Contamac Honored with Second Queen’s Award for Enterprise
Contact lens and intraocular lens material manufacturer Contamac, Ltd. has been awarded a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise, this time in the Innovation category. This award recognizes Contamac’s Definitive range of latheable silicone hydrogel materials. The Queen’s Awards are the U.K.’s most prestigious business accolades and are awarded for outstanding achievement.
Pfizer and Allergan Terminate Merger Agreement
Allergan plc recently announced that its merger agreement with Pfizer has been terminated by mutual agreement. In connection with the termination of the merger agreement, Pfizer has agreed to pay Allergan $150 million for reimbursement of expenses associated with the transaction.
In a separate statement, Pfizer indicated that the decision was driven by the actions announced by the U.S. Department of Treasury on April 4, 2016, which the companies concluded qualified as an “Adverse Tax Law Change” under the merger agreement.
Based on a preliminary review of the proposed regulations outlined in the U.S. Treasury Notice, Allergan believes that the regulations will have no material impact on the company’s standalone tax rate. Allergan reiterated its standalone growth profile and strategy following the announced termination of the combination of the two companies. Allergan stated that it is positioned to drive strong, sustainable growth.
CooperVision Seeks S&T Proposals
CooperVision, Inc. recently announced a call for proposals for the CooperVision Science and Technology (S&T) Awards Program. Now in its fourth year, the program fosters partnerships between award recipients and CooperVision scientists to explore new areas of advancement in contact lens technology and enable the translation of concepts into real-world solutions.
The key focus areas for the 2017 S&T Awards are:
• Strategies to improve contact lens comfort, with an emphasis on devices and non-pharmaceutical approaches with novel modes of action (ocular or non-ocular) to retain, manage, or enhance moisture at the ocular and/or lens surface;
• Insights into the retinal response from optical defocus; and
• Technologies to expand the functionality of contact lenses as a wearable device for application beyond conventional vision correction.
The CooperVision S&T Awards Program is open to researchers around the world. Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent by May 30, 2016. Upon approval of the letter of intent, applicants must submit a full proposal by Aug. 29, 2016. Research proposals should demonstrate significant potential for research discoveries and technological advancements that CooperVision can rapidly commercialize to improve the performance, enhance the functionality, and/or broaden the use of contact lenses.
The CooperVision Seedling Award is intended to incentivize collaboration with CooperVision in a new research area for a one-year period.
The CooperVision Translational Research Award is a multi-year award for a substantive translational research project.
For more information and materials on the S&T Awards, visit http://coopervision.com/our-company/science-and-technology-awards.
■ Larry Alexander, OD, FAAO, 68, died in his Venice, FL home on April 16, 2016. Originally from Plainfield, IN, Dr. Alexander graduated from Indiana University School of Optometry, served as an optometrist in the U.S. Navy, practiced in Elizabeth City, NC, taught at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry, practiced in Louisville, KY and Jeffersonville, IN, and most recently consulted for Optovue. He was an educational author and lecturer who was passionate about his work.
■ Bausch + Lomb (B+L) launched a national consumer advertisement campaign, including television, digital, social media, and in-office material, asking lens wearers “Are your contacts still comfortable?” to demonstrate how many digital screen-reliant lens wearers can often find their lenses uncomfortable. The campaign, starring the “Man of Comfort,” follows a patient throughout her busy day, inquiring at key moments if her Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses are still comfortable. Through this campaign, B+L will encourage patients to visit their eyecare professional and www.stillcomfortable.com to learn more.
■ SpecialEyes, LLC has partnered with Six Six Contacts, a specialty contact lens supplier based in Hertfordshire, England. U.K.-based eyecare practitioners (ECPs) can now order SpecialEyes 54 Toric, 54 Bifocal, and 54 Multifocal custom soft contact lenses directly from Six Six Contacts. Six Six Contacts initiated the partnership in response to the growing number of ECPs seeking a new lens-fitting approach to support patients whose visual needs are not met by standard, off-the-shelf contact lenses. ECPs will also soon be able to access the SpecialEyes Arc Length Calculator via the Six Six Contacts website at www.sixsixcontacts.co.uk.
■ Diversified Ophthalmics Inc. has redesigned its GP multifocal website, www.tangentstreak.com. It now incorporates mobile, as well as traditional desktop, accessibility. The patient section features graphics and explanations of how the various Tangent Streak designs differ, patient testimonials, FAQs, and related patient-oriented educational resource links. In addition, practitioners will also have access to product specs and fitting guides for SpectraVue and Tangent Streak AAA.
■ Richard E. Weisbarth, OD, has received the National Academy of Practice (NAP) in Optometry’s James A. Boucher Award of Excellence for his “exemplary contributions to the profession of optometry and health care field” and for upholding the NAP’s mission to advance science and the concept of interdisciplinary health care. Dr. Weisbarth received his Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1980 and served in the Contact Lens Practice Residency Program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Optometry. He has conducted a private optometric practice and held several different positions in Clinical Research and Professional Affairs for Ciba Vision Corporation. Currently, he is vice president, Professional Affairs for Alcon Laboratories.
■ Allergan has received a Complete Response Letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Prior Approval Supplement Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05%, Multi-Dose Preservative-Free (MDPF) presentation. The FDA requested additional CMC information for the Multi-Dose Preservative-Free bottle, a first-of-its-kind container with patented unidirectional valve and air filter technology. Allergan is compiling the data requested and will respond to the FDA in a timely manner. In the absence of additional data requests from the FDA, Allergan does not anticipate a significant impact to previously communicated timelines of the potential approval of the MDPF bottle.
■ Alcon has committed $2 million in support of the Think About Your Eyes national campaign. This is Alcon’s second year of support for the campaign; the company has committed a total of $4 million to Think About Your Eyes since 2014. The campaign, presented by The Vision Council and the American Optometric Association, is designed to educate the public about the benefits of eye health and promote the importance of getting an annual comprehensive eye exam.
■ Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) has announced that the Vision Source Million Dollar Campaign has achieved its target. The campaign was initiated in April 2014 to increase the amount of funds available to support all of OGS’s funded projects throughout the world, with a specific focus on the proposed new School of Optometry in Haiti. The target was achieved at the recent Vision Source Exchange meeting.