J&J TO ACQUIRE ABBOTT MEDICAL OPTICS
Johnson & Johnson has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), a wholly owned subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories, for $4.325 billion in cash. AMO reported sales of $1.1 billion for 2015. The acquisition will include ophthalmic products in three business segments: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery, and consumer eye health.
AMO is a global leader in ophthalmic surgery and is known for world-class intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery. In addition to the cataract business, AMO has advanced laser vision (LASIK) technologies designed to enhance surgeon productivity and correct near sightedness, far sightedness, and astigmatism. The acquisition also includes AMO’s consumer eye health products—over-the-counter drops for dry eye as well as multipurpose solutions and hydrogen peroxide cleaning systems for patients who wear contact lenses.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017 and would be modestly accretive immediately to adjusted earnings per share. The closing is subject to antitrust clearance and other customary closing conditions. Following the expected closing, sales will be reported in the Medical Devices segment as a separate platform within Vision Care.
B+L ANNOUNCES UPDATES IN SPECIALTY LENS DIVISION
Bausch + Lomb Specialty Vision Products recently sent an update that highlighted information on the management team and expanded sales and educational programs.
David Bland, the director of Specialty Vision Products, which includes Alden Optical and Unilens, announced that the expanded leadership team includes:
• Andrew White, senior sales manager
• Claire Venezia, head of marketing
• Bill Shelly, strategic business manager
• Pat Murphy, technical services manager
• Lynette Johns, OD, academic and educational consultant
• Jason Jedlicka, OD, independent consultant
• Charley Creighton and Tom Shone, senior consultants
The company has added five new sales representatives to the Specialty Vision Products team since January and is adding to the consulting staff to support practitioners in fitting scleral and other specialty lenses.
The business has sponsored several programs and resources through an alliance with the Scleral Lens Education Society, and it also sponsored the Scleral Lens Track at Vision Expo West. There are more than 10 events planned for the remainder of the year, including webinars on post-graft contact lens fitting and how to fit the irregular cornea.
IN MEMORIAM: KRIST JANI
Krist Jani of Scottsdale, AZ, passed away last month from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. He was 64.
Mr. Jani had more than 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, and domestic and international business development within the ophthalmic marketplace. Throughout his career, he was instrumental in the development of a number of lens material technologies. He started his career as an optician, but soon joined Dow Corning Ophthalmics in Sales Management and Product Marketing Management. He later joined Paragon Vision Sciences, ultimately serving as vice president of Marketing and Sales. Mr. Jani also served as director, Key Market Sales and Public Relations at CooperVision, Inc. His most recent role was as part of the management team of Optical Polymer Research, Inc. In 2001, Mr. Jani was awarded the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association’s Industry Enhancement Award. He also sat on several boards of directors.
Long-time friend and colleague Bill Shelly, now strategic business manager of Bausch + Lomb Specialty Vision Products, said, “Krist Jani had a deep passion and respect for the contact lens industry. He spent virtually his entire career in the industry and became a valued leader. He had the respect of his peers, trade organizations, and practitioners due to his vast industry knowledge. His sense of humor, infectious, bellowing laugh, and sense of loyalty will be sorely missed by his many friends.”
GLOBAL CONTACT LENS FORUM SELLS OUT AT VISION EXPO WEST
The Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) took place on Sept. 14, 2016, kicking off the education program at International Vision Expo West in Las Vegas. This free continuing education program was endorsed by the British Contact Lens Association and supported by Bausch + Lomb and CooperVision, with Contact Lens Spectrum as the media partner. This year’s program at Vision Expo West sold out in less than three weeks.
The GCLF is designed to provide insight into current issues faced by attendees as practitioners. This year’s program featured thought leaders in the field sharing their views on the future of contact lens practice. Joining the panel this year, which again had representatives from Johnson and Johnson Vision Care, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, Alcon, and SynergEyes, was Dr. Vic McCray, CEO of Tangible Science, a Silicon Valley startup company in the eye-care industry.
The clinical segment featured presentations on the aging eye and contact lenses (by Co-Director Dr. Louise Sclafani), irregular cornea management with contact lenses (by Co-Director Dr. Barry Eiden), and an hour review of myopia management (Dr. Eiden and Dr. Jeffrey Cooper).
There was also a panel of patients who suffer from keratoconus, dry eye, and presbyopia sharing their personal stories of life experience with contact lenses and eye care.
COOPERVISION’S SECOND ANNUAL SEARCH FOR OPTOMETRY’S BEST PRACTICES
CooperVision Inc. has announced its second annual nationwide search for honorees for its Best Practices initiative, which seeks to recognize U.S. eyecare professionals who have found unique ways to make their businesses thrive and can share a refreshing perspective with the entire profession.
All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses are invited to participate. Innovation will be evaluated on contributions to the betterment of eye health and education, leveraging technology in interesting ways to grow the practice, and advancing the eyecare profession among the public. Industry leadership will be rated on how a practice advances the profession and leads the industry regionally, nationally, and even globally. And, patient experience will be judged on how a practice delivers excellent eyecare experiences and education to its patients as well as unique aspects of patient care.
Candidates can choose to submit their stories via written responses or video at eyecarebestpractices.com. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 27, 2016. The 2016 Best Practices will be announced in early 2017.
AOF ANNOUNCES RESIDENCY AWARD RECIPIENTS
The American Optometric Foundation (AOF) recently announced that Caitlin J. Morrison, OD, cornea and contact lens resident at the State University of New York College of Optometry, was chosen by a committee of members in the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies section of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) as this year’s recipient for the Bert C. & Lydia M. Corwin Residency Award. This award is intended to promote the practice and development of the field of contact lenses by providing incentive and support to talented optometric residents who demonstrate a passion and commitment to practice, research, and education. Dr. Morrison will receive a $2,000 education award and a $750 travel fellowship to attend the Academy 2016 Anaheim annual meeting in November.
The AOF also announced the recipients of the 2016 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Residency Awards. Elaine Chen, OD, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, was awarded the George W. Mertz Contact Lens Resident Award. Michelle Man, OD, Illinois Eye Institute, Illinois College of Optometry, was awarded the Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Resident Award. These residency awards are envisioned as a means to support post-graduate, advanced training in optometric clinical care, education, and research methods. Each receives $2,000 toward their graduate education and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2016 Anaheim.
• The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) recently announced that its members now have access to a new teaching resource with the addition of the Salazar Image Collection to its online resources. This collection is a selection of the work of the late Ralph Salazar, a Venezuelan optometrist, and features almost 140 unusual anterior eye conditions. The acquisition of these images almost a decade ago was brokered by Dr. Percy Lazon, then IACLE’s Latin America regional coordinator. The original Spanish titles were translated into English by Dr. Lazon, and the PowerPoint presentation was finalized by IACLE staff. Many of the images included are of conditions, trauma, pathology, and contact lens complications that are unlikely to be seen or experienced regularly in routine practice, according to IACLE.
• Visioneering Technologies, Inc., has named Tony Sommer to the position of senior vice president of sales and marketing. He will direct planning, development, and execution of growth plans and business strategies for the NaturalVue brand contact lens portfolio. Mr. Sommer has nearly two decades of multi-disciplinary experience in the packaged goods, health care, and medical device industries. He has served in a variety of U.S. and international executive roles across a number of business divisions. A decorated combat veteran, Sommer saw service in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is based at the company’s Atlanta-area headquarters.
• NovaBay Pharmaceuticals’ Neutrox product line has received the CE mark, clearing the way for this product to be sold in European Union and certain other countries, and ISO 13485 certification, satisfying a critical step in the European approval process. The line includes NovaBay’s Avenova eyelid and lash cleaner, which the company says is the only commercial eye-care product proven to substantially reduce bacteria that can cause blepharitis.
• Non-surgical photorefractive intrastromal corneal collagen cross-linking (PiXL) from Avedro is a promising new treatment for vision improvement for low myopia, according to the results of two studies (one at Ruhr University Eye Hospital in Bochum, Germany; and one at the Eagle Eye Centre in Singapore) announced at the XXXIV Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS). Avedro’s PiXL procedure offers the potential to provide non-invasive vision improvement for low myopia without compromising corneal biomechanical integrity. PiXL treats myopic refractive errors through the topical application of riboflavin followed by exposure of the cornea to UVA light delivered by the Mosaic device, which uses advanced eye-tracking technology to deliver controlled cross-linking. The Mosaic device has received both the CE mark in Europe and approval from Health Canada. The PiXL procedure and Mosaic device are not available in the United States.
• CooperVision, Inc. recently announced that it is the exclusive sponsor of the companion e-book for “SIGHT: The Story of Vision.” The one-hour documentary, produced by Koenig Films for initial broadcast on PBS, followed by worldwide distribution through other partners, celebrates vision. Narrated by Sir Elton John, the film weaves the tale of the journey of humanity that discovered the science, and it highlights the technology and medicine that allows for understanding of how sight works, how to cure diseases of the eye, and how to correct vision. The companion e-book is intended to be educational as well as to enhance and extend viewers’ experience with the film. It will be available electronically on the websites of PBS stations that broadcast the documentary and through other global broadcast partners. Visit www.storyofsight.com.
• IDOC has announced a new structure within its member services department that will provide every IDOC member with a dedicated account manager assigned to his or her practice. This dedicated “concierge” point of contact at IDOC will collaborate with members to optimize the value brought to their practice, including explanation of savings benefits, program enrollments, and customer service resolutions.
• Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of glaucoma and other eye diseases, reported the successful 90-day primary efficacy results of its 12-month Phase 3 “Mercury 1” clinical trial for its fixed-dose combination product candidate, Roclatan. The study achieved its primary efficacy endpoint demonstrating statistical superiority over each of its components, including Aerie product candidate Rhopressa (netarsudil ophthalmic solution) 0.02% and prostaglandin analogue (PGA) latanoprost, all of which were dosed once daily in the evening.
ABB OPTICAL GROUP RELEASES INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
ABB Optical Group, a distributor of optical products servicing two-thirds of practicing optometrists nationwide, released information on trends in the multifocal sector of the contact lens market.
Multifocal contact lens sales are a key driver of growth in the market. ABB Optical’s data show that:
• Overall, on a dollar basis, the multifocal contact lens segment is up 17% through the first half of the year, fueled predominantly by growth in daily disposable multifocals, which are up more than 90% year-to-date.
• Practices that are more active in multifocal fittings tend to be growing their total contact lens portfolios faster. Those that have at least 15% of their total contact lens revenue in multifocals are growing their total contact lens portfolios nearly 60% faster than the market.
• A multifocal contact lens fit typically drives 52% more dollar margin compared to the equivalent spherical lens fit.
• Practices that bank a multifocal are growing their multifocal sales 3.1 times faster than the market.
BLANCHARD ANNOUNCES NEW TEAM MEMBER
Blanchard Contact Lenses announced that Keri West has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. West brings to Blanchard 21 years of experience in the eyecare industry, including vast expertise in fitting scleral and GP lenses. Since 1997, West has worked in the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute, a specialized contact lens clinic for the University of Oklahoma Department of Ophthalmology, where she trains Ophthalmology residents, technicians, and clinicians to evaluate and fit contact lenses to maximize visual potential and ocular health for many pathologies, including keratoconus, post-graft, keratoplasty, Stevens Johnson syndrome, post-refractive surgery, and trauma.
She carries many credentials, including FCLSA, NCLE-AC, and COT. With a degree in Biochemistry from Oklahoma Baptist University, West will be an excellent addition to Blanchard Contact Lenses’ consultative staff team, according to the company.
NEW SYMPOSIUM FOR OPTOMETRISTS LAUNCHING
Texas State Optical (TSO), an established organization that has cared for the eyes of Texas for the past 80 years, has announced its first-ever conference, Symposia, a national conference that aims to strengthen the practice of ocular medicine. The one-day, six-hour event is being hosted at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016.
Through rapid-fire sessions, attendees will learn how to improve diagnosis, treatment skills, and patient communication to enhance the overall patient experience and build medical practice referrals. The conference will include topics such as diagnosis of common ocular diseases, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and anterior segment pathology. Using smartphones, attendees will be able to digitally interact with Symposia speakers, being able to provide feedback and ask questions during courses. The conference is open to all doctors of Optometry and is approved by The Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE).
Acclaimed international speaker, educator, author, and management consultant Dr. Scot Morris will serve as Symposia’s Clinical Conference Director. Dr. Jill Autry, partner of Eye Center of Texas, and Dr. Marc Bloomenstein, center director at Schwartz Laser Center, will serve as Symposia’s Conference Faculty. Attendance is limited; to register, visit www.symposiaconference.com.
PREVENT BLINDNESS FOCUSES ON CONTACT LENS SAFETY
Prevent Blindness has declared October as Contact Lens Safety Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the best ways to obtain and use contact lenses. The non-profit group stated that data from the Aug. 19, 2016 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report show that of contact lens-related corneal infections reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), close to 20% of patients had “a central corneal scar, a decrease in visual acuity, or required a corneal transplant following the event.” In addition, more than 25% of the infections were accompanied by “modifiable factors, including sleeping in contact lenses or poor contact lens hygiene.”
Prevent Blindness has a dedicated webpage with free information at www.preventblindness.org/wearing-contact-lenses. The group reminds the public that it is illegal for anyone to sell any type of contact lenses without a prescription. In addition, Prevent Blindness recommends the following tips for contact lens care:
• The best way to help avoid eye injuries and infections is to follow the instructions as prescribed by an eyecare professional.
• Before handling contact lenses, wash hands with soap and water, then rinse and dry them with a lint-free towel.
• Minimize contact with water, including removing lenses before going swimming or in a hot tub.
• Never sleep in contact lenses unless prescribed by an eyecare professional.
• Contact lenses should not be rinsed with, or stored in, water (tap or sterile water).
• Wear and replace contact lenses according to the schedule prescribed by an eyecare professional.
• During cleaning, using fresh solution, rub lenses with clean fingers, then rinse the lenses with solution before soaking them—even if the solution is a “no-rub” variety.
• Contact lens cases should always be cleaned with fresh solution—not water. Then leave the empty case open to air dry.
• Keep the contact lens case clean and replace it regularly, at least every three months.
• Do not reuse old solution or “top off” the solution in your case.
• Do not use cracked or damaged lens cases. Cases can be a source of contamination and infection.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
The goal of Contact Lens Spectrum is to provide you with timely and thought-provoking articles that will help you become a more successful contact lens practitioner. Please let us know how we’re doing! E-mail CLSpectrum@pentavisionmedia.com with your comments or article submissions.