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NEWS SPECTRUM

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE UPHOLDS FTC’S COMPLAINT AGAINST 1-800 CONTACTS

In an Initial Decision, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell upheld a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against 1-800 Contacts, ruling that the agency has proven that 1-800 Contacts unlawfully orchestrated a web of anticompetitive agreements with rival online contact lens sellers. According to the FTC’s administrative complaint, 1-800 Contacts entered into bidding agreements with at least 14 competing online contact lens retailers that eliminated competition in auctions to place advertisements on the search results page generated by online search engines such as Google and Bing. The complaint alleges that these bidding agreements constituted an unfair method of competition, in violation of federal law, by unreasonably suppressing price competition in certain online search advertising auctions and restricting truthful and non-misleading advertising to consumers. As a result, some consumers paid higher retail prices for contact lenses, the complaint stated.

An order that Judge Chappell included with the Oct. 20, 2017 Initial Decision would bar 1-800 Contacts from agreeing with a marketer or seller of any contact lens product to restrict, prohibit, regulate, or otherwise limit that seller’s participation in search advertising auctions. It would also bar 1-800 Contacts from instructing search engines to restrict or prohibit any seller’s use of any keyword (a word or phrase used to instruct a search engine to display specified search advertising) or to require any seller to use any negative keyword (a word or phrase used to instruct a search engine not to display specified search advertising). Also under the order, 1-800 Contacts would be barred from agreeing with a seller to restrict, prohibit, regulate, or otherwise limit that seller’s use of truthful, non-deceptive, and non-trademark-infringing advertising or promotion. The order would further require the company to stop enforcing or attempting to enforce any and all provisions, terms, or requirements in any existing agreement or court order that impose a condition on a seller that would be inconsistent with the order.

The Initial Decision will become the decision of the Commission 30 days after it is served upon the parties, unless a party files a timely notice of appeal—and thereafter files a timely appeal brief—or the Commission places the case on its own docket for review or stays the effective date of the decision.

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B+L ANNOUNCES FDA FILING OF EXTENDED WEAR INDICATION FOR B+L ULTRA LENSES

Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has filed a Premarket Approval Application (PMA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clear Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses for extended wear. If cleared, B+L Ultra contact lenses would be indicated for up to seven days of continuous wear.

Bausch + Lomb fielded a 12-month, controlled, parallel group, masked, randomized study at 34 sites across the United States. The objective was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the Bausch + Lomb Ultra samfilcon A soft (hydrophilic) contact lens, a silicone hydrogel contact lens, when worn for seven-day extended wear by adapted soft lens wearers. The clinical study was submitted to the FDA as part of the PMA filing.

Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses are the only contact lenses to include MoistureSeal Technology, a patented combination of material and manufacturing process, which the company says helps to maintain 95% of lens moisture for a full 16 hours. The lenses also feature polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) for enhanced wettability. The lenses also have a Dk/t of 163 and a modulus of 70. Additionally, the lens incorporates aspheric optics and spherical aberration control. Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses are also available for patients who have astigmatism and presbyopia.

BCLA VISIONARIES 2017 TO DISCUSS DRY EYE DISEASE

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Visionaries Conference will take place on Dec. 13, 2017 at The Wellcome Collection in London. In keeping with the tradition of the Pioneers and Visionaries events to incorporate something for every interest, the lectures will present current and new thinking on key topics of relevance to everyday contact lens practice and will earn delegates CET points.

During the Visionaries Conference, a multi-disciplinary discussion will take place as part of a drive to bring together the optometry profession and to formulate a strategy to better manage dry eye disease (DED). Consultant ophthalmologist and BCLA council member Professor Teifi James will chair the debate.

Panelists will include Professor James Wolffsohn, associate pro-vice chancellor at Aston University Birmingham; Professor David D’Cruz, director of the Lupus unit at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s London; Professor Sunil Shah, corneal specialist from Birmingham and BCLA president-elect; Nick Rumney; Dr. Waqaar Shah; and other representatives from the College of Optometrists, Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU), and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO). The event will ask if DED is intrinsically linked to contact lens wearer success and will examine the management of ocular surface health prior to and during contact lens wear.

The event is being held in conjunction with partners Alcon and CooperVision and sponsors Johnson & Johnson Vision, Menicon, Mark’ennovy, Supermax Vision UK Aveo, Thea Pharmaceuticals, Topcon, and UltraVision.

BAUSCH + LOMB AND NICOX ANNOUNCE FDA APPROVAL OF VYZULTA

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiary, Bausch + Lomb, and Nicox S.A., an international ophthalmic company, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the New Drug Application (NDA) for Vyzulta (latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution, 0.024%). Vyzulta, the first prostaglandin analog with one of its metabolites being nitric oxide (NO), is indicated for the reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients who have open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

Following topical administration, Vyzulta, a once-daily monotherapy with a dual mechanism of action, works by metabolizing into two moieties, latanoprost acid, which primarily works within the uveoscleral pathway to increase aqueous humor outflow, and butanediol mononitrate, which releases NO to increase outflow through the trabecular meshwork and Schlemm’s canal. The most common ocular adverse events include conjunctival hyperemia, eye irritation, eye pain, and instillation site pain. Increased pigmentation of the iris and periorbital tissue and growth of eyelashes can occur.

Vyzulta was licensed on a global basis to Bausch + Lomb from Nicox. As a result of this approval, Nicox will receive $17.5 million from Bausch + Lomb and will make a $15 million payment to Pfizer under a previous license agreement.

PARAGON VISION SCIENCES HOSTS OPTOMETRY RESIDENTS MYOPIA SYMPOSIUM

Paragon Vision Sciences hosted nearly 30 pediatric and cornea and contact lens optometry residents from universities around the United States and Canada. The symposium was developed to provide these residents with clinical expertise and information about the diagnosis and treatment of myopia. The event was held Oct. 27 through Oct. 29 at the Paragon Education and Training Academy at the company’s headquarters in Gilbert, AZ.

The symposium, which according to the company is believed to be the first industry-sponsored event bringing both pediatric and cornea and contact lens residents together, provided a unique educational experience for attendees to learn about current treatment options and ongoing and planned myopia research from leading myopia experts. Presenters at the symposium included Professor Kovin Naidoo, OD, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute; Maria Liu, OD, assistant professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and founder and chief of UCB’s Myopia Control Clinic; and Randy Kojima, research scientist, Pacific University.

During the two-day symposium, residents also received instruction on the use of topography to achieve optimal treatment outcomes, including “wet lab” sessions with patients being fit in orthokeratology contact lenses.

AAOF ANNOUNCES 2017 JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION J. PAT CUMMINGS SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Vision announced the 2017 J. Pat Cummings Scholarship recipients. This award is bestowed annually to second- or third-year optometry students who best demonstrate the ideal eye care standards of practice, achievement in both academic performance and extracurricular activities, and participation with other professional pursuits such as involvement with patients through internships, community service, and other volunteer activities.

To see the complete list of recipients, go to https://www.aaopt.org/home/aaof/programs/programs-students/programs-students-cummings.

GSLS TRACK OFFERED AT OMS

At the 2017 Optometric Management Symposium (OMS), held Nov. 2 to 5 at Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club in Orlando, FL, close to 400 attendees convened at the resort to personalize their education by attending courses from across various optometric disciplines. The specialty lens track included all of the hot topics and expert speakers you’d expect from the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) but in a smaller program compared to the annual GSLS in Las Vegas. Speakers included Edward Bennett, OD, MSEd; Patrick Caroline; Lynette Johns, OD; Randy Kojima; Langis Michaud, OD; Craig W. Norman; and Eef van der Worp, BOptom, PhD. Attendees had the chance to earn 13 hours of CE while learning about corneal reshaping, custom soft and hybrid contact lenses, scleral lenses, myopia control, and more.

Next year’s OMS will take place at Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club on Nov. 1 to 4, 2018.

ABB OPTICAL GROUP ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF FOURTH ANNUAL ABB CARES PROGRAM

ABB Optical Group announced that seven nonprofit organizations, nominated by eyecare professionals nationwide, will receive grants for outstanding programming and community impact through its Fourth Annual ABB Cares Program.

The 2017 recipients are: Platinum ($5,000) – Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation in Las Vegas; Gold ($2,500) – Junior Charity League of Concord in Concord, NC, and Special Olympics Florida in Clermont, FL; and Silver ($1,000) – Mercy Health Center in Athens, GA, Plano Child Development in Chicago, Strathmere Volunteer Fire Company in Strathmere, NJ, and Valley Center for the Blind in Fresno, CA. For more on the winning organizations, go to https://abboptical.com/about-us/pressroom/11_15_2017 .

NEW INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE FORMS TO SUPPORT EYECARE PROFESSIONALS

Nautic Partners, LLC has created Healthy Eyes Advantage (a.k.a., Healthy Eyes or HEA) in partnership with four industry leading companies to form the largest alliance of eyecare professionals (ECPs) in the country, according to Nautic. Healthy Eyes has acquired substantially all of the assets of Block Buying Group (BBG); C&E Vision Services (C&E); HMI, including Red Tray and Club Zero; and Vision West. Together, Healthy Eyes will serve more than 10,000 independent ECPs.

Nautic says that the newly formed Healthy Eyes alliance will offer new and unparalleled access, services, education, and networking to independent optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. As the largest alliance in the country, HEA says that it will set the standard of independent community and network services offered to the industry.

The HEA team includes Jeff Rinkus, the former COO of ABB Optical; Andrew Alcorn, the former CEO of Block Vision and chairman of Superior Vision; and Dr. Joe Mallinger, former CEO of Vision West, past president of the California Optometric Association, and president-elect of Optometry Cares, the American Optometric Association’s Charitable Foundation. In addition, Michael Block, founder and CEO of BBG, and Brad Shapiro, principal of C&E and Vision West, have joined the board of Healthy Eyes and are serving as senior advisors to the company. Healthy Eyes is based in Boca Raton, FL, with offices in San Clemente, CA; San Diego; and Vicksburg, MS.

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Alcon Laboratories announced plans to invest $250 million in an expansion at its contact lens manufacturing hub at Alcon’s 77-acre Johns Creek campus in Atlanta. The project will create about 250 engineering and production jobs. Alcon also does contact lens manufacturing in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Germany.
  • Paragon Vision Sciences has extended its business partnership with Essilor China, who serves as the exclusive distributor of Paragon’s CRT Contact Lenses in China. Essilor and Paragon began their China partnership in 2014. This collaboration resulted in the successful launch of CRT in China in March of this year. The new agreement will extend the working relationship through the next five years, continuing with Essilor being the master distributor for CRT lenses in China.
  • The Tear FIlm and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) recently announced that the TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop II (DEWS II) report is now available for iOS and Android devices for free. DEWS II involved 150 clinical and basic research experts from around the world and utilized an evidence-based approach and a process of open communication, dialogue, and transparency to achieve a global consensus concerning multiple aspects of dry eye disease. All subcommittee reports and the Executive Summary are available on the app. The language translations and diagnostic videos will be available soon. Visit the App Store or Google Play.
  • iVeena Delivery Systems (iVeena), a biopharmaceutical company that develops innovative ophthalmology products, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation for IVMED-80 for the treatment of keratoconus. IVMED-80 is the first eye-drop, non-surgical, non-laser treatment for medical cross-linking of the cornea. The company says that it biomechanically strengthens the cornea through the daily application of a non-invasive, proprietary eye drop. It will begin clinical development in early 2018.
  • Novaliq GmbH recently launched NovaTears, a water-free and preservative-free topical eye drop treatment specifically developed to treat patients who have dry eye disease, in New Zealand and received registrational approval in Australia. In March 2017, Novaliq and AFT Pharmaceuticals (AFT) signed an exclusive licensing partnership agreement for the commercialization of NovaTears across Australasia. AFT, a New Zealand-based pharmaceutical, will commercialize NovaTears.
  • Tear Film Innovations, Inc. (TFI) has completed a $9 million Series A Preferred Stock funding round led by Visionary Ventures Fund, L.P. and Tigris Ventures, LLC. TFI’s flagship product, the iLux system, is an investigational device currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company states that the device would enable eyecare professionals to provide in-office treatment of blocked meibomian glands through targeted heating and compression of affected eyelids.
  • The American Academy of Optometry announced that a $5,000 donation has been made to VOSH/International in honor of C. Ellis Potter, OD, FAAO, the 2017 inaugural recipient of the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award. The Brien Holden Humanitarian Award honors the memory and work of Professor Brien Holden, PhD, DSc. This award recognizes an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to improve eye care within a country or region. In particular, the award acknowledges humanitarian efforts in the non-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eyecare systems in developing communities. The Academy annually makes a $5,000 donation to the charity or cause of the awardee’s choice. Dr. Potter was recognized for this award due to his lifetime record of humanitarianism and long and distinguished career with VOSH/International, where he played a big role in helping the organization evolve from its original model that provided care in week-long clinic trips to developing countries to a model that works with local optometry and health care organizations to create sustainable models. Dr. Potter, an Academy Emeritus Fellow, also holds the distinction of being a Diplomate and served as chair of the Academy’s Comprehensive Eye Care Section. He was also awarded the VOSH/International Dr. Harry I. Zelter Lifetime Achievement Award at the VOSH/International annual meeting in Chicago in October 2017. The Brien Holden Humanitarian Award, established by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Holden family estate, will be awarded annually. Nominations for 2018 should include two letters of nomination from Academy Fellows and a CV of the nominee. Nominations are due by April 1, 2018 to HelenV@aaoptom.org.