Article

NEWS SPECTRUM

JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION ACQUIRES SIGHTBOX

Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&J Vision) has acquired Sightbox, Inc., an online, membership-based subscription service for contact lens wearers in the United States. Sightbox helps patients connect with eyecare professionals and addresses a growing consumer preference for more convenient access to eye health services and products, according to J&J Vision.

Sightbox services include scheduling a comprehensive, annual eye exam and contact lens evaluation as well as an annual supply of contact lenses for members. The company’s growth has been primarily fueled by private pay patients who do not have vision insurance. This model encourages people who may not otherwise do so to visit an eyecare professional and enter the category.

While Sightbox will become part of J&J Vision, it will operate as a separate business, leveraging its own unique business model. Sightbox will continue to provide members with contact lenses from all major manufacturers.

The acquisition of Sightbox is complementary to J&J Vision’s strategy to become a broad-based, global leader in eye health, and it further enhances the company’s leading eye health portfolio, according to J&J Vision.

J&J Vision acquired Sightbox, Inc. through its Vision Care operating company, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Sightbox sales will be reported through the Medical Devices segment, under Vision Care. Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

In other company news, J&J Vision has completed its acquisition of TearScience, Inc., a medical device manufacturer dedicated to evaluating meibomian gland health and treating meibomian gland dysfunction. According to the company, the acquisition is another step in J&J Vision’s strategy to become a broad-based, global leader in eye health and further expands the company’s leading eye health portfolio.

DR. DOUGLAS BENOIT JOINS VISIONEERING TECHNOLOGIES

To better support the practice needs of eyecare professionals (ECPs), Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI) has named Douglas P. Benoit, OD, to the newly created position of executive director, Professional Affairs. In his new position, Dr. Benoit will be responsible for interfacing with ECPs to increase awareness and use of the NaturalVue 1 Day Contact Lenses product line. He will also be working with professional organizations and educational institutions to raise awareness of VTI and its NaturalVue products.

Dr. Benoit’s leadership in the contact lens industry spans more than 30 years. For approximately 21 years, Dr. Benoit served on the executive committee for the American Academy of Optometry’s Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies, including chair of the Section in 2011 and 2012.

He is a Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Section of the Academy, a title earned by less than 170 eyecare professionals worldwide. He is a Distinguished Practitioner and Fellow in the National Academies of Practice-Optometry Section and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. He has conducted multiple U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical studies, published numerous articles, and he lectures frequently on contact lenses and external disease. Dr. Benoit received his Doctor of Optometry degree from The New England College of Optometry in Boston.

SPECIALEYES APPOINTS KORINNE ANDREW AS LEAD CONSULTANT

SpecialEyes, LLC has promoted Korinne Andrew to lead consultant. In her newly expanded position, she will oversee toric and multifocal toric contact lens consultations with eyecare practitioners nationwide.

Ms. Andrew, who holds National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) certification, joined SpecialEyes in 2012 as a product specialist and will retain that role in addition to her new responsibilities. As product specialist, she analyzes contact lens data and outcomes and uses that information to develop product and consultative improvements.

AMPLEYE RECEIVES FDA CLEARANCE FOR THERAPEUTIC MANAGEMENT OF OSD

Art Optical Contact Lens has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its Ampleye Scleral lens for the therapeutic management of ocular surface disease from dry eye.

The specific therapeutic indications for Ampleye include ocular pemphigoid, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, symblepharon formation, graft-versus-host disease, persistent epithelial defect, exposure keratitis, neurotrophic keratopathy (herpes simplex, herpes zoster, familial dysautonomia), Sjögren’s syndrome, filamentary keratitis, limbal stem cell deficiency, atopy, and ectodermal dysplasia. The indication covers Ampleye lenses manufactured in roflufocon D, roflufocon E, hexafocon A, and paflufocon D.

COOPERVISION CALLS FOR BEST PRACTICES NOMINATIONS

CooperVision has announced its third annual call for submissions for Best Practices. All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses are eligible to apply.

Best Practices candidates are encouraged to submit practice profiles and stories, sharing their insights and experiences in the areas of innovation, industry leadership, and patient experience. Candidates can choose to submit their stories via written response or video at EyeCareBestPractices.com. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 31, 2017 and will be reviewed by a panel of judges including past Best Practices honorees, industry experts, and CooperVision leaders. The 2018 Best Practices will be announced in early 2018.

For more information about the Best Practices initiative, to see past honorees, or to apply, visit www.EyeCareBestPractices.com .

FOR THE RECORD

In the Myopia Control with Ortho-k feature by Langis Michaud, OD, MSc, & Patrick Simard, OD, MSc, MBA, in the September issue, the equation on p. 21 for calculating the example patient’s myopia has an incorrect value in the denominator. The correct equation is:

The solution was correct, and the equation has been corrected in the online version.

GLOBAL CONTACT LENS FORUM OFFERS FREE EDUCATION TO VEW ATTENDEES

The Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) at International Vision Expo West once again broke previous attendance records: 333 attendees (a 10% increase over last year’s GCLF) gathered at this half-day symposium on the most current developments in the contact lens field.

Program Directors Drs. S. Barry Eiden and Louise Sclafani divided the GCLF into three sections. First was a state of the contact lens industry panel moderated by Dr. Scot Morris. The topic “Research and Development in the Contact Lens Industry” was discussed by representatives of the four major contact lens manufacturers, a speaker from the specialty lens area, and a speaker from a contact lens-related start-up technology company. Section two—Clinical Research Panel: Evidence-Based Eye Care and Clinical Practice—was presented by Drs. Robert Davis, Milton Hom, Christine Sindt, and Jeffrey Sonsino, who shared their personal journey of incorporating clinical research into their professional lives. The final section focused on various modalities of clinical practice and how they impact patient care. Drs. Eiden, Sclafani, Davis, and Clark Chang shared their experiences in diversified clinical practice environments.

This year’s GCLF was supported by Johnson & Johnson Vision, Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, and CooperVision. New and exciting content is being planned for the 2018 GCLF.

IACLE PRESENTS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT 2017 CONGRESS ON CONTACT LENS EDUCATION

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has presented the IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education to Australian educator and researcher Professor Deborah Sweeney. She received the award at the IACLE Congress on Contact Lens Education held in Hyderabad, India in September.

Prof. Sweeney’s contributions to global contact lens education include serving as IACLE president from 2000-2011 and as its secretary and treasurer for 10 years, having first become a member in 1990. She has held executive roles at the Cornea & Contact Lens Research Unit, School of Optometry and Vision Science University of New South Wales, Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Eye Research & Technology, and Vision CRC.

Her current role is pro vice chancellor Research and Innovation at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

AAOF SELECTS CONTACT LENS RESIDENCY AWARD RECIPIENT

Jesus Gabriel Martinez, OD, cornea and contact lens fellow at the University of Houston, 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.

The 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. Of the 16 applicants who applied to the program, Dr. Martinez presented an impressive resume of experience in clinical, volunteer service, research, and lecture presentation. He will receive a $2,000 education award and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2017 Chicago in October.

PREVENT BLINDNESS DECLARES OCTOBER AS CONTACT LENS SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH

In an effort to educate the public on the best ways to obtain, care for, and use contact lenses, Prevent Blindness has declared October as Contact Lens Safety Awareness month. The non-profit group has a dedicated webpage with free information at www.preventblindness.org/wearing-contact-lenses .

Prevent Blindness chose October because of the risks associated with consumers buying contact lenses to enhance their Halloween costumes. The organization recommends that consumers visit an eyecare professional for contact lens fitting, care instruction, and follow-up exams.

IN MEMORIAM: MICHAEL PORT, PHD, MSC

Michael Port, PhD, MSc, a contact lens expert and academic, passed away on Aug. 24, 2017 after battling cancer.

Dr. Port completed his diploma in ophthalmic optics at Northampton College of Advanced Technology in 1963 (it later became City University). He then went into practice until the late 1970s. During this time, he was involved with the United Kingdom-based Association of Optometrists as well as his local optical committee. He also earned his MSc in Methods of Ophthalmic Investigation and his diploma in contact lens practice (DCLP) from Aston University.

In 1979, he became senior ophthalmic optician in the contact lens department at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Toward the end of his time at Moorfields, he received the British Contact Lens Association’s Dallos Award, a monetary award to fund a research project that is judged likely to further understanding of a topic related to contact lenses and/or anterior eye.

In 1983, he joined the academic staff in the optometry department at City University. In addition to teaching, his contact lens research led to his earning a PhD.

He was elected a College of Optometrists’ councillor in the 1980s and served a term as its president in the early 1990s. Even in retirement, Dr. Port still contributed to the development of British and international contact lens standards.

He is survived by his wife Yvonne, daughter Eleanor, and three grandchildren.

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Contamac recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared HEXA100 (hexafocon A) for several indications including spherical, toric, multifocal/bifocal, irregular cornea, and orthokeratology as well as for use with the Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science) coating. HEXA100 will be available in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • CooperVision recently removed its unilateral pricing policy (UPP) for Biofinity Energys because the product is now well-established in the market. The company says that it will continue to assess the value of UPP for future products.
  • Under the theme of “Make A Difference,” practitioners are encouraged to contribute to the science stream and submit case reports to the Nederlands Contactlens Congress (NCC). All abstracts will be published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. A pre-screening service is available to aid authors in developing abstracts that will meet the above criteria. The deadline for pre-screening is Oct. 31; final submissions must be made by Dec. 15. NCC 2018 will take place on March 11 and 12 in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. Visit www.ncc2018.com .
  • The Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) and Mark’ennovy, a manufacturer of monthly replacement contact lenses, have signed a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement to bring to market a portfolio of new design soft silicone hydrogel contact lenses specifically targeted to address myopia control and presbyopia. The two companies have decided to combine their strengths to offer extended depth of focus (EDOF) designs powered by BHVI in tandem with precision custom-made frequent replacement contact lenses by Mark’ennovy.
  • EyeCare Prime announced that its LensFerry solution now integrates with electronic health record (EHR) systems utilized by eyecare practitioners. LensFerry allows wearers to order their prescribed contact lenses from anywhere at any time, including text-to-order, subscriptions, an online practice portal, and other selling tools. The EHR integration enables contact lens prescription and ordering information to automatically sync between systems, streamlining the ordering process for both patients and practices. The integration between LensFerry and practice management systems enables patients’ prescription information to automatically pre-populate, making the checkout process simpler compared to many other retailers, according to the company. Patients can also receive intelligent reminders based on purchases at the time of their exam, including a “Win Back” campaign targeting patients who leave the office without purchasing anything. Subscriptions are also available for patients who want to pay monthly for their lenses and receive automatic deliveries directly to their homes.
  • Hubble, a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, closed a $10 million Series A-III financing round, and the company’s first step toward international growth, with a launch in Canada. The Series A-III raise, which will aid Hubble’s international expansion plans, was led by existing investors, including FirstMark Capital, Greycroft Partners, Founders Fund, Wildcat Capital Management, and Two River. Hubble also plans to launch into Europe over the next year. Hubble lenses are now available at ca.HubbleContacts.com .
  • Children’s eye health is the focus of a Twitterchat to coincide with the 11th annual World Sight Day Challenge on World Sight Day on Oct. 12, 2017. The Twitterchat, aimed at parents and eyecare practitioners around the world, will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET and is hosted by Optometry Giving Sight. Helping to moderate the discussion will be All About Vision, ABB Optical Group, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, Essilor of America, EyePromise, FYidoctors, Vision Source, VSP Vision Care, and Zeiss. Parents as well as eyecare and industry professionals are invited to participate in the chat by following and using the hashtags #shareforsight, #givingsight, and #ourchildrensvision.
  • Vision Source, an independent optometric alliance, raised more than $310,000 in 15 days to help optometrists directly affected by the widespread damage and destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. More than 316 Vision Source member practices are located in the areas impacted by recent storms. Established in 2007 as a resource to provide relief aid for optometrists impacted by catastrophic events, the Vision Source Foundation has provided aid for eyecare clinicians dealing with situations such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, death, cancer, and stroke. Donations to the Vision Source Foundation can be made online at https://insight.visionsource.com/VS-Foundation/Donate .