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NEWS SPECTRUM

GSLS ANNOUNCES CHANGE IN EDUCATION COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP

PentaVision LLC, parent company of the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS), appointed Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, to the position of GSLS education chair. Dr. Nichols will replace outgoing education chair, Craig Norman.

Craig Norman, director of the Vision Research Institute at the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University, founded the GSLS, originally named the Global Orthokeratology Symposium, 16 years ago.

Dr. Nichols is assistant vice president for industry research and professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has served as editor-in-chief of Contact Lens Spectrum and as a member of the GSLS education committee since 2008.

In addition, GSLS welcomed a new education committee member, Karen DeLoss, OD. Dr. DeLoss is currently serving as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Center Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science. She has served as vice chair of the American Academy of Optometry Maintenance of Fellowship Committee as well as the Fellowship Admittance Committee for the Scleral Lens Education Society. The GSLS education committee also includes Ed Bennett, OD, MSEd; Patrick Caroline; and Eef van der Worp, BSc, PhD.

The 2019 GSLS is slated for January 24 to 27 in Las Vegas. ■

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THE DUTCH CONTACT LENS CONGRESS 2018 HELD

The 2018 edition of the Dutch biennial contact lens meeting, NCC, was attended by more than 1,900 unique visitors from more than 30 countries. The conference offered five parallel sessions with lectures from 68 speakers from all over the world. Additionally, 25 exhibitors displayed their wares. The event was held March 11 and 12 in Veldhoven in The Netherlands. The meeting was a collaboration between NCC and the British Contact Lens Association.

The Dutch Contact Lens Congress 2020 will be held on March 15 and 16, 2020. ■

HEALTH CARE ALLIANCE FOR PATIENT SAFETY LAUNCHED

The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, launched recently, will advocate for solutions to advance patient eye health, vision care, and safety as well as elevate the practitioner-patient relationship—the essential foundation of healthcare decision-making.

The Alliance for Patient Safety will build on important eye health and technological advancements and will work with patients, policymakers, and regulators to deliver transparent and factual information regarding eye health products, procedures, technology, and safety.

Through advocacy and education initiatives, the Alliance for Patient Safety supports laws, regulations, increased enforcement, and other public policy solutions designed to safeguard public health, and it heightens awareness to patients, legislators, and regulators of the importance of the practitioner-patient relationship and existing and potential threats to patients’ eye health and safety.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) and Johnson & Johnson Vision joined the Alliance as Leadership and Charter members, with CooperVision, Inc. joining as an Associate and Charter member. To become a local advocate or to get involved in protecting patient safety, visit www.patientsafetytoday.com . ■

IN MEMORIAM: PERRY ROSENTHAL, MD

Canadian-born Perry Rosenthal, MD, passed away peacefully in Boston on March 3, 2018. Dr. Rosenthal created the first contact lens clinic at Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary while training as an ophthalmologist. After his training, he co-founded Polymer Technology Corporation and drove the development of the Boston products, including the first high-oxygen-permeable rigid contact lens polymer and care solutions. He also developed the first non-fenestrated GP scleral lens, now known as PROSE.

In 1992, he created the nonprofit Boston Foundation for Sight to provide these devices to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay. He remained president until 2012. In 2013, he founded the nonprofit Boston EyePain Foundation in Chestnut Hill, MA.

He is survived by his son William (Jennifer) Rosenthal, his daughter Beth (Ethan) Schaff, his sister Jeannie Goldberg, and grandchildren Zelda Ann Rosenthal and Shimon Schaff.

Last year, the Scleral Lens Education Society recorded a series of videos with scleral lens pioneers. You can listen to a conversation with Dr. Rosenthal at https://www.clspectrum.com/resources/audio-video/rosenthal . ■

SIGHT SCIENCES NAMES JESSE SELNICK CFO

Sight Sciences, Inc. appointed Jesse Selnick as CFO. He most recently served as CFO and on the board of directors of Electric Lightwave, a private equity-sponsored telecom infrastructure business.

Since 2011, Mr. Selnick has served as a general partner of Sight Sciences Angels, LP (SSA), one of the founding investors in Sight Sciences. ■

FTC HOLDS WORKSHOP ON THE CONTACT LENS RULE AND THE CONTACT LENS MARKETPLACE

On Mar. 7, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a one-day public workshop titled “The Contact Lens Rule and the Evolving Contact Lens Marketplace.” The Contact Lens Rule, originally introduced in 2004, implemented the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA). Among its provisions, eyecare practitioners (ECPs) are required to provide their patients with a contact lens prescription once a successful fit has been achieved. It also allows for passive verification in which, if a practitioner fails to respond to a prescription request within eight business hours, the lenses can be provided by the requesting group. In Nov. 2016, the FTC decided that compliance with the Contact Lens Rule could be improved and proposed that the rule be amended. After receiving thousands of comments pertaining to this amendment, including 800 from practitioners, the FTC decided to hold this public forum.

Forums were held on: 1) Overview of the contact lens marketplace; 2) Contact lens health and safety issues; 3) Competition in the contact lens marketplace; 4) Examining the verification process; 5) Prescription release and consumer choice; and 6) Looking ahead: potential market disruptions and their impact on competition, consumer protection, and the Contact Lens Rule. Panelists included representatives from the FTC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), online contact lens companies, national consumer coalitions, contact lens industry, the American Optometric Association, and notable academic institutions.

Those against the FTC proposal emphasized the challenges inherent with the current passive verification system. They argued that there should be greater enforcement of vendors’ violation of this act and that practitioners should be able to set limits on the number of lenses and refills to ensure that patients do not go several years without a contact lens evaluation and comprehensive examination. Those in favor of the amendment said that their support was based on the fact that compliance by ECPs is not optimum in providing patients with their contact lens prescriptions. They further indicated concerns about the prescribers also being the sellers.

Safety issues were also discussed, such as contact lens infiltrates, infection, and other complications if lenses are received without a valid prescription.

In addition, representatives from the CDC and the FDA emphasized the differences between lens designs as well as materials, making the argument that a generic lens is difficult to achieve. However, the need for an unbiased prospective study was recommended. ■

COOPERVISION INTRODUCES ITS 2018 BEST PRACTICES HONOREES

CooperVision, Inc. announced that 10 eyecare practices have been chosen as its 2018 Best Practices. Now in its third year, CooperVision’s Best Practices program seeks to recognize and celebrate practices whose visionary, innovative, and unexpected aspects of care delivery lead to exceptional patient care and elevation of the profession.

This year’s honorees are: Doctor My Eyes – Scottsdale, AZ; Family Eye Care of Coal City – Coal City, IL; Highlands Ranch Optical – Highlands Ranch, CO; The Koetting Associates – St. Louis; Livermore Optometry Group – Livermore, CA; Norwalk Eye Care – Norwalk, CT; Personal Eyecare – Sylvania, OH; Pinnacle Eye Associates, P.A. – McKinney, TX; Vision Optique – Houston; and Vision Professionals – Columbus, OH. More information about this year’s winners is available at www.eyecarebestpractices.com .

New this year, the Best Practices honorees will collaborate to tackle a challenge facing the industry, working together to conduct research, collect ideas, put together recommendations, and present them to their peers in optometry. CooperVision and the Best Practices honorees will share their progress throughout the process.

All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses were eligible for consideration in Fall 2017. Candidates were evaluated and honorees selected by a panel of judges including past Best Practices honorees, industry experts, and CooperVision leaders. Evaluation was based on insights and experiences shared about the practices’ innovation, patient experience, and business culture. ■

ALCON US VISION CARE CREATES PATIENT AND PRACTICE EXPERIENCE TEAM, CONTINUES PACKAGING UPDATES

Alcon US Vision Care recently announced the creation of its Patient and Practice Experience Team, a specialized group that will work in a consultative manner with eyecare practices to identify specific areas of opportunity where the practice’s needs and Alcon expertise may overlap. The Alcon team will then build out and partner with the practice to deliver on-site, tailored programs and solutions to improve patient experience, retention, and outcomes in areas that include patient-focused programs, staff training, practice performance, and other related solutions, according to the company. The team will begin the rollout of these services to select practices throughout 2018.

In other Alcon news, the company recently launched new U.S.-specific packaging for Air Optix plus HydraGlyde contact lenses to promote the proper purchase and wear of the lenses. This new packaging follows the 2017 launch of U.S.-specific packaging for Dailies AquaComfort Plus contact lenses.

The new Air Optix plus HydraGlyde contact lenses box design, which replaces the current packaging, features new patient-friendly educational elements, including:

  • New step-by-step application and removal illustrations
  • U.S.-specific lot numbers to provide supply chain integrity controls
  • Patient-specific 1-800 helpline, email address, and website
  • An American flag on boxes for easy identification

As of Feb. 26, 2018, only the new Air Optix plus HydraGlyde packaging is authorized for sale in the United States. Eyecare professionals or others who are concerned about sales of Air Optix plus HydraGlyde lenses with previous packaging, or who have any other concerns about Alcon packaging, are asked to report the issues via the “Contact Us” page on MyAlcon.com . ■

ALBERT WHITE TO SUCCEED ROBERT WEISS AS CEO OF THE COOPER COMPANIES

The Cooper Companies, Inc. announced that its board of directors has named Albert G. White III president and CEO of The Cooper Companies effective May 1, 2018. Mr. White will succeed Robert S. Weiss, who will retire as president and CEO on Apr. 30, 2018 and then act in an advisory capacity until Dec. 31, 2018, to ensure a smooth transition.

Mr. White has held a number of senior management roles in the company including, most recently, executive vice president, CFO, chief strategy officer, and CEO of Cooper Medical, Inc., the holding company for CooperSurgical. He joined Cooper in 2006 and has helped lead and execute many of the company’s investments and strategic decisions. ■

MANUFACTURING AND CLINICAL CASES DISCUSSED AT THE GLOBAL CONTACT LENS FORUM

The sixth annual Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) took place at Vision Expo East in New York City on March 15. More than 300 eyecare professionals attended the four-hour event at which both clinical and business topics pertaining to contact lenses were discussed. Contact Lens Spectrum served as the exclusive media partner.

The first session, titled the “State of the Contact Lens Industry,” featured a panel of the heads of professional services from several contact lens manufacturers. Moderated by S. Barry Eiden, OD, co-director of the GCLF, the panel reviewed some of the most pressing issues faced by contact lens manufacturers today.

The second session was devoted to clinical review of complex contact lens cases. Moderated by Louise Sclafani, OD, also co-director of the GCLF, it presented a variety of complex and challenging specialty contact lens cases. A panel of nationally renowned experts discussed their approaches to the management of the cases.

The final session of the GCLF was devoted to the business of contact lenses. This session, again moderated by Dr. Eiden, featured a panel of highly successful contact lens practitioners who shared their journeys in the establishment of their practices. ■

2018 CLMA AWARD WINNERS

The Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) bestowed the following awards on Jan. 24, 2018 at its Awards Banquet held at The Tropicana - Las Vegas.

  • CLMA Medal of Honor – Embodying the ideals of the CLMA at the highest levels, through service and achievements within the contact lens industry.
    Quido A. Cappelli
  • The Leonardo da Vinci Award – For vision in establishing the focus of the CLMA and dedication to the achievement of its goals. Double Awardees:
    Edward S. Bennett, OD, MSEd, and Jan B. Svochak
  • The Josef Dallos Award – For outstanding contribution to the development and advancement of the contact lens industry and for service to humanity.
    Jan PG Bergmanson, OD, PhD, DSc
  • Creative Design & Process Award – For innovation in lens design and manufacturing process to the enhancement of the contact lens industry.
    John McGregor
  • Industry Enhancement Award – For unselfish dedication to the CLMA and the Contact Lens Industry.
    John D. Hibbs
  • Trailblazers Award – For outstanding achievement in product development to the enhancement of the contact lens industry.
    Vic McCray, MD, Team Tangible Science
  • 2018 GPLI Practitioner of the Year (presented at the GPLI’s Rising Stars Reception on Jan. 27, 2018) – For outstanding professional expertise in fitting customized contact lenses to benefit patients with improved vision and corneal health, and to advance the contact lens field.
    Renee E. Reeder, OD

BRIEN HOLDEN VISION INSTITUTE APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF R&D

Ravi C. Bakaraju, PhD, has been appointed as the new head of Research and Development (R&D) at Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI). He takes on the role after Dr. Paul Erickson retired in mid-2017. Dr. Bakaraju previously served as deputy head of R&D.

As head of R&D, Dr. Bakaraju will contribute to strategic direction and will be responsible for operational leadership for development of translational research and innovation platforms in the areas of contact lenses, spectacles, intraocular lenses, and instrumentation. The ocular therapeutics platform will remain with Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO at BHVI.

Dr. Bakaraju is a lead inventor on several granted patents and other pending patent applications around lens designs and concepts spanning myopia control technology, novel presbyopia corrections, astigmatism correction, and other innovative vision correction platforms. ■

CDC HEALTHY CONTACT LENS CAMPAIGN

During Mar. 5 to 9, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) executed a targeted social media outreach campaign to promote healthy contact lens wear. The campaign coincided with Spring Break for most colleges and universities in the United States.

A free toolkit of both online and printable resources is available at www.cdc.gov/contactlenses . ■

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Bausch + Lomb announced an agreement with IDOC, a privately held alliance of independent doctors of optometry in the United States. Under terms of the agreement, IDOC will offer its more than 3,000 members the Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses, Biotrue Oneday daily disposable contact lenses, and brands from its Specialty Vision Products portfolio, including Bausch + Lomb Zenlens and Zen RC scleral lenses. IDOC members will also receive exclusive pricing and rebate programs.
  • The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) announced that the Contact Lens Compendium is now available. This free resource details the most up-to-date listing of products—including the latest parameters on lenses, solutions, and rewetting drops—currently available on the Canadian market. The online, searchable version of the Compendium—available at http://contactlensupdate.com/compendium —is updated on a regular basis. It offers a variety of search options and the opportunity for manufacturers to update product information directly. A print version is also updated annually and may be downloaded at http://contactlensupdate.com/compendium/print_version  or by ordering through the website.
  • Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has launched a new program to provide custom compounded ophthalmic medications that the company says are increasingly difficult to find and typically needed on an urgent basis. The program’s goal is to provide high-quality compounded medications from an Imprimis FDA-inspected facility and ship them within 24 to 48 hours, according to the company. The program will be available in all 50 U.S. states. Physicians can order custom compounded formulations on an as-needed basis for their patients.
  • Nominations are now open for the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Research Awards. The BCLA provides support for work and research through its Dallos Award and recognizes nominated individuals in the field of contact lenses and/or the anterior eye with a number of prestigious accolades. The Da Vinci Award will recognize a practical contribution to the profession. The BCLA Medal will be awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of contact lenses and/or anterior eye. And, the Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture will recognize postgraduates who have continued with their research within private practice, hospital practice, or academia. Nominees need to be, or to become, a member of the BCLA. Nominations close Nov. 1, 2018. Find out more at http://bit.ly/2EKo7jn .
  • During The State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry 2018 commencement ceremony, Dr. Kovin Naidoo, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, and Dr. Frank Schaeffel, professor of neurobiology of the eye at the Institute of Ophthalmic Research at the University of Tübingen, will receive the honorary Doctor of Science. Dr. Naidoo is an academic, a former anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner, an optometrist, and an internationally celebrated public health leader. He founded Our Children’s Vision, a global campaign to reach 50 million children by 2020. He previously served as the head of optometry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with which SUNY Optometry has forged a partnership and expanded SUNY’s global presence. Dr. Schaeffel is a world-recognized vision scientist whose multidisciplinary work has combined aspects of cell and molecular biology, physiological optics, and vision research, and he has developed optical instrumentation to accelerate progress across the field. He has supported SUNY Optometry’s research efforts to explore the visual regulation of eye growth and the optical development of the eye. This work has been translated into emerging evidence-based treatments for the management of myopia.
  • CooperVision has renewed its support for the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) and stepped up its sponsorship to Gold level. CooperVision has also sponsored the annual IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards since their introduction in 2014. IACLE’s other current sponsors are Platinum Sponsor Alcon, Silver Sponsor Johnson & Johnson Vision, Bronze Sponsor Bausch + Lomb, and Donor Sponsor Euclid Systems.
  • NovaBay Pharmaceuticals completed a private placement of 1.7 million shares of common stock to OP Financial Investments Limited for gross proceeds of $5,984,000. OP Financial is an institutional investor listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange focused on cross-border investment opportunities. China Kington Asset Management Co. Ltd. served as placement agent for the financing. NovaBay stated that its previously announced $10.32 million private placement with Ch-gemstone Capital expired due to an issue with foreign investments by Chinese funds. ■