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NEWS SPECTRUM

2018 GSLS TACKLES ALL ASPECTS OF SPECIALTY LENSES

The 2018 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS), which took place from Jan. 25 to 28 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, hosted more than 950 participants from 35 countries, 44 states, and Puerto Rico. Presented by Contact Lens Spectrum, this year’s meeting featured 62 exhibiting companies. The exhibit hall once again featured live demonstrations of GP lens fabrication by Contact Lens Manufacturers Association member companies, and special this year was a debut presentation of the Contact Lens Museum. Created by Don Ezekiel, OD, and curated by Patrick Caroline and Craig Norman, the museum features trial sets, lens manufacturing equipment, and other historical items used in the prescribing of contact lenses.

The education program covered all facets of specialty lens fitting. A pre-conference program featured information on specialty lens applications and fitting, myopia management, practice management, keratoconus, and scleral lenses.

The general sessions presented information on the evolution of contact lenses, scleral lenses, contact lens discomfort, keratoconus, corneal cross-linking, lens materials, lens care, cosmetic and tinted lenses, and corneal GPs versus scleral lenses. Attendees could also choose to attend CE breakout sessions on slit lamp photography, presbyopia, prosthetic lenses, pediatric fitting, and more; two Free Paper sessions covered topics including wavefront-guided sclerals, scleral lens complications, myopia control, and scleral wear from the patients’ perspective. In addition, manufacturer-sponsored sessions educated attendees on the latest specialty lens technology and how practitioners can use it in their practices.

Also featured at the 2018 GSLS were nearly 120 clinical and scientific posters, more than 25 entries in the annual Photo Contest, and a Social Media contest. Winning photos will appear on the cover of the April issue. The GSLS Award of Excellence was presented to pioneers in the area of myopia control. Additional information on all award recipients as well as highlights of the education program will also appear in a feature article in the April issue.

Mark your calendars for the next GSLS, which will take place from Jan. 24 to 27, 2019 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. ■

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COOPERVISION CREATES SPECIALTY EYE CARE BUSINESS UNIT

CooperVision, Inc. has announced the creation of its Specialty Eye Care business unit, designed to accelerate eye-care professionals’ access to products that help improve the way people see each day, according to the company. Dr. Juan Carlos Aragón has been named president, effectively immediately.

The Specialty Eye Care business currently encompasses Soflex, Procornea, and Paragon Vision Sciences, which design and manufacture highly specialized contact lenses for the management of myopia and other indications. These organizations will operate independently, yet share technical, clinical, and commercial knowledge while benefitting from CooperVision’s global presence and infrastructure.

An industry veteran, Dr. Aragón has three decades of experience in general management, professional services, sales, marketing, and business development. Since joining CooperVision in 2000, and has held senior roles in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Most recently, he was responsible for overseeing the company’s Southern & Central European Commercial Operations. He previously served in leadership positions with Ocular Sciences, Ciba Vision, and Bausch + Lomb. ■

J&J VISION APPOINTS MICHAEL MAYERS, OD, DIRECTOR, US ADVOCACY, VISION CARE

Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&J Vision) has appointed Michael Mayers, OD, as director, US Advocacy, Vision Care. In his new role, Dr. Mayers will shape strategy and lead eye health advocacy efforts to promote patient health and safety in collaboration with legislators, regulators, associations, and practitioners. He will also partner with Carol Alexander, OD, director of professional communication, to continue driving J&J Vision’s advocacy efforts with the eye health professional community.

Dr. Mayers joined J&J Vision in 2011 and has since held roles in R&D clinical development, global medical affairs, and global marketing. Prior to joining the company, he practiced in several eye heath settings, including in his own optometric practice, and consulted as a key opinion leader with several eye health companies. ■

ABB OPTICAL GROUP RELEASES 2017 YEAR-IN-REVIEW INSIGHTS

ABB Optical Group, a leading resource for identifying optical industry trends, released market data showing that daily disposable (DD) contact lenses led the category for dollar growth and market share nationally in 2017. At the same time, the two-week lens modality declined.

ABB reports that DD growth was up nearly 19%, exiting the year with a market share of 44.6%. The two-week modality was down 6.8% in sales with a 21.4% market share, while monthlies were up 3.8% and accounted for a 33.5% market share. Additionally, torics and multifocals continued to grow; dollar growth of torics was up nearly 10% and multifocals were up 14%, according to ABB’s data. ■

VTI ACHIEVES CE MARK FOR NATURALVUE FAMILY OF 1 DAY LENSES

Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI) announced receipt of the European CE Mark for commercialization in the European Union of its portfolio of proprietary NaturalVue (etafilcon A) brand 1 Day Contact Lenses, including sphere, toric, multifocal, and multifocal toric. VTI’s CE Mark includes an indication for VTI’s NaturalVue Multifocal (NVMF) for myopia progression control (the control of progressive nearsightedness). NVMF contact lenses feature VTI’s Neurofocus Optics Technology, which employs a patented extended depth-of-focus design to address known optical risk factors associated with myopia progression. The NVMF lens design allows it to be used for both myopia progression control and presbyopia (the age-related loss of ability to see near objects), according to the company.

The CE Mark allows VTI to commercialize its contact lens products in Europe as well as to prepare regulatory submissions to launch its products in additional countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and others. ■

ABB OPTICAL GROUP, PARAGON VISION SCIENCES ANNOUNCE STUDENT CHALLENGE WINNERS

Five optometry students presented scientific posters at the 2018 Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas as winners of the Optometry Student Challenge, a program designed by ABB Optical Group, in partnership with Paragon Vision Sciences, to foster the study of contact lenses.

The lead authors of the scientific posters were Theodore Chow of the Indiana University School of Optometry, Gabriella Courey of the University of Montreal School of Optometry, Yuno Iwabuchi of Pacific University, Kiri Rutledge of the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, and Stephanie Sonnenburg of the Illinois College of Optometry. Honorable mentions were given to Candice Moore and Ashley Noble, both students at Nova Southeastern University, and Stephanie Tran, a student at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry.

More than 65 optometry students submitted abstracts focusing on study projects or student-based case histories related to contact lenses for the chance to win a travel stipend of $1,500 to attend the symposium and convert their abstracts into scientific posters. The challenge was open to students in their third and fourth years of study. ■

COOPERVISION ISSUES “DIGITAL DEVICE USAGE AND YOUR EYES” REPORT

CooperVision, Inc. released its ”Digital Device Usage and Your Eyes” report, highlighting new global research on consumer use of digital devices in relation to eye health. A multifaceted survey was conducted among thousands of respondents in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The report is available at CooperVision.com/digital-report .

The research showed that both contact lens wearers and non-wearers worry about how much they use digital devices. Globally, 19% of people who use vision correction (and 18% of people who do not) express concern about the amount of time spent looking at screens. This edges higher—to 26% globally—for contact lens wearers.

Globally, just 14% of contact lens wearers reported that they had spoken with an eyecare professional (ECP) regarding digital device use. Yet, 78% of lens wearers—nearly four in five—said they would be very or somewhat interested in exploring ways to reduce eye tiredness with their ECP, according to the report.

The report also highlights how respondents cope with the ocular discomfort from digital device use, which phrases they use to describe how their eyes feel after long periods of screen viewing, and similarities and differences among consumers depending on where they live.

A follow-up survey in six nations revealed that nearly three in four lens wearers are willing to pay a premium for an option that reduces symptoms of digital eye fatigue. ■

SYNERGEYES EXPANDS INTO DAILY DISPOSABLES WITH TANGIBLE SCIENCE

SynergEyes announced a new partnership with Tangible Science. The expansion of this partnership adds daily disposable soft contact lenses to the SynergEyes contact lens portfolio. The new partnership combines the branding and operational support of SynergEyes with lenses that incorporate the polymer technology from Tangible Science, which will be incorporated into the disposable lens material and in the lens packaging. The new line of SynergEyes soft contact lenses will be introduced later in 2018. ■

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO HOST CONTACT LENS RULE WORKSHOP

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would host a free, public workshop at the Constitution Center in Washington, DC, on March 7 to further explore contact lens marketplace competition, consumer access, prescription release and portability, and other contact lens-related subjects. The workshop is being held in conjunction with the Commission’s regulatory review of the Contact Lens Rule.

The workshop will cover topics including consumers’ ability to comparison shop for contact lenses; the use of electronic health records, patient portals, and other technology to improve prescription portability; the interaction between the Contact Lens Rule and emerging telehealth business models; the potential for new technology to improve the prescription verification process; and modifications to the Rule to foster competition and maximize consumer benefits, including benefits to eye health. ■

EYEPROMISE ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGES

EyePromise and its parent company ZeaVision Holdings, LLC announced a series of organizational changes. Effective immediately, ZeaVision Chairman and CEO Dennis Gierhart, PhD, will serve as interim-president while the company performs an executive search to identify a successor to Chris Barber. Bob Kearns has been promoted to senior vice president of sales, responsible for both doctor and direct-to-consumer sales. Brad Hogenmiller has been promoted to vice president, technology & marketing. And, Patrick Curran has been promoted to senior director of sales, where he will work with the EyePromise Scientific Advisory Board and key customer-purchasing and practice-management groups. ■

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • AccuLens is expanding its manufacturing operations an additional 1,000 square feet. The expansion includes an environmentally controlled machining and finishing area that increases lathe accuracy, according to the company. The expansion allows the company to increase its quality control suite as well as add additional process verification equipment. Additionally, the incorporated expansion will allow a larger volume of polyethylene glycol-treated lenses to be processed within the lab, with a second plasma processing unit in place.
  • Art Optical’s theme for 2018 is “Experience the Legacy of Excellence” as it kicks off of its 60th year in custom contact lens manufacturing and design; the company’s contact lens legacy began in 1958 under the direction of Thomas Anastor. Its year-long 60th anniversary celebration began at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas, with giveaways and promotions on its latest product introductions. Special events and savings opportunities will continue throughout 2018.
  • Lyndon Jones, PhD, FCOptom, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science, has been named to the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) board of directors. Dr. Jones played an instrumental role in the TFOS Dry Eye Workshop II (DEWS II) report, serving on the Harmonization Committee as well as chairing the Management & Therapy Subcommittee. He has also chaired the TFOS Materials and Solution subcommittee on the TFOS Contact Lens Discomfort panel.
  • OcuSoft Inc. announced that Scope Ophthalmics Ltd. will no longer offer OcuSoft products. OcuSoft Lid Scrub Original and OcuSoft Lid Scrub Plus products will be available directly from OcuSoft U.K. Ltd. The website for OcuSoft U.K. Ltd. is presently under construction and will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • Optometry Giving Sight will merge its operations into the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation. All current global board members have been invited to continue to support the campaign as part of a newly formed advisory board, and Dr. Juan Carlos Aragón will join the board of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation. All current agreements with Optometry Giving Sight project partners will continue, and the Optometry Giving Sight brand will be maintained. Clive Miller finished up as Optometry Giving Sight CEO in December 2017 and has since accepted the newly created role of Global Head of Philanthropy for the foundation. All other Optometry Giving Sight staff will remain working in the merged organization.
  • Bausch + Lomb announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lumify (brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution 0.025%), an over-the-counter (OTC) eye drop developed with low-dose brimonidine tartrate for the treatment of ocular redness. Brimonidine, which was first approved by the FDA in 1996 for intraocular pressure (IOP) reduction in glaucoma patients, is available at higher doses in prescription eyecare products. The brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution 0.025% product was licensed by Eye Therapies, Inc. to Bausch + Lomb.
  • The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) added a new council member who will be tasked with “representing the leaders of the future.” Luke Allen, a 25-year-old optometrist who qualified two years ago, has been unveiled as the association’s official student representative. Mr. Allen, who specializes in contact lenses in his job at Winchester independent Rawlings, will sit in on all council meetings and discuss new ways of engaging with younger members and students. Currently, BCLA’s student resources include an annual Fitting Skills Day, which gives delegates the chance to get hands-on experience in fitting contact lenses and improving their confidence.
  • Hubble, a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, announced the second wave of its global expansion with a launch into the United Kingdom. Hubble’s subscription service contact lenses are now available at uk.HubbleContacts.com , for £24 per month. The company plans to bring the subscription service to other countries in Europe later this year.
  • The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International (NORA), a multi-disciplined group of about 1,100 professionals dedicated to advancing the art and science of rehabilitation of neurologically and cognitively injured and disabled individuals, announced the appointment of industry veteran Gary Esterow as executive director. He will assume the executive director position on a part-time basis, while still operating Esterow Communications, LLC.