ABB OPTICAL GROUP APPOINTS THOMAS E. BURKE III AS CEO
ABB Optical announced the appointment of Thomas E. Burke III to CEO. Mr. Burke will assume CEO responsibilities from Angel Alvarez, who will remain as chairman. Brad Weinbrum will continue as president.
Prior to joining ABB Optical, Mr. Burke was CEO of Massachusetts-based Medical Specialties Distributors, a supply chain solutions provider for the home infusion therapy, home medical equipment, and oncology markets. Previously, he served as vice president/general manager of the specialty distribution division of Cardinal Health and then as senior vice president/general manager for Cardinal Health’s acute pharmaceutical distribution business and numerous solutions companies. He was CEO and president of Miami-based Novis Pharmaceuticals, a start-up national distributor of therapeutic products, which was acquired by Cardinal Health.
ABB Optical Group founder Angel Alvarez will continue to guide the strategic vision of the company as chairman, partnering closely with Mr. Burke and Mr. Weinbrum. ■
SUN PHARMA ANNOUNCES U.S. FDA APPROVAL OF CEQUA TO TREAT DRY EYE DISEASE
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced that Sun Pharma has received approval for Cequa (cyclosporine ophthalmic solution) 0.09% from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cequa is a calcineurin inhibitor immunosuppressant indicated to increase tear production in patients who have keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye).
According to the company, Cequa provides the highest FDA-approved concentration of cyclosporine A (CsA) and incorporates a nanomicellar technology that allows the CsA molecule to overcome solubility challenges, penetrate the eye’s aqueous layer, and prevent the release of the active lipophilic molecule prior to penetration. The nanomicellar formulation technology uses micelles, which are gelatinous aggregates of amphipathic (both hydrophobic and hydrophilic) molecules formed at a well-defined concentration. The small size of the nanomicelles facilitates entry into corneal and conjunctival cells, enabling delivery of high concentrations of CsA, according to the company.
Cequa (cyclosporine ophthalmic solution) 0.09% for topical ophthalmic use will be commercialized in the United States by Sun Ophthalmics, the branded ophthalmics division of Sun Pharma’s wholly owned subsidiary. The company expects Cequa to become available in November. ■
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JOSEPH GORDON NAMED U.S. PRESIDENT OF B+L
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) announced that Joseph Gordon has been named U.S. president, Bausch + Lomb. In this role, he will oversee the fully integrated U.S. eyecare business—including Vision Care, Consumer Health, Surgical, and Pharmaceuticals—reporting directly to chairman and CEO of Bausch Health, Joseph C. Papa. Most recently, Mr. Gordon was president of B+L’s Consumer Health and Vision Care businesses. ■
RAHUL PATANI PROMOTED AT EUCLID SYSTEMS
Rahul Patani has been promoted to Executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Euclid Systems Corporation. According to the company, Mr. Patani will help Euclid improve the lives of patients managing their nearsightedness without the use of glasses, contact lenses, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery. ■
EYEVANCE PHARMACEUTICALS ACQUIRES FRESHKOTE PRODUCTS FROM FOCUS LABORATORIES
Eyevance Pharmaceuticals, LLC announced the acquisition of Freshkote, a family of lubricant eye drops from Focus Laboratories, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Eyevance acquired Freshkote and all of its formulations, including a preservative-free multidose bottle and single-unit vials (see Product Spectrum on p. 49), to market and commercialize worldwide. ■
BLANCHARD PARTNERS WITH OPTOMETRIC SCHOOLS FOR STUDENT AWARD PROGRAM
Blanchard Contact Lenses has launched the Onefit Scleral Lens Excellence Award student program in partnership with optometric educational institutions across the United States. This new program will provide students with a variety of vital learning opportunities to develop and enhance their experience with scleral lenses. Third- or fourth-year optometric students who complete each element of the four-part program will be presented with the Onefit Scleral Lens Excellence Award along with a certificate redeemable for their choice of a Onefit or a Onefit MED diagnostic fitting set.
Any students in their third or fourth year from any optometric school across the United States are eligible to participate. Information and an outline of the program requirements are available directly through their respective school. ■
VALLEY CONTAX LAUNCHES OPTOMETRY PODCAST
“Try Not To Blink” is a newly launched podcast sponsored by Valley Contax. The show is hosted by James Deom, OD, MPH, and Roya Habibi, OD. Dr. Deom is in private practice in Hazleton, PA, and Dr. Habibi practices with Eye Associates Northwest in Seattle
According to the company, the program focuses on providing news, tips, and tricks in a format that’s fun and easy to listen to. Episodes are published weekly and are typically about one hour in length. The hosts regularly include guests on the podcast to provide expert advice on a wide range of topics; recent guests have included dry eye expert Dr. Scott Schachter and digital marketing guru Dr. William To. In addition, recent episodes have covered topics such as conditions and treatments, new equipment, practice management, marketing, and industry news and have had titles such as “Must Have Machines,” “Scleral Lens Controversies,” and “Marketing Pep Talk.”
The “Try Not To Blink” podcast is available for listening in iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, Google Play, or Spotify or by visiting www.trynot2blink.com . ■
MANAGING MYOPIA OFFERED AGAIN, COMPLEX CASES LAUNCHING SOON
The Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) Academy will launch a new myopia management course, “Complex Cases,” in Nov. 2018. It will follow the original “Managing Myopia” course, which will run again in Oct. 2018.
The online courses are accredited for continuing education points by COPE, the General Optical Council, Optometry Australia, the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board, and the Optometristen Vereniging Nederland for practitioners across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
The self-paced, independent courses utilize interactive case studies in which practitioners are guided through cases using polls, questions, and videos from global leaders. It is available in both English and Spanish (course one only). A discount is applied if both courses are purchased together.
In other news, BHVI has launched its “Guidelines for Myopia Management,” an easy-to-use, practical tool developed to assist busy eyecare professionals in managing patients who have myopia. Available for free online, the guidelines provide a framework to inform diagnostic tests, risk assessment, and appropriate myopia management options and to schedule follow-up visits and tests. To access the “Guidelines for Myopia Management,” complete a one-off registration at https://brienholdenvision.org/translational-research/myopia/myopia-guidelines.html . ■
AAOF ANNOUNCES AWARD RECIPIENTS
The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) announced the recipients of several awards.
The 2018 Johnson & Johnson Vision Residency Awards support post-graduate advanced training in optometric clinical care, education, and research methods specific to the fields of children’s vision and contact lenses. The residents, chosen by members of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies and of the Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry Section, each receive $2,000 toward their graduate education and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2018 San Antonio.
- George Mertz Contact Lens Residency Award – Kelsy Steele, OD, MS, The Ohio State University College of Optometry; and Erin Tomiyama, OD, University of Houston College of Optometry.
- Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Award – Pratik Patel, OD, The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
- Terrence N. Ingraham Pediatric Residency Award – Emily Wiecek, OD, PhD, New England College of Optometry.
The following was chosen by a committee of members in the AAO Comprehensive Eye Care Section. The awardee receives a $2,000 education grant and a $750 travel fellowship.
- Douglas W. Hopkins Primary Care Residency Award – Dorothy Chou, OD, family practice resident at the University of Houston College of Optometry.
The recipient below was chosen by a committee of members in the Low Vision Section of the AAO. The award is intended to promote the practice and development of the field of low vision by providing incentive and support to sustain talented optometric residents who demonstrate a passion and commitment to practice, research, and education. This award also includes a $2,000 education grant and a $750 travel fellowship.
- Alfred A. Rosenbloom Jr., Low Vision Residency Award – Rebecca A. Deffler, OD, clinical instructor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
The following designee was chosen by a committee of members from the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies of the AAO. The award is intended to promote practice and development in the field of contact lenses by providing incentive and support to talented optometric residents who demonstrate a passion and commitment to clinical practice, research, and education. The award comes with a $2,000 education grant and a $750 travel fellowship.
- Bert C. & Lydia M. Corwin Residency Award – Celia R. Gong, OD, MS, cornea and contact lens resident at the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry.
The following AAO awards grant is presented in collaboration with the Frederic and Marion Rosemore Family Foundation.
- Fredric Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grant – Gregory Hopkins, OD, MS, clinical assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
All recipients will be honored at Academy 2018 San Antonio.
To learn more about these awards, visit www.aaopt.org/awards-and-grants . ■
IN MEMORIAM: THOMAS ANASTOR
Thomas E. Anastor, president of Art Optical Contact Lens, Inc. from 1967 to 2013, died at the age of 74 on Sept. 17 as a result of an extended illness.
After taking the helm of his father’s lens manufacturing company, he dedicated 50+ years to the ophthalmic industry. Under his direction, Art Optical grew from a regional laboratory to a global producer of high-performance GP and custom soft lenses.
He was a dedicated supporter of optometry and optometric education, a member of the Grand Rapids Lions Club, and a recipient of several state and national industry awards, including the 2008 Trailblazer Award presented by the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA). His vision and legacy continue under the direction of Jill Anastor, president.
He is survived by his wife Jill; his children Thomas E. Anastor II, Tony Anastor, and Stephanie Anderson (Erik); and his two grandchildren CJ Anastor and Zoey Anderson. ■
FOR THE RECORD
In the March, June, and September International Perspectives columns by Deborah Jones, BSc(Hons), FCOptom, & Jill Woods, BSc(Hons), MCOptom, the Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE) was incorrectly identified as the Centre for Optometric Research and Education (CORE) in Deborah Jones’ bio. This has been corrected in the online versions of those three articles.
- Blanchard Contact Lenses announced that Rachel Behdadnia has joined the company as an account manager for the Western region of the United States. Ms. Behdadnia brings 23 years of experience in the eyecare industry, 13 of which were spent as a director of contact lens services and as a contact lens specialist, with her most recent tenure being at Eye Consultants of Atlanta, PC. There, she managed fitting of all contact lens types, including for keratoconus, corneal transplants, post-refractive surgeries, ocular surface disorders, trauma and eye injuries, orthokeratology, and pediatric patients.
- Topcon Medical Systems (TMS) announced that Gregory Hoffmeyer has joined the Topcon Sales Team as director of OCT clinical sales. In this new role, Mr. Hoffmeyer will be responsible for the management of OCT Clinical Sales. He will be reporting to Corey Nielson, vice president of sales. Most recently, he worked as the senior clinical relations/post-approval studies manager for Carl Zeiss Meditec, where he promoted, educated about, and sold imaging solutions to prominent eyecare institutions
- The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) opened a call for papers on Sept. 1 for next year’s BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition. A pre-screening service will be available, with a deadline of Nov. 23, 2018. The final deadline for papers to be submitted via the BCLA website is Jan. 11, 2019. All abstracts will be published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye (CLAE). Submissions should be in the form of abstracts and can be a paper or electronic poster (to be allocated by the Academic Committee), with case reports also encouraged. The three-day Clinical Conference and Exhibition is scheduled for May 30 to Jun. 1, 2019. For more details about how to submit papers, visit www.bcla.org.uk .
- Natural Ophthalmics, Inc. announced that Advanced Ophthalmic Solutions, a new distributing company started by David Brenes, will be distributing its products in Puerto Rico. Previously, from 1997 to 2018, Mr. Brenes was a senior sales executive with Allergan.
- Kala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Inveltys (loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension) 1% for the treatment of postoperative inflammation and pain following ocular surgery. Inveltys is the first twice-daily (b.i.d.) ocular corticosteroid approved for this indication.
- Bausch + Lomb announced that Vyzulta (latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution), 0.024%, is now available in a 2.5mL bottle size in addition to the already-available 5mL size. According to the company, this bottle size will allow practitioners to provide a new one-month supply option to help patients reduce their intraocular pressure (IOP).
- James (Jim) Elswick passed away in August. Mr. Elswick was a life-long participant within the industry and most recently was a research & development consultant with the University of Houston College of Optometry.
- Vision Source has announced that effective Jan.1, 2019, Dr. Amir Khoshnevis will join the Vision Source leadership team as executive vice president and chief clinical officer. He joined Vision Source in 2003, has served on the administrator advisory board since 2014, and continues to act as the senior advisor to the leadership team.
- The Clinical Guide for Scleral Lens Success is a hands-on practical resource to use daily in clinical practice. This unified international guide covers everything from staff training to patient and family communication, step-by-step scleral lens fitting, scleral lens care and aftercare, and follow-up schedules. The Clinical Guide for Scleral Lens Success—authored by Melissa Barnett, OD, and Daddi Fadel, DOptom—is a collaborative work between the Accademia Italiana Lenti Sclerali (AILeS) and the Scleral Lens Education Society (SLS), with the purpose of providing a unified protocol for scleral lens fitting. Support for the guide was provided by Contamac.
- EyePoint Pharmaceuticals announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved transitional pass-through status and reimbursement through a C-code for Dexycu (dexamethasone intraocular suspension) 9%. Dexycu is the company’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved product for the treatment of postoperative inflammation that is administered as a single intraocular dose at the end of ocular surgery. The code, C9034, became effective on Oct. 1, 2018.