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NEWS SPECTRUM

GLOBAL CONTACT LENS FORUM AT VISION EXPO WEST

Once again, Vision Expo West is offering its free Global Contact Lens Forum. This year, the event will be held on Sept. 26 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas. The program is comprised of three courses.

Clinical Management of the Challenging Contact Lens Patient - Case Studies will be given by a group of some of the most skilled, experienced, and respected specialty contact lens practitioners. A variety of challenging contact lens cases will be presented in a grand rounds format in which experts will share examples of situations requiring specialty soft, corneal GP, tandem/piggyback, hybrid, and scleral lenses.

Establishing and Succeeding in Specialty Contact Lens Practice - The Business of a Contact Lens Specialty Practice will be a panel presentation by a group of specialty contact lens practitioners who will share their various journeys in the establishment of their contact lens practices.

State of the CL Industry - Future Trends in Contact Lenses and Ocular Surface, Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going brings together the theories of refraction and how the refracting procedures tie in with the patients’ prescription. ■

NEW LEADERSHIP AT BRIEN HOLDEN VISION INSTITUTE

Professor Kovin Naidoo has resigned as CEO of both the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) and the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation. The board of BHVI announced that Yvette Waddell will be the new CEO of the Institute, and she will focus on a translational research response. In addition, the board announced that Amanda Davis will take on a dedicated position of CEO of the BHVI Foundation to drive the public health agenda.

Ms. Waddell has been the COO of BHVI since 2003. She replaced Professor Brien Holden on the board in July 2015. In the last 20 years, she has spearheaded licensing of intellectual property and building new business relationships with leaders of industry, among other accomplishments. She will head a team that includes Dr. Ravi C. Bakaraju, head of Research and Development; Professor Arthur Ho, chief scientist and Innovation Officer; Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, head of Myopia Program and Intellectual Property; Associate Professor Klaus Ehrmann, director of Technology; and others.

Ms. Davis is a leader in the public health sector and has been the COO for the Foundation since 2006. She also currently holds the position of chair of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness in the Western Pacific Region. She leads a strong team of more than 100 educators, optometrists, public health researchers, project managers, and support staff. ■

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OGS LAUNCHES 2018 WORLD SIGHT DAY CHALLENGE

Coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), The World Sight Day Challenge fundraising campaign (which launched on Aug. 1) brings the global optometry community together to raise money and awareness to help provide eye care to those in need. The challenge is focused on World Sight Day, Oct. 11, and continues through to the end of November.

World Sight Day Challenge will help fund projects that will help an additional 1 million people receive eye care in 2018. For the past 12 years, thousands of eyecare practitioners, their staff, patients, students, and families have taken the World Sight Day Challenge and made a difference by making a tax-deductible donation and/or by raising funds in their practice, school, or company.

To donate or to pledge participation, supporters can visit www.givingsight.org/giving/world-sight-day . ■

BAUSCH + LOMB TO HOST MULTI-CITY LECTURE SERIES ON SCLERAL LENSES

Bausch + Lomb announced that its Specialty Vision Products business will be hosting a multi-city lecture series, with hands-on training sessions, on the Zenlens family of scleral lenses throughout September and October 2018. The workshops will educate attendees on how to fit Zenlens scleral lenses, review patient cases, and provide hands-on training on fitting and handling the Zenlens and Zen RC scleral lenses.

The series will feature lectures from experienced eyecare professionals, including Jason Jedlicka, OD; Michael Ward, MMSc; and Tom Arnold, OD.

Sessions will be held in major regional cities nationwide, including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago. To see the full list of cities and to register for a session near you, visit www.bausch.com/svpedu . ■

THOMAS W. BURNS JOINS AVEDRO’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Avedro, Inc. announced that Thomas W. Burns has been elected to its board of directors. Mr. Burns is president, CEO, and a member of the board of directors at Glaukos Corporation.

Mr. Burns has more than 25 years of direct ophthalmic management experience, including more than 20 years of general management experience across a broad range of ophthalmic medical devices, ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, drug delivery technologies, and surgical products. Over his career, he has raised nearly $400 million in private offerings and in the public markets. Prior to Glaukos, Mr. Burns led Eyetech Pharmaceuticals (acquired by OSI Pharmaceuticals) as president, COO, and as a director. He is currently chairman of Dose Medical Inc. ■

ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY ANNOUNCES 2018 AWARD RECIPIENTS

Each year, the American Academy of Optometry recognizes distinguished individuals who have made countless important contributions to advancing the profession of optometry.

Award winners will be recognized at the American Academy of Optometry’s annual meeting, Academy 2018 San Antonio, which will take place Nov. 7 to 10, 2018, at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, TX. The awards ceremony will take place on Nov. 9. Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies award recipients will be honored on Nov. 7. And, the Public Health and Environmental Vision Section Henry B. Peters Awardee will be honored on Nov. 8.

To see the full list of recipients, go to https://www.aaopt.org/detail/news/2018/07/12/for-immediate-release-american-academy-of-optometry-announces-2018-award-recipients . ■

DR. AKIO KANAI RECEIVES BRIEN HOLDEN HUMANITARIAN AWARD

Dr. Akio Kanai, CEO of Fuji Optical, has been announced as the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award winner for 2018 by the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) for his efforts in delivering vision care to refugee communities over more than three decades.

A graduate of the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU), Dr. Kanai began cooperating with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1984 and has since conducted more than 35 missions to help refugees in Nepal, Thailand, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

He has donated more than 160,000 pairs of glasses, provided optometry equipment, made cash grants, and trained local medical staff as part of these efforts. Fuji Optical is UNHCR’s longest-serving corporate partner.

The Brien Holden Humanitarian Award is presented annually by the American Academy of Optometry to honor the memory and work of Professor Brien Holden, PhD, DSc. The 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/not-for-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eye care systems in developing communities. ■

GUARDION HEALTH SCIENCES RECEIVES METHODS PATENTS TO STANDARDIZE VISION TESTING

Guardion Health Sciences, Inc. was issued two patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, both titled Method and Apparatus for Visual Acuity Testing. The first patent targeted automatic light calibration of the display screens used for vision testing, and the second added proprietary protection for methodology to continuously monitor and adjust the screen lighting. The second patent also added methodology to compensate for other testing factors, such as room illumination and when patients view the vision test through a mirror (which is a common practice in eyecare practitioners’ offices worldwide).

According to the company, this proprietary technology provides an easy way to automatically standardize vision test lighting to a level recommended by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. David Evans, inventor of this new methodology, is the founder of VectorVision, Inc., which Guardion acquired in 2017 and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. Dr. Evans is now a director and the chief science officer of Guardion. ■

OPTOMETRY CARES TO OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS

Optometry Cares is accepting applications for several scholarships for students for the 2018-2019 school year. Each school must submit entries to Optometry Cares no later than Oct. 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. (CST). Five scholarship opportunities are available to optometry student members of the American Optometric Association and the American Optometric Student Association: Vision West and Healthy Eyes Advantage Scholarship for InfantSEE, first place is $7,500 for a third-year student, runner-up is $3,000 for a third-year student; Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, $10,000 for one third-year student; Dr. Pat and Patrick Cummings Scholarship, $5,000 for one fourth-year student; Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship, $2,500 for one third-year student; and Dr. Larry J. Alexander Scholarship for Education, $2,500 for one third-year student. ■

MCPHS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY RECEIVES ACCREDITATION

After reviewing the report from a March 2018 evaluation visit, the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) voted to raise the classification of the professional optometric degree program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University School of Optometry to “Accredited.” This classification indicates that the program meets the ACOE standards with no deficiencies or weaknesses that compromise the educational effectiveness of the total program. ■

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited has received unconditional clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the proposed acquisition of Shire plc announced on May 8, 2018. The FTC’s unconditional clearance of the acquisition is another significant milestone in the transaction process. The acquisition remains subject to a number of conditions, including receipt of other regulatory clearances and approval by the shareholders of both companies. 
  • OcuBlink, Inc. has received funding from two prominent business accelerators. The company will use the funds and associated entrepreneurial coaching to scale its business. AC JumpStart, funded by FedDev Ontario, awarded OcuBlink $30,000 Canadian in seed capital and $10,000 Canadian of in-kind mentorship. The accelerator helps technology start-ups establish and grow their business in Southern Ontario. OcuBlink was also named one of four winners in the annual Velocity Fund $5K competition, an entrepreneurship program at the University of Waterloo. OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education and now operates as an affiliate, utilizing CORE’s staffing, counsel, and laboratories. OcuBlink develops in vitro eye models for ophthalmic companies to accelerate research and development of products for the eye, including devices for studying anterior and posterior eye disease and contact lens offerings. 
  • Bausch + Lomb (B+L) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the New Drug Application (NDA) for its sub-micron loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic gel, 0.38% with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date of Feb. 25, 2019. If approved, the product would be the lowest concentrated loteprednol ophthalmic corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of postoperative inflammation and pain following ocular surgery. B+L says that this investigative product utilizes a novel submicron particle to help increase ocular penetration and residence time in anterior segment tissues.
  • Visioneering Technologies, Inc. announced the promotion of Gary Sacks to National Field Trainer as of July 1, 2018. Mr. Sacks will support the VTI sales force by providing training as new territory managers are hired as well as in-territory coaching.
  • BlephEx LLC announced Fred Ellis as the company’s new CEO. He comes to BlephEx with more than 29 years of experience with Alcon Novartis. While there, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility overseeing a wide range of commercial assignments.
  • The International Sports Vision Association (ISVA), an organization of optometrists, athletic trainers, therapists, physicians, and sports teams dedicated to evaluating, training, and improving vision performance in athletes, announced the appointment of Gary Esterow as executive director. Mr. Esterow will assume the executive director position on a part-time basis, while still serving as executive director of The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International (NORA) and operating Esterow Communications, LLC, a consulting agency. Membership in the ISVA is open to optometrists, physicians, therapists, athletic trainers, or other licensed professionals as well to athletes, families, coaches, or other interested parties. ISVA also provides complimentary membership to students in a professional degree program or to residents in a post-graduate program.
  • Waldo, a London-based direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, secured $5 million in Series A venture capital funding. Backers included PROfounders Capital, YYX Ventures, Tectonic Capital, and Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen in the United States. The company intends to use the funds to accelerate ongoing international expansion in Europe and the United States. 
  • Opternative, Inc. announced that Lori McInerney has joined the company as chief marketing officer. In the role, she will lead the marketing team in driving brand awareness globally, growing partner marketing, and bringing in new business. Prior to joining Opternative, Ms. McInerney was the vice president of marketing at Shiftgig, where she and her team were responsible for driving new business via targeted content and thought leadership, increasing brand awareness and public relations, and recruiting on-demand talent. She also spent more than 10 years at CareerBuilder in various marketing and sales leadership roles. In unrelated news, Opternative announced its first international partnership with Ben & Frank, giving patients in Mexico access to its online vision test. Opternative also announced that it has begun implementing its technology internationally with partners in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 
  • Brien Holden Vision Institute and the World Council of Optometry announced a partnership to promote “Myopia Awareness Week” globally in 2019. The campaign will target the general public and eyecare sector. Both organizations decided on the partnership because they believe the growing prevalence of myopia required a comprehensive response from the optometric community. 
  • Avedro, Inc. announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a preliminary decision to establish a product specific Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) J code for Photrexa drug formulations. Claims submitted with a product specific J code are generally processed more efficiently than are claims using a miscellaneous code (J3490), which requires manual review. CMS’ preliminary decision was announced at its public meeting held on May 15, 2018 and is expected to be finalized and announced in Nov. 2018, with new or revised codes becoming effective on Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Katena Products, a provider of precision ophthalmic instruments, biologics, and devices to hospitals, surgical centers, and ophthalmic and optometric offices, announced the purchase of Blink Medical Ltd., a United Kingdom-based provider of primarily single-use ophthalmic instruments. Founded in 2004, Blink Medical currently distributes its products within Europe and the Middle East, which will provide Katena with a physical presence in Europe for its products, according to the companies. ■