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NEWS SPECTRUM

NOVARTIS SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE ALCON SPINOFF

Novartis shareholders approved the proposed 100% spin-off of the Alcon eyecare division, as previously endorsed by the Novartis Board of Directors. In addition to shareholder approval, completion of the spin-off remains subject to certain conditions precedent. The spin-off is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.

It will be implemented through the distribution of a dividend-in-kind of new Alcon shares to Novartis shareholders and to ADR (American Depositary Receipt) holders. The distribution is expected to be tax neutral on a U.S. and Swiss income tax basis. For every five Novartis shares or every five Novartis ADRs, shareholders will receive one Alcon share. ■

COOPERVISION ANNOUNCES 2019 PATIENT REBATE VALUES

CooperVision, Inc. has unveiled the details of its updated patient rebate program, currently effective through June 30, 2019.

The following CooperVision patient rebates are available: MyDay daily disposable—$130 off of four 180-packs or eight 90-packs; Clariti 1 Day—$200 off of eight 90-packs or 24 30-packs (new to CooperVision only) and $130 off of eight 90-packs or 24 30-packs (current CooperVision wearers); Biofinity Energys—$60 off of four six-packs; Biofinity sphere—$30 off of four six-packs; and Biofinity Toric and Biofinity Multifocal—$50 off of four six-packs. Additional patient rebate terms and conditions apply. ■

ALCON DEBUTS MULTIFOCAL FITTING PROCESS IN A VR EXPERIENCE

Alcon launched a new Multifocal Virtual Reality training module in partnership with Microsoft and Elara Systems. The virtual reality experience gives eyecare practitioners (ECPs), fellows, and students a three-dimensional view into actual multifocal contact lens fittings.

The Multifocal Virtual Reality training module was developed at Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studio, where Elara Systems was able to bring a real patient experience to life within a digital practitioner’s office. This training module is part of the Alcon Experience Academy, which offers face-to-face and virtual training and educational resources. ■

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EXECUTIVE CHANGES AT REV360

Scott Filion has been promoted to CEO of Rev360. Formerly the president and COO of Rev360, Mr. Filion will now oversee its three business units: RevolutionEHR, a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) and practice management software platform for eye care; the Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA), a doctor alliance group; and Visionary Partners, a partnership between Rev360 and eyecare practitioners to sustain and grow independent eyecare practices. Filion brings more than 25 years of experience in healthcare and healthcare technology to his new role. His diverse background includes leadership positions at GE Healthcare Information Technologies and at GetWellNetwork.

Rev360’s founder and former CEO, Scott Jens, will assume a senior advisor position to the Rev360 board of directors.

Rev360 also has named Corey Crawford as its vice president of operations for RevolutionEHR. Mr. Crawford was formerly the director of product management. Previously, he worked in product management for a variety of companies including AOL, MapQuest, and Gogo (in-flight internet).

In addition, Jamie Hughes, the former general manager of the PECAA, has been named senior vice president in addition to retaining his responsibilities as general manager. Previously, Mr. Hughes has worked as director of Optical Services for Oregon Eye Specialists, as Operations Director for Oregon Health and Science University/Casey Eye Institute, and as International Operations Director for Gimbel Eye Center. ■

INVENTOR CREATES CONTACT LENS TO HELP WITH COLOR BLINDNESS

In partnership with scientists at Saint Mary’s University, Gabrielle Masone, the CEO of Colorsmith Labs Inc., has developed contact lenses with a special light-filtering coating and nanoparticle technology. The lenses are ultimately aimed at helping people who have vision problems such as deuteranopia, a commonly inherited form of red-green color blindness. Danielle Tokarz, a professor in Saint Mary’s University’s chemistry department, is helping Ms. Masone refine the technology.

The prototype has not been tested with people yet, but plans to do so are in the works. The company is seeking investors; the funds would go toward contracting with a manufacturer to make the lenses for human clinical trials. ■

ACCULENS ANNOUNCES NEW DAC LATHE WITH LASER MARKING CAPABILITIES

AccuLens announced the purchase of a new CNC computerized lathe with a high-performance laser with graphic and alpha-alpha-numeric software for engraving of logos, identification, and/or diagnostic marks on contact lenses. The markings will help practitioners with precise diagnostic evaluation and identification, according to AccuLens. ■

MEDIXALL.COM APPOINTS HOWARD J. BRAVERMAN, OD, TO ADVISORY BOARD

MediXall Group Inc., a division of MediXall.com , a technology and innovation-driven organization focused on transforming the patient-provider experience, announced the company’s expansion into the eyecare arena with the appointment of Howard J. Braverman, OD, to the MediXall Advisory Board.

Dr. Braverman’s previous experience included serving as president of The Vision Division of CompBenefits, Inc. He was also the CEO of Ultimate Optical, a wholesale prescription optical laboratory that was part of CompBenefits’ family of companies.

Dr. Braverman also served as the president of the American Optometric Association from 2000-2001. In addition, he was president of the Southern Council of Optometrists in 1993. ■

ATLANTIS SCLERAL SPARE LENS PROGRAM UPDATE

X-Cel Specialty Contacts has updated its Atlantis Spare Lens Program. The program offers Atlantis lenses, in duplicate parameters, at a savings of 40% to 50% off of the standard price when purchased within 90 days of a patient’s final prescription. For added value, the company offers travel-sized, mirrored patient kits that provide a place to store spare lenses. This program is for the continental United States only. ■

IACLE HOLDS FIRST FELLOWSHIP EXAM BASED ON NEW PROGRAMS

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) will hold its Fellowship Exam on Nov. 16, 2019. This year will be the first administration for which the New Distance Learning Program (DLP) is available to candidates to prepare for the exam. The New DLP—an online self-study program—was launched in September 2018 to align with the fully revised and updated New IACLE Contact Lens Course.

All IACLE members are eligible to sit the exam. Candidates who achieve a successful outcome and have been members for at least 12 months can apply for Fellow of IACLE status. Those who meet the Fellowship criteria can use the FIACLE title. Existing FIACLEs can also re-sit the Fellowship Exam as many times as they wish—free of charge—to refresh their knowledge and keep abreast of the latest developments. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2019. The next Fellowship Exam will be in 2021. ■ 

OPTOMETRY CARES HEHC APPLICATIONS

The American Optometric Association Foundation’s Optometry Cares is now accepting applications for its Healthy Eyes Healthy Children (HEHC) community grants program, which will award up to $5,000 each for projects that align with HEHC’s goal: to spread awareness and increase vision care to underserved children across the country. Visit www.aoafoundation.org/hehc . ■

OYSTER POINT RAISES $93 MILLION FOR DRY EYE TREATMENT DEVELOPMENT

Oyster Point Pharma Inc., a privately held clinical-stage pharmaceutical company with an initial focus on developing novel therapies to treat dry eye disease, announced a $93 million Series B financing. The round was co-led by Invus Opportunities and Flying L Partners in collaboration with Falcon Vision. Existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Versant Ventures, as well as new investor Vida Ventures, participated significantly in the round.

Oyster Point will use the proceeds to support the development of OC-01 and OC-02, which are delivered via an ocular surface-sparing nasal spray designed to stimulate the trigeminal parasympathetic pathway to promote natural tear film production. ■

ABB OPTICAL OFFERS FREE WEBINAR SERIES

ABB Optical Group is offering a free webinar series focused on specialty contact lenses and practice development. Hosted by Craig W. Norman, the live webinar series will offer eyecare practitioners (ECPs) an opportunity to hear from renowned industry experts focused on training and topics that support successful treatment options and outcomes.

The series is free for all ECPs. Each class is from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. The remaining programs in the series include:

June 13 – Getting the Most Out of Presbyopic Contact Lens Options, with Thomas Quinn, OD, MS

Sept. 17 – Strategies for Solving Contact Lens Complications, with Clark Chang, OD

Dec. 12 – Practice Management Tips for Billing and Coding to Build Your Specialty Contact Lens Practice, with Stephanie Woo, OD

To register for the series, visit abboptical.com/webinar-series . ■

VSP GLOBAL, HEART OF AMERICA EYE CARE CONGRESS CREATE SCHOLARSHIP

VSP Global and Heart of America Eye Care Congress announced that they have partnered to launch a new optometry scholarship in honor of Frank Fontana, OD, affectionately known to all as “Uncle Frank.” The Fontana Scholarship will be awarded annually, beginning in 2020.

The Fontana Scholarship will be open to third and fourth year optometry students actively engaged in patient care. Applicants will be judged in four areas in which Dr. Fontana excelled: 1) clinical performance; 2) empathetic patient care; 3) ability and interest to adopt modern technologies; and 4) a strong interest in developing and participating in the optometric community.

The scholarship recipient will receive $4,250 in scholarship money and a $750 travel grant to attend Heart of America’s Eye Care Congress Conference in 2020. Additional details about the application submission process will be shared in the coming months. ■

2019 BCLA AWARDS NOMINATIONS OPEN

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) announced that nominations are now open for the 2019 BCLA Awards. Held as part of this year’s Clinical Conference and Exhibition, the awards will honor those who have a track record for excellence in eye care and a passion for pioneering new techniques that are transforming everyday practice. The three-day conference will be held from May 30 to June 1, 2019.

The BCLA Dry Eye Practitioner of the Year Award will be given to an individual working in practice who has a proven record in managing dry eye. And, the BCLA Young Contact Lens Practitioner Award will be given to an individual working in practice who is just starting out in his or her career. Additionally, the BCLA Industry Award will be given to an individual working within industry who has made an outstanding contribution to the contact lens profession either in relation to a product/technology or a concept. ■

GPLI PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR

The GP Lens Institute (GPLI) has named Susan Resnick, OD, as the 2019 GPLI Practitioner of the Year. Dr. Resnick is a partner of the specialty contact lens practice Drs. Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates in New York City. She has been extremely active in fitting, promoting, and writing in the area of GP lenses. She is also a Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies Section of the American Academy of Optometry. ■

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Eyenovia, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for MicroPine, a topical treatment for progressive myopia. MicroPine is the company’s proprietary microdose formulation of atropine.
  • Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI) has selected Positive Impact (PI) as the company’s latest Authorized Distributor partner for the NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Brand 1 Day Contact Lenses. PI, based in Hastings, is a distributor of leading eyecare products and contact lenses throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Euclid Systems Corporation has elected Robert Warner to its board of directors. Mr. Warner has 20 years of pharmaceutical and medical device experience. He most recently served as the global head for Alcon’s Vision Care Franchise, a cross-functional team responsible for strategy, innovation, pipeline, manufacturing strategy, and Business Development & Licensing. Euclid Systems also added Dan Meinert to its U.S. sales team. According to the company, Mr. Meinert will assist eyecare practitioners in expanding their practices through orthokeratology utilizing the Euclid Emerald Proactive Myopia Management treatment. He joins Euclid Systems Corporation from X-Cel Specialty Contacts, where he managed a 15-state region.
  • ZEISS Medical Technology Segment of ZEISS has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the Cirrus HD-OCT platform, expanding the capabilities of its Anterior Segment Premier Module to include epithelial thickness mapping (ETM). ETM with Cirrus provides a detailed 9mm map of epithelial thickness that enables more thorough assessment of patients before refractive surgery, allows monitoring of the cornea’s response to treatment, and aids in managing patients with ocular surface disorders such as dry eye and progressive corneal diseases such as keratoconus.
  • The Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development issued a joint call-to-action to healthcare professionals, urging them to consider the need for medical and/or functional optometric rehabilitation services for patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, or a medical condition, such as stroke, aneurism, or meningitis. This call to action was distributed among press and social media outlets.
  • Prevent Blindness has elected James Brocato its board of directors. Mr. Brocato is the president and CEO of Coherent Eye Care, a management service organization.
  • The American Optometric Association’s 74th president, Donald E. Jarnagin, OD, died on March 3 from cancer. Dr. Jarnagin was also a founding father of the Great Western Council of Optometry and received numerous awards, including the Circle of Vision Distinguished Individual Philanthropist Award from the Southern California College of Optometry. In the 1970s, he served as a Captain and Optometry officer in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps, from which he received an Army Commendation Medal.
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision announced that it has secured CE mark approval for a photochromic contact lens, designed to offer vision correction and to reduce exposure to bright light both indoors and outdoors. Acuvue Oasys with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology has been developed in partnership between Johnson & Johnson Vision and Transitions Optical.
  • MacuLogix, Inc. completed a Series D round of financing totaling $38.7 million. The investment was led by new investor Vivo Capital with participation from existing investors, including Fisk Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, Berwind Private Equity, and Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania.
  • ABB Optical Group welcomed Donna Reyes to its team of specialty contact lens consultants. In her new position, she will assist with the growth of ABB Optical Group’s Wet Lab and Lunch & Learn programs, designed to provide customers with personalized and hands-on training for specialty contact lens fittings. Previously, she was at SynergEyes, where she served as senior director of clinical services and training.
  • RightEye, a commercialized eye tracking system that can help diagnose vision and brain health issues, published an education guide, “5 Ways to Differentiate Your Practice,” which discusses how to incorporate sports medicine, concussion care, and other specialized services into the optometric practice. The guide can be downloaded at https://info.righteye.com/differentiate .