Effective March 1, 2019, Dwight Akerman, OD, global head of professional affairs & business development of Alcon, a division of Novartis, retired; Since January 2013, Akerman has served the vision care franchise as global head, professional affairs and business development.

Dr. Akerman joined Alcon from Ciba Vision as executive director of U.S. professional affairs in May 2011. Before joining Alcon, he held roles of increasing leadership with Ciba Vision, Wesley Jessen, and Novartis Pharma in medical marketing, professional affairs, clinical research, and medical affairs. Currently, he serves as vice chairman of the board of trustees of the Illinois College of Optometry and is a trustee of the World Optometric Foundation. ■


Vision Expo East will once again offer the Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) on Thursday, March 21. This free “meeting within a meeting” provides attendees with practical, timely tips on both clinical and business processes that will take specialty contact lens practice to the next level. The half-day program will feature a session that will cover how to start, grow, and thrive in specialty lens practice in the 21st Century; a grand rounds case presentation that will highlight how to integrate advanced technology in specialty contact lens practice; and a session on billing and coding in specialty contact lens practice. This year, the GCLF is directed by Thomas Quinn, OD, and Chris Smiley, OD. In addition, an unrestricted education grant was provided by Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson Vision. ■


Following the sudden and unfortunate death of Founder and President Brian Banks, Natural Ophthalmics, Inc. has appointed Linda Axelrod as its new president. She has been with the company for 15 years and has become a familiar face at conferences and symposia across the country. Ms. Axelrod will concentrate on practitioner and patient education as well as new product development. ■


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The 2019 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS), which took place from Jan. 24 to 27 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, hosted more than 1,000 participants from 34 countries, 42 states, and Puerto Rico. Presented by Contact Lens Spectrum, this year’s meeting featured 59+ exhibiting companies.

A preconference program featured information on specialty lens applications and fitting, myopia management, practice management, keratoconus, and scleral lenses. The general sessions presented information on the controversies in contact lenses, the state of scleral lenses, care and aftercare of specialty lenses, soft specialty lenses, myopia control, management of post-surgical corneas, and corneal cross-linking. Attendees could also choose to attend CE breakout sessions on optimizing orthokeratology fitting, invisible pain syndrome, mini- and large-scleral lenses, soft multifocals for myopia, and more. In addition, there were manufacturer-sponsored presentations held.

The 2019 GSLS featured 134 clinical and scientific posters, 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 Craig Norman for his contributions to the GSLS as well as to the contact lens community as a whole. Additional highlights of the GSLS will appear in a feature article in the April issue.

Mark your calendars for the next GSLS, which will take place from Jan. 23 to 26, 2020 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. ■


Paragon Vision Sciences, part of the CooperVision Specialty Eye Care division, is targeting five U.S. regions for expansion, citing rising eyecare professional (ECP) demand for myopia education and support. By mid-year, the company anticipates placing teams in Northern California, Southern California, New York/New Jersey, Houston/Dallas, and Phoenix. Each team will consist of an account manager and a practice management consultant.

Leading the effort is Anita Greggs Perez, who has been hired as Paragon’s U.S. Commercial Director. She has more than two decades of experience in launching and growing initiatives in medical device and healthcare channels, most recently serving as director, U.S. Sales and Marketing, for diagnostics manufacturer ACON Laboratories. Previously, she founded and managed National Launch Group, spearheading market introductions for multiple pharmaceutical, medical device, food, and mass market brands. ■


Vision 2020/USA, along with allied organizations dedicated to improving vision and eye health in the United States, have formally asked U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams to initiate a “Call to Action” to mark the year 2020. A formal request was signed on by 27 organizations—each a member of Vision 2020/USA—and was delivered on Jan. 18, 2019. To view the letter, visit .

Surgeon General Calls to Action are science-based summary documents intended to stimulate action nationwide to solve urgent public health problems, typically across multiple sectors. This Call to Action would be used to increase public awareness, improve surveillance, clarify the disability and financial cost from vision loss, help standardize public health and clinical practice, and, ultimately, ensure that all people enjoy the lifelong benefits of healthy eyes and clear sight. ■


Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has received 510(k) clearance for use of the Tangible Hydra-PEG contact lens coating technology with GP lenses manufactured in the Boston XO, Boston XO2, Boston EO, and Boston ES materials, including those utilized in the Zenlens scleral lens family. ■


ABB Optical Group announced changes to its leadership team and a new director on its board.

Meghan FitzGerald, a managing partner of L1 Health, has joined the ABB Optical Group board of directors. She also is a member of the board of directors for SeniorLink and serves as an assistant professor at Columbia University in New York.

Mike Bono was named CFO and will oversee the administrative, financial, and risk management operations of the company. Prior to joining ABB Optical, he was the CFO of Medical Specialties Distributors.

Michael Dell has been appointed as the company’s general counsel, a newly created position. Mr. Dell will be responsible for leading strategic and tactical legal initiatives, providing the senior management team with effective advice on company strategies and their implementation, and securing and overseeing the work of outside counsel as needed.

Erika Jurrens has joined ABB Optical Group as senior vice president of strategic development and commercialization. Previously, she led product development and marketing as vice president for Cardinal Health.

Previously vice president of marketing, Aaron See is now senior vice president of manufacturer partnerships, a newly created position. He will be responsible for all aspects of ABB Optical Group’s vendor strategies and will oversee the company’s GP and custom soft lenses business.

Paul Sherman has taken a new position as chief development officer. He previously led the finance team for eight years as CFO. ■


Bausch + Lomb announced several new leadership changes across its Specialty Vision Products business unit.

Patrick Marsalek, senior director, Specialty Vision Products, has more than 25 years of experience working in the contact lens industry. In this new role, Mr. Marsalek will be responsible for driving acceleration and growth across the Bausch + Lomb Specialty Vision Products division. Keith Donley, senior director, Marketing, Daily Disposables and Specialty Vision Products, will expand his marketing role to include the company’s Specialty Vision Products business. Andrew White, senior manager, Global Labs, Specialty Vision Products, will be solely focused on the company’s global Boston materials business. In addition, Andy Moncrief, Patricia Torres, and Jeff Vincent will be specialty market managers, Specialty Vision Products. In this role, Mr. Moncrief, Ms. Torres, and Mr. Vincent will be responsible for supporting and driving growth of the Zenlens scleral lens brand as well as custom soft contact lenses and solutions that the company offers. ■


Johnson & Johnson Vision launched the Acuvue Contact Lens Recycle Programme, a free program in the United Kingdom that enables consumers to easily recycle their contact lenses and the blister and foil packaging after use. The program is available to all soft contact lens wearers regardless of which contact lens brand they use. The recycled materials will be turned into new products such as outdoor furniture and plastic lumber.

Consumers will have the option to either have their contact lens material collected or to simply drop it off through a network of recycling bins at public drop-off locations at optical stores across the United Kingdom, including Boots Opticians Ltd. The goal is to provide more than 1,000 public drop-off recycling locations for contact lens waste across the United Kingdom.

Johnson & Johnson Vision is collaborating with TerraCycle to run the program. Contact lens wearers can check the Acuvue and TerraCycle websites for details on their nearest public drop-off location points or to recycle from home via courier collection. ■


About 120 eyecare practitioners gathered in Washington, DC on Feb. 10 for The Myopia Meeting. The agenda tackled means of managing the disease—multifocal contact lenses, rigid lens options, and atropine—via research, in-practice studies, and practical tips. Speakers included Thomas Aller, OD; Pat Caroline; Jeffrey Cooper, OD; and meeting organizer Gary Gerber, OD. Dr. Aller also presented insights from Earl L. Smith III, OD, PhD, who was unable to attend. Both business management and clinical tips were also offered. Due to the great interest in this topic, plans are already underway for next year’s meeting. ■ —Shannon Simcox, contributing editor


IDOC has announced the addition of four new members of the executive and management teams, chosen for their experience and commitment to the company’s vision.

Jill Johnson joined IDOC in January 2019 as vice president, Human Resources. In her executive role, she leads people-focused initiatives that include learning and development, organization planning, rewards and recognition, talent acquisition, employee communications, and promoting a “people-first” culture at IDOC. Before joining IDOC, she held various human resources leadership roles in multiple industries.

Jan Cory takes on the role of senior director, Strategic Partnerships, focusing on a wide range of vendor/partner relationships. Her career began in the luxury retail sector, joining the vision industry at B+L/Luxottica, where she created and led the department store team. In addition, she has held senior leadership positions at Viva/Marcolin and Silhouette.

Bridgette O’Brien was named director of marketing in December 2018, leading all IDOC marketing efforts, including brand, events, vendor, and new product/services launches. Most recently, she managed Customer Marketing for Bausch + Lomb’s Vision Care team.

Scott Robinson joined the IDOC team in December 2018 as director of Strategic Partnerships, overseeing vendor relationships and contract governance. His most recent positions include 11 years with ABB Optical Group as vice president of New Business Development and director of Strategic Accounts, followed by two years as director of Strategic Business for the Walman Companies. ■


  • Beth Samenuk and Allison Granger, formerly of The Lens Butler, announced their new company and brand, Boxsee. The new company represents a new vision for the future of their partnered contact lens subscription service and reflects the evolution of the company and the partnerships that they are building with others as they increase their offerings to private eyecare professionals and the value to patients. 
  • The CooperVision contact lens manufacturing facility in Alajuela, Costa Rica has been awarded LEED Silver certification for its environmentally conscious design and operation. It is believed to be the only LEED Silver-certified contact lens manufacturing site in the world. In addition, CooperVision’s water sustainability efforts have earned its Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico production and packaging facility top honors from the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Innovega Inc. has launched an equity crowdfunding round with New York-based SeedInvest. The new funds will allow Innovega to accelerate commercialization, including a Phase III U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical investigation for its smart contact lenses.
  • For the first time, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA)’s traditional “Evening Scientific Meeting” will be presented as an online webinar. The session, titled “It’s in their hands! How to optimise contact lens compliance and ensure our patients love their lenses” will be hosted by Professor Philip Morgan and Sarah Morgan from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 12, 2019. Members need to register via the BCLA website. 
  • Bausch + Lomb (B+L) continued its four-year collaboration with Prevent Blindness to raise awareness about age-related macular degeneration throughout the month of February. For every Facebook like or share made in February, B+L donated $1 to Prevent Blindness (up to $50,000).
  • Three optometry students presented scientific posters at the 2019 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. Nha Cao, a fourth-year student and founder of the contact lens club at Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry, focused on the effect of freezing temperatures on senofilcon A soft contact lenses. Julie Ervin, a fourth-year student at Southern College of Optometry and member of the American Optometric Student Association, covered treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca secondary to sicca syndrome with scleral lenses. Ilya Volk, a fourth-year student and member of the contact lens club at Western University of Health Sciences, presented on the benefit of a scleral lens in the treatment of a post-corneal-transplant epithelial defect.
  • CLX has integrated with FoxFire, an ophthalmic-specific electronic health records and practice management software. FoxFire users will now have seamless integration with CLX’s complete contact lens system, featuring automated reordering, subscription, and detailed insight into key practice metrics.
  • Optovue promoted Joe Garibaldi to vice president of U.S. Sales, where he will continue to lead the U.S. sales force as well as identify new strategic partnering opportunities to grow the company’s U.S. product portfolio. Mr. Garibaldi joined Optovue in 2009 as a territory manager, and he has been promoted into multiple leadership positions within the sales organization where he has led sales growth in both the optometry and ophthalmology markets.
  • In response to an increase in scleral lens interest and usage worldwide, the Euro-Asian Scleral Lens Academy (EASLA) was formed. According to the EASLA, it plans to be a meeting point in Europe and Asia, where there is a lack of education dedicated to scleral lenses. The founders of EASLA are Russian Academy of Medical Optics and Optometry (RAMOO) from Russia, Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso, OD, from the Philippines, and Daddi Fadel, DipOptom, from Italy. Officers are Ms. Fadel, president; Elena Belousova, PhD, vice president; and Dr. Abesamis-Dichoso, secretary and treasurer.
  • MacuLogix hosted an AMD Speaker Alliance meeting. During the two-day event, the AMD Speaker Alliance attendees discussed strategies and training methods that can help make AMD education meaningful and relevant in real-life clinical practice. Later this year, these practitioners plan to share their own best practices.