ONLINE VISION TEST RECALLED
Visibly, formerly known as Opternative, has ceased making available its Visibly Online Refractive Vision Test, which is part of the Visibly Vision Test Solution. Partners and their customers had been given access to this software application, which is used to measure vision refraction. Its removal is a result of a recent U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recall notice that cites the company’s lack of 510(k) clearance and the nonexistence of a marketing application for the product.
In April 2016, the American Optometric Association (AOA) had filed a complaint against Visibly (Opternative). That complaint raised concerns over potential serious health risks of the product and noted its lack of premarket approval. Then, in 2017, the FDA issued a warning letter to Opternative indicating that the company was in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and requested that the company “immediately cease activities that result in the misbranding or adulteration of the On-Line Opternative Eye Examination Mobile Medical App device, such as the commercial distribution of the device through your online website.” The FDA will be monitoring the company’s actions in light of the recall. ■
IN MEMORIAM: PROFESSOR ROBERT FLETCHER, FCOPTOM
Professor Robert Fletcher, FCOptom, who died at the age of 94 on Aug. 5, became the first Professor of Optometry outside of the United States in 1966 when he was appointed as chair at City University in London. Throughout his career, he made important contributions to optometric research and education around the world.
With Norman Bier, MPhil, he pioneered early scleral contact lenses and prosthetic lenses. He also designed optometric instruments, including, in 1960, the first European vision screener, a device which led to a significant increase in eye assessments in the workplace.
During a teaching career spanning seven decades, Professor Fletcher taught more than 15,000 optometrists in London and several thousands more in more than 20 countries. Others benefited from his 150 publications and 16 textbooks. Professor Fletcher also helped establish optometry courses at the University of Kongsberg in Norway. Other countries where he established optometry courses include Italy, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Israel, Iceland, and Portugal.
In retirement, Professor Fletcher worked with Luigi Lupelli, a former student who became the first professor of contact lenses in Italy, to design an acrylic osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis implant, which has given some sight to many hundreds of people worldwide who have poor vision.
His wife, Muriel, predeceased him by just three weeks. He is survived by their two daughters. ■
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COOPERVISION LAUNCHES SOFT CONTACT LENS RECYCLING PROGRAM IN SWEDEN
CooperVision has launched an initiative in Sweden that offers consumers free soft contact lens recycling for all brands and manufacturers. The CooperVision Contact Lens Recycle Program aims to reduce plastic waste by providing a practical and easy way for wearers to recycle lenses as well as blister and foil packaging, according to the company.
Wearers have the option of sending contact lens materials directly to CooperVision’s recycling partner, TerraCycle, using prepaid mailing labels or of dropping those materials off at a participating optical store in Sweden. The company also says that the program will help consumers understand the impact of their efforts, highlighting how the materials will be recycled for everyday use as plastic lumber, park benches, and fence posts. ■
TREEHOUSE EYES OPENS EIGHT NEW LOCATIONS
Treehouse Eyes announced the opening of eight new centers. In collaboration with select practices, Treehouse Eyes is bringing its proprietary brand of myopia management directly into select primary care practices across the country.
The latest practices to join the Treehouse Eyes network are Insight Vision Center Optometry in Costa Mesa, CA, Drs. Thanh Mai and Valerie Lam; Focal Point Optometry in Fullerton, CA, Drs. Alvin Arellano and Michelle Kirk; Pacific Rims Optometry in San Francisco, Dr. Selena Chan; Visionary Eye Care in Tampa, Drs. Jennifer Brady-Cook and Michael Cook; Warm Springs Optometric Group in Fremont, CA, Drs. Michael Fauria and Susan Pirrone; Neuro-Vision Associates of North Texas in Plano, TX, Dr. Charles Shidlofsky; Premier Vision in Amarillo, TX, Dr. John Todd Cornett; and Birmingham Vision Care in Bloomfield Township, MI, Drs. Harriet C. Pelton and Patricia Poma-Nowinski. ■
ALCON TO LAUNCH PRECISION1 DAILY DISPOSABLE CONTACT LENSES
Alcon announced plans to launch the Precision1 daily disposable silicone hydrogel contact lenses in the United States. According to the company, Precision1 lenses come with Alcon’s proprietary SmartSurface technology, a permanent, micro-thin, high-performance layer of moisture at the lens surface that helps support a stable tear film to deliver lasting visual performance from morning to night. The lenses are made in verofilcon A material and have Class 1 ultraviolet-blocking capabilities, according to Alcon.
Initial patient availability began in September 2019 through select eyecare practitioners, with wide availability across the United States scheduled for early 2020. In March 2019, Alcon launched Precision1 contact lenses in Australia and New Zealand and expects to launch these lenses in additional markets around the globe throughout 2020 and 2021. ■
ALCON NAMES DR. CARLA MACK GLOBAL HEAD OF PROFESSIONAL AFFAIRS FOR VISION CARE
Alcon announced that Dr. Carla Mack has been named global head, Professional Affairs. In her new role, Dr. Mack leads Professional Affairs within Alcon’s Global Vision Care Franchise, reporting to Andy Pawson, president and general manager, Global Vision Care Franchise. As global head, Dr. Mack is responsible for coordinating and consolidating the company’s Vision Care professional affairs strategy and initiatives, working in partnership with regional professional leaders and teams.
In her previous role as head, Professional Strategy & Development – US Vision Care, Dr. Mack was responsible for all US Vision Care professional training and education through the Alcon Experience Academy, overseeing the training of eyecare professionals via the Alcon Experience Center. ■
OCUBALL EYE MODEL REPLACES ANIMAL-BASED METHODS FOR FOREIGN BODY REMOVAL
OcuBlink Inc. has shipped its first order of OcuBall, a polymer-based eye model that can be used for training to perfect the removal of foreign bodies while eliminating safety concerns related to handling, disposal, and storage of biological tissue. It comes premade with carbon/mild steel particles inserted on the surface of the eye to provide a realistic, safe, and inexpensive clinical scenario for the practice of foreign body removal. Over time, the metal pieces can rust and form a typical rust ring, just as they do in the human eye.
Made of a biocompatible polymer-based material, the company says that OcuBall is less expensive compared to typically sourced animal models, and it eliminates concerns of cross-contamination and biological waste. OcuBall can be stored in saline for several weeks without spoilage and has no odor. ■
GSLS SPOTLIGHT: PHOTO CONTEST
The Global Specialty Lens Symposium is seeking interesting photographs of conditions, diseases, or other occurrences, with a special interest in contact lenses and the anterior segment. All submissions must be sent through the online portal at http://photos.gslsymposium.com/upload/upload.aspx . Three winning photos will be selected by the GSLS education committee and will be featured on a future cover of Contact Lens Spectrum. Submit your entry no later than Dec. 15, 2019. ■
AAO AND AAOF TRAVEL FELLOWSHIPS AND RESIDENCY AWARDS ANNOUNCED
The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) named the recipients of the 2019 Student Travel Fellowship Awards. These travel fellowships will allow students to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry being held Oct. 23 to 27, 2019. The full list can be found at www.aaopt.org/detail/news/2019/08/29/2019-american-academy-of-optometry-student-travel-fellowship-recipients-announced .
In addition, the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) announced the recipients of the 2019 AAOF Student Travel Fellowships. The fellowships are supported by past and present AAO presidents, donors, and members of both the Academy and the Foundation boards. Each recipient will also receive a travel grant to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry. A full list of recipients can be found at www.aaopt.org/detail/news/2019/08/29/american-academy-of-optometry-foundation-announces-the-2019-aaof-student-travel-fellowship-recipients .
The AAOF also announced the recipients of the 2019 Johnson & Johnson Vision Residency Awards. The 2019 residents were chosen by peer review members from the AAO Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies and from the Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry Section. Recipients will receive $2,000 toward their graduate education and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2019 Orlando & the 3rd World Congress of Optometry. This year’s recipients are Paula Kutzner, OD, Southern California College of Optometry—Terrance N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Award; Laurel Roberts, OD, Illinois College of Optometry—Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Award; and Alexandria Lui, OD, Indiana University, and Andrew Fischer, OD, Indiana University—George Mertz Contact Lens Residency Award.
In addition, Jocelyn Ou, OD, was named this year’s recipient of the Bert C. and Lydia M. Corwin Contact Lens Residency award. Dr. Ou, who recently completed a cornea and contact lens residency at the Ketchum Health University Eye Center, was chosen by a committee of members in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies of the AAO. She will receive a $2,000 education award and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry.
Finally, the AAOF, in collaboration with the Fredric and Marion Rosemore Family Foundation, announced the 2019 recipient of the Fredric Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grant: So-Yeon Sharon Lee, OD, an assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry. She will receive a grant for her project “Managing visual comfort and function in patients with low vision using Acuvue Oasys with Transitions contact lenses,” which is intended to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired. The grant is designed to enable institutions to provide care and support personnel directly related to the field of low vision. ■
AIO, BCLA, GOC TO TACKLE ILLEGAL PRACTICE
The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) and the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) have joined together in an initiative to work closely with the General Optical Council (GOC) to drive out the illegal sale of contact lenses across the United Kingdom.
While the GOC already has a dedicated London-based team that investigates complaints about illegal contact lens sales, it does not have a physical presence across the country. The plan is that members of AIO and BCLA will become the “eyes and ears” on the High Street and will identify U.K.-based online suppliers to ensure that investigation and any follow-up enforcement action, taken in association with Local Trading Standards Officers, is fully effective. ■
MYOPIACARE LAUNCHES MYAPPIA
MyopiaCare introduced the MyAppia calculator that uses the age, current prescription of the child, and risk factors to build a visual prediction for the prescription development over 10 years.
It then adds various treatment options (atropine, orthokeratology, spectacles, or soft multifocal contact lenses) to outline the predicted outcomes. These are displayed to show parents and patients how treatment choices may alter future myopia progression outcomes.
MyAppia calculator can now be found at www.myopiacare.com .
- Visionary Optics has redesigned its website—www.visionary-optics.com —to improve the customer experience when searching for information. According to the company, the new site features a user-friendly, modern design that gives easy access to product information, videos and trainings, order forms, and industry resources. The company also expanded its headquarters and moved to a new location in Oak Brook, IL in early August 2019. Later this year, the company plans to release a new order management platform that will be fully integrated into the new website, providing improved efficiency and order tracking.
- MyopiaCare, an online educational platform for myopia specialists and parents, announced the following new team members. Ross Grant, BSc (Hons), MSc, FCOptom, PDipM, has joined as chief business development officer. He will connect MyopiaCare with associations, industry, and KOLs worldwide. Thomas Aller, OD, has joined as a clinical advisor. For the past 27 years, Dr. Aller has been researching the use of bifocal contact lenses for the control of myopia. He is currently conducting clinical trials on myopia management with an extended depth of focus (EDOF) multifocal contact lens as well as with an anti-hyperopia multifocal lens design. Oliver Woo, OD, joins MyopiaCare as a clinical consultant. Dr. Woo’s special interests are pediatric optometry, myopia prevention, and myopia control contact lens fitting with orthokeratology and specialty contact lenses. Giancarlo Montani, Dip Optom, completes the team of clinical advisors. He is professor of Clinical Contact Lens Application at the University of Salento, Italy.
- Blanchard Contact Lenses announced its recent hire of Monica E. Shea, LO. Ms. Shea’s responsibilities include building and nurturing professional relationships with, and providing fitting consultation to, eyecare providers in the Northeast for Blanchard’s scleral and GP lens portfolio. She has 21 years of experience with contact lens services, having spent the last 15 years of her career as a senior contact lens specialist at Consulting Ophthalmologists, P.C. in Farmington, CT.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Paragon Vision Sciences’ newly constructed contact lens manufacturing site in suburban Phoenix. Paragon is part of CooperVision Specialty Eye Care. The Gilbert, AZ facility will produce advanced orthokeratology products such as Paragon CRT for use in the United States. The new site is more than double the size of the company’s current plant in nearby Mesa, AZ. The Mesa location will continue to fabricate lenses for global markets after U.S. production is transferred to Gilbert over the next several months.
- Luneau Technology announced the appointment of Lon Dowell to the role of national director of Sales. Mr. Dowell joins the Luneau Technology USA leadership team with more than 20 years of experience in the ophthalmic industry, leading sales, marketing, and project teams.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Chinese Regulatory Authority (NMPA) have approved Euclid Systems Corporation to manufacture the Euclid Emerald line of contact lenses in a new, state-of-the-art facility located in Sterling, VA. The new space is more than triple the size of the company’s current facility. Euclid also plans to transition to a custom automated platform for manufacturing, which, according to the company, will help it better serve its customer base around the world.
- CooperCompanies introduced an updated corporate brand name, brand identity, and new website at www.coopercos.com . According to the CooperCompanies, its design approach and aquamarine-inspired color palette represent the organization’s vibrancy and energy. The new website integrates these elements and provides substantially expanded content that illustrates the company, its people, and the many ways in which they’re improving lives, according to the company.
- PECAA (Professional Eye Care Associates of America) announced the return of one of the organization’s co-founders, who has accepted a newly developed role on the company’s executive team. Dr. Lance Anderson will now be serving as the organization’s vice president of Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Anderson currently serves as a member of the board of directors for Rev-360, the ownership group for PECAA, RevolutionEHR, and Visionary Partners. As the vice president of Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Anderson will help identify new business opportunities for PECAA. He will also research and develop new vendor relationships as well as conduct vendor negotiations and various key project development and implementation projects.
- Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) announced that Dr. Arthur Back joins the organization as managing director of VisionCRC, its science arm. To support the science, marketing agency Brand New You will be BHVI’s new marketing partner.