We are constantly looking for ways and technologies to simplify various aspects of our practice, in addition to life in general. That said, another way to look at it is summarized in the following quote, “Efficiency is intelligent laziness” (David Dunham). We have seen a lot of consumer news lately about forthcoming opportunities and technologies associated with contact lenses that may improve various aspects of our patients’ lives. The key will be moving these technologies forward and we enthusiastically encourage those in research to continue to think out of the box in this regard. (Click here for one view of the future of contact lenses.) From health-status monitoring contact lenses to contact lenses that may act as intelligent devices, I think our future is bright!
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
B+L Names DiPasquale as Vice President of Sales for U.S. Vision Care Business
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has appointed Greg DiPasquale as vice president of sales for its U.S. Vision Care business. DiPasquale brings more than 25 years of experience in sales management, business development, and strategic planning; both within and outside of the eye care industry. In this role, he is responsible for managing independent, retail, national account and doctor alliances segments, in addition to growing the contact lens and solutions businesses.
Prior to joining B+L, DiPasquale was senior vice president for ZEISS Vision Care, where he was responsible for profit and loss for their eye care professional practice, in addition to managing multiple lab operations and sales personnel throughout the U.S. Before that, he served as executive director of the Schey Sales Centre at the Ohio University College of Business. In that role, he created and ran a curriculum focused on millennial sales trends, retention, and motivation. He also conducted research on personality testing types to maximize sales success, while overseeing the sales certification program.
DiPasquale has a bachelor’s degree in human resources and marketing from Ohio University and holds an executive MBA from Kent State University.
Allergan plc announced that its merger agreement with Pfizer has been terminated by mutual agreement. In connection with the termination of the merger agreement, Pfizer has agreed to pay Allergan $150 million for reimbursement of expenses associated with the transaction.
In a separate statement, Pfizer indicated that the decision was driven by the actions announced by the U.S. Department of Treasury on April 4, 2016, which the companies concluded qualified as an “Adverse Tax Law Change” under the merger agreement.
Based on a preliminary review of the proposed regulations outlined in the U.S. Treasury Notice, Allergan believes that the regulations will have no material impact on the Company's standalone tax rate. Allergan reiterated its compelling standalone growth profile and strategy following the announced termination of the combination of the two companies. Allergan stated that it is positioned to drive strong, sustainable growth powered by leading franchises, new potential blockbuster product launches and unmatched pipeline.
Diversified Ophthalmics Unveils the New Tangentstreak.com
Diversified Ophthalmics Inc. announced a complete redesign of their GP multifocal website, www.tangentstreak.com. The attractive new site incorporates mobile as well as traditional desktop accessibility. Separate patient and practitioner entrances are designed with easy-to navigate menu options.
Patients will find graphics and explanations of how the various Tangent Streak designs differ, and how each may provide the range of crisp vision presbyopes seek. Additionally, patient testimonials, FAQs, and related patient-oriented educational resource links are available.
Practitioners have access to all of the above, plus product specs and fitting guides for the newest GP multifocal, SpectraVue (a translating progressive) and the Tangent Streak AAA (an Anterior Aspheric Add) featuring simultaneous vision. FAQs, practitioner testimonials, and links to practitioner-oriented videos and technical information are available on the site to enhance fitting knowledge and confidence.
Six Six Contacts Now Offers SpecialEyes Custom Soft Lenses in UK
SpecialEyes, LLC has partnered with UK-based specialty contact lens supplier Six Six Contacts to offer precision-fit custom soft contact lenses to eyecare professionals (ECPs) overseas. Six Six Contacts’ ECP customers will have access to online tools to design SpecialEyes 54 Toric, 54 Multifocal, and 54 Bifocal lenses for patients with high refractive errors, irregularly sized/shaped corneas, and/or astigmatism combined with presbyopia.
Six Six Contacts initiated the partnership to help ECPs support patients whose visual needs are not met by standard, off-the-shelf contact lenses. SpecialEyes’ fitting approach addresses factors such as sagittal height, horizontal visible iris diameter (HVID), pupil diameter, and cylinder power, enabling practitioners to design lenses with improved comfort, centration, and visual acuity.
Additionally, Six Six Contacts notes that SpecialEyes’ contact lenses offer several important benefits to ECPs. Because they are not available to the public online, SpecialEyes lenses can help create patient loyalty; and they allow ECPs to market their practice as a “specialty lens” provider, which sets them apart from the competition. In addition, the accuracy of the SpecialEyes fitting process enables practitioners to fit specialty lenses in fewer sessions, improve patient satisfaction, and minimize revenue loss from contact lens dropouts.
Optometry Giving Sight and Vision Source Reach Million Dollar Goal
Optometry Giving Sight announced that the Vision Source Million Dollar Campaign has achieved its target. The campaign, which was initiated in April 2014, sought to increase the amount of funds available to support all of Optometry Giving Sight’s funded projects throughout the world, with a specific focus on the proposed new School of Optometry in Haiti. The target was achieved at the recent Vision Source Exchange meeting in San Antonio.
Clive Miller, CEO of Optometry Giving Sight, also thanked other key sponsors such as Essilor, CooperVision and Bausch + Lomb, and all the practices who participate in their various programs or who have made individual gifts.
The Exchange Meeting was also an opportunity for Optometry Giving Sight to celebrate 59 individuals and practices for their 10 years of continuous monthly giving through their Circle of Sight program. These generous donors were recognized as 2016 Philanthropists of the Year.
Dr. Ted McElroy, SECO President and President and CEO of Vision Source Tifton in Georgia, was also honored with the Practice of the Year award for his long-term support of Optometry Giving Sight; and Drs. Thomas and Susan Quinn of Quinn, Foster & Associates, in Ohio, were honored with the World Sight Day Challenge Achievement award for their staff’s enthusiastic commitment to the Challenge since 2007.
Alcon Commits $2 Million in Support of Think About Your Eyes
Alcon announced its second year of support for the Think About Your Eyes public awareness campaign. Alcon has committed a total of $4 million to Think About Your Eyes since 2014.
The national campaign, presented by The Vision Council and the American Optometric Association, is designed to educate the public about the benefits of eye health and promote the importance of getting an annual comprehensive eye exam. As a Leadership Partner and the only major contact lens manufacturer supporting the campaign, Alcon works closely with Think About Your Eyes to provide insights and educational information to the public about a number of eye care topics.
Annual eye exams in the U.S. grew 3% in 2015, after activation of the Think About Your Eyes national media campaign. The campaign encourages consumers to schedule an eye exam by visiting ThinkAboutYourEyes.com. The site, which has received more than 2 million visitors, features a locator tool where visitors can easily find local eye care providers.
AOA Complaint Urges FDA Enforcement of Device Standards on Vision "App"
The American Optometric Association (AOA) is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take legal action against an online vision test being marketed by Opternative, Inc. without the type of testing and pre-market approvals frequently required of new medical device technology. The Opternative test produces a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses without any examination of the patient by an eye care professional and without taking into account the patient's overall medical condition.
In a detailed complaint now before the FDA, the AOA challenges claims made by Opternative about its product's capabilities, and calls for enforcement action to remove it from the market until it can be shown to meet all appropriate Federal requirements for medical devices under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, including for safety and effectiveness, as determined by Federal officials.
The materials submitted to the FDA also set forth the immediate clinical and patient health considerations that lead the AOA to the conclusion that the Opternative test:
Has a significant potential for yielding inaccurate prescriptions;
Is not adequate to safely yield a contact lens prescription;
Carries a significant risk of the missing of diagnoses of serious eye and general health considerations such as glaucoma, hypertension, cataracts, and macular degeneration; and
Can pose significant health risks to the public.
Dr. Steven A. Loomis, OD, AOA president, says the AOA has taken this action to expose questionable product claims, safeguard public health and maintain the medically recognized standard of care linking a patient's vision and eye health. In bringing these issues to the attention of FDA officials and requesting enforcement action on the public's behalf, the AOA notes that the State of Michigan recently issued a cease and desist order against Opternative for violating the state consumer protection law. Other states are considering possible responses to safeguard public health.
The beauty about the present is that the future is right around the corner. I will admit, I’m not really good about stopping to smell the roses myself, but I am trying. I will also admit, many of us are too busy smelling really old roses when it comes to contact lenses that we fail to look at the new ones in bloom or even think about what is to come next spring. Take a look around whatever it is that you are doing right now. Think about “materials and designs.” As I have consulted with companies outside the eyecare industry who are eager to learn about contact lenses, I see how they look to simplify the things that I am making complicated. They see vision as a simple thing that can be engineered. What they know to be true is that they need to live 15 years from today so that as technology improves, they will be ready to jump on it with whatever it is that they are inventing for the future. The contact lenses of tomorrow are going to be eons ahead of what we have today. They are going to be healthier; they are going to make us see the world, or virtual world, in a whole new way. When it comes to my clinic today, I want to be thinking about my patient’s vision and health tomorrow, not today. How about you, are you fitting your patients with lenses that are modern from yesterday, today or the future? I’d encourage smelling the roses, but only the fresh and new ones.
CARE SOLUTION CORNER Andrew D. Pucker, OD, MS, FAAO
Single-Use Saline Packets
I learned early in my scientific career that there are many types of water; a simple example of this is that grocery stores typically carry distilled and spring water. Water collected from the environment contains many natural minerals and impurities, many of which need to be removed before they are safe for human use.1 Water contents are especially important for scleral contact lens wearers because they directly apply a layer of salt water (saline solution) to their eye during the contact lens insertion process. This layer of fluid is required for maintaining clear vision.2
The market offers multiuse and single-use saline solution options.3 Some multiuse saline solutions contain preservatives for combating microorganisms;3 however, they should be avoided with scleral contact lenses because preservatives can irritate eyes.4 Other multiuse saline solutions are unpreserved, but multiuse bottles are prone to contamination, which also makes them a less desirable options.3 One way to avoid preservatives and contamination is to prescribe single-use saline packets to your scleral contact lens wearers.3 Single-use saline packets are also small, which makes them convenient for keeping at work or for even keeping them in your purse or pocket. This latter feature is particularly helpful for patients who frequently experience mid-day fogging or foreign bodies.2 All these factors make preservative-free, single-use saline packets a better choice for scleral lens wearers.
1. Moore JW, Stanitski CL, Jurs PC. Chemistry : the molecular science. 1st ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers; 2002.
2. Walker MK, Bergmanson JP, Miller WL, Marsack JD, Johnson LA. Complications and fitting challenges associated with scleral contact lenses: A review. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2016 Apr;39(2):88-96.
3. Sweeney DF, Willcox MD, Sansey N, et al. Incidence of contamination of preserved saline solutions during normal use. CLAO J. 1999;25:167-175.
4. Pucker AD, Ng SM, Nichols JJ. Over the counter (OTC) artificial tear drops for dry eye syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Feb 23;2:CD009729.
Epidemiology of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction in an Elderly Population
The researchers wanted to study the epidemiology of meibomian gland (MG) dysfunction in an elderly, predominantly male population.
This was a prospective study of 233 subjects seen in the Miami Veterans Affairs eye clinic. Patients underwent a complete ocular surface examination, including dry eye questionnaires and tear assessments (osmolarity, tear breakup time, corneal staining, Schirmer test). The main outcome measures were correlations between MG parameters and demographics, dry eye symptoms, and tear parameters. The studied MG parameters were eyelid vascularity and meibum quality; a score ≥2 for either parameter was considered abnormal.
Mean age of the 233 subjects was 63 years (SD = 11); 91% were male and 59% had at least 1 abnormal MG parameter (abnormal quality 55%; vascularity 17%). Demographically, patients with abnormal MG parameters were significantly older than their counterparts without these findings. Whites were more likely to have abnormal eyelid vascularity compared with blacks [n = 36 (31%) vs. n = 1 (1%), P < 0.0005] but no differences were noted between races with respect to meibum quality. Abnormal meibum quality, but not abnormal vascularity, was significantly associated with more severe dry eye symptoms. Similarly, abnormal meibum quality, but not eyelid vascularity, was significantly associated with worse dry eye signs, including decreased tear breakup time and increased corneal staining (P < 0.05 for all).
The authors concluded that MG dysfunction is a frequent finding in an elderly, predominantly male population with racial differences noted in the frequency of abnormal eyelid vascularity but not in MG quality. Abnormal meibum quality was significantly associated with more severe dry eye symptoms and signs.
Alghamdi YA, Mercado C, McClellan AL, Batawi H, Karp CL, Galor A. Epidemiology of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction in an Elderly Population. Cornea. 2016 Mar 29. [Epub ahead of print]