There is no doubt that COVID-19 has affected you, your practices, your patients, and communities. That said, we continue to hear amazing ways that your practices have remained productive and busy. These are tremendously helpful to share, and we would like to facilitate that. If you have tips that you would like to share along these lines, please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, and stay vigilant in the fight against the pandemic.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Visibly Offers Free Telehealth Vision Tests During COVID-19 Pandemic
Visibly announced that it will provide eyecare practitioners (ECPs) free access to its virtual vision test technology to ensure that patients can meet their eye health needs during this unprecedented time. According to the company, it connects consumers with licensed ECPs for a vision test without the need for an in-person appointment. The technology can be accessed regardless of whether patients are online from their home or workplace or in a brick-and-mortar retail setting, allowing them to complete a vision test in 10 minutes or less, according to Visibly. The company also says that the easy-to-use technology results in a valid prescription signed by a licensed ECP that can be used to purchase glasses or contact lenses from any retailer without any lapse in service. Eyecare professionals can access this technology for free by emailing email@example.com.
Eyecare Business Releases “The COVID-19 + ECPs Study” Wave #2 Results
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals to Distribute COVID-19 Antibody Rapid Point-of-Care Test
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced an agreement with Shenzhen Microprofit Biotech Co., Ltd. to become the exclusive U.S. distributor of a rapid, finger prick test to determine the presence of COVID-19 or a potential indication of antibody immunity to COVID-19. The fluorecare SARS-CoV-2 IgG & IgM Antibody Combined (colloidal gold chromatographic immunoassay) Test Kit uses a drop of blood for the detection of COVID-19 antibodies, with results available in approximately 10 minutes. The fluorecare test kit has been ISO 13485 and CE Mark certified.
NovaBay will submit the fluorecare test kit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under Emergency Authorization Use (EAU). The company will also submit the fluorecare test kit for permanent FDA 510(k) clearance so that the test kit can continue to be used once the state of emergency has been declared over by the Federal Government. Because these test kits are one of the first few test kits of their kind to be reviewed by the FDA, NovaBay cannot assure a timeline for FDA review and/or clearance for commercial marketing of the fluorecare test kit in the United States under EAU or 510(k), or whether clearance will be granted at all.
FDA Authorizes First Test for Patient At-Home Sample Collection
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19. Specifically, the FDA reissued the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit.
This reissued EUA for LabCorp’s molecular test permits testing of a sample collected from a patient’s nose using a designated self-collection kit that contains nasal swabs and saline. Once patients self-swab to collect their nasal sample, they mail their sample, in an insulated package, to a LabCorp lab for testing. LabCorp intends to make the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kits available to consumers in most states, with a physician’s order, in the coming weeks.
CooperVision to Provide Free Shipping
CooperVision, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is providing free shipping for direct-to-patient contact lens delivery of any two boxes or more via FedEx 2-Day Air or USPS on the patients’ OD’s behalf; providing reimbursement for Authorized Distributors to participate in the direct-to-patient delivery program; honoring patient rebates for an early annual supply purchase or to extend prescriptions on a case-by-case basis; and extending payment terms on current pending invoices. For additional information, reach out to your sales representative or to CooperVision’s customer service team at (800) 341-2020.
For the most up-to-date COVID-19 news and tips for eyecare providers, visit bit.ly/2WxiFbA.
And, you can now sign up to receive the weekly PentaVision COVID-19 News Roundup newsletter, a joint publication from Contact Lens Spectrum, Eyecare Business, and Optometric Management.
“Open Your Eyes” to Be Premiered Online
The worldwide optometry community is set to gather virtually for the premiere screening of the documentary Open Your Eyes on April 29 at 8:00 pm ET. The film shines a light on the important role of the eyecare practitioner as an integral part of healthcare. It highlights the importance of testing of the eye in thwarting the rise of 300 systemic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, myopia, and Alzheimer’s, which can be identified through an eye examination. The show will feature virtual audience interaction during the screening and a live Q&A with Kerry Gelb, OD, at the conclusion of the screening. This premiere will not be available on demand. To register, visit https://oye.odwire.org.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Appoints Rajesh K. Rajpal, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Johnson & Johnson Vision has appointed Rajesh K. Rajpal, MD, as chief medical officer and global head of Clinical and Medical Affairs. In this role, Dr. Rajpal will lead the integration of rapidly evolving medical and clinical insights into new product development to address unmet needs of patients and eyecare professionals around the world. He will also oversee clinical trials and the generation of surgical and vision care evidence and will serve as the critical liaison to government agencies and to the academic, scientific, and industry communities.
For more 25 years, Dr. Rajpal has specialized in cataract surgery, cornea/external diseases, anterior segment surgery, laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), and refractive surgery.
Dr. Rajpal joins Johnson & Johnson Vision from Avedro, where he served as chief medical officer. In addition to being part of the senior executive team, he directly oversaw clinical operations, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, and professional relations for professional societies and clinicians.
In Memoriam: Gordon Israel Harris, OD
Dr. Gordon Israel Harris died on April 13. After earning his optometry degree from Columbia University, Dr. Harris practiced on Long Island, NY his entire career, beginning with adding optometric services to the store run by his father and optician Seymour Harris. Within the profession of optometry, he distinguished himself as a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and as a Diplomate in its Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Section. For nearly his entire career, he was involved in optometric research and education, beginning by being part of the research team at the Optometric Center of New York headed by Dr. William Ludlam.
He built and calibrated many of the unique instruments developed for the longitudinal myopia research project, which spanned the 1960s and early 1970s. He moved onto the faculty of the State University of New York, State College of Optometry as it was founded in the early 1970s and taught in the labs and worked in the clinic, while also serving the research work by continuing to develop instruments to measure different aspects of the eye and visual system.
Outside of work, he was involved for 65 years in Kiwanis. His other pursuits including singing in the Huntington Men’s Chorus, bowling, the Model A Ford Club, and photography.
He is survived by his two sons, Paul Alan Harris and Louis David Harris, and his companion, Barbara Macchiaroli.
Alcon Names Lisa Praeger as Vice President of U.S. Vision Care Sales
Alcon has named Lisa Praeger as its new vice president of U.S. vision care sales. She succeeds Ben Nobles, who has retired after 28 years at Alcon. Praeger joined Alcon in 1989 as a vision care sales representative in San Francisco. She has held sales and leadership positions in pharma, vision care, surgical, and, most recently, U.S. commercial operations.
Topcon Singapore Medical Announces Its New Managing Director
Topcon Singapore Medical Pte. Ltd. (TSM) has announced that Leo Hiroshi Nagatake, who is currently leading Topcon Healthcare Solutions Asia Pacific (THSAP), has been appointed as TSM’s new managing director. Mr. Nagatake succeeds Calvin Lee, the former managing director of TSM, who retired in the end of March 2020.
Over the next several months, do you anticipate prescribing more daily disposables than you have in the last year?
This 67-year-old male, who was referred by a cornea specialist, presented with a corneal scar OS, likely resulting from previous infection (type unknown). His spectacle best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was 20/400. He also reported that when he tilts his head, he can see better (probably seeing around the scar). He was not familiar with contact lenses but was willing to try them. Fitting with a scleral lens achieved 20/25 visual acuity, allowing him to retain his commercial driver’s license (CDL license) and his source of income and to avoid a surgical procedure such as deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) or phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK).
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SPECIALTY LENS SPACE
Karen DeLoss, OD
These are certainly strange and unique times during this worldwide pandemic. The uncertainty may be unsettling for some; for others, it presents opportunity. If anything, we have rapidly had to adjust how we care for our patients and manage our practices. For many, alternatives to in-office visits in the form of telehealth have become imperative. Telephone visits have certainly increased, and platforms for video visits or “e-visits” have allowed eyecare practitioners to reach out to patients. Of course, this has not eradicated the valuable in-person/in-office visits.
In addition to providing alternatives to patient care, many of us have been inundated with a variety of continuing education online courses. These courses may provide education on how to optimize tools and programs of diagnostic equipment and tools that we may already have in our offices. Other courses provide an opportunity to finally learn about specialty lenses—whether new designs or revisiting those that we have not used in some time. Additionally, this time may also be an opportunity to refresh our knowledge of coding and billing of medically necessary contact lenses or to brush up on fine details.
Alternatively, we can go back to the basics. Reviewing some of the basics of specialty lenses can be helpful to ensure that we are still up to speed on our skills and to ensure that we have not developed any bad habits. We can also reassure ourselves that we are providing the best possible fit for our patients, which is, of course, everyone’s objective. Certainly, many of us are performing double, triple, or quadruple duty as parents, teachers, cooks, etc. in addition to our work duties. It can be helpful to think of this time as an opportunity to hit the refresh button.
MATERIALS & DESIGNS
David L. Kading, OD
You Should Try Lenses Again
Most practices that do primary care optometry are able to convert between 20% to 30% of their patients into contact lenses. Research has shown that many patients have tried contact lenses and then stopped wearing them. That means that well over 30% of the patients in our exam rooms fall into the category of having worn lenses or currently wearing lenses; another 5% to 10% (or more) would like to wear lenses.
Historically, monthly and two-week lenses locked people into being full-time wearers, but daily lenses have opened up a whole new way of wearing lenses. Before, patients who used to wear lenses likely wore them full time and then had to stop because of comfort or vision. Now, they wish they could go back to those glasses-free days. These patients would love to hear that “contact lenses would be a great option for you to wear on a part-time, occasional-wear basis.” This alternative needs to be presented, and your patients will be grateful that you brought it up.
How Does Coronavirus Kill? Clinicians Trace a Ferocious Rampage Through the Body, From Brain to Toes
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 surges past 2.2 million globally and deaths surpass 150,000, clinicians and pathologists are struggling to understand the damage wrought by the coronavirus as it tears through the body. They are realizing that although the lungs are ground zero, its reach can extend to many organs including the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, gut, and brain. Understanding the rampage could help the practitioners on the front lines treat the fraction of infected people who become desperately and sometimes mysteriously ill. This article is a snapshot of the fast-evolving understanding of how the virus attacks cells around the body, especially in the roughly 5% of patients who become critically ill.
The authors noted that despite the more than 1,000 papers now spilling into journals and onto preprint servers every week, a clear picture is elusive, as the virus acts like no pathogen humanity has ever seen. Without larger, prospective controlled studies that are only now being launched, scientists must pull information from small studies and case reports, often published at warp speed and not yet peer reviewed.