The abstract this week is quite fitting for this season of the year. According to pollen.com, the National Allergy Map shows that 25% of the United States is in medium-high status (7.3 to 9.6), with a substantial portion being in the high (9.7 to 12) status; pollen levels are rated on a scale of 0 to 12.
Many of our patients are struggling with the burdensome signs and symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Although patients often think that they can manage this condition by using over-the-counter agents, I have found that patients will benefit more if you are proactive in managing this condition from your office chair. New treatment options will help us help our patients in battling this condition.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Alcon Names Timothy Stonesifer Senior Vice President and CFO
Alcon announced that Timothy C. Stonesifer will join the company as its new senior vice president and CFO, in conjunction with the company’s April 9 spinoff from Novartis. He will report directly to David Endicott, Alcon’s CEO, and will become a member of the executive committee of Alcon.
David Murray, Alcon’s current CFO, has decided for family reasons to return to Europe and remain with Novartis, where he has served in various finance leadership roles since 2001. He will work closely with Mr. Stonesifer through the spinoff to ensure an orderly transition.
Mr. Stonesifer joins Alcon with more than 29 years of global financial and operational experience. He was most recently with Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), where he served as executive vice president and CFO. Prior to his time at HPE, Mr. Stonesifer spent three years in Shanghai, China, as the CFO of General Motors International Operations and also spent 18 years at General Electric in a variety of finance roles.
IACLE Announces Winners of Awards
The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) announced the winners of the 2019 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards, to recognize and reward achievement in contact lens education, and the 2019 IACLE Travel Awards, for members to attend major international meetings. This year’s awards will be presented at events around the world to mark IACLE’s 40th Anniversary.
Thanks to sponsorship from CooperVision—and co-sponsored by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and IACLE—three IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards will be presented, one for each of its three global regions. To receive their awards, winners will travel to the BCLA Clinical Conference in Manchester, United Kingdom. The 2019 IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year is Rubén Velázquez, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City; IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year is Craig Woods, Deakin University in Victoria, Australia; and IACLE Europe/Africa – Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year is Fabrizio Zeri, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca in Milan.
This year, five IACLE Travel Awards—funded by all of IACLE’s industry sponsors (all awards) and co-sponsored by BCLA (one award) and the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE, one award)—will be presented, more than ever before. The 2019 IACLE Travel Awards recipients and the meetings that they will attend are Joseph Afonne, Mzuzu University in Mzuzu, Malawi, BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition; Fakhruddin Barodawala, SEGi University in Petaling Jaya in Malaysia, Asia Pacific Optometric Congress; Maheswari Srinivasan, Shri Prakash Institute of Optometry, Chennai in India, AOCLE Annual Workshop at the Pacific University in Oregon; Wan-Yun (Connie) Tsung, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei, Taiwan, Asia Pacific Optometric Congress; and MA Yuying, Wuxi Occupational Institute of Arts and Technology in Wuxi, China, Asia Pacific Optometric Congress.
Bausch + Lomb Announces the U.S. Launch of Lotemax SM
Bausch + Lomb has begun distributing its Lotemax SM (loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic gel) 0.38% to U.S. pharmaceutical distributors. The company received final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Feb. 22, 2019. Lotemax SM is a corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of postoperative inflammation and pain following ocular surgery.
Alcon Launches Expanded Parameters for Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric Lenses
Alcon has introduced a broader range of parameters for its Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric contact lenses. The new offering of 2,360 parameters includes –2.25D cylinder power, around-the-clock axes in core parameters, and expanded high-minus sphere powers.
The lenses are now available in the following parameters: +4.00D to +0.25D (in 0.25D steps) with –0.75D, –1.25D, and –1.75D cylinder powers in axes of 10º, 20º, 70º, 80º, 90º, 100º, 110º, 160º, 170º, and 180º and with –2.25D cylinder power in axes of 10º, 20º, 160º, 170º, and 180º; plano to –6.00D (in 0.25D steps) with –0.75D, –1.25D, and –1.75D cylinder powers in full circle axes in 10º steps and with –2.25D cylinder power in axes of 10º, 20º, 70º, 80º, 90º, 100º, 110º, 160º, 170º, and 180º; –6.50D to –8.00D (in 0.50D steps) with–0.75D, –1.25D, and –1.75D cylinder powers in axes of 10º, 20º, 70º, 80º, 90º, 100º, 110º, 160º, 170º, and 180º and with –2.25D cylinder power in axes of 10º, 20º, 160º, 170º, and 180º; and –8.50D to –9.00D (in 0.50D steps) with –0.75D, –1.25D, and –1.75D cylinder powers in axes of 10º, 20º, 70º, 80º, 90º, 100º, 110º, 160º, 170º, and 180º and with –2.25D cylinder power in axes of 10º, 20º, 160º, 170º, and 180º.
According to Alcon, Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric contact lenses also provide dual stability, which includes tear film and on-eye stability. The lenses also include the Precision Curve Lens Design, which is a dual thin-zone design that allows both eyelids to apply equal pressure to keep the lens in the correct position, according to the company.
There will be no change in list pricing for the newly added parameters.
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Announces Investments of $5 Million to Support U.S. Avenova Commercialization Strategy
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on commercializing prescription Avenova for the domestic eyecare market, announced investments totaling $5 million to support the recent strategic shift in its U.S. commercialization strategy aimed at driving growth in Avenova sales while maintaining cost effectiveness.
The investments include a convertible loan of $2 million from Ascendiant Capital Markets and Chicago Venture Partners. Additionally, Triton Funds LP has committed to making an equity investment of up to $3 million.
NORA Offers Complimentary Subscriptions for New Weekly Newsletter
The Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association International (NORA) is offering its weekly email news briefing, NORA Weekly Digest, free to eyecare and allied healthcare professionals interested in the area of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.
The newsletter, developed in partnership with Bulletin Healthcare, provides an unfiltered look at news relevant to those interested in the area of medical and/or functional optometric rehabilitation services for patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, or due to a medical condition such as stroke, tumor, aneurism, meningitis, cerebral palsy, or other neurological insults.
CooperVision Rochester-Area Sites Operating with 100% Renewable Electricity
Taking yet another step to succeed with sustainability in mind, CooperVision has converted its three Rochester, NY-area sites to 100% renewable electricity usage. These include the Scottsville contact lens manufacturing plant, the West Henrietta global packaging and distribution operation, and the Victor commercial center.
The company began moving to electrical power using renewable energy certificates (RECs) two years ago in Rochester. The sites now completely rely on wind-derived electricity via RECs, a choice made by CooperVision because of wind generation’s prominence in New York State.
Art Optical Obtains MDSAP Certification
Art Optical has announced that it has obtained Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) certification.
Recognizing that a global approach to auditing and monitoring the manufacturing of medical devices could improve their safety on an international scale, the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) initiated the preparation for the MDSAP. In addition to the United States, the countries participating in this comprehensive approach to quality system auditing include Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Canada. MDSAP became mandatory for Class II, III, and IV medical devices in Canada as of Jan. 1, 2019. Art Optical successfully completed the certification assessment in July 2018, but due to regulatory backlog was only recently awarded the official certification notice.
Art Optical is also registered with Health Canada and maintains ISO 13485-2016 certification.
Do you feel that it is necessary to have an optical coherence tomography (OCT) image to fit scleral contact lenses?
This image shows a cornea of patient who has Reis-Buckler’s dystrophy, also known as corneal dystrophy of the Bowman layer, type I. I was very happy to see that this patient did not have any fogging inside or out one month after his or her initial scleral lens fitting.
We thank Kyriakos Telamitsi for this image and welcome photo submissions from our other readers! It is easy to submit a photo for consideration for publishing in Contact Lenses Today. Simply visit http://www.cltoday.com/upload/upload.aspx to upload your image. Please include a detailed explanation of the photo and your full name, degree or title, and city/state/country.
SPECIALTY LENS SPACE
Karen DeLoss, OD
A Recipe Worth Trying?
In the past several years, autologous serum eye drops (ASDs) have increased in popularity as an adjunct therapy for several ocular surface conditions, such as severe dry eye, that have not responded to other common palliative treatments. The benefits of ASDs are multifactorial.1 The mechanism of action is the stimulation of cellular proliferation and migration by supplying an active mixture of growth factors and cytokines at the ocular surface, thus mimicking the function of the lacking natural tears.2 I am frequently asked whether this therapy can be used in conjunction with contact lenses. My answer: It’s complicated.
Common ophthalmic preparations include concentrations of 20% to 50% autologous serum and vary among providers.3 Typically derived from a patient’s own blood, it coagulates and is centrifuged down to the specified serum and bottled with sterile saline.4 The drops are not preserved and thus pose a risk for contamination.
While many publications focus on the use of ASDs with bandage contact lenses for treatment of persistent defects,1,5,6 use of ASDs with specialty lenses and scleral contact lenses is controversial. A wide variety of publications discuss contamination of ASDs;7,8 thus, using this therapy in the setting of specialty contact lenses is entering into uncharted waters and poses a risk to patients.
1. Lee YK, Lin YC, Tsai SH, Chen WL, Chen YM. Therapeutic outcomes of combined topical autologous serum eye drops with silicone–hydrogel soft contact lenses in the treatment of corneal persistent epithelial defects: A preliminary study. Contact Lens Anterior Eye. 2016 Dec;39:425-430.
2. Giannaccare G, Versura P, Buzzi, M, Primavera L, Pellegrini M, Campos EC. Blood derived eye drops for the treatment of cornea and ocular surface diseases. Transfus Apher Sci. 2017 Aug;56:595-604.
3. Brennan K. Thicker than Water: Autologous Serum. Rev Ophthalmol. 2016 Nov 5. Available at https://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/article/thicker-than-water-autologous-serum. Accessed on April 4, 2019.
4. Geerling G, Maclennan S, Hartwig D. Autologous serum eye drops for ocular surface disorders. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004 Nov;88:1467-1474.
5. Schrader S, Wedel T, Moll T, Geerling G. Combination of serum eye drops with hydrogel bandage contact lenses in the treatment of persistent epithelial defects. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2006 Oct;244:1345-1349.
6. Wang WY, Lee YK, Tsai SH, Lin YC, Chen YM. Autologous Serum Eye Drops Combined With Silicone Hydrogen Lenses for the Treatment of Postinfectious Corneal Persistent Epithelial Defects. Eye Contact Lens. 2017 Jul;43:225-229.
7. Leite SC, de Castro M, Alves, M, et al. Risk factors and characteristics of ocular complications, and efficacy of autologous serum tears after haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2006 Aug;38:223-227.
8. Thanathanee O, Phanphruk, Anutarapongpan O, Romphruk A, Suwan-Apichon O. Contamination risk of 100% autologous serum eye drops management of ocular surface diseases. Cornea. 2013 Aug;32:1116-1119.
MATERIALS & DESIGNS
David L. Kading, OD
What’s Your Myopia Management Plan?
In the wonderful world in which we live, practitioners and patients are riding a wave of excitement regarding myopia management. At my office, we look to many methods for management from orthokeratology to vision therapy to atropine to soft multifocals. Additionally, we like to work alongside parents and children to better understand the environmental and genetic factors influencing myopia.
So, what are you doing about myopia management? If you have not given it much thought in the last year, it is time to revisit the topic. Evidence is continually coming out about the beneficial effects of treatment. I would encourage you to go back and review some of the amazing articles written in last month’s Contact Lens Spectrum about methods of myopia management. The disease of myopia is progressing, and it’s time for each of us to progress in our knowledge and treatment of it as well.
Management of Ocular Allergy Itch With an Antihistamine-Releasing Contact Lens
The purpose of this study was to test a contact lens (CL)-based drug delivery system for therapeutic delivery of the antihistamine ketotifen in two parallel, conjunctival allergen challenge-based trials.
Both trials employed the same multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled protocol. Test lenses were etafilcon A with 0.019mg ketotifen; control lenses were etafilcon A with no added drug. Subjects were randomized into three treatment groups. Group 1 received a test lens in one eye and a control lens in the contralateral eye; the eye chosen to receive the test lens was randomly selected in a 1:1 ratio. Group 2 received test lenses bilaterally, and group 3 received control lenses bilaterally. Allergen challenges were conducted on two separate visits; following lens application, the subjects were challenged at 15 minutes (to test onset) and at 12 hours (to test duration). The primary endpoint was ocular itching measured using a 0 to 4 scale with half-unit steps. Secondary endpoints included ciliary, conjunctival, and episcleral hyperemia.
Results showed that the mean itching scores were lower for eyes wearing the test lens as compared to those that received control lenses, indicating that the test lens effectively reduced allergic responses. Mean differences in itching were statistically and clinically significant (mean score difference ≥ 1) at both onset and duration for both trials.
This large-scale assessment (n = 244) is the first demonstration of efficacy for CL delivery of a therapeutic for ocular allergy. Results are comparable to direct topical drug delivery and suggest that the lens/ketotifen combination can provide a means of simultaneous vision correction and treatment for CL wearers who have ocular allergies.
Pall B, Gomes P, Yi F, Torkildsen G. Management of Ocular Allergy Itch With an Antihistamine-Releasing Contact Lens. Cornea. 2019 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]