In last week’s editorial, we asked you for tips and ideas on how you have kept your practices busy during the pandemic when you are not providing emergent care. This week, we would like to get your thoughts about how you are preparing to or have adjusted your practices with regard to ramping back up again on non-emergent care since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rescinded its March 17 recommendation to postpone routine eye care (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-flexibility-reopen-essential-non-covid-services.pdf). Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Timeline Adjusted for Tusculum’s Niswonger College of Optometry
Onset of the coronavirus and uncertainty of its end have altered plans and schedules in education, business, government, and many aspects of people’s personal lives, and this environment is leading Tusculum University in Tennessee to temporarily modify one of its planned programs. The university is pausing its efforts to launch the Niswonger College of Optometry due to COVID-19-driven changes in the optometry delivery care system and likely timetable for the accrediting body that is reviewing Tusculum’s plans.
The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) in 2019 designated the College of Optometry as a Stage 2 applicant, which is not a pre-accreditation or accreditation status but rather a step toward potential accreditation. The next step was a site visit from the ACOE. Circumstances do not allow for Tusculum to schedule the site visit for summer 2020 as planned. Tusculum cannot begin recruiting students until the site visit is complete and the ACOE has granted preliminary approval of accreditation.
In addition, eyecare practices across the nation have scaled back on patient visits, except for urgent cases. As part of the pre-accreditation process for the College of Optometry, Tusculum will need to demonstrate that it has established a patient base and achieved a certain number of contact visits with its faculty. Tusculum would have had difficulty meeting required patient numbers in the current pandemic environment. Because of these circumstances, Tusculum is furloughing faculty and administrators who are working solely in the optometry program until the program can be re-evaluated.
COVIDEyeFacts.org Adds More Resources
The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) has updated COVIDEyeFacts.org, its website focused on providing evidence-based guidance regarding COVID-19 and contact lenses, with more resources for eyecare professionals and wearers. The site now offers translated versions of its Contact Lens Wear and Coronavirus infographic, which presents the five facts that wearers need to know during the pandemic. High-resolution PDF files suitable for download, social media, and printing are available in 17 languages, with additional languages pending; Euromcontact helped coordinate.
It also has an animated 60-second white board video that explains five facts for contact lens and spectacles wearers, based on the newly published peer-reviewed paper, in an engaging way. The site has individual videos with each author of “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners,” published this month in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, as well as an extended, moderated “Behind the Science” video discussion with all five paper authors about their work.
X-Cel Launches the Bounce Back Program
X-Cel Specialty Contacts has launched the Bounce Back program, a comprehensive offering to support specialty contact lens practices and patients in efforts to reignite and reinvent the “new normal” for their business and to recover from COVID-19.
The Bounce Back program includes patient recall support, simplified ordering with free add-ons, extended warranties to 120 days, reduced prices on fitting sets and spare lenses, shipping discounts through USPS First Class mail, and direct shipments to patients as well as ongoing educational events.
The Summit in Rome to Be Virtual
Given the current global circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the physical meeting of The Summit in Rome, a specialty lens conference designed for optometrists, ophthalmologists, and contact lens practitioners that had been scheduled for Sept. 4 to 6, 2020, has been cancelled. Instead, the Summit 2020 will be providing a series of free one-hour meetings on Zoom to maintain momentum for a future conference in Rome.
The Summit agenda includes one day designed for pre-track, society-based lectures and sponsor presentations; one day devoted to myopia control options and orthokeratology; and one day discussing specialty contact lens-related topics, such as scleral lenses, dry eye/ocular surface disease, corneal lenses, and hybrid contact lenses. A detailed program will be published shortly. Additional information can be found at http://www.thesummit-ssc.com.
Walman Introduces Grand Reopening Playbook
Walman has assembled a set of checklists and best practice ideas to spur discussion on what will work best in your practice and in your circumstances, keeping in mind health and safety in the time of COVID-19. The intent is to provide this structure and collection of ideas for a virtual meeting with a Walman Account Manager to walk through what will work best for each individual practice and also to discuss how Walman can help.
In addition, Ado Practice Solutions, a Walman division, has introduced a new marketing program, Rebound powered by Done4You Marketing. This new program was designed to extend a helping hand to independent eyecare providers as they try to counter the effects of COVID-19 and implement a successful grand reopening plan. According to Ado, its team will be creating and implementing strategies that will boost patient engagement, increase revenue opportunities, and focus on the profitability of practices pre-opening, reopening, and post-reopening. Practitioners can download a copy of the guide at https://www.walman.com/grand-reopening-playbook.
IAPB Announces Postponement of Global Assembly 2020
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) announced that it will postpone its flagship event, the IAPB Global Assembly, originally scheduled for Oct. 12 to 14, 2020, to Oct. 11 to 13, 2021. The agency is working very closely with the event hosts in Singapore, the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). The Global Assembly in 2021 will be hosted in Singapore, and IAPB is looking forward to working with SERI on the preparations in the coming months.
Solutionreach announced the release of its SR Telehealth solution to help providers remain HIPAA-compliant while streamlining the process of virtual visits from scheduling through the encounter. With the addition of SR Telehealth, Solutionreach brings the fragmented processes around scheduling, intake, and pre-visit screening; appointment reminders; and the actual telehealth encounter into a single, seamless experience, according to the company.
SR Telehealth features include the ability to offer virtual visit appointment types that can be scheduled through online scheduling from Solutionreach or a third party; provide instructions for the telehealth visits conducted through SR Telehealth or a third-party in a text or email appointment reminder; send links for third-party telehealth in text and email reminders; send a link via text message for a secure video visit using SR Telehealth, ahead of time or on-demand; conduct HIPAA-compliant, high-resolution virtual visits launched through SMS; automatically send out post-visit surveys for telehealth appointments conducted through SR Telehealth video or third-party tools; and integrate with many practice management systems and electronic health records (EHRs) to pull patient, appointment, and schedule information for a more streamlined workflow.
Solutionreach is also offering a professional implementation service. This add-on support service will help providers implement the technology, along with best practices around change management and workflow, and roll it out successfully to their staff and patients.
SR Telehealth is included with the Solutionreach and SR Health platforms at no additional cost until July 31, 2020.
DawesTalk to Debut on May 6
DawesTalk, moderated by practice development expert James Dawes, is a weekly program designed to help audience members understand the real challenges of eye care today while introducing them to technology-based solutions that will propel practices into the post-COVID world. The program features informed discussion on all elements of the patient visit. Beginning May 6, DawesTalk will be presented every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT. This week’s discussion will be on reinventing the eye exam and surgical consult post-COVID-19. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN.
Eaglet Eye Announces New Payment Plan
Eaglet Eye announced a new payment plan for the Eye Surface Profiler to help address the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on specialty practices. Effective immediately, Eaglet Eye will offer a payment plan that allows for about 50% of the purchase price to be paid monthly over six months at no interest.
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.
Patent Issued for Ultra-High-Permeability Contact Lens Material
Acuity Polymers announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. Patent No. 10,633,472 relating to an ultra-high-Dk GP material for use in contact lenses. Acuity Polymers’ patent is issued for a method utilizing specialized temperature-pressure conditions sufficient to provide an ultra-high-permeability material.
Mojo Vision Raises Additional $51 Million+ in Series B-1 Round
Mojo Vision announced that it has raised more than $51 million in a Series B-1 investment round for the development of its smart contact lens, Mojo Lens. This new round brings Mojo Vision’s total funding to date to more than $159 million. Mojo Lens is currently in the research and development phase and is not available for sale anywhere in the world.
Mojo Vision’s latest round of funding was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from top strategic investors and venture firms including Gradient Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Liberty Global Ventures, Struck Capital, Dolby Family Ventures, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Fusion Fund, Intellectus Partners, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, Numbase Group, InFocus Capital Partners, and others.
Mojo also announced that Greg Papadopoulos, PhD, venture partner at NEA, will join its board of directors. Dr. Papadopoulos and NEA co-led the seed round in Mojo Vision along with CEO and co-founder Drew Perkins. Prior to NEA, Dr. Papadopoulos was executive vice president and chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems. Prior to that, he was an associate professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
BHVI Launches Online Staff Training Program in Myopia Management
Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has launched its first staff myopia management training course through its Myopia Education Program. The Managing Myopia for Practice Staff is designed to help practices successfully integrate myopia management through dedicated staff training. On April 24, BHVI opened 300 spaces in its Managing Myopia for Practice Staff course at no cost.
Managing Myopia for Practice Staff draws on knowledge from the world-leading myopia specialists and translates the expertise to easy-to-use, time- and cost-efficient, self-paced learning programs. The program is now available through BHVI’s Myopia Education Program portal.
Patented IRPL Technology Now Available in Canada
I-Med Pharma Inc. announced Health Canada approval for the E>Eye Laser, which is now available to Canadian eyecare professionals. With exclusive Canadian distribution rights, I-Med Pharma is excited to bring this exceptional device to the Canadian marketplace.
E>Eye, designed and manufactured in France by E-Swin, is a CE-certified medical device using patented intense regulated pulsed light (IRPL) technology developed specifically for the treatment of dry eye disease caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). According to the company, this type of polychromatic pulsed light produces perfectly calibrated and homogeneously sequenced “cold light” pulses, which safely stimulate the meibomian glands to resume secretions, restoring the lacrimal film and improving symptoms associated with ocular dryness.
SECO University Launches Live CE Webinar Series
SECO University launched SECO Live continuing education (CE) Webinars approved by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) for live CE. SECO Live launched with nine for-credit courses (13 hours of CE) as COPE has approved live CE online through June 30, 2020. In addition, SECO Live held two practice management “how-to” sessions on teleoptometry and setting up an online e-store.
All revenue generated from members participating in the new live CE webinars, as well as annual subscriptions, are split among the participating 13 member states. In addition to member states, the Association of Optometrists (UK), British Columbia Doctors of Optometry, and the South African Optometric Association have also partnered with SECO University. For more information about SECO LIVE CE or to register for the remaining courses, visit secouniversity.com/webinar-series.
Corneal GP Lens Fitting Free Webinar
Essilor Custom Contact Lens Specialists is continuing its “Focus on Education” webinar series with “Back to the Basics - Corneal GP Lens Fitting,” on May 19 at 8:00 p.m. EST, presented by Jason Jedlicka, OD. This course will cover foundational GP prescribing concepts such as base curve, diameter, and material selection; peripheral curve and edge concepts; and manipulation of parameters to adjust fit and resolve issues. To register, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7370678857954490640.
CXL Ophthalmics Appoints Jonathan H. Talamo, MD, to Its Board of Managers
CXL Ophthalmics announced the appointment of Jonathan H. Talamo, MD, to its Board of Managers. Dr. Talamo was most recently chief medical officer and worldwide vice president of Clinical and Medical Affairs at Johnson & Johnson Vision. While at Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dr. Talamo helped lead the integration of Abbott Medical Optics as well as the development and launch of numerous innovative products. Prior to his work at Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Talamo served as chief medical officer at Ocular Therapeutix.
The CDC is relaxing its recommendation to postpone routine eyecare and to use CMS guidance for re-opening facilities. How fast do you plan to ramp up clinical activities for non-emergent eye care?
This image shows corneal perforation in a patient who had Mooren’s Ulcer. The patient did not feel anything and was just in the clinic for a contact lens fitting. He was sent back to the referring corneal specialist for management.
We thank Dr. Romualdez 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.
S. Barry Eiden, OD
A Comprehensive Review of Overnight Orthokeratology/Corneal Reshaping
The first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for overnight orthokeratology (ortho-k)/corneal reshaping was received in 2002. Since then, eyecare practitioners began to embrace the treatment technology in greater numbers. With evidence suggesting the value of ortho-k in controlling myopia progression, the application of the treatment found its most significant home. A recent publication compiled available evidence-based and peer-reviewed literature pertaining to the efficacy of overnight ortho-k for myopia control as well as safety concerns regarding the treatment.1 The article cited 130 published articles and reviewed specific subtopics such as historical perspectives, regulatory developments, mechanisms of action, efficacy for myopia control, sustainability following discontinuation of treatment, safety of overnight ortho-k, and future directions for treatment.
Today, we have at least three evidence-based treatments to control the progression of myopia (overnight ortho-k/corneal reshaping, daytime-wear multifocal contact lenses, and atropine therapy). New spectacle lens designs in development also hold great promise to become the fourth effective treatment modality. Overnight ortho-k has numerous attractive elements that make it a treatment of choice for many patients. This article is an important review of the current literature and evidence associated with contemporary overnight ortho-k and should be “required reading” for all of us involved in myopia management.
1. Bullimore MA, Johnson LA. Overnight orthokeratology. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2020 Apr 21. [Epub ahead of print]
OCULAR SURFACE UPDATE
Katherine Mastrota, MS, OD
I Am Really Not Sure
Q: Creamy concealers, waxy eye pencils, wet mascaras, pencil eyeliners, slabs of mineral-containing eye shadows, rouge, bronzers, contouring powders, lipsticks, lip liners and lip glosses, false eyelashes, and the rubbery glue used to affix them are all applied to the COVID-19 “no touch zones” of the face (eyes, nose, and mouth). What do we advise our patients regarding the application of multiuse cosmetic products in terms of pandemic infection control?
A: I’m really not sure.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed how long coronavirus can last on various surfaces.1 According to its report, the virus can live for up to four hours on copper, up to a day on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. These time frames are also affected by temperature and humidity.1 However, it’s less clear whether the virus can live on actual makeup itself, according to a Columbia University virologist.2
Although there is no data to cite regarding makeup use and its risk of harboring or spreading viral disease (particularly the one that causes COVID-19), some basic precautions seem reasonable.2
* Wash your hands before applying makeup.
* Use an applicator to remove creams from jars and not your fingertips. Don’t double dip.
* Keep tubes, compacts, jars, and other makeup containers clean and stored properly.
* Wash makeup brushes regularly with warm, soapy water and dry well (air dry, or I use my hairdryer), and replace makeup sponges or invest in an ultraviolet (UV) sterilizer.
* It is probably best to dispose of cosmetics that you applied if you were ill; however, there is no consensus regarding this.
* Wash off your makeup at the end of the day.
Could Telehealth Help Eye Care Practitioners Adapt Contact Lens Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated government-imposed restrictions on social interactions and travel. For many, the guidance has led to new ways of working, most notably a shift toward working remotely. While eyecare practitioners (ECPs) may continue to provide urgent or emergency eye care, in many cases the travel restrictions present a unique challenge by preventing conventional face-to-face examination. Telephone triage provides a useful starting point for establishing at-risk and emergency patients; but patient examination is central to contact lens patient care.
The indeterminate period over which conventional practice will be suspended, and the risk that resumption of “normal” practice could be impeded by a potential secondary peak in COVID-19 cases, hastens the need for practitioners to adapt their delivery of eye care. Specifically, it is prudent to reflect upon supportive evidence for more comprehensive approaches to teleoptometry in contact lens practice.
Smartphone-based ocular imaging is an area that has seen considerable growth, particularly for imaging the posterior eye. Smartphone imaging of the anterior eye requires additional specialized instrumentation unlikely to be available to patients at home. Further, there is only limited evidence for self-administered image capture. In general, digital photographs are useful for detection of gross anterior eye changes, but subtle changes are less discernible.
For the assessment of visual acuity, many electronic test charts have been validated for use by practitioners. Research into self-administered visual acuity measures remains limited.
The absence of a comprehensive evidence base for teleoptometry limits ECPs, particularly during this pandemic. Knowledge gaps ought to be addressed to facilitate development of optometry-specific evidence-based guidance for telecare. In particular, advances in ocular self-imaging could help move this field forward.
Nagra M, Vianya-Estopa M, Wolffsohn JS. Could Telehealth Help Eye Care Practitioners Adapt Contact Lens Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2020 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print]