This is the time of year that our editorial team at Contact Lens Spectrum begins planning its 2021 editorial calendar. As always, we solicit editorial ideas from both our team of contributing editors and editorial staff as well as from our readership. Please let us know whether you have ideas for articles, content, or authors for next year. We look forward to hearing from you in this regard. Email us at email@example.com.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Reopen Eyecare Website Launches
Reopeneyecare.com, a new digital platform designed to help eyecare providers navigate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses, launched. Featuring content specially curated by a taskforce of vision community leaders and sponsored by The Vision Council, the website is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource to help eyecare providers navigate the complex journey from shutdown back to “new normal” business conditions, with practical insights and a collection of best practices, protocols, tools, and tips for reopening a practice and maintaining its health until conditions improve.
The website features an intuitive display and is divided into seven sections. “The Landscape” has detailed information on national COVID-19 data and trends. “Setting Your Course” breaks down the process of developing a strategy to navigate the implications of COVID-19 and provides tips on how to communicate with patients and strengthen relationships. “Financing the Journey” features an interactive cashflow calculator and explains how to calculate cash flow and how to manage and generate cash, and it includes financial best practices and checklists. “Roadmap to Reopening” details what eyecare providers need to know to begin seeing patients again while keeping both patients and staff safe. “Leading the Way” provides tips on how to manage, motivate, and compensate staff during a difficult time when strong, inspiring leadership is essential. “Rules, Regulations and Requirements” highlights state and local rules, professional guidelines, liability issues, and employment law. Finally, “Industry Data” contains the latest industry research pertaining to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the vision industry, with insightful analysis and key takeaways.
X-Cel Offers Scleral Patient Kit with Every Spare Pair Purchase
X-Cel Specialty Contacts added a free Atlantis Scleral Patient Kit to its Bounce Back to Business program. The Atlantis patient kit is a travel-sized, mirrored kit that contains application and removal devices, a contact lens case, and Addipak (Teleflex Inc.) unpreserved saline.
The patient kit will be included free of charge with any Atlantis spare pair purchase. As part of the Bounce Back program, X-Cel has also removed the 90-day window from its spare pair program and will honor the spare pair pricing for any Atlantis lenses purchased within the last year. The spare pair program extension and free kit will run through Aug. 31, 2020.
CooperVision to Host “Best Practices to Get You Back to Practice” Webinar Series
CooperVision has begun hosting a webinar series, “Best Practices to Get You Back to Practice,” featuring its Best Practices program honorees. Each of the six webinars will feature two eyecare professionals from CooperVision’s Best Practices initiative. During the webinars, the honorees—who span the program’s five years—will provide insights on various topics relevant to practice management and patient care during the pandemic.
The “Best Practices to Get You Back to Practice” webinars are free and open to any eyecare professional. The series kicked off on May 28 with “Making Schedule Changes an Integral Part of Reopening.” The remaining sessions will all take place at 8:00 p.m. ET on the following dates: June 1 – Utilizing Technology to Bring Patients Back to Your Office, presented by Bridgitte Shen Lee, OD, and Jennifer Stewart, OD; June 4 – Using Contact Lenses to Drive Revenue and Patient Retention, presented by Roxanne Achong-Coan, OD, and Jennifer Zolman, OD; June 8 – Start Maximizing Revenue with Each Patient, presented by Brittani Carver, OD, and David Kading, OD; June 11 – Embrace and Thrive with Telemedicine, presented by Tiffany Lione, OD, and Chris Smiley, OD; and June 15 – Help Your Patients Adapt to Increased Screen Time, presented by Raj Patel, OD, and Stephanie Woo, OD.
Frontline staff at a number of hospital trusts around the United Kingdom have benefitted from the donation of hundreds of bottles of eye drops from Avizor. The global eyecare manufacturer has handed out more than 1,000 bottles of Lacrifresh Ocu-Dry Eye Drops, a product designed to provide prolonged relief of dry eye symptoms. According to Avizor, the donation, worth almost £9,000, will help ease any dry eye symptoms being experienced by healthcare staff. The products were donated to staff working on the wards of hospitals including Northampton General Hospital and the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, United Kingdom.
ABB Optical Group Announces ABB Revitalize Eye Care Recovery Initiative
As part of ABB Optical Group’s continued efforts to assist eyecare professionals (ECPs) as they recover lost business, the company has introduced ABB Revitalize, which includes special offers to help ECPs with reopening their doors and increasing patient satisfaction and retention both now and long term.
Through ABB Business Solutions, customers can sign up for ABB Analyze, ABB Verify, and EyecareLive, ABB’s recently added telemedicine business solution, all at no cost for 60 days. EyecareLive’s patient-friendly app allows for easy appointment scheduling, video conferencing, messaging, and for a variety of patient reminders and notifications. The platform also provides patients the ability to take app-facilitated tests for visual acuity, dry eye, contact lens comfort, and macular degeneration.
ABB’s Yourlens online ordering platform, ABB Analyze Lite (a reduced version of ABB Analyze), and ABB AutoShip also remain available to customers at no cost. ABB Contact Lens is extending free direct-to-patient shipping on orders of two boxes or more of qualifying products through June 30. In addition, ABB Specialty Vision Products customers may take advantage of a free Hydra-PEG coating on one pair of any ABB-manufactured lenses in Contamac materials as well as extended warranties on all ABB specialty product designs.
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.
CooperVision Biofinity Toric Multifocal Lenses Available in the United States
CooperVision has announced that its Biofinity toric multifocal contact lenses are now available nationwide in the United States. Biofinity toric multifocal combines the comfort and optical designs of Biofinity toric with the Balanced Progressive Technology from Biofinity multifocal that has four distinct add powers. Biofinity toric multifocal also features CooperVision’s Aquaform Technology.
Biofinity toric multifocal lenses are available in sphere powers from +10.00D to –10.00D (0.50D steps after ±6.00D), with cylinder powers from –0.75D to –5.75D (0.50D steps) in axis of 5º to 180º in 5º steps and in add powers of +1.00D, +1.50D, +2.00D, and +2.50D, with each add available in a D and an N lens.
FDA Grants De Novo Request for Olympic Ophthalmics iTEAR100 Neurostimulator
Olympic Ophthalmics announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a De Novo request (DEN 190006) for iTEAR100, a prescription neurostimulation technology to temporarily increase acute tear production in adults. Stimulating a cutaneous nerve, iTEAR100 is an external neurostimulator approved to increase acute tear production.
According to the company, the iTEAR100 Neurostimulator is a stand-alone, pocket-size device requiring only a 30-second or less application to the skin of the external nasal region. Its application stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which results in activation of the parasympathetic nerve pathway that controls tear film homeostasis. It will be supplied through eyecare provider channels for adults who would benefit from increased production of tears.
1-800 Contacts Settles Class-Action Claims
1-800 Contacts has agreed to pay $15.1 million to settle a class action lawsuit claiming that the company unlawfully restricted search advertising. The plaintiffs, who make up a proposed class of consumers, revealed the settlement amount after alerting the U.S. District Court District of Utah, Central Division on May 15 that they had reached an agreement with 1-800 Contacts. The court then issued a proposed order that preliminarily approves the settlement. If approved, the agreement will end the four-year-old antitrust suit.
1-800 Contacts has denied any liability, fault, or wrongdoing in connection with any of the allegations in the suit. The core of the lawsuit, which was filed in 2016, was centered upon the purchase of search engine keywords by the online sellers of contact lenses and agreements among these companies that resulted in competition being stifled, according to the court papers.
1-800 Contacts is the last company to reach a settlement with the plaintiffs. 1-800 Contacts is appealing that ruling to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which hasn't yet issued a decision.
VTI Launches New MyChild & Myopia Parent Education Materials
Visioneering Technologies, Inc (VTI) shared its new MyChild & Myopia education materials to help facilitate a conversation between eyecare practitioners and parents on risks of childhood myopia. The new MyChild & Myopia brochure helps parents better understand myopia, its causes, and ways that their practitioner may be able to help slow or manage their child’s myopia. The brochure is available at https://vtivision.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/MyopiaBrochure.pdf.
Eaglet Eye Releases New Software
Eaglet Eye announced a major global release of the Eye Surface Profiler (ESP) software version 5.0. According to the company, the new image processing algorithms deliver up to 50% more of the scleral surface. In addition, Eaglet Eye has added several new advanced features including new improved First Lens Fit algorithms, new DirectConnect functionality (allowing one-touch ordering between users and their preferred lab), and other data and capability improvements. At launch, DirectConnect will include two leading labs, with more to follow.
Alcon Launches “No Reason to Wait: Success Starts Now” Program
Alcon launched the “No Reason to Wait: Success Starts Now” program aimed at helping eyecare professionals (ECPs) better understand the practice and patient benefits of treating meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The program will launch with an array of resources for ECPs interested in enhancing their practices by adopting the Systane iLux Suite to generate cash flow with elective procedures including the Systane iLux system, DEEP (Dry Eye Excellence Program), Systane MyEyes Program, and a series of web events focused on everything from virtual demos and practice protocols to sessions with leading dry eye thought leaders discussing the most common implementation barriers and forthcoming learning modules on Alcon Experience Academy.
In addition, Alcon recently received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the new Systane iLux2, which will combine high-resolution digital visualization, recording, and media storage; a built-in near infrared meibography camera; and white light surface imaging into a single, handheld, portable device. Practitioners who join the “No Reason to Wait” program by purchasing a Systane iLux will have exclusive access to upgrade to the Systane iLux2 at preferred pricing once it becomes available in late 2021.
TearClear Appoints Dr. Amir Shojaei Chief Development Officer
TearClear Corp. announced the appointment of Amir Shojaei, PharmD, PhD, as chief development officer. Over his 23-year career, Dr. Shojaei has focused on the clinical development, registration, and commercialization of biopharmaceuticals and biologics in multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Shojaei was previously Therapeutic Area Head of Ophthalmology at Shire/Takeda. He oversaw all aspects of clinical stage ophthalmic pipeline assets. Most recently, Dr. Shojaei’s team brought Xiidra from development to approval in the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, South Korea, and the Gulf countries.
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?
A scleral lens with spherical peripheral curves does not align uniformly with the sclera. Here a subconjunctival hemorrhage demonstrates the uneven bearing effect.
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SPECIALTY LENS SPACE
Karen DeLoss, OD
Ramping Up: Specialty Lens Considerations
It has certainly been an interesting year thus far! Most of us are planning or are beginning to ramp up patient care as the pandemic cases start to stabilize, fall, and hopefully just go away! We are all tasked with seeing months of patients in a condensed amount of time. For specialty lens fitters, that means lots of specialty fits on a schedule that time does not normally permit. This is coupled with the task of social distancing and a heightened concern for potential contamination risks for patients in terms of care and trial lenses. And we can’t neglect the precautions necessary for eyecare providers with respect to personal protective equipment (PPE) and clinical safety measures.
I have taken stock of my most commonly used trial lenses and ordered duplicates. We follow the American Optometric Association (AOA) and American Academy of Optometry (AAO)-recommended guidelines for disinfecting GP and specialty lenses by using a hydrogen peroxide soak for three hours, followed by rinsing and dry storage.1 Our practice has a designated “used” section for trial lenses to help alert everyone and to allow a checks-and-balances process for the safety of trials. We mark the cases with the trial parameters using a permanent marker and write the time that we start the soak to make everyone aware of the soaking time.
Additionally, our slit lamps now have protective barriers on them to help ensure safety. All of our patients are also required to wear masks, and they are reminded of social distancing. Although contact lens safety and hygiene are perpetual issues, I’m certainly making a conscious effort to remind my patients of proper contact lens practices. Perhaps one good thing to come out of the pandemic is that—maybe—our patients will listen to this critical part of contact lens wear.
I have written before about fitting sets. Aren’t they amazing? My grandfather fit lenses, but he had to do it very differently from what we do today. Many of you may recall the days when lenses were annual and when fitting sets didn’t exist.
Now, like many things in our world, fitting sets exist in abundance—possibly excessive abundance. The paradox of choice tells us that having too many choices can cause just as much of a problem as having too few choices. When we have too many choices, we question the choice that we make.
This “choice situation” led me to a purging of my fitting sets several years ago, and it has been liberating. I closely looked at my fitting habits and asked: Why am I fitting this family of lenses? And, why are the other families of lenses either working or not working? What if I streamlined my patients into three families of lenses (i.e., sphere, toric, and multifocal)?
Doing this has helped our team, our practitioners, and our patients. We have become very comfortable with these lenses. Our team has less variability when it comes to restocking lenses. Additionally, our patients get put into the best lenses that are working for our clinic. When other lenses are needed (which does still happen), we simply order those lenses; usually, our distributor is able to have them at our office in one to two days.
I’d encourage you to consider a streamlined approach in your practice. Getting efficient is a relief. It makes everyone’s lives better.
The Ocular Surface, Coronaviruses and COVID-19
The ocular surface has been suggested as a site of infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). This review examines the evidence for this hypothesis and its implications for clinical practice. SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by person-to-person contact, via airborne droplets, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. SARS-CoV-2 binds to angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) to facilitate infection in humans. This review sets out to evaluate evidence for the ocular surface as a route of infection.
A literature search in this area was conducted on April 15, 2020 using the Scopus database. In total, 287 results were returned and reviewed. There is preliminary evidence for ACE2 expression on corneal and conjunctival cells, but most of the other receptors to which coronaviruses bind appear to be found under the epithelia of the ocular surface. Evidence from animal studies is limited, with a single study suggesting that viral particles on the eye can travel to the lung, resulting in very mild infection. Coronavirus infection is rarely associated with conjunctivitis, with occasional cases reported in patients that have confirmed COVID-19, along with isolated cases of conjunctivitis as a presenting sign. Coronaviruses have been rarely isolated from tears or conjunctival swabs.
The evidence suggests that coronaviruses are unlikely to bind to ocular surface cells to initiate infection. Additionally, hypotheses that the virus could travel from the nasopharynx or through the conjunctival capillaries to the ocular surface during infection are probably incorrect.
The authors determined that conjunctivitis and isolation of the virus from the ocular surface occur only rarely and overwhelmingly in patients who have confirmed COVID-19. Necessary precautions to prevent person-to-person transmission should be employed in clinical practice throughout the pandemic, and patients should be reminded to maintain good hygiene practices.
Willcox MD, Walsh K, Nichols JJ, Morgan PB, Jones LW. The Ocular Surface, Coronaviruses and COVID-19. Clin Exp Optom. 2020 May 13. [Online ahead of print]