Citizens of the United States celebrate Thanksgiving in the month of November. The traditional idea surrounding this holiday is to observe and give thanks for the bountiful harvest of the year. While the tradition has changed in a literal sense, Thanksgiving still represents a time to celebrate all for which we are thankful. This includes our profession, practices, staff, and patients. As you go forward this week, have a very Happy Thanksgiving from the editorial staff at Contact Lenses Today!
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Art Optical Upgrades Expert Progressive Options; Expands Sales Territory
Art Optical has recently added front and back-toric design capabilities to the Expert Progressive multifocal lens, and by practitioner demand, they have also included the Optimum family of GP materials as available options for Expert Progressive and BiExpert lens designs. Since partnering with Laboratoire Precilens of Paris, France earlier this year, Art Optical has enjoyed swift success with Expert Progressive here in the U.S., and has now expanded the sales territory to Canada.
The Expert Progressive design features slab-off GP lens technology, creating a thinner, uniform edge profile 360 degrees around the circumference of the lens, resulting in less lid awareness and improved comfort. This progressive multifocal GP lens transitions seamlessly and allows no compromise of near or distance vision while providing crisp, clear intermediate vision, according to the company.
Falling in line with their high service standards, Expert Progressive lenses from Art Optical are competitively priced, backed by an optional liberal warranty program, and manufactured and shipped within 24 hours of order. Additional information can be found at the company website, www.artoptical.com, or by contacting Art Optical at 1-800-253-9364.
GPLI Receives Financial Commitments to Support Educational Programming
In September of this year, two of the largest gas permeable material suppliers terminated their membership in the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA). Because the raw material suppliers who belong to the CLMA return a portion of their sales to fund the educational programs of the GP Lens Institute (GPLI), the departure of these two companies threatened short-term program funding.
According to Jan Svochak, President of the CLMA, because of the support of member companies of the CLMA, the organization announced the educational programs are secure for 2016 and beyond.
As the educational division of the CLMA, the GPLI has a 30-year history of providing practitioners with educational and practice-building tools and programs focused on custom lens prescribing. The GPLI is responsible for developing and maintaining an extensive library of specialty lens resources, including monthly online webinars, a comprehensive series of interactive fitting tools at www.gpli.info, frequent hands-on specialty contact lens fitting workshops and CE programs, and a bimonthly newsletter, among other endeavors. Additionally, the GPLI’s Cornea and Contact Lens Residents Program has impacted hundreds of young optometrists with an annual weekend training session and ongoing mentoring from expert specialty fitters.
Early Bird Savings End December 1 – Register Now for the 2016 GSLS
The 10th Global Specialty Lens Symposium will be held January 21 – 24, 2016 at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Nevada. The GSLS is a must-attend meeting, brought to you by Contact Lens Spectrum, focusing on the successful management of ocular conditions using today's specialty contact lenses. This meeting will include insightful presentations by international experts in the field, hands-on demonstrations of cutting-edge products and valuable continuing education credits.
The 2015 event was attended by almost 600 registrants from 36 countries, 42 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. It continues to be the largest conference of its kind in the U.S.
Join your peers in 2016 for the 10th anniversary in Las Vegas! Visit www.GSLSymposium.com for more information and to register.
NCC 2016 Open for Registration – Paper Submissions Still Being Accepted
On March 13-14, 2016, the sixth Netherlands Contact Lens Congress (NCC) will take place in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. Founded in 2006, this biannual two-day conference has grown exponentially over the last decade and is now the biggest contact lens conference on the mainland of Europe. The NCC attracts over 1,500 contact lens practitioners and optometrists to the Netherlands.
The NCC is focused on the clinical aspects of contact lens wear, and with three parallel sessions each day, nearly all topics in this area are being covered. Although the vast majority of the attendees are from Dutch speaking countries, NCC is internationally well represented; 90% of the lectures are presented in English by leading experts from all over the world.
This congress will feature a research symposium planned in collaboration with the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA). The symposium is designed to maintain the high reputation developed by the BCLA for showcasing world class clinically relevant research, nurturing new researchers and young academics to present at this level. All abstracts will continue to be published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. Submissions for the symposium should be in the form of abstracts and can be a paper or poster (to be allocated by the Academic Committee) with case reports being presented in poster format only. The deadline for submissions for this symposium is midnight (GMT) December 1, 2015. Information can be found at http://www.bcla.org.uk/events/2016/march/ncc-bcla-2016.
NCC Congress is organized by NAC (Nederlandse Associatie van Contactlensleveranciers) together with ANVC (Algemene Nederlandse Vereniging voor Contactlensspecialisten). For more information on this exciting program or to register, visit http://www.ncc2016.com/?lang=en.
Positive Results from Pivotal Clinical Trial of Auven Therapeutics’ Seciera in DED
Auven Therapeutics announced results from its Phase 2b/3 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Seciera (OTX-101). Seciera is a novel, investigational nanomicellar formulation of cyclosporine utilizing patent-protected proprietary technology to enhance penetration into target tissues of the eye. Unlike other ocular formulations of cyclosporine, Seciera is a clear, preservative-free, isotonic aqueous solution.
The 455-patient randomized, double-masked, vehicle-controlled, dose-ranging study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02254265) was conducted at 28 investigational sites in the U.S. In the study, both concentrations (0.05% and 0.09%) of Seciera demonstrated statistical superiority over placebo-vehicle for the co-primary efficacy endpoint of change from baseline at week 12 in total conjunctival lissamine green staining. The study also demonstrated superiority to placebo-vehicle in tear production and in corneal fluorescein staining (total and inferior) at week 12 for both concentrations of Seciera. Additionally, the 0.09% dose of Seciera demonstrated superiority to placebo-vehicle in a responder analysis of tear production (≥ 10 mm increase in Schirmer's test) and in central and temporal corneal staining.
In accordance with guidance received from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a single additional Phase 3 trial will be conducted in order to confirm the significant, clinically meaningful increase in tear production seen in the Phase 2b/3 trial and the large reduction in signs of ocular surface inflammation compared to placebo-vehicle. A long-term safety study will be initiated concurrently. Enrollment for both studies is planned to begin in early 2016. If these studies are successful, the submission of a New Drug Application for Seciera for the treatment of dry eye disease is anticipated in early 2017.
NovaBay Corporate Restructuring
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announces a corporate restructuring to focus on the commercialization of its prescription Avenova Lid and Lash Cleanser. NovaBay is also taking steps to reduce operating expenses with the goal of achieving positive cash flow from operations by the end of 2016. NovaBay Chairman Mark M. Sieczkarek has assumed the position of interim President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, replacing former President and CEO, NovaBay founder Ron Najafi, Ph.D.
Mr. Sieczkarek previously was CEO of Solta Medical, Inc. and of Conceptus, Inc. where he led the launch of the medical device Essure. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President and President of The Americas and Europe for Bausch + Lomb, where he was responsible for overseeing multinational commercial launches of several leading products. He has served as a member of the NovaBay Board of Directors since January 2014, was named Chairman in April 2015, and has been instrumental in the development of the go-to-market strategy for Avenova.
AOAExcel Partners with Bank of America to Offer Customized Financial Lending
AOAExcel, a member benefit of the American Optometric Association (AOA) that offers products and services to help optometrists manage the business side of optometry, has recently partnered with Bank of America Practice Solutions (BAPS) to offer financing solutions for ODs.
Bank of America Practice Solutions offers practice financing solutions—whether doctors of optometry are preparing for ownership or planning for growth. Services available at competitive rates for AOA members include:
Financing for practice startups, equipment, expansions or remodeling, practice acquisitions and commercial real estate
A dedicated project manager to help doctors get things done on time and in budget
Rate lock program to protect against potential interest rate changes
Practice Heartbeat, a program to help new optometrists develop the management, analytical and competitive skills crucial to practice growth
In addition, through the partnership, AOA members will have the personal support of their territory Bank of America Practice Solutions Regional Business Development Officer to help them through their project.
Bank of America Practice Solutions joins AOAExcel as one of their Endorsed Business Partners which also includes AXA (retirement planning), Lockton Affinity (professional insurance), AGIA (group insurance), Chase Paymentech (merchant processing) and the Compliancy Group (HIPAA Compliance) among others.
Managing SEALs David Pietroni, Optometrist BSc, Rome, Italy
Superior Epithelial Arcuate Lesions (SEALs) are an asymptomatic complication of soft contact lens wear. Also known as epithelial splitting, mainly due to chafing at the peripheral cornea, its etiology is multifactorial, but its management is quite simple. In this case, changing the type of silicone hydrogel material and choosing a lower modulus combined to a better wettability of the lens surface, and erased the sign of the SEAL. This case reminds the clinician to plan a proper follow-up program with the patient.
We thank David Pietroni for this image and we 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 an explanation of the photo and your full name, degree or title and city/state/country.
CARE SOLUTION CORNER Susan J. Gromacki, OD, MS, FAAO
Be That Girl (or Guy)
With two “tweenage” daughters, the sound of Taylor Swift music in our home is a frequent one. In one of Taylor’s latest songs, “Blank Space,” she sings the popular phrase, “Be that girl...”
Since the inception of this column in 2010, one of my personal goals has been to study the phenomenon of patient noncompliance with practitioners’ treatment regimens, specifically with regards to contact lens replacement and care, and communicate my findings to the reader. After reviewing hundreds of publications by optometrists, ophthalmologists, scientists, psychologists, and the like, I must admit that we still don’t know all of the answers. Human nature plays a role, and every patient is different.
Certainly, clear, compassionate communication from the practitioner can direct patients’ good compliance. But it’s more than just that. Have you ever had a professor, coach, or mentor that you respected to such an extent that you wanted to be your best not just for yourself, but also for him or her? The word “doctor” originates from the Latin word for “teacher.” We may not always realize this, but we are that role model for some of our patients. When our patients feel good about our relationship, and that both sides are invested, then they are much more willing to do the work to comply with our instructions. So, be that role model that they don’t want to disappoint. Be that girl (or guy).
Dr. Mile Brujic and I have a saying that we always bring up when we lecture: “Do what is in the best interest of your patients and your practice and the industry will always benefit.” I’d like to make a case for my patients in a moment, but let me first rant.
When was the last time that you received a note from an insurance company that stated: “We would like to inform you that, within our corporate structure, we have come to realize that you are not getting paid enough for the health care that you offer. As such, we would like to increase the reimbursements that we are providing.”? I, for one, have not seen this letter recently, and it is not likely to arrive anytime soon.
The reality is that we are experiencing increasing costs within our own systems. Expenses related to meaningful use, electronic health care systems, the increased utilization of equipment, ancillary staff to maintain an ever increasing standard of care, and other items have all increased the costs that we encounter in our clinics. Another concern is our industry partners who may raise prices for drugs or devices that we use daily.
So what are we to do in order to cover these increased costs? For one, we are forced to see more patients. Unless we have the team or equipment to help us with this process, it can mean less face-to-face time with the patient and potentially a decrease in the quality of care. I feel this pinch at times and only get 5-10 minutes with each patient, and I hate it. Other times, I spend a good 30 minutes with people and we both walk away more fulfilled.
As challenging as it is, may I urge you to simply push back in places where you can, and adapt in others? Our patients come to us because of the care we provide. That care includes the conversations that we have and the knowledge that we impart to educate them. If you support healthcare plans with poor coverage, consider dropping them. If you use products in your office that are equally as beneficial as others, consider pushing back in products or with brands that are not supporting you or better patient care.
Ultimately it needs to be all about the patient. Continue to work to fit patients and treat patients with products and plans that support your practice, so that you can continue to provide the best care possible.
Acute and Short-Term Changes in Visual Function with Multifocal Soft Contact Lens Wear in Young Adults
The researchers wanted to characterize the effects on accommodation and binocular vision in young adults of two distance center multifocal soft contact lenses (MFSCLs), differing in add power.
Twenty-four young adult myopes (18-28 years; 20 females, 4 males) had baseline visual acuity, accommodation, near phoria, fixation disparity and stereopsis data collected with single vision (SV) SCLs. The same set of measurements was repeated immediately after subjects were fitted with each of two MFSCLs (with either +1.50 or +3.00 D add), and after 2 weeks of daily wear in each case. The order of testing was randomized and a one-week washout period was allowed between the first and second MFSCL trials.
Differences in distance and near acuities with MFSCLs compared to SVSCLs were small and clinically insignificant. Compared to responses with SVSCLs, MFSCLs increased accommodative lags with this change reaching statistical significance for the +1.50 D add lens. Furthermore, both MFSCLs induced significant shifts in near phorias in the exo direction. Finally, there were no significant differences in stereopsis and fixation disparity with MFSCLs compared to SVSCLs.
The authors concluded that differences in acuities, accommodation accuracy and binocular posture with MFSCLs compared to SVSCLs were clinically small and mostly not significant. These results predict good tolerance of MFSCLs in young patients fitted with them for myopia control.
Kang P, Wildsoet CF. Acute and short-term changes in visual function with multifocal soft contact lens wear in young adults. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2015 Oct 15. pii: S1367-0484(15)30025-4. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2015.09.004. [Epub ahead of print]