“Contact Lenses: OVS PRESENTS From Discovery to Eye Care”
The Academy’s journal Optometry and Vision Science (OVS) publishes the latest research that impacts professional practice. Next month the Journal presents a 2-hour continuing education course at the American Academy of Optometry’s annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. Moderated by the Editor in Chief, the course features seven internationally renowned authors of recent cornea and contact lens OVS publications. Each will present very brief synopses of their work highlighting how their discoveries will likely change clinical practice.
* Contact lens induced dryness and discomfort - Des Fonn
* Dry eye and warm compresses - Donald Korb
* Contact lens related corneal infiltrates: epidemiology - Fiona Stapleton
* Meeting nutritional requirements of the cornea - Deborah Sweeney
* Lipid deposits on hydrogel contact lenses - Lyndon Jones
* Corneal inflammation with silicone hydrogel and extended contact lens wear - Loretta Szczotka
* The perfect contact lens - Brien Holden
ORGANIZATION & INSTITUTION NEWS
New U.S. Optometry School Being Planned
The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), a Catholic liberal arts institution serving approximately 6000 students in San Antonio, Texas, is now accepting applications for a full-time founding Dean for their School of Optometry in hopes of guiding the University through ACOE accreditation and enrolling students in the Fall of 2009. If successful in opening, UIW will be the only private faith-based university in the U.S. to offer a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.
UAB Optometry School Dean Appointed ASCO President
John F. Amos, OD, FAAO was elected president of ASCO during its recent board of directors meeting in Boston. Amos has served as interim dean and dean of the UAB School of Optometry since 2000. He holds memberships in numerous associations, including the National Academy of Practice in Optometry, the American Academy of Optometry and the American Optometric Association. He has served on the ASCO Executive Board for the past 7 years.
ASCO was founded in 1941 and functions as a non-profit education association representing the interests of optometric education. ASCO’s membership encompasses the seventeen schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico. In addition, a number of foreign optometry schools are affiliate members.
House Passes FY2008 LHHS Appropriations Bill; Report Language Commends NEI Leadership
On July 19, the House passed H.R. 3043, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill that includes a $750 million and $9.9 million increase, respectively, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) over FY2007. Since the bill also directly appropriates to the NIH common fund—established late last year with the NIH Reform Act of 2006—it obviates NEI’s $8.8 million contribution, meaning that those funds are available for NEI programs in addition to its direct line item.
Although the Senate Appropriations Committee has reported out S. 1710, the Senate’s FY2008 LHHS funding bill that increases NIH and NEI funding by $1 billion and $14.8 million, respectively, it has yet to be considered on the Senate floor—and will likely not be until after the August recess. Both bills were developed with strong bipartisan support.
In its advocacy, NAEVR has stated the need for both increased and timely NEI appropriations, such that researchers do not have to rely on bridge funding in advance of grant awards.
NAEVR is pleased that its suggested Report Language has been adopted in the House and Senate bills.
Antique Spectacle Website: New Additions Include Optical Fans
Optical Fans are rightfully considered among the most beautiful antiques in the entire world. They are now reviewed as the newest key page, <http://www.antiquespectacles.com/topics/fans/fans.htm> Optical Fans, on the slowly-expanding <http://www.antiquespectacles.com/>antiquespectacles.com educational website created by David Fleishman MD. This unique online resource already comprises over 230 web pages.
VSP Honors Optometrist for Work in Iraq
VSP Vision Care recently honored Curtis Gales, OD, from Colorado Springs, CO, with the national People First award for his dedicated humanitarian efforts. He received the award at the 110th Annual AOA & 37th Annual AOSA Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.
While serving in the armed forces, Dr. Gales provided eyecare for countless soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, and contract workers. In 2005 he was deployed to Iraq where he was stationed at a prison outside of Baghdad. During his time there, Dr. Gales learned the local language and provided comprehensive eyecare for numerous detainees. He has also contributed to his local community through “Serving in God’s Hands Today” (S.I.G.H.T.), a charity providing free eyecare to the homeless and nursing home residents.
Sight for Students™ Celebrates 10 Years
Vision Service Plan (VSP) Vision Care announced the 10 year anniversary of its Sight for Students™ program, which provides free comprehensive eye exams and prescription eyeglasses to low-income, uninsured children. Since the program’s inception in 1997, VSP’s funding of 79 million dollars has delivered free eyecare to 410,000 children nationwide. The program grew out of VSP’s commitment to the America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit program founded in 1997 by General Colin Powell, U.S. (Ret) and dedicated to making children a national priority.
VSP works with non-profit community organizations to deliver Sight for Students eyecare, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Communities in Schools, Head Start, National Association of School Nurses, Prevent Blindness America, and YMCA of the U.S. These organizations distribute VSP vouchers for free eyecare to children in need, who then visit VSP eye doctors for comprehensive eye exams. More than 94 percent of children who have these exams also need and receive free prescription glasses.
Seva Wins Critical Impact Award From Council on Foundations
The Council on Foundations, a Washington DC-based association of more than 2000 grant-making foundations and corporations, has named Seva Foundation as a recipient of its Critical Impact Award. Seva is being honored for “… revolutionizing the ability of community based eye care programs to restore eyesight for poor people affected by cataract blindness …” through its work in helping to create Aurolab, the manufacturing division of Aravind Eye Hospital, in India.
“This is like winning a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars,” says Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, Director of Seva’s Center for Innovation in Eye Care. “We are delighted to be among the first to receive this award, and we’re pleased to bring attention to this highly successful model of sustainable entrepreneurship, which is bringing affordable eye care to developing countries.”
Seva provided funding, technical expertise, and operational support that enabled Aurolab to pioneer new methods of manufacturing high quality, low cost intraocular lenses (IOLs), which are essential to fully restore the eyesight of cataract patients. Previously, IOLs had been too expensive for use in public health eye care programs in developing countries. Today, Aurolab IOLs sell for about $5 each, compared with $100 to $150 at typical market prices - making it possible for millions of poor people around the world to enjoy excellent vision following cataract surgery.
In his letter nominating Seva for the Critical Impact Award, Gregory Miller, Managing Director at Google.org wrote, “The relationship between Seva and Aravind clearly goes far beyond the act of grant-making and into the realm of true global partnership. This grant exemplifies the highest goals of poverty alleviation, improvement of public health, and development of a new paradigm for international collaboration and innovation.”
In addition to its eye care programs, Seva Foundation also works with indigenous communities in Guatemala and Mexico, along with Native American communities - supporting projects in the area of health and wellness, community development, environmental protection, and cultural preservation.
Bausch & Lomb’s Facility Passes FDA Inspection
B & L has announced that the U.S. FDA has completed an inspection of the company’s Greenville, S.C. solutions manufacturing plant and distribution center. The results of that inspection confirmed Bausch & Lomb’s conviction that both facilities are in acceptable compliance.
The assessment of the facility was a follow-up to the agency’s inspection conducted during the period March 22 through May 15, 2006. In October of 2006 the FDA issued a Warning Letter summarizing the agency’s assessment of the corrective actions completed as of June 30, and documenting those corrective actions still in process at the time. At the conclusion of the most recent inspection on June 29, 2007, the agency communicated to the company that all corrective actions had been completed appropriately and no objectionable observations were made.
Web Site Educates Consumers about Latest Contact Lens Technologies
The Contact Lens Council (CLC), a non-profit organization and resource on vision correction, has launched www.mycontactlenses.org, to educate patients of all ages and vision needs about the wealth of new innovations currently available and how to be informed contact lens users.
Bausch & Lomb Acquires Soothe Eye Drops from Alimera Sciences
In early August Bausch & Lomb announced its acquisition of Soothe emollient (lubricant) eye drops from Alimera Sciences, a privately-held ophthalmic pharmaceutical company. Financial terms were not disclosed. Bausch & Lomb will expand upon the Soothe brand’s success, establishing a broader line of professionally- recommended, over-the-counter products to relieve dry eye symptoms. The company will initially focus on two technologies, each designed to target a different layer of the tear film.
Introduced in 2004, Soothe - now renamed Soothe XP - was the first over- the-counter multi-dose, emollient-based (lubricating) artificial tear product, offering relief to an estimated 12 million Americans who suffer from dry eye. The Soothe XP formulation is unique in that it re-establishes the eye’s protective lipid layer, reducing tear evaporation and sealing in moisture, providing up to eight hours of relief from dry eye discomfort. This advanced formula is a meta-stable oil-in-water emulsion - a combination of oils and a key interfacial molecule - developed after many years of research into replicating the lipid layer of the tear film. Bausch & Lomb has also begun shipping a new over-the-counter formulation, Soothe Lubricant Eye Drops Long Lasting Relief Preservative Free. In an innovative approach to relieving dry eye, this formulation uses a novel hydrophilic polymer to interact with the eye’s mucin layer. The polymer-mucin interaction stabilizes and rebuilds the tear film by forming a scaffolding system, allowing water and the product’s demulcent active ingredients to be retained on the cornea.
This transaction follows Bausch & Lomb’s December 2006 purchase of Alimera’s OTC allergy franchise, including Alaway(tm) (ketotifen fumarate ophthalmic solution) antihistamine eye drops indicated for up to 12 h of relief for itchy eyes due to ragweed, pollen, grass, animal hair, and dander.
New Vision Program to Optimize Vision of U.S. Athletes
In early August The Vision Care Institute, a Johnson & Johnson company, announced it will offer its new AchieveVision Program to Olympic athletes and hopefuls. The program will assess and help optimize athletes’ visual skills in preparation for the upcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Members of the men’s and women’s U.S. archery and soccer teams will be the first to use the AchieveVision Program.
Research suggests a strong correlation between peak performance and excellent visual skills, making an athlete’s eyesight one of the most important pieces of equipment they have. In fact, a study of professional baseball players found that they have visual skills that are significantly better than the general population. Despite this information, surprisingly few people, including elite athletes, have had a comprehensive eye exam to check the health of their eyes or to determine if they need vision correction. A survey conducted with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) found that less than half of current Olympic athletes and hopefuls received an eye exam within the last year, yet 87 percent believe vision plays an important role in being successful in their sport. Similarly, an additional study found that 25 percent of American adults had not had an eye exam within the last two years and shockingly, 35 percent of adults had never taken their child to an eye doctor.
The AchieveVision Program intends to help athletes improve their vision by fine tuning their visual skills most relevant to their sport. It was developed with input from a council of experts, including optometrists, ophthalmologists, coaches, sports trainers, and academics.
B & L and Alcon Settle Lawsuit
On August 20 Bausch & Lomb and Alcon settled a law suit, recently filed by Bausch & Lomb. They issued a joint statement. In essence Alcon addressed B & L concerns on color coding superficial punctate transient cornea staining profile changes, by agreeing to change the color scheme used in its promotional materials to avoid the implication that the lens solution combinations designated “red” or “yellow” meant danger or caution in designation of risk of corneal infections. The law suit was “dismissed with prejudice, without any payment of damages from either party.”