Thursday, August 27, 2015

Battle about Unilateral Pricing of Contact Lenses Now in Federal Appeals Court

"A legal battle over a hotly contested Utah law banning minimum prices for contact lenses is set to come before a federal appeals court on Thursday," reports U.S. News & World Report in an Associated Press post. "The nation's largest contact lens companies are asking the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to strike down the measure that could have wide-ranging effects on the $4 billion industry. Alcon Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson and Bausch & Lomb call the law a brazen overreach written specifically to help Utah-based discount seller 1-800 Contacts. Lawmakers deny that. The state's attorney general contends the contacts manufacturers are wrongly driving up prices." Read more.

Meanwhile, "as part of the Federal Trade Commission's systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comment on the efficiency, costs, benefits, and impact of the Contact Lens Rule," notes the Yuma News Now. "The Rule, effective since August 2004, helps to promote competition in the contact lens market by requiring eye care prescribers to provide a copy of a consumer’s prescription to the consumer after a contact lens fitting is completed and verify with, or provide prescriptions to, authorized contact lens sellers. It also mandates that a contact lens seller may sell contact lenses only in accordance with a prescription the seller has received from the patient or prescriber, or has verified via direct communication with the prescriber. The Commission vote approving the Federal Register Notice was 5-0. It is available on the FTC's website and as a link to this press release and will be published in the Federal Register soon." Read more.

New Vera Bradley Eyewear from McGee

"The McGee Group’s annual Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Awareness collection makes a splash with six ophthalmic and three sun styles," writes Midwest Lens. "Katalina Pink is the newest color to raise awareness for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. Katalina Pink features stylized florals in sweet pinks and rich cream that are reminiscent of lace over a subtle camouflage pattern in tonal blues that create an optimistic energy, symbolizing the fight that is so close to the hearts of the McGee Group family. The 2015 Breast Cancer Awareness collection features five ladies optical frames perfect for any style." Read more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

80K NY Drivers Use the State's DMV "Vision Registry" to Find Eye Care Providers

"The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced that more than 80,000 New Yorkers have saved time renewing their driver licenses using the Vision Registry.," reports Empire State News. "Motorists can now use the DMV website to find locations of registered vision care providers where they can have their vision tested and have the results electronically transmitted to DMV. Motorists can then renew their license by mail or online on the DMV website, avoiding a trip to a DMV office. The Vision Registry program is a part of DMV’s Customer Service Initiative, launched in 2012 by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to increase efficiency, streamline services, and improve customer service." Read more.

Omega-3 Supplements Don't Help with Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Says NIH Study

While some research suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can protect brain health, a large clinical trial by researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that omega-3 supplements did not slow cognitive decline in older persons. With 4,000 patients followed over a five-year period, the study is one of the largest and longest of its kind. It was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t see any benefit of omega-3 supplements for stopping cognitive decline,” said Emily Chew, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications and deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of NIH. Dr. Chew leads the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which was designed to investigate a combination of nutritional supplements for slowing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of vision loss among older Americans. That study established that daily high doses of certain antioxidants and minerals—called the AREDS formulation—can help slow the progression to advanced AMD. A later study, called AREDS2, tested the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the AREDS formula. But the omega-3’s made no difference. That's from an NIH press release. Read more.

How the Blind "See" Race

"'The visual process of assigning race is instantaneous, and it's an example of automatic thinking -- it happens below the level of awareness,' [Asia] Friedman [,assistant professor at the University of Delaware,] said. 'With blind people, the process is much slower as they piece together information about a person over time. Their thinking is deliberative rather than automatic, and even after they've categorized someone by race, they're often not certain that they're correct.'" That's from a post on Medical News Today. Read more.

Amblyopia "Drives" Information from the "Good" Eye

"Most often in amblyopia patients, one eye is better at focusing," says Bas Rokers, a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor. "The brain prefers the information from that eye, and pushes down the signal coming from the other, 'lazy' eye. In a way, it's better to think of the better eye as a bully, rather than the poorer eye as lazy." That's the story from a University of Wisconsin press release. As the brain develops its preference for the dominant eye's input, it alters its connections to the weaker eye, according to a study Rokers and colleagues published this week in a special edition of the journal Vision Research. "If you continually have that bullying happening, that changes the signals coming from the lazy eye," Rokers says. "We wondered, if you don't have as many signals traveling back and forth, does that come with a physical change in those passageways?" Using a brain scanning method called diffusion-weighted imaging, the researchers mapped three sets of pathways known to carry visual information from the eyes to the brain. In people with amblyopia, the researchers saw water diffusing more easily down the brain's visual pathways. Read more.

9Five Goes from Low-End to Higher-End Eyewear

"Within a year of launching their company, the founders of 9Five Eyewear, based in Chula Vista, Calif., realized they weren’t crazy about their product – cheap sunglasses that were selling fast at about $37 a pair," reports the Globe and Mail. "So the four business partners, who had started out as good friends with a shared passion for skateboarding, decided to rethink their business. The results took them from one end of the eyewear spectrum to the other. 'We were initially getting our glasses mass-manufactured in mainland China,' recalls Mike Metcalf, one of 9Five’s four founders and owners. 'Now we have them handmade in Hong Kong, where the glass frame is cut, moulded and assembled by hand, and every single item is hand-inspected and rebalanced so you get a guaranteed flawless product.' 9Five’s strategic pivot has turned out to be a winning gambit. Today, the six-year-old company enjoys seven-figure revenue from its three bricks-and-mortar stores, all in California, and from its website, and through partner retailers. The company ships internationally and is seeing rapid growth in Australia, Japan and Russia. (The glasses are available in Canada online.)" Read more.

New Eyewear from Yohji Yamamoto

"'Dramatic, Avant Garde and/or Intelligent" was Yohji Yamamoto's classic, three-word inspiration brief for his eponymous eyewear line. The designer's debut line of eyewear boasts a wide assortment of sunglasses and spectacles for Autumn 2015 that are all undoubtedly Yohji. " That's the word from  Fashion Times. "Reigning designer of all things avant-garde, Yamamoto champions a wide selection of frames that maintain the same dark and enigmatic quality as his clothing designs. Developed with leading eyewear producer, Christian Dalloz, monochrome and tinted gradient lenses complement the sculptural acetate frames, ensuring complete originality. After signing a licensing agreement in 2014 with eyewear company, Mondottica Eyewear Brand Partners, the Yohji Yamamoto eyewear line continues to release a premiere selection of frames that maintain a year-round, timeless appeal." Read more.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Davis Vision Being Challenged on Two Fronts, Says PBJ

"Davis Vision’s strategy of creating a 'vertically integrated vision company' — one that manages vision benefits, makes eye glasses and has an affiliate that operates a network of eyeglass stores — is being challenged on two fronts," reports the Philadelphia Business Journal (PBJ). "Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Earl L. 'Buddy' Carter, R-Georgia, introduced the 'Dental and Optometric Care Access Act' to 'provide fairness in contracts between doctors and insurers to increase the quality of care for patients and eliminate anti-competitive practices.' The DOC Access Act would allow dentists and optometrists to charge a fair and customary amount for the services that are not covered under an insurance plan rather than the insurer’s mandated fee schedule, and prohibit restricting a doctor’s choice of a lab.
Also this month, Illinois-based ophthalmic lens manufacturer Acuity Optical filed amendments to its antitrust lawsuit, originally filed in September 2014, that alleges Davis Vision is violating federal and state laws through actions that include requiring optometrists and opticians to exclusively use Davis Vision’s ophthalmic lens manufacturing laboratories for all Davis Vision’s members’ prescription eyeglass lens manufacturing orders." Read more.

Most Patients Use Contact Lenses Improperly, Reports CDC

"Most people who wear contact lenses have not cared for them properly, risking infection in one or both eyes at some point, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control," according to a UPI report. "Researchers found that most of the 40.9 million people in the United States who wear contact lenses disregard recommendations of how to care for them, as well as how to protect their eyes. This includes basic guidelines about cleaning lenses with water and when to take them out." Read more.

Patient Suffers Corneal Infection Sleeping in Extended Wear Contact Lenses, Reports CNN

"Chad Groeschen was working on an outdoor deck for a client a few weeks ago when his left eye started itching. He chalked it up to allergies at first, and then to a sinus infection after his eye got goopy and he could not see out of it. He had no idea his contact lenses were the problem," reports CNN. "Doctors at Cincinnati Eye Institute diagnosed Groeschen with a bacterial infection that was quickly destroying his cornea, the eye's protective outer layer. "It was basically that if I hadn't had contacts [the bacteria] might not have incubated," said Groeschen, a 39-year-old builder and sculptor in Cincinnati. Groeschen had been using extended wear contact lenses, and only taking them out every week to clean. Even though these lenses are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for overnight wear, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that this type of use increases the risk of infection." Read more.

New Eyewear from Tura

"Tura Inc., the inventor of fashion eyewear in 1938, will debut three edgy yet wearable optical models from its German line Brendel in September," says Midwest Lens. "These stylish frames include custom jungle prints that are pressed and pierced for a multi-dimensional outcome, feminine shapes with modern geometric angles, and artistic elements incorporating contemporary brush strokes and sculpted lines. Additionally, the models are progressive-friendly and include spring hinges for increased comfort." Read more.

New Kids Eyewear from Vera Bradley

"The Vera Bradley Kids collection returns with the latest styles and colors to make every young girl feel extraordinary. Lana, Joni, May and Ada offer classic eyeshapes and colors for styles beyond compare, with spring hinges in every frame for a comfortable fit and prominently featuring the latest Vera Bradley colors, these frames are sure to make her feel unique and special." That's the word from Midwest Lens. Read more.

New Roberto Cavalli Eyewear from Marcolin

"The Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2015-2016 eyewear collection is an expression of true originality, one that strikes the perfect balance between the Florentine stylist’s exclusive flair and the expert craftsmanship of the Marcolin Group," according to Midwest Lens. "With its unmistakable style and synergy with current trends, the new collection combines elegant, distinctive forms with jeweled detailing in some models, conferring a unique charm to the frames. A mix of romanticism and rule-breaking, perfect for any woman with an individualistic streak." Read more.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Basketball the Leading Cause of Sports-Related Eye Injury

More than 6,000 Americans suffered an eye injury related to playing basketball in one year, according to estimates by Prevent Blindness. In fact, the top five sports with the most eye injuries were basketball, water and pool activities, use of guns (air, gas, spring, and BB), baseball/softball and football. Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury, according to the National Eye Institute. These injuries include infection, corneal abrasions, blunt trauma, inflamed iris, fracture of the eye socket, swollen or detached retinas, or a traumatic cataract. Prevent Blindness has declared September as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month to encourage wearing proper eye protection while playing sports. Read about what you can do to reduce sports-related eye injuries.

"Best" Eyewear for Men, according to Huffington Post

"Actually, let me rephrase that title, 'Best Eyewear Brands for Men, with personality'," according to the British edition of Huffington Post. "I started wearing glasses about fifteen years ago and now there is no getting away from the fact they are well and truly part of my identity. Now, I want Brits to be braver with their choice of eyewear instead of stumbling instead of just stumbling into Vision Express for the best 2-1 deal. It doesn't happen that way with our European friends in Germany, France & Holland, where eye-wear is seen as an extension of an individual's identity and thus frames, quite frankly, have more flair and personality. So, to encourage chaps to start getting a bit more creative, I've profiled seven brands that hopefully can inspire you to get a little bolder with your choice of specs." Read more.

Sight Regions of Brain Learn to Respond to Sound, Says Study

"By early childhood, the sight regions of a blind person's brain respond to sound, especially spoken language, a Johns Hopkins University neuroscientist has found," according to Science Digest. "The results, published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that a young, developing brain has a striking capacity for functional adaptation." Read more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Field Hockey Injuries Tumble, Says New Study

"A study conducted by researchers at Hasbro Children's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, Fairfax (VA) County Public Schools and the University of Colorado School of Medicine has found that nationally mandated protective eyewear results in a greater than three-fold reduced risk of eye and orbital injuries in high school (HS) girls' field hockey players without increasing rates of concussion." That's the word from Science Digest. Read more.

Scientists Do a Gut-Check to Find a Cure for Blindness

"One major cause of human blindness is autoimmune uveitis, which is triggered by the activation of T cells, but exactly how and where the T cells become activated in the first place has been a long-standing mystery," according to Medical News Today. "A study published August 18 in the journal Immunity reveals that gut microbes produce a molecule that mimics a retinal protein, which most likely activates the T cells responsible for the disease. By shedding light on the cause of autoimmune uveitis in mice, the study could contribute to a better understanding of a broad range of autoimmune disorders and pave the way for novel prevention strategies in the future." Read more.

The study was conducted by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIH writes, "Evidence increasingly suggests that there is an association between the microbiota in the gut – bacteria, fungi and viruses – and the development of autoimmune disorders. Findings from this study suggest how that association may be made and therefore have implications about the origins of autoimmune diseases not only in the eye, but also elsewhere in the body, said Rachel R. Caspi, Ph.D., a senior investigator at NEI whose lab led the study." Read more of the NIH description.

Waveborn Sunglasses Signs Aikman as Spokesperson

"Waveborn Sunglasses announced the addition of Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman, as the company’s official spokesperson. Waveborn changes how people see the world by selling high-quality Italian sunglasses and funding life changing cataract surgeries around the globe," notes Midwest Lens. "As part of the 4-year partnership, Aikman will serve as a brand ambassador. He will continue to wear Waveborn Sunglasses and earn a small percentage of vesting equity in the company. Aikman will be featured in sales and marketing campaigns to assist the brand in increasing distribution through new channels." Read more. You can read the company's announcement at

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Move Over Wild Thing. Here Comes Clippard

"Wild Thing" wearing glasses
in the movie
Major League.
In the movie, Major League, pitcher Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) has a major league fastball but Little League control. The team buys him glasses. Boom! Major League Superstar. It's not far from the truth.

"Tyler Clippard cannot remember the exact moment when he decided to see the eye doctor. He might have been standing on a mound in Columbus, Ohio, squinting at the sign in the shadows between the catcher’s legs. That happened often during the summer of 2008. Clippard also squinted when he was in the clubhouse, or looking at the television. His teammates teased him endlessly," reports the New York Times. "Clippard was 23 years
Mets' Clippard wearing his glasses.
old and in his sixth year in the minors. He did not have overly powerful stuff or great statistics. He did have some brief experience in the majors, but it was still unclear what would become of him. He thought he could get by squinting. He went to the eye doctor, in part, because he had nothing to lose. But once he did, and was given prescription glasses, his career — coincidentally or not — began to take off." Read more.

Lenses--Discovered Accidentally--May Help People Who Are Colorblind

"The eyeglass lenses that Don McPherson invented were meant for surgeons. But through serendipity he found an entirely different use for them: as a possible treatment for colorblindness," according to the New York Times. "Mr. McPherson is a glass scientist and an avid Ultimate Frisbee player. He discovered that the lenses he had invented, which protect surgeons’ eyes from lasers and help them differentiate human tissue, caused the world at large to look candy-colored — including the Frisbee field.At a tournament in Santa Cruz, Calif., in 2002, while standing on a grassy field dotted with orange goal-line cones, he lent a pair of glasses with the lenses to a friend who happened to be colorblind...." Read more.

Davis Vision to Handle Boeing's Vision Needs

Davis Vision will provide vision insurance benefits for The Boeing Company employees, retirees, and their dependents starting Jan. 1, 2016. The benefits include eye exams and eyewear. According to the company press release, Davis created a unique digital experience for all Boeing members featuring a virtual frame try-on, educational wellness videos, social media connectivity, and trends in fashion eyewear and eye care. Boeing members have 24/7 access by visiting To read the press release, click here.

Glaucoma Vision Loss Not as Random as Once Thought

With glaucoma, "patients lose seemingly random patches of vision in each eye. This random pattern of vision loss is in stark contrast to loss from a brain tumor or stroke, which causes both eyes to develop blind spots in the same location. Scientists have long thought that glaucoma's progression is independent of - or uncontrolled by - the brain. Last year, researchers found evidence that the progression of glaucoma is not random and that the brain may be involved after all," according to Science Digest. Read more.

Sweet Potatoes Combat Vitamin A Deficiency, Leading Cause of Blindness

"Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. It also increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections, according to the World Health Organization. About 250 million preschool children across the world are vitamin A deficient. Many of these live in Africa and South-Eastern Asia," notes Medical News Today. "Fortunately, vitamin deficiency is preventable....Bio-fortification of sweet potatoes is a promising method to combat vitamin A deficiency in South Africa. The orange-fleshed vegetable already contains high levels of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also a staple in the South African diet." Read more.

Infection from Avastin Injection Overstated, Says Study

"Eye injections of the drug Avastin, used to treat retinal diseases, bring no greater risk of endophthalmitis, a potentially blinding eye infection, than injections with the much more expensive drug Lucentis made by the same company, according to new research." That's the word from a Science Digest post. Read more.

New Todd Snyder Sunglasses from Silhouette

"It’s time for something special: Silhouette and eponymous menswear brand Todd Snyder reinvent the iconic Titan Minimal Art style," according to Midwest Lens. "Based on Silhouette’s iconic rimless and lightweight Titan Minimal Art glasses, and specially developed to reflect Todd Snyder’s exceptional workmanship, military tailoring and New York edge. This Limited Edition is an inspired interpretation of the classic aviator, a favorite of Snyder’s, made modern. It features Silhouette’s signature innovative rimless design, with lightweight frame and lenses that are sandblasted and then hand-tinted to achieve a full frame effect. Each pair is then finished off with a sleek top bar for an effortlessly stylish, understated look." Read more.

Friday, August 14, 2015

New Eddie Bauer Sunglasses from Performance

"Sikk Shades, a new line of performance eyewear for the action sports market, officially launches. Developed by Eddie Bauer Jr, along with some of the industry’s top eyewear designers, Sikk Shades’ flagship frames, the Huckleberry and Qualifier are now available online and in select retailers nationwide. Created specifically for athletes and designed to withstand harsh weather and extreme conditions, Sikk Shades offers clearer vision and better depth perception than traditional polarized glasses as well as a better fit and non-slip, embedded nose grip for all day wear and comfort," reports Midwest Lens. "Sikk Shades’ lenses utilize Flash Electric technology, which blocks short-wave light, the harmful light that leads to eye damage, and allows ample amounts of long-wave light in. This allows the wearer to avoid the distortion and depth perception issues common in most polarized lenses, while providing clear and unobstructed vision, a huge advantage if you’re grinding the parks and streets, hitting the beach to catch a wave, or shredding the slopes." Read more.