Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Loss of Children's Vision Care? Now Possible

Many American parents were counting on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to get vision screenings and, possibly, eyewear for their children. That could be out the question as a result of reason court rulings.

"Millions of low- and moderate-income people who signed up for health insurance with the help of federal tax-credit subsidies could find themselves without coverage or facing big premium bills if a destructive decision handed down by a federal appeals court in Washington on Tuesday is not reversed," starts an editorial from the New York Times. "It would be a crippling blow to the ability of the Affordable Care Act to reduce the ranks of the uninsured with grievous consequences for vulnerable customers." Read more. How do this affect children? The only Americans eligible for vision care coverage under the ACA are children.

Autofocusing Contact Lenses: Why not?

The Google-Novartis (Alcon) contact lens deal has re-ignited conversation about the future of contact lenses. Here's a part of what the MIT Technology Review discussed this week: "Quinn also believes that drug delivery may be another use for future contact lenses. If a lens could dispense medication slowly over long periods of time, it would be better for patients than the short, concentrated doses provided by eye drops, he says. Such a lens is not easy to make, though (see 'A Drug-Dispensing Lens'). The autofocusing lens is in an earlier stage of development, but the goal is for it to adjust its shape depending on where the eye is looking, which would be especially helpful for people who need reading glasses. A current prototype of the lens uses photodiodes to detect light hitting the eye and determine whether the eye is directed downward. Leveiller says the team is also looking at other possible techniques." Read more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kids Use Digital Devices More Than Parents Think

"According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents severely underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices," says News Medical. "An AOA survey reports that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 estimate they use an electronic device for three or more hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey of parents revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. Eye doctors are concerned that this significant disparity may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs and symptoms associated with vision problems due to technology use, such as digital eye strain." Read more.

Federal Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings about Subsidies under ACA

"Two federal appeals court panels issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on whether the government could subsidize health insurance premiums for people in three dozen states that use the federal insurance exchange," reports the New York Times. "The decisions are the latest in a series of legal challenges to central components of President Obama’s health care law." Read more.

New Sunglasses from Blackfin

"The keynote for this summer is lightness according to Blackfin, the all-Italian eyewear brand," according to Midwest Lens. "The two frames in the Zero Edge line in beta-titanium display all that brand’s powerful personality, a unique combination of technology, quality and style. Barely a year since it made its debut on the market, the ultra-lightweight Blackfin Zero Edge collection is completed with two sunglasses, models that are the perfect synthesis of design, research, fashion and personality in which maximum style is complemented by featherweight appeal." Read more.

Monday, July 21, 2014

AMD Starts Early Than Once Thought

“It is widely accepted that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of visual impairment and blindness in industrialized countries. However, it is questionable whether it can continue to be defined as a disease in people in their 50s and beyond,” reports Science Daily. “Investigations to determine the incidence of age-related macular degeneration undertaken as part of the Gutenberg Health Study of the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have shown that even persons under the age of 50 years may be affected by an early form of the eye disease. Just under 4 percent of the 35 to 44-year-old subjects in the population-based study were found to be suffering from AMD.” Read more.

During August, Children’s Eye Health & Safety Awareness Month, PBA Offers Programs for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

Prevent Blindness has declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month to inspire parents to make their child’s vision health a priority.  Family-friendly resources on a wide variety of topics that help parents take the right steps to keep their child's sight healthy for life can be found at preventblindness.org and through the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) website.  Topics covered include amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), UV-protection and sports safety, and the Affordable Care Act and children’s vision.

Prevent Blindness also offers the following programs to help save children’s sight:

  • The NCCVEH is teaming up with Family Voices and its National Center for Family Professional Partnership (NCFPP) for August’s Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month to offer families of children with special health care needs important information on vision issues.  Resources include Vision Health for Children on the Autism Spectrum, Families of Children with Vision Impairment: Working with Medical Professionals, and much more.
  • Eye Spy,an eye health and safety education program, is designed for children. Through the program, children learn about eye anatomy, how the eye works, and eye safety. Teachers may also use the program in the classroom.
  • Designed specifically for educators, Star Pupils Eye Health and Safety Curriculum for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 provides teachers with interactive materials that help students learn the importance of sight, components of the eye and how we see, and how to identify objects and situations that can be dangerous to eyes.  The program meets National Health, National Science and National Physical Education standards and includes presentation guides, eye exam diagrams, in-class worksheets and an activity book for children to take home. It can be downloaded free upon request,
  • The Eye Patch Club is geared to children with amblyopia and their families.  Eye doctors commonly treat amblyopia by having the child wear a patch over the unaffected eye for extended periods of time. This program encourages children to wear their patches as prescribed. Among other materials, members of the club receive their own special calendar and stickers.  The Eye Patch Club kit may be purchased for $12.95 by calling (800) 331-2020. Proceeds will go to support the sight-saving programs of Prevent Blindness.

Read more.

Marcolin and Emilio Pucci Sign Agreement

“Marcolin Group and Emilio Pucci announce having reached the worldwide exclusive license agreement for the design, production and distribution of sunglasses and eyeglasses for Emilio Pucci, the timeless fashion brand synonymous with luxury, color, design and “joie de vivre”, represented in its famous prints, innovative silhouette and fabrics that go beyond seasonal trends, for more than 60 years,” according to Midwest Lens. “The license, effective January 2015 with the launch of the first sunglasses collection, will have the duration of five years, renewable. The eyewear release will speak to an extremely feminine woman, embracing radiant and refined aesthetics and a luxury lifestyle in which creativity and minimalism will come together.” Read more.

Love or Lust at First Sight? Your ECP Knows for Sure

"Have you ever experienced love at first sight? What about lust at first sight? Though these two different emotional and cognitive states are difficult to distinguish from each other, researchers studying eye patterns have found that where your date focuses their eyes on you could reveal whether he or she is romantically or sexually attracted," reports Medical News Today. "Specifically, the findings reveal that eye patterns center on a stranger's face if the viewer regards that person as a potential romantic love partner, whereas the viewer focuses more on the other person's body when the feeling is one of sexual desire. Though this may seem like an obvious progression, researchers say that automatic judgement can happen as quickly as half a second, producing contrasting gaze patterns. The research team, from the University of Chicago, have published their results in the journal Psychological Science." Read more.

Call for Higher Standard for Pediacric Protective Eyewear

"Standards for protective eyewear for children and public health campaigns encouraging its use are crucial to reducing the incidence of ocular injuries in children, according to a clinical focus article published in the Medical Journal of Australia." That's the beginning of a Medical News Today post.  "Ms. Annette Hoskin, Research Fellow and her colleagues, from the Lions Eye Institute in Perth, reported that in Australia, 10% of severe ocular trauma in children occurred during sporting activities, with permanent visual damage resulting in 27% of those cases. Forty-eight per cent of eye injuries occurred in the home while playing with easily accessible objects." Read more.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Promote Back-to-School Eye Exams

Promote back-to-school eye exams to your patients. They need to be part of their children's preparations, notes Dr. Ida Chung, COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision Development) president. When a child struggles with reading, attentive parents often can see something wrong. Teachers might say a child has a  "tracking" problem. Pediatricians, however, cannot always identify the problem, as Suzanne Torres, mother of five, discovered. Her middle daughter, Mary, was in first grade. She developed difficulties reading. She knew her "wall words" (words put up on the classroom wall for Spelling), but she couldn't recognize them in a paragraph. Her pediatrician said that Mary's vision was fine. Her mother noticed that Mary's eyes, though, didn't move "correctly" when she read. Read more.

Light-Colored Eyes and Meds Increase Dangers of UV Light

Individuals with light-colored eyes or taking common OTC medications are at higher risk for UV damage, according to a recent study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The study, which involved more than 2,000 adults, found that the combination of light eyes and sun exposure can increase the risk of developing rare eye cancers. The study also found that approximately one-third of American adults take medications that can increase their susceptibility to damage from the sun's UV rays. Of this number, only about half of these adults were aware that medications such as antibiotics with tetracycline, birth control pills, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can cause photosensitivity. Read more.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Unemployed More Likely to Lose Vision, Says Study

"Vision loss is associated with a higher likelihood of not working, researchers report. Also, people who do not work have poorer physical and mental health, are less socially integrated and have lower self-confidence, they say," notes Science Daily. "The authors analyzed employment rates by vision impairment in a nationally representative sample of working-age Americans. The study included 19,849 participants in the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who completed a vision examination and employment/demographic questionnaires. Employment rates for men with visual impairment, uncorrected refractive error (difficulty focusing the eye) and normal vision were 58.7 percent, 66.5 percent and 76.2 percent, respectively. For women, the respective rates were 24.5 percent, 56 percent and 62.9 percent. The odds of not working for participants with visual impairment were higher for women, those individuals younger than 55 years and people with diabetes." Read more.

Foster Grant, America's First Sunglass Producer, Turns 85

The Vampire Diaries actress and musician Kat Graham and Foster Grant CEO Cesar Melo celebrate Foster Grant's 85th Anniversary, Thursday, July 17, 2014, at Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York. Graham is the latest star to be featured in the brand's historic "Who's That Behind Those Foster Grants?" ad campaign. Foster Grant is credited with the birth of sunglasses in the United States, selling the first pair on the Atlantic City boardwalk for 10 cents in 1929. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Foster Grant)

Gone Is Australia's Last Frame Manufacturer

Irene Luthy with an Optex frame.
"There is no future in sight for spectacle manufacturing in Australia. For the past 52 years, Irene Luthy’s factory, Optex Eyewear, has produced up to 2000 frames a week, 48 weeks a year. But soon, she will be lucky to be making any frames at all," starts the Brisbane Times Business Day post. "When Mrs Luthy, 82, moved her business from Melbourne to Dubbo in 1972, she landed a winning contract: the NSW Spectacles Program, a scheme providing free spectacles for disadvantaged people in that state. Chinese imports were on the rise and local frame manufacturers were beginning to collapse, yet Ms Luthy’s affordable, basic, plastic frames were in demand. But on July 1, after 22 years of partnership, the NSW Department of Family and Community Service determined that Ms Luthy and administrator VisionCare NSW had failed to win the tender and appointed Vision Australia as the new administrator. The decision has put Australia’s last major frame factory out of business." Read more.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Well Are ECPs Compensated?

Do you want to know how eye care professionals are compensated? Then you might want a copy of the recently released 2014 ECP Compensation Study, a study conducted by Jobson Research and Local Eye Site. The study "provides users with average and median compensation for professional and staff titles, enabling users to benchmark their compensation policies against national and regional variances. The information is presented with interpretive commentary and charts comparing and contrasting the data," according to a Vision Monday post. "Pricing details and ordering information is available at the Jobson Research website." Read more.

New Sunglasses from Bomboogie

"Blackfin design, technology and personality combine with Bomboogie energy and style in a limited edition capsule collection of sunglasses. Four of Blackfin’s most iconic models are embellished with Bomboogie detail and color, creating a collection which was previewed at Pitti Immagine on the Bomboogie stand (Florence, June 17-20) alongside the new Spring/Summer 2015 fashion collection," reports Midwest Lens. "Bomboogie is synonymous with vitality and dynamism, clothes for people whose take on life is full of enthusiasm and true grit. Boombogie people choose to face up to the world with courage, daily seeking out new directions and fresh challenges. Amazing synergy is the inevitable result of a philosophy that chimes so perfectly with the Blackfin ethos." Read more.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jobson Releases 2014 Optical Retailer Report

“Jobson Optical Research has released the 2014 U.S. Optical Retailer Report & Directory, which lists the top optical retailers in the U.S., including their company headquarters contact information, key executives, buyer names for all product categories, and trade names/DBAs,” reports Vision Monday. “The report/directory also includes Vision Monday’s most recent annual ranking and analysis of the “Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers” based on their 2013 estimated sales and business unit counts.” Read more

British Courts Fine Man after Row with OD about CLs

“A dad has been fined in court after shouting abuse at Vision Express staff in a row over contact lenses,” according to a post from the Warrington Guardian. “Barry Dilworth, of Brambling Way, Lowton, screamed at an optometrist at the store in Golden Square as he was unhappy at the service. The 52-year-old then burst into a consultation room to confront the optometrist, who had gone to see another customer, and demanded an apology.” Read more.

More on the Dangers of UV Radiation

“Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation - from the sun, tanning beds, lamps or booths - is the main cause of skin cancer, accounting for around 86% of non-melanoma and 90% of melanoma skin cancers. In addition, excessive UV exposure can increase the risk of eye diseases, such as cataract and eye cancers,” writes Medical News Today. “The health risks associated with exposure to UV radiation have certainly been well documented, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) have now officially classed UV radiation as a human carcinogen. This year alone, Medical News Today reported on an array of studies warning of UV exposure risks. One study, published in the journal Pediatrics, revealed that tanning bed use among youths can increase the risk of early skin cancer, while other research found that multiple sunburns as an adolescent can increase melanoma risk by 80%. Furthermore, in response to reported health risks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently changed their regulation of tanning beds, lamps and booths. Such products must now carry a visible, black-box warning stating that they should not be used by anyone under the age of 18. “ Read more.

New Sunglasses from Wiley X

“With its striking Olive Stripe Frame and Polarized Green Platinum Flash lenses, the new WX Moxy (Model #SSMOX04) epitomizes Wiley X’s popular Street Series sunglass family — bold looks, even bolder protection and the ability to go from the concrete jungle to the open road to the great outdoors without missing a beat,” according to Midwest Lens. “The WX Moxy’s lightweight, nearly indestructible frame features a wraparound design for optimal coverage and excellent field of view — so you can stay focused on the action whether fishing, mountain biking or hanging out at the beach. Of course, you’ll want to look great whatever you’re doing, so the WX Moxy is designed with “edgy” styling and slightly narrower temples that fit great and look good on a range of face sizes and shapes.” Read moreRead more.

Day in the Life of an Optician

We received the following email from the Opticians Association of America. We thought we would share.

Vision Monday is seeing how vast and manifold the optical industry is every single day. For their Sept. 1st issue, they would like to show their readers just how diverse and vibrant this industry is by asking different segments to document different parts of their day.

What does your company do each day that is interesting or particularly representative of your field? They are asking you to photograph and log at least 4-6 moments over the course of the next two weeks that you feel best represent or characterize what some of the various departments of your company do.

From the mundane to the outrageous they want to see it all. They've asked folks from all over the industry to do the same and they will plot them all out in the September issue in order to share with you all just how great and multifaceted the optical industry in the United States is.

They are offering the option of providing you with a disposable camera and printed worksheets to record the moments (as well as a self-addressed and stamped return envelope). You are of course also welcome to use your own digital camera and email them the images, as well as the completed worksheet, if that makes you more comfortable.

They are expecting a lot of amazing pictures, so they ask that you please email your worksheet and images back to John Sailer (Senior Editor, Vision Monday) at jsailer@jobson.com (or return your worksheet and camera that will be included in the envelope) by July 25th.

Please let them know which you would prefer (and provide a mailing address if you'd like the camera) so they can get you everything you need ASAP!

Click Here for the "A Day in the Life" Worksheet.  Have Fun!!!

Smartphone Eye Exams from Home? Possibly Says VSP. New Awards Program for Labs Providing Unity Lenses

"Imagine using a smartphone application to do an eye exam from the comfort of your couch and then sending the results to the doctor," starts the post on the Sacramento Bee. "Being innovative and ahead of the latest eyewear technology is the goal of VSP Vision Care’s new midtown think tank – called The Shop. VSP was Google’s original vision care provider and teamed up with the tech giant in early 2013 on Google Glass. VSP does all of the lenses for Google Glass and has trained 6,000 doctors in its use. The goal of the new facility is to test ideas, the kind of 'changes that will disrupt the industry, but that we want to be in front of,' said VSP President Jim McGrann. He offered the smartphone eye exam as a hypothetical example of the type of change VSP is looking to exploit, though he said the company is not working on such an app." Read more.

Meanwhile VSP's Optics Group launched a new award program for independently owned optical laboratories offering Unity Performance Optics lenses. Each year, VSP Optics Group will choose one independent lab that ranks highest in three main criteria for its work in the previous calendar. Read more.

Top Hospitals for Ophthalmology According to U.S. News

"The 11 hospitals ranked in Ophthalmology were named among the best for difficult cases and procedures by at least 5 percent of the ophthalmology specialists who responded to U.S. News surveys in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Another 24 hospitals received nominations from one or more physicians. They are listed alphabetically below the ranked hospitals," reports U.S. News & World Report. Here are the top five rankings. For more information, read
  1. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute-Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, Miami;   
  2. Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia; 
  3. Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore;  
  4. Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston;
  5. Stein and Doheny Eye Institutes, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles.

Bollé Named Official Sunglasses of British Sailing Team

"The British Sailing Team is delighted to welcome Bollé to its sponsor family as the team’s Official Supplier of performance sunglasses and prescription eyewear for a third term up until March 2017," says RYA. "Bollé is an industry leader in eyewear and offers the highest quality sunglasses for performance and protection, and has worked in partnership with the British Sailing Team since the Beijing 2008 cycle. Using the very latest optical technology and polarization, Bollé will provide British Sailing Team members – sailors, coaches and support staff – with the very best eyewear from its Marine range in order to achieve optimum performance and maintain optical health both on and off the water." Read more.

The Making of Norman Childs--An Optician

"So, in 1979, after being turned down for a bank loan, but armed with seven credit cards, Childs opened up his own shop on lower Murray Avenue, dubbing the store 'Eyetique,' a named coined by his grandmother." This is part of the story about Norman Childs, an opitician, which recently appeared in The Jewish Chronicle. "The business took off in 1986, he said, when, after sheer persistence, he was able to convince Oliver Peoples...to allow him to be its first and exclusive distributor....Now 35 years later, Childs has 16 stores — including three under the name 3 Guys Optical, which features overruns sold at deep discounts — and his own line of 'Norman Childs' eyewear." Read more.

New Eyewear from Tura

"Tura Inc., the inventor of fashion eyewear in 1938, expands its re-mastered Tura collection with three beautifully crafted models," says Midwest Lens. "Inspired by the intricate designs of fine jewelry, the new Tura styles boast Swarovski crystals, bold animal prints, a sophisticated color palette, jewelry details, and wearable, feminine shapes. The frames also feature two-tone plating and rich enameling—they are truly jewelry for the face." Read more.