Monday, January 31, 2011

B+L Now Markets KeraSoft CLs

Bausch + Lomb has signed a global licensing agreement with U.K.-based UltraVision CLPL to market and sell KeraSoft soft contact lenses, which boosts to allow for custom-made contact lenses for irregular corneas and keratoconus. As part of the agreement, B + L also acquired the KeraSoft trademark. Click for more information.

Feds No Longer Say Kids under 5 Need Eye Exams

“A federal expert panel backtracked on Monday on its 2004 recommendation to screen all kids younger than five years for poor vision, lazy eye and other eye conditions,” according to a Reuters post. “Healthy children between three and five years should still be tested at least once, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), but there isn't enough solid evidence to recommend screening of all younger toddlers.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Former Exec Director of ABO/NCLE Goes to Slammer

"The executive director of a Fairfax County-based national association of opticians [ABO/NCLE] was sentenced Friday to a year in prison for his part in a scheme that authorities said stole about $1.7 million from the association.
Hugh Michael Robey, 48, of Bowie, had been the executive director of the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners, a nonprofit group on Loisdale Road in the Springfield area.s" That's that start of the Washington Post story.

Miami Heat Star Needs an Optician with a Solution

"Dwyane Wade planned on wearing his own tinted goggles against the New York Knicks on Thursday night to help his migraines. But the NBA banned the eyewear, determining that Wade would have had a competitive advantage because defenders wouldn't be able to see his eyes," notes the HuffingtonPost. "The Miami Heat star was forced to try out league-approved goggles, but it didn't appear to help."

Another version of the story and video can  be found at Yahoo! Sports.

New Protective Lenses Change Color with Light Levels

"The Office of Naval Research's (ONR) TechSolutions department is set to deliver to Navy Special Warfare Command personnel later this year new protective eyewear that will eliminate the need for warfighters to stop to change out colored lenses to accommodate differences in light levels," reports ScienceDaily.

For another angle on the story can be found at

Name OneSight's Vision Van

"This March, a new Vision Van will join the OneSight fleet and travel North America to provide vision care and eyewear to thousands of children in need. The only roadblock? It needs a name!" according to the OneSight post. "Submit your suggestions now through Wednesday, February 9 to The OneSight team will narrow the field of entries. Finalist names will be posted on OneSight’s Facebook page Friday, February 11. Fans of OneSight are invited to show their love for their favorite name by 'Liking' the entry. The number of 'Likes' will help the OneSight team determine the final name for our newest addition. The winning submission will be featured on the Van and recognized online.“

ECPs Rock the House

OneSight posted the following about the EyeRock concert:

Each year, amateur musicians from across the optical industry converge on New York City during Vision Expo East to participate in EyeRock -- a rock concert to benefit OneSight. The event is a perfect fit for companies that are looking to showcase their support of OneSight while providing great add-on entertainment in mid-town Manhattan for clients and friends attending VEE.

This year, EyeRock New York will take place at The Hard Rock Café. It will feature an open bar (beer and wine), light hor d'oeurves and four fantastic sets of live music. With this great new location, this promises to be the most rockin' EyeRock yet!
The show is once again presented by Converse and John Varvatos by REM Eyewear.
EyeRock New York 2011 will take place Saturday, March 19 from 9:00pm - 1:00am at The Hard Rock Café Times Square (1501 Broadway).
Sponsorship opportunities range from $2,000 - $15,000. Please contact for details or make your pledge today!
Individual tickets will be available at starting for February 1st for a $75 donation to OneSight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Essilor Teams Up with Winchester and NEA

As part of $55.8 million international expansion, Essilor has "added two new partner to its laboratory network: Winchester Optical, in New York State, with revenue of around $9.3 million, and NEA Optical, based in Arkansas with revenue of $3.7 million," according to 4-Traders.

Fed Shutters Website Selling Cosmetic Lenses

"The Federal Trade Commission is shutting down a Gwinnett County [Georgia] website that sold cosmetic contact lenses without prescriptions. The practice violates a regulation in effect since 2004," says WSBTV News. "According to court documents, the operation conducted business out of an apartment complex in Duluth. Gothic Lens is no longer operating and its owner, Da Young Kim, is in the process of settling a civil action against her."

An ECP Changing the World One Pair at a Time

"In 1984 Jordan Kassalow, an optometry student in Boston, volunteered to treat hundreds of patients in rural Mexico. Many had struggled to find work because of their poor eyesight but couldn’t afford corrective lenses," reports Forbes. "Of the 70% who needed eyeglasses, Kassalow figured half could get by with the sort of ready-made models sold in drugstores. 'Why don’t we train local people to sell reading glasses?' he thought. "Seventeen years later Kassalow and friend Scott Berrie..." Read on.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lens Market to Grow at a CAGR of 3%

Vision Care (Contact Lenses and Spectacle Lenses) - Global Pipeline Analysis, Opportunity Assessment and Market Forecasts to 2016 predicts that the marketplace will exceed $23bn in 2016. The global market for vision care devices was valued at $20 billion in 2009, and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3%. The market is expected to be driven by the increasing patient population suffering from refractive errors, their increased awareness, and the cost effectiveness of vision care devices over refractive surgery, according to a press release.

In 2009, the prevalence of refractive errors in US was 25%. Refractive errors affect one third of people who are 40 year or older in the US and Western Europe and one fifth of the same age group people in Australia. The prevalence of myopia is as high as 70-90% in some Asian countries. Females are at a higher risk of developing refractive errors compared to men. The US remains the largest vision care devices market, driven by an aging population that's brand conscious.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FTC Questions Changes Proposed by NC's Board of Opticians

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission sent comments to the North Carolina Board of Opticians explaining that the board’s proposal to restrict the sale of contact lenses, eyeglasses, and other optical goods in the state is likely to raise costs to consumers unnecessarily. The comments also state that the proposal appears to conflict with the federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the FTC’s Contact Lens and Eyeglass Rules, both of which protect consumers’ ability to get their eye prescriptions promptly and at no charge so they can comparison shop for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Several provisions of the Proposed Rule raise competitive concerns, the comments state, including sections that would do the following:
  1. Redefine contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions so that opticians would not have to give consumers the measurements needed to fill their prescriptions,
  2. Impose new requirements on Internet sellers that do not apply to brick-and-mortar stores,
  3. Impose new requirements on some out-of-state sellers that are not imposed on sellers located in North Carolina.

New Study Shows the Needs of Patients/Customers--Comfort One of the Least Important

In a recent global study to determine the hierarchy of vision-corrected patient needs, seeing better was the most important consideration for selecting eye care products. The Needs, Symptoms, Incidence, Global Eye Health Trends (NSIGHT) study surveyed 3,800 spectacle- and contact lens-corrected subjects, 15 to 65 years of age, from seven different countries (China, Korea, Japan, France, Italy, United Kingdom, United States).

The study indicates that product benefits relating to vision quality are highly important to patients worldwide. When researchers asked patients to trade off various functional needs relative to eye care products, patients said comfort was only half as important as vision quality. "NSIGHT validated that clear, crisp vision is a top priority for our patients," commented Carla Mack, O.D., F.A.A.O., director, Global Medical Affairs for Bausch + Lomb.

The eight categories of eye care product benefits, in descending order of importance to patients, were vision, health, environment, eye condition, convenience, comfort, personal performance and personal appearance. Surprisingly, comfort came in sixth out of eight possible categories.

New Way of Fighting Infections Associated with CLs

"Researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered a new method to fight bacterial infections associated with contact lenses," reports EurekaAlert. The site goes on to report:
The eye normally fights infections through a variety of defense mechanisms including blinking of the eyes...Contact lenses, however, inhibit the effectiveness of blinking eyelids. Thus, bacteria can adhere to the surface of the contact lens...Eye infections can be treated with antibiotics. However, it can be difficult to eliminate the bacteria on the contact lenses, especially when they form a biofilm. ...The researchers confirmed earlier findings that cellular debris from immune cells fighting the infection actually provide the raw materials for the biofilm – DNA, actin and histones. So, they used the enzyme DNAase together with negatively charged poly aspartic acid to break down the chemical bonds of these elements that support the biofilm.

Unilens Launches New CL

"A new line of contact lenses has been launched by manufacturer Unilens, adding to its family of vision correction options," says a post. The company notes that its C-Vue Advanced HydraVue line of silicone hydrogel custom contact lenses will include Toric Multifocal and Multifocal designs, Custom Toric and Single Vision versions.

US Optical to Manufacture Electronic Eyeglasses

US Optical has signed an agreement with Pixel Optics to manufacture emPower!, Pixel Optic's patented electronic eyeglass lenses, starting with the launch of the US Southeast region around April 4, 2011, according to a US Optical press release.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Transition Goes Retail on "The Tour"

Transitions Optical, title sponsor of the Transitions Championship, will expand its retail presence on the 2011 PGA Tour, according to a company press release. Located within the merchandise area at each event, the Transitions retail space will feature opportunities for golf enthusiasts to talk with an eyecare professional about which Transitions products.

Davis Vision Initiates Reading Program

Davis Vision has started the literacy campaign "Bring a Book. Get a Book. See a Book." The company plans to link proper vision care in children and their ability to read. It has scheduled vision screenings in conjunction with public libraries in Miami, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Additionally, children who attend a Focus on America vision screening not held in a library or school will receive a free book through Davis Vision's partnership arrangement with Scholastic Books.

Finding Those Misplaced Car Keys

"How do we find something we are looking for?" asks the MedicalNewsToday post.  "New data support the hypothesis that when we want to find something, we hold an image of it in our visual working memory. Volunteers' brain activity was measured as they looked for an object in a complex scene. Results indicate that visual working memory mechanisms may be involved in maintaining attention for a specific target during a search task. These findings have important clinical implications - for example, working memory problems may be mistaken for attentional deficits."

After Banner Year, Luxottica Predicts More the Same

Luxottica  expects a solid 2011 after stronger demand for luxury brands, especially in the United States and Asia, boosted 2010 sales to record levels," says a EasyBourse post. Its "2010 net sales [reportedly] hit a record 5.80 billion euros ($7.9 billion), helped by consumers' improving confidence in its key U.S. market and a more customer-focused retail business."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

CT Optician and Artsy Frames Featured

"For glasses, Fairfield-based Optical Alternatives is offering art that you can wear," goes the StamfordAdvocate post about the store run by Glen Bemus and Dorothy Reynolds. "Although the nearly year-old independent eyeglass store carries frames from 10 countries, the newest line, designed by Israeli artist Ronit Furst, has caught customers' attention.Formerly a ceramic artist creating soup pots and decorative cookware, Furst began using her artistic talents painting eyeglass frames in 2002."

Optometrist Returns to India to Provide Free Eye Care

"A Balwyn East optometrist knows the saying 'seeing is believing' all too well," goes the ProgressLeader post. "Sue Strachan has spent the past five years providing free eye tests and glasses to underprivileged people living in remote areas of rural India. The 52-year-old co-owner of Strachan Eyecare Plus is to leave for India on February 4 in what will be her sixth visit."

How the World Sees Optical Stores

The website eHow has posted an analysis of the difference between what the post refers to a "corporate stores" (chain stores) and the retail establishments of independent opticians. You may disagree with the analysis, but it offers a peak into how the retail optical market appears to outsiders.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys: Hugh Jackman Hurts Eye on Ophra

"Actor Hugh Jackman has confessed he got over-excited during his high flying stunt on the Oprah Winfrey Show in Sydney last month," according to SkyNews. "The episode featuring the actor's bungled stunt and eye injury has just been to air in the US. The alpha exhibition from the very peak of the Opera House was meant to show-off the X-Men star's athletic ability, but quickly turned sour when Jackman crashed rather than glided on to the stage after failing to pull the brake in time on a giant flying fox."

CIBA and J&J Reach CL Agreement

"CIBA Vision has reached a global settlement agreement with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care regarding CIBA’s patent-protected silicone hydrogel contact lens technology, according to a press release from CIBA." That's the post on PCon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Better Than a Human Eye," according to SD

"Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are the first to develop a curvilinear camera, much like the human eye, with the significant feature of a zoom capability, unlike the human eye," according to ScienceDaily.

Is 3D Eyewear Dangerous? AAO Says...

MedicalNewsToday reports the following summary of a statement by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) regarding the use of 3D eyewear:
At this time there are no conclusive studies on the short- and/or long-term effects of 3-D digital products on eye and visual development, health, or function in children, nor are there persuasive, conclusive theories on how 3-D digital products could cause damage in children with healthy eyes. The development of normal 3-D vision in children is stimulated as they use their eyes in day-to-day social and natural environments, and this development is largely complete by age three years.
The AAO did issue precautions about children with amblyopia, strabismus, and focus inhibiting conditions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unilens Vision Launches New HydraVUE Line

Unilens Vision, Inc., has launched its new C-VUE Advanced HydraVUE line of silicone hydrogel custom contact lenses for monthly replacement. The line  incorporates highly developed lens design technology, including Unilens' world-class patented Toric multifocal and multifocal designs and made-to-order custom Toric and single vision options. The company claims that an eye care professional can specify the exact ADD power (for near vision) and zone size.

New Jersey Eye Doc Flies to Ghana to Save Sight

"Dr. Howard J. Gross of Horizon Eye Care of South Jersey recently spent eight days in Ghana, Africa, to perform cataract surgery for the poor, as part of Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International," according to a ShoreNewsToday post. "Moved by the extreme need of the people of Ghana, Gross donated his time and travel expenses to participate in this expedition. Many patients were totally blind from cataracts, a condition that is easily curable in the United States."

Giveaway and Facebook Promotion has been offering customers a chance to win a free pair of glasses online from their in-house private collection, according to a press release on SFGate. The online retailer weekly has provided a free pair of eyeglasses during January to fans who participate in the "Try-It" Virtual Mirror Facebook contest, which appears on its Facebook fan page.

Check it out. Maybe the idea would work for your operation.

CooperVision Re-Launches Avaira Toric CLs

CooperVision again is rolling out its Avaira Toric silicone hydrogel lenses for astigmatic U.S. patients. The company introduced the lense back in June, but demand outstripped supply so the company restricted the lenses to the few thousand customers who had a fitting set.  The lens is designed to provide consistent performance in a broad range of astigmatic patients regardless of a patient's prescription.

Davis Vision Launches New Plan, idealChoice

Davis Vision is offering a new vision plan, idealChoice, which reportedly features increased access, an expanded offering of frames, and a wider variety of lens options. The company says that under this plan, members will have access to more independent providers than any other Davis Vision benefit plan and enhanced benefits for lenses, frames, and contact lenses. The plan was designed to meet and exceed the increasing consumer expectation for higher quality options in their vision benefit plan, according to Davis.

Essilor Instruments Opens US Division

Essilor Instruments launched a new division Of Essilor Instruments will sell and service Essilor’s existing edging equipment line, which includes entry level equipment as well as premium Mr. Blue edging systems, to opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists, according to PConSupersite.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Washington Wizards's Hinrich Adverts Optical Disaster

"Kirk Hinrich needed to get his Illinois driver's license renewed before his 30th birthday earlier this month, so he went in for a routine eye exam with Washington Wizards team optometrist Keith Smithson. The plan was for Hinrich to just read a few rows of descending letters and fax the results to the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles," according to the WashingtonPost.
"But the process became more complicated as Hinrich came away with the startling news that if he continued to play basketball without protective eyewear, he stood a high risk of getting hit and losing sight in his left eye."

Dymotech Sues Shamir Subsidiary

Shamir Optical Industry Ltd., a provider ofproducts and technology to the ophthalmic lens market, announced that its subsidiary, Shamir and Inray Ltd.,  was served with a lawsuit by Dymotech Ltd., Shamir's co-shareholder in Inray Ltd. The lawsuit, filed in Israel, claims Shamir illegally used the intellectual property of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Dymotech also requested a restraining order against future use of its alleged intellectual property. The total amount claimed is approximately $28 million.

Vision Council Release Its Study on the Internet Buying Habits

The VisionWatch, a study by the Vision Council, indicates "about 28 percent of people using the internet to assist in their last purchase of eyewear—which includes research on styles, price and possible locations—actually made the purchase directly online," according to a VisionMonday post.

Two Wharton Grads Sell Eyewear Online--Read Why? It Affects Your Business

"Warby Parker, a New York start-up, thinks it can persuade people to shop online for glasses, with a combination of fashion, low prices, technology and old-fashioned customer service. It seems to be working. In its first year of business, the company sold about 20,000 pairs of glasses," according to a NYTimes post.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

J&J's Vistakon Launches "New You" Sweepstakes

Vistakon, Div. of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., launched its "New You" sweepstakes, attempting to tie in contact lenses, fitness, and beauty. Five first-prize winners will receive an annual supply of J&J's Acuvue contact lenses, and the grand-prize winner will receive a one year membership to a gym of their choice. The sweepstakes runs from January 1, 2011, through February 28, 2011. Consumers can enter to win the "New You" sweepstakes and see official rules at

Vanderbilt Study Proves My Mother Right

UPI reports "U.S. researchers report firecrackers known as bottle rockets can cause significant eye injuries in children. Study leader Mehnas Kahn of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville found bottle rockets often lead to permanent loss of vision."

My mother would be glad for the confirmation. For more than half a century, she has complained that kids will hurt their eyes playing with fireworks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sunglasses for Winter--Tell Your Customers

"Skiing on fresh snow, skating on reflective ice or hiking at high altitudes can be harder on your eyes than a day at the beach. Snow, as many East Coast readers may have noticed this week, reflects nearly 80 percent of the sun’s rays. Dry beach sand? Just 15 percent." That's the start of a great how-to article about sunglasses appearing in today's NYTimes. Reprint highlights from article to give to customers. Send them an email. Post a link on your web, Facebook, and Twitter sites. 

Australian Cricket Team Offered Free Contact Lenses

"The Australian cricket team have been offered free contact lens trials after being soundly beaten in the recent Ashes series against England," according to ContactLenses.

How Soldiers Protect Eyes from Explosions

The NYTimes blog by C.J. Chivers starts: "Late in the afternoon on May 27, 2010, a Marine and Afghan foot patrol working in the scrub and dunes along the Helmand River in Afghanistan unknowingly walked up to a hidden bomb." Read on if you want to find out more.

More on Augmented Reality CLs

Do you want to know more about augmented reality CLs or smart CLs? You might want to read this PC World article.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

DOD Awards Grant to Study Eye Injuries

A Virginia Tech press release says  that Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University Center for Injury Biomechanics ( has been awarded a $2.8 million contract from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for phase 2 of an overall project focusing on brain and eye injuries in military personnel. Specifically, blast induced brain trauma will be investigated using experimental and computational models. Given improvements in helmet design and body armor and the resulting reductions in penetrating injuries, including penetrating head trauma, blast-related closed head injuries have become the signature injury of most military operations.

Surgeons Might Save Deputy's Sight

"An official says surgeons may yet be able to save the eye of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was shot in the face during a confrontation with a gang member," says CBS Los Angeles.

Tiger Woods's Eye Surgeon Must Pay Patient $1 Million

"A former Pittsburgh eye surgeon who once operated on Tiger Woods faces a Friday deadline to pay a North Huntingdon man more than $1 million for damages he suffered after undergoing eye surgery," according to the Pittsburgh Turbine Review.

Guidance Yet to Come about 3D Eyewear

OpticianOnline reports that "clinical guidance for 3D eyewear cannot be issued by the General Optical Council (GOC) until the release of prescription 3D glasses later this year according to a Council spokesperson."

Essilor Goes to China for Lenses

Essilor International is taking a 50% stake in Wanxin Optical, one of China’s leading manufacturers of ophthalmic lenses, as part of a joint venture agreement, says a company press release. Wanxin Optical has more than 2,000 employees, produces nearly 35 million lenses a year and generates annual revenue of approximately €24 million. Intended for both the domestic and export markets, its products are highly regarded by eyecare professionals, especially in the mid-range segment. Wanxin Optical will continue to be led by its current management team.

OCT Use on the Rise

ContactLenses reports "there has been significant growth in the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) by ophthalmologists and other eye professionals, according to a new study."

Court Dismisses Aspex Lawsuit against VSP

Recently United States District Court for Eastern California dismissed the last claim of Aspex Eyewear's lawsuit against VSP Vision Care, acccording to a VSP press release. The federal court's ruling also affirmed the right of VSP Global and its companies to refuse to conduct business with companies who are suing them. The court found no merit to Aspex Eyewear's remaining claim of breach of contract. Earlier this year, Aspex Eyewear withdrew the antitrust and other claims that were included in the lawsuit against VSP.

This is reportedly the latest in a series of favorable court decisions for VSP Global and its companies. In November, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Aspex Eyewear's entire patent infringement lawsuit filed against Marchon® Eyewear.  Earlier in the year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a non-final decision invalidating the sole remaining patent claim in Aspex's lawsuit against Altair. Aspex Eyewear has filed appeals with the United States Court of Appeals in both the California and Florida cases.

VSP Global provides more than 55 million opticians and eye care professionals (ECPs) access to frame styles and brands, design of custom interiors and merchandising systems, e-commerce and practice management solutions, and lab services.

3D Imaging "Dangerous" for Young Eyes?

"The visual trickery that produces 3-D images can also lead to headaches, motion sickness and possibly impaired vision," reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Game maker Nintendo acknowledged the concerns at the end of 2010, when it issued an unusual caution even before its long-awaited 3DS hand-held game machine arrives in U.S. stores as soon as March. Nintendo says children 6 years old and younger should not use the device because of the risk of lasting damage to ocular development. No one really knows what the risk is, however, because there's scant research on how the latest wave of 3-D technology affects young eyes." Read more.

Non-Presecription Drug Treats Cataracts

"Scientists are reporting a scientific basis for the long-standing belief that a widely used non-prescription drug in China and certain other countries [pirenoxine, or PRX] can prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Their study appears in Inorganic Chemistry, an ACS journal," says News-Medical.

CA Physicians Try to Block Optometrist from Treating Glaucoma

The OCRegister reports that "The California Medical Association and the California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday to block the implementation of controversial new rules that would allow California optometrists to treat glaucoma patients."

It's about Time

"A Kent rugby club has been fined £2,000 [about $3,000] and deducted 50 points following a deliberate attack which left an opposing player blind in one eye," according to a BBC post. It's about time that leagues start making players and teams responsible for injuries resulting from unsportsmanlike behavior.

Eye Implant Releases Meds

"An implant that releases the medication dexamethasone within the eye appears safe and effective for the treatment of some types of uveitis (swelling and inflammation in the eye's middle layer), according to a report posted online today that will appear in the May print issue of Archives of Ophthalmology," according to MedicalNewsToday.

CL Market to Grow

"The global market for contact lenses is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as use of the products increases, a new study has predicted," according to a post on ContactLenses. "A report issued by iData predicts that, in the US alone, the contact lens market is expected to reach over $4.6 billion (£2.9 billion) by 2017, something the organisation attributes to the popularity of products such as soft lenses and daily disposables."

As Forrest Said, "Stupid Is as Stupid Does"

"All families, no matter how poor, can afford eyeglasses, County Executive Chris Collins said Tuesday as he mentioned eye care as one of the Medicaid offerings he would drop as an option in Erie County if he could," according to a BuffaloNews report.

St. Paul Optician Helps in Hiati

"Owners of the Spectacle Shoppe say they've collected more than 4,000 pairs of prescription glasses with its 'Help Haiti, Help Yourself' program.  Customers who donated glasses to the Spectacle Shoppe and received a $175 gift card valid toward a new pair of prescription eyewear at the optical company's five metro stores," according to a KSTP report.

Superfocus Eyewear Design Wins Another Award

Superfocus glasses were awarded the coveted 2011 iF International Forum Design Award in the medical device category. The design is said to be the world’s first adjustable focus eyeglasses to provide
"perfect" focus at all distances through the entire field of view.

The eyewear design also has garnered the prestigious Wall Street Journal 2010 Innovations Award (Overall Silver Award and Medical Devices Category Winner) and Popular Science 2009 Best of What’s New Award.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Crizal Alize Lenses and Marketing Campaign

Beginning Jan. 12, new Crizal Alizé lenses will be available to ECPs and their patients in both Rx and Finished Single Vision (FSV) in the same materials as the prior generation with two exceptions, the discontinuation of FSV AS Thin&Lite 1.60 and the launch of three new materials: FSV 1.5 Transitions VI Gray, FSV AS Airwear Transitions VI Gray and FSV AS Thin&Lite 1.67 Transitions VI Gray.

The new lenses reportedly will offer the following:
  • Cleanability: With a contact angle of 116°, they  feature an enhanced top coat. The company says that even after 20,000 cleanings, more than 98 percent of the super-hydrophobic top coat remains, thus protecting the lens from scratches that can result from regular cleanings. 
  • High Surface Density (HSD) Process: Essilor’s HSD process is said to densely packs the top coat molecules together, so nothing can stick to the lenses. 
  • Double-Sided Integrated Hard Coat: The integrated hard coat continues to deliver scratch resistance and durability that can easily withstand life’s daily wear. Pad Control System™: More than ever, Essilor’s exclusive Pad Control System ensures the ultimate edging precision.
The new lenses will be accompanied by a major marketing campaign, as reported by VisionMonday: "Essilor of America, Inc. announced the launch of a national consumer advertising campaign for Crizal No-Glare lenses. Designed to inform patients about Crizal and drive them into independent eyecare professional (ECP) practices, the multimedia national consumer campaign, which will kick off on March 7, includes television, radio, digital media, and print, as well as public relations."

Independent Optician's Marketing Plan a Success

"More than 12 million people had the opportunity to read and hear about Sight Care’s ‘Eye Love My Local Independent Optician’ campaign last year, according to the latest review of the campaign by the business and product support group for independents," according to a Optometry.Co.Uk.

Have an Impact about the Future of Eye Care

The National Eye Institute (NEI) invites you to provide your input to the Institute's upcoming plan, Vision Research in 2011: Needs, Gaps, and Opportunities. This Request for Information (RFI) solicits opinions from those members of the scientific, medical, and patient communities with an interest to help shape the research agenda of the NEI. Please visit for more information and to submit your suggestions.

New Lady Gaga Specs from Polaroid

"It’s clear... [Lady Gaga is] onto something cool with the new glasses she’s designed for Polaroid, which focus less on what you see than on what others see when they look into your eyes—by using tiny screens in the lenses to project images outward, as opposed to inward," according to a WallStreetJournal blog.

Murder-for-Hire, Optician Suspect Can't Regain Store Control

"Budget eyewear pitchman and murder-for-hire suspect Michael Yuchnitz won't be allowed to regain control of his San Antonio businesses, a judge ruled Monday," according to MySanAntonio. "The decision by state District Judge Martha Tanner came after a three-day civil hearing that included testimony from Yuchnitz that his My Econo's $39.95 Optical stores were rapidly crumbling without his guidance."

IEI Starts Eye Clinic in Chicago

The Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) will provide vital vision care for as many as 10,000 underserved Chicago Public School students each school year at its new eye clinic at Princeton Elementary School on the South Side. The clinic will focus on underserved students who lack access to eye care, according to IEI's press release.

Transitions Sponsors Book Bus Tour -- Again

Based on the success of partnering with mobile literacy unit Bess the Book Bus on a nationwide tour in 2010, Transitions Optical is announcing a second year of this partnership in 2011.  Through the partnership, Transitions will continue as the lead sponsor of the Book Bus' national tour, which will bring free books to children in need at schools, shelters and after-school programs in underserved communities across the country.

Another Online CL Supplier

According to OregonLive, entrepreneur Hayden Hamilton wondered why contact lenses cost so much. "He concluded there was no good reason for contacts to run $20 a box or more, other than pure profit for the handful of manufacturers that control the market. 'It just seemed to be one of those things where the marginal costs are very small,' he said. So in November, he launched Luminous Lens, an online site that sells contact lenses for $9.99 a box."

Smart CLs Monitor Health and Provide VR

NewScientist reports that smart contact lenses, with gold rings, will monitor blood sugar and glaucoma. In addition "the lenses could also map images directly onto the field of view, creating head-up displays for the ultimate augmented reality experience, without wearing glasses or a headset. To produce such lenses, researchers are merging transparent, eye-friendly materials with microelectronics."

Glaucoma Home Testing

Right next to the sugar-testing meter and the pregnacy-test kit, the home of tomorrow could have a glaucoma testing device, says MedicalNewsToday. "Cumbersome glaucoma tests that require a visit to the ophthalmologist could soon be history thanks to a home test developed by a UA engineer. The self-test instrument has been designed in Eniko Enikov's lab at the UA College of Engineering. Gone are the eye drops and need for a sterilized sensor. In their place is an easy-to-use probe that gently rubs the eyelid and can be used at home."

Mac D Declining, Acccording to Report

"The percentage of Americans aged 40+ with AMD (age-related macular degeneration) has dropped to 6.5% in 2005-2008 from 9.4% in 1988-1994, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison reported in an article published in Archives of Ophthalmology," reports MedicalNewsToday.

Davis VIsion Introduces New Plan

"Davis Vision announces the launch of its new health and wellness program, the Eye Health Connection Program. With expanded coverage for eye exams and eyewear, it will offer cost savings, greater flexibility and enhanced benefits to members," according to a Yahoo!News post. "Focusing on the four leading eye conditions – age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, Davis Vision's new program elevates benefits and reduces costs. The expanded benefits include greater frequency of dilated eye exams, free online resources and personalized, disease-specific communications for each member."

And You Thought You Were Ripped Off

"Fifty thousand pounds (about $77,000) worth of glasses including Cartier sunglasses were stolen following a burglary at Brookmans Park Opticians in Bradmore Green between 4am and 4.15am on Saturday morning," according to a post on HertfordshireNews&Appeal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Anti-Bacterial/Colored CLs Done Easily? Maybe with CO2

"Researchers are now impregnating plastics with compressed CO2 in a process that could lead to new applications ranging from colored contact lenses to bacteria-resistant door handles," according to MedicalNewsToday.

Eyewear Makes You Smarter--at Least in Britain

"A new study now says people who wear glasses are seen as smarter and more professional than those who don’t, at least in Britain," according to a post on EnidNews.

If Health Care Reform Repealed, Vision Care Compromised

In a post on HuffingtonPost, it was reported that "in light of this call to action it is disappointing that repealing health reform is at the top of Speaker Boehner's agenda for the new Congress. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, health reform will not only reduce the budget deficit in the next ten years by more than $100 billion, it also will ensure that an estimated 32 million Americans who are uninsured or underinsured can get high quality, affordable health coverage they can rely on." 

But what is the consequence to opticians, ECPs, and their patients? The answer: "Insurers would not have to cover vision care services or eyeglasses for children even if it is impossible for a child to be successful in school if they can't see."

OneSight Partners with Sightsavers

"In an effort to expand ongoing sustainable care programs for those in need, the Luxottica Group Foundation OneSight is partnering with Sightsavers International (SSI) on a key three-year program enabling OneSight volunteers to provide essential long-term vision care to Gambia, according to an announcement from OneSight," according to a post on VisionMonday.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just Because We Like Baseball, the Yankees, and Eyeglasses

"Ryne Duren, the star relief pitcher for two Yankee World Series teams who stared down batters through thick-lensed eyeglasses and then delivered fastballs that might go just about anywhere, died Thursday at his home in Lake Wales, Fla. He was 81," says a NYTimes post.

Eyeglasses Scam Artist to Jail for 10 Years

"A 270-pound hustler who had menaced tourists for 10 years with the 'broken eyeglasses' street scam is finally going to prison," says a story for the NYPost.

Those Damn CLs--Again!

"Pabst, the driver of the second pickup, told the Florida Highway Patrol she was adjusting her contact lenses when she hit the cruiser. She is charged with careless driving." That's the reason why she ran into a cop, original but stupid. The entire story appears on this post from

How Effective Are Wellness Programs? We Don't Know, Say Corporations

Despite spending more on employee wellness programs in 2010, only 37 percent of U.S. employers actually measure their program's effectiveness, a global survey released today indicates, according to a Xerox press release  on Yahoo News. Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies, released by Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company, found that employers spent 35 percent more - about $220 - on each employee who participated in a wellness program compared to 2009.

Optician Jailed for Fraud

"The owner of two opticians in England and Wales has been jailed for committing over £23,000 (about $46,000) worth of fraud against the NHS [National Health Service]," according to the BBC.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Eyes Windows to One's Soul; Tears May Be Its Language

According to a NYTimes post, "research, published on Thursday in the journal Science, could begin to explain something that has baffled scientists for generations: Why do humans, unlike seemingly any other species, cry emotional tears? In several experiments, researchers found that men who sniffed drops of women’s emotional tears became less sexually aroused than when they sniffed a neutral saline solution that had been dribbled down women’s cheeks."

A CEU Program Opticians Can Chew On

OpticalCEUs, a division of F.E. Enterprises, will run its 2011 Spring Continuing Education Conference for opticians and ECPs needing ABO and NCLE credits on May 1, 2011, at the luxurious Foxwoods Resorts and Casinos, in Mashantucket, Connecticut, according to Linda Conlin, founder of OpticalCEUs.

The semi-annual event, which has been running for more than a decade, will have its usual line-up of speakers and their excellent multimedia presentations. They will cover a variety of topics regarding vision care, eyewear, and contact lenses, providing opticians and ECPs with as many as seven ABO/NCLE continuing education credits, notes Linda Conlin.

As usual, the economical fee will include free coffee or tea for attendees arriving for the morning sessions. In addition, opticians and ECPs attending a full day of sessions (seven credits), sessions only in the morning (three credits), or sessions only in the afternoon (four credits) can enjoy a complimentary lunch. Here's the menu for OpticalCEUs 2011 Spring Conference for opticians and ECPs:
  • Soup and Salads: hearty minestrone soup; crisp iceberg lettuce with pepperoncini peppers, garbanzo beans, chopped tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese served with either a house vinaigrette or buttermilk ranch dressing; tortellini pasta salad.
  • Make Your Own Hot Sandwich: Philly cheese steaks with shaved rib-eye beef, melted cheese, grilled mushrooms and onions; honey BBQ pulled pork; eggplant Florentine; all served with fresh Hoagie rolls and seasoned curly fries.
  • Desserts: chocolate fudge cake, blueberry lemon meringue cake, mandarin Earl Grey cake, along with coffee and assorted teas.
Course information and registration will be available online by the middle of March 2011. For directions to the resort, follow this link: Directions by car to Foxwoods. For information about the conference, email Linda Conlin at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Repealing Health Care Law Costly--Yeap

UPI reports "repealing the health care law -- sought by U.S. House Republicans -- would increase the federal deficit by $230 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said. The non-partisan CBO's preliminary analysis of the Republicans' Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act boosted Democrats' claims that overturning President Obama's signature domestic bill would devastate the deficit, Politico reported."

FYI: ECPs Getting into Cardio

HeartSmart Technologies officially announced the launch of a new Eye Care division today. The new division will provide eye care professionals with the diagnostic tools necessary to easily detect the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, according to the company press release.

3D Eyewear an Opportunity?

That's the thought of one eyewear manufacturer. EyeCareBiz recently reported: "'There's a tremendous opportunity to bring another level of business to ECPs—selling 3D glasses,' says Marchon's vice president of new business development, Hannah Sarbin. 'It's a great marketing message, and it brings new sexiness and new life and a new story into the practice.'” Of course Marchon thinks so. It's already marketing a 3D spectacle line.

Electronic Self-Focusing Eyewear--New!

"A Roanoke Virginia company [PixelOptics] may be set to revolutionize the eye-wear world with the first-ever self-adjusting pair of variable-focus lenses. Their EmPower glasses have see-through, built in LCD crystals that can be charged to actually change the focus strength of the lenses. This could provide relief for all those forced to wear fix-focus tri-, bi- and variable-focus lenses," according to a PCMag post. 

For yet more on the story, go to USAToday's TechnologyLive.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Finding about Underlying Causes of Glaucoma

"The Glaucoma Research Foundation ... announced that novel new findings about the underlying cause of glaucoma have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," according to a post on MedicalNewsToday.

Marchon Gets 3D Curved Lens Patent

"Marchon3D™ announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark office has issued U.S. patent 7,854,506 for its curved M3D™ 3D lenses. Specifically, the patent protects the invention of curved lenses configured to decode three-dimensional content," according to a YahooFinance post.

Having the Real World and Virtual Too

Vuzix Corporation   "has won an Innovation Award at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for its revolutionary see-through Augmented Reality (AR) eyewear. Code named Raptyr, the glasses look and wear like a conventional pair of glasses. However, through a holographic optics engine, the wearer can simultaneously view the real world around them and computer-generated content," according to a post on MorningStar.

The company also announced "it will begin shipping its first widescreen virtual reality eyewear, the Wrap VR1200, in spring this year," according to a post on Unified-Communications.

CooperVision Gives Funding to Sports Teams

CooperVision, a  contact lens manufacturer, announced today the second round of winners of $25,000 in Gear Up Grant funding, according to the company's post. The Gear Up Grant program was established earlier this year as part of the company's Contact Sports initiative, which continues to help young athletes and teams across North America get the athletic equipment they need to succeed, while promoting the importance of eye health. 

The 10 winners are as follows:
  • AL Stanback Girls Volleyball Team, Hillsborough, N.C.
  • Club Olympia Judo, Fond du Lac, Wis.
  • Crested Butte Junior Nordic Ski Team, Crested Butte, Colo.
  • Grandview High School Swim Team, Columbus, Ohio
  • Glades Day School Football Team, Belle Glade, Fla.
  • La Porte Midget Cheer Team, LaPorte, Ind.
  • Millennium High School Baseball Team, Tracy, Calif.
  • Renaissance Magnet High School Weightlifting Program for Self-Esteem, Meridian, Idaho
  • Rock Hill High School Boys Basketball Team, Catawba, S.C.
  • Whitewater Alberta Slalom Canoe/Kayak Team, Calgary, Alberta

The 10 winning teams will each receive $2,500 in grant funds and each athlete on the team who needs corrective lenses will receive a one year supply of CooperVision contact lenses.

3D Devices Might Help with Eye Care

The American Optometric Association (AOA), representing optometrists, says 3D in movies, TV and even 3D on Nintendo's 3DS isn't necessarily bad for adults or children, according to an AOA press release. In fact, optometrists, professional health care providers committed to children's vision and eye health, say 3D viewing may actually help uncover subtle disorders that, left uncorrected, often result in learning difficulties. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Developments in Genetic Testing and Cataract Removal

This month's Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, reports on two new tools for diagnosis and care of inherited eye diseases and cataract surgery. 
  1. Scientists in top genetics centers in the Netherlands have taken the first step toward large scale, inexpensive genetic testing for eye diseases. Their new retinal DNA re-sequencing chip and patient pooling strategy enables detection of multiple retinal disease gene sequences in multiple patients, at the same time. The chip is fully validated for DNA diagnostic purposes, and an upgraded version will be available in early 2011 at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam....
  2. Who is most likely to benefit from cataract removal? How much improvement in vision and quality of life can people expect after surgery? Cataract removal is the most common surgery in the United States and many other countries, but surprisingly, until now there has been no standard assessment tool to help doctors and health planners answer these questions. A Spanish research group recently developed such a tool and validated it in a large, diverse study population....

Man May Lose Eyesight because of a Racial Attack

"Mr. [Ali] Arshad said he had stepped away from two dinner mates on Thursday night to smoke a cigarette when a group of at least seven men walked past him and allegedly swore and made racist comments, which he said he ignored," according to a BrisbaneTimes post. "He said when the group returned a short time later, he was punched in the eye. Mr. Arshad said he was wearing his glasses at the time and one of the lenses smashed into his right eye, causing significant damage and requiring stitches."

Impact of the Health Care Bill on ECPs

It's difficult to judge, especially with opponents to the Health Care Bill looking to neutered the legislation passed in 2010. Read this MSNBC post: "Opponents of the new health care overhaul law are threatening to repeal, defund and kill it in court, but that isn’t stopping Washington from implementing a number of important provisions in 2011. While many people will welcome the new benefits, some will face higher costs as a result of the law. Seniors are affected by several of the provisions. They will get big discounts on prescription drugs and free preventive care, but some in Medicare Advantage plans may lose coveted extra benefits such as vision and dental coverage."

Free Eye Exams for those 65+

You may remind your elderly patients that they can receive free exams, as noted in a HealthNewsDigest post. "In honor of Glaucoma Awareness Month taking place in January 2011, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides eye exams at no out-of-pocket cost to people age 65 and older and offers free educational materials. The eye exams are provided by a corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Those interested in the program can visit to see if they are eligible. The organization’s online referral center also enables friends and family members to find out instantly if their loved ones are eligible to be matched with an EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologist."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Unexpected Biological Pathway to Glaucoma Discovered

In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Early Edition ahead of print), a team of researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and four collaborating institutions, identified a new and unexpected biological pathway that appears to contribute to the development of glaucoma and its resulting vision loss.

Lucentis-Avastin Debate Still Rages

MedicalNewsToday weighs in on the Lucentis-Avastin debate: "Genentech (Hoffman - La Roche) manufactures two critically important pharmaceuticals, Lucentis and Avastin, which are both used for treatment of several common eye diseases - including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Despite considerable clinical similarity, the price difference between these drugs is substantial, with Lucentis generally costing up to 100 times the equivalent treatment with Avastin. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial titled, "Comparison of AMD Treatment Trials" (CATT), is currently under way to compare the safety and efficacy of the two drugs, and the results may have far-reaching economic implications for Genentech, patients, Medicare, and third party payors."

Partial Solar Eclipse Has European ECPs Concerned

European eye care professionals (ECPs) are concerned about people looking at the partial solar eclipse, which will be easily seen in Europe tomorrow (January 4). "When the partial solar eclipse occurs tomorrow morning, Tuesday 4 January, do not look directly at the sun or you risk permanently damaging your eyesight and even blindness, warns the UK government's Interim Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies," according to a MedicalNewsToday post.

FGX Donates Glasses to Hiatians in Need

FGX International, a leading designer and marketer of non-prescription reading glasses and sunglasses, has donated approximately $5.7 Million in reading glasses to support charitable causes both in America and worldwide. Most recently, FGX International donated 47,000 pairs of reading glasses, to be used to support ongoing recovering efforts in Haiti and on medical missions around the world. One half of the donation, comprised of both Magnivision and Foster Grant branded readers, will benefit CURE centers in Haiti and Africa, a project of the Lions Club International Foundation. The remaining half will be sent on medical missions to other third world countries in need.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Consumers Prefer Evening and Weekend Hours

The survey, commissioned by EyeMed Vision Care, one of the nation’s leading vision benefits companies, found that while 60 percent of respondents indicated they prefer to access vision care services on regular weekdays before 6 p.m., nearly 25 percent of respondents prefer to access vision care on Saturdays at eye care/optical locations with all-day hours. Another 12 percent prefer weekday evenings after 6 p.m., and 4 percent prefer Sundays. In the poll*, conducted by EMI – Online Research Solutions, corrective-lens wearing consumers were asked, “What is your preferred time of day to shop for and purchase your vision correction (services)?”

Happy New Year

It's 2011. The holidays have passed, football is nearly finished, and CEU time for opticians is creeping up. That's why Linda Conlin recently noted that F.E. Enterprises will announce the date for its Spring 2011 CEU Conference in a short while. "While we do not have a firm date at the moment, it appears that it will be in April." Should anyone need more information, you can email:  

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Important for Vision

Researchers in Nunavik, Quebec, investigated the effect of maternal omega-3 intake on childhood visual function, says PUFA. Results showed that higher fetal exposure to DHA, which is concentrated in the retina of the eye, enhanced children's visual function up to 13 years later."DHA in maternal prenatal nutrition may have long-lasting effects in children," Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc., editor of the PUFA Newsletter and Fats of Life, concluded. For more information, go to the PUFA Newsletter and Fats of Life at

Clip-On 3Ds for Eyeglasses

"Clip-on lenses that enable spectacle wearers to watch 3D television without having to replace their prescription glasses are set to make three dimensional films more enjoyable for people with impaired vision." That's from a London Telegraph post. This marketplace may become important for opticians as 3D televisions become available.