Sunday, December 27, 2015

7-Decade Old Video Shows Fitting of CLs

The Daily Mail uncovered a video from the 1940s showing how contact lenses were made from molds of an individual's eyes before they could be fitted. See video.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Scientists Scour Genome Searching for Cause of AMD

Within a decade, opticians will see an increasing number of patients dealing with the effects of macular degeneration (AMD). What's happing in the field?

"Teams of geneticists from nine countries, involving more than 100 scientists, analyzed the genes of more than 33,000 individuals in the hope of finding genetic variations responsible for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)," according to a Medical News Today post. "Their research, involving complex computational analysis of more than 12 million genetic variations across the human genome, identified 52 variations associated with the disease. By identifying these genetic variations, spread across 34 gene regions, scientists are a step closer to developing diagnostics that identify which patients are at high risk for acquiring the disease and formulating therapeutics either to prevent or treat the disease caused by these genetic variations." Read more.

New Window for Treating Cataracts? Study Indicates Yeap!

When's the best time to treat cataracts? A new study, reported by Science Daily, may have identified the window between non-treatment and removal. "In a new study, scientists found that throughout our lifetime, levels of a key protein decline, and may be an early warning sign of a developing cataract. The study suggests that there is a window before cataracts develop when there may be time to intervene and prevent them." Read more.

NEI Notes January as Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma Awareness Month starts next week. The disease is a major cause of vision loss in the U.S. It affects about 3 million Americans, and that number could more than double by 2050. “Early detection by having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is key to protecting vision,” said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NEI (National Eye Institute). Anyone can get glaucoma, but African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans, and people with a family history of glaucoma are at higher risk. People at higher risk should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve, the bundle of nerve cells that relays visual information from the eye to the brain. In the most common form of glaucoma, called primary open angle glaucoma, nerve damage results from increased pressure inside the eye. Increased eye pressure occurs when the fluid that circulates in the eye drains too slowly. Read more.

What You See Ain't What You Get!!!

What  you see ain't always what you get--as far as your visual cortex is concerned. How, then, does this massive region of the brain right the world we see?

"What we see is not only based on the signals that our eyes send to our brain, but is influenced strongly by the context the visual stimulus is presented in, on our previous knowledge, and expectations," goes the writeup on Medical News Today. "Optical illusions, as the one shown here, illustrate how important such non-visual, contextual information is for our perception. The visual cortex receives this additional information from other brain areas and uses it to allow us to understand and interpret the visual world. Prof. [Sonja] Hofer and her team [at the biozentrum at the University of Basil, Switzerland] measured the specific signals transmitted to visual cortex from the Thalamus, and found that the Pulvinar not only conveyed visual signals but is also one of the brain areas that provide additional information about the context of visual stimuli." Nature Neuroscience published their results. Read more.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

NEI Expands Genetic Factors Connected to AMD

An international study of about 43,000 people has significantly expanded the number of genetic factors known to play a role in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. Supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, the findings may help improve our understanding of the biological processes that lead to AMD and identify new therapeutic targets for potential drug development. Read more.

Vision Plan Loses Lawsuit

"A health insurance company angry about losing a bid for the state’s vision contract just lost their case in Shawnee County District Court," notes KSNT. "Superior Vision Services, Inc. based in Rancho, Cordova, CA had been the sole provider of vision insurance for the State Employee Health Plan or SEHP. However, following a new request for proposal, the Kansas State Employees Health Care Commission (HCC) awarded the contract to Surency Life and Health Insurance on April 20, 2015. Surency is a Kansas-based company with offices in Wichita and Leawood. Superior sued the state of Kansas on several grounds in October, naming several agencies and entities in the lawsuit. Today, the court ruled that there was substantial evidence supporting the decision to accept Surency’s proposal. The court wrote that the decision was 'no so wide of the mark as to be deemed unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.'" Read more.

New Chantal Thomass Eyewear from Eastern States

Eastern States Eyewear has new Chantal Thomass Lunettes styles, according to Midwest Lens. "The new collection features an array of exciting design work. Style 14062 features a nylon rimless flat metal feel with a lattice cutting design at the outer edges of its front. Model 30139 features a subtle rippled metal effect gracing its rectangular front extending through its top bar. The 30141 and 30206 have an extension of their acetate temples onto their fronts allowing for added color and contour. A variety of acetate themes including swirls, tortoise, and snakeskin permeate throughout the collection." Read more.

New Vintage Tweed Eyewear from Chanel

"Chanel has launched its spring/summer 2016 eyewear collection, and the brand's signature fabric is the reigning inspiration. Tweed has inspired three different mini-series for the new collection, which are available in both optical and protective eyewear options," reports Fashion Times. "Chanel's three mini collections in the Tweed series pay homage to Chanel's apparel design materials. There's the Denim Tweed collection which features several different styles of acetate frames. The frames are made to resemble woven tweed with bits of the multicolored quilted denim fused with a few grams of rubber for the temple pieces.The Vintage Tweed collection of retro-inspired square, cat-eye and oval acetate frames features a tweed weave adornment and steel gray, silvery or golden metal details. " Read more.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Essilor and CNRS Investigate Smart Lenses

Eleven-year-old partners Essilor and CNRS have signed a five-year agreement between Essilor and the Laas-CNRS Toulouse-based laboratory, called Opera. The companies' researchers and engineers will explore lenses with connected functions. Laas-CNRS’ area of expertise includes embedded electronics, photonics, and robotics. They also developed a high level technological platform dedicated to the design and construction of prototypes. Essilor will bring its expertise in optics and vision, optical materials technologies, and its knowledge of consumer needs in the field of ophthalmic products to this joint research venture. Read more.

Retinal Implants May Improve Sharpness of Images for Blind

"Retinal implants that deliver longer impulses may markedly improve image sharpness for blind individuals, report investigators," according to Science Digest. "Retinal implants (artificial retinas) give people with RP the ability to perceive light, using a system that includes a video camera mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, a video processing unit that transforms images from the camera into wirelessly transmitted electronic signals, and an implanted array of electrodes to stimulate visual neurons." Read more.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Luxottica and Dolce&Gabbana Renew Licensing Agreement

Luxottica Group and Dolce&Gabbana extended their licensing agreement until the end of 2025. Luxottica will develop, produce, and distribute sunglasses and prescription frames carrying the Dolce&Gabbana brand. Read more.

Marcolin and Kenneth Cole Extend Their Licensing Agreement

Marcolin Group and Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., renewed their 12-year-old relationship early. Marcolin will continue to design, manufacture, and distribute Kenneth Cole New York and Kenneth Cole Reaction sun and optical eyewear until December 2021. Read more.

New Sunglasses from ClearVision Optical

ClearVision Optical has introduced "its 2016 Sun Collection featuring new polarized styles in Op and PuriTi 100% titanium," according to Midwest Lens. "In addition to the new polarized styles, the 2016 Sun Collection includes a variety of must have styles featuring today’s popular trends like colorful, flash mirror lenses; stud accents; translucent materials; and the ever-sought-after aviator and wayfarer shapes. The collection also offers one of the largest selections of styles for hard to fit patients, including Petite Fit styles for women and XLFIT™ suns for men." Read more.

News Crocs Eyewear from A&A Optical

"A&A Optical announces the introduction of Crocs Eyewear Junior Collection. The new frame styles for youth will release nationwide in January 2016," reports Midwest Lens. "The Crocs™ Eyewear Junior Collection features the brand’s signature spirit, with the vibrant colors and comfort kids love. The collection uses an assortment of high quality materials such as ultra-lightweight stainless steel, hypo-allergenic silicone rubber and flexible polymer. Ideal for an active child’s lifestyle, all styles are lightweight for minimal pressure, flexible for easy adjustments, and durable with minimal wear and tear." Read more.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Kaiser Permanente to Purchase Group Health Cooperative

With the recent signing of an agreement, Kaiser Permanente will acquire Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative. The press release said that the combination will advance the growth of the integrated model for health care and coverage together and expand Kaiser Permanente's reach, adding nearly 590,000 members. It also noted that by joining together, the companies expect to better meet the needs of individuals as well as large commercial and national accounts in Washington. Kaiser Permanente intends to invest in the facilities, technology, member experience and the Group Health Cooperative workforce. Read more.

Can Seeing Make You "Deaf"?

"Concentrating attention on a visual task can render you momentarily 'deaf' to sounds at normal levels, reports a new UCL study funded by the Wellcome Trust," notes Medical News Today. "The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that the senses of hearing and vision share a limited neural resource. Brain scans from 13 volunteers found that when they were engaged in a demanding visual task, the brain response to sound was significantly reduced. Examination of people's ability to detect sounds during the visual demanding task also showed a higher rate of failures to detect sounds, even though the sounds were clearly audible and people did detect them when the visual task was easy." Read more.

Should Seeing Be Believing?

"Our vision and hearing aren't as reliable as we might think, according to a study by life scientists at UCLA," writes Medical News Today. "'Our basic sensory representation of the world -- how information from our eyes and ears is processed by neurons in the brain -- is inaccurate,' said Ladan Shams, an associate professor of psychology in the UCLA College and senior author of the research, which was published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. 'We tend to view our senses as flawless and think that to see is to believe,' she said. 'So it's eye-opening to learn that our perceptions are flawed.' Shams and her colleagues conducted the research in part because there had never been a comprehensive study to examine whether humans' 'spatial localization' ability -- that is, whether we can immediately and accurately perceive where an object is located -- is as well-honed as we believe it to be." Read more.

Device Measures Eye Blinks to Determine Driver Drowsiness

"Drowsy driving injures and kills thousands of people in the United States each year. A device being developed by Vigo Technologies Inc., in collaboration with Wichita State University professor Jibo He and graduate students Long Wang, Christina Knopp and Utkarsh Ranjan, could alert drowsy drivers and avoid potential accidents," according to Science Daily. "He, director of WSU's Human Automation Interaction Lab, has teamed up with California-based Vigo Technologies to design and manufacture the device, a Bluetooth headset that fits on one ear and points an infrared sensor toward the eye to detect blinks, a commonly used indicator of driver drowsiness. It also monitors head movements." Read more.

"New" Simulator May Increase Tear Production for Dry Eye

Medical News Today reports that "scientists have developed a device that electronically stimulates tear production, which will offer hope to sufferers of dry eye syndrome, one of the most common eye diseases in the world." Read more.

Coloradan Receives Bionic Eye to Treat Retinitis Pigmentosa

"The Denver Post reported on December 10 that a Colorado woman received Colorado's first bionic eye transplant at the Eye and Vision Care Center of the University of Colorado. The patient, Ms. Jamie Carley suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The degenerative disease rendered her virtually blind," reports the Examiner.

"The November surgery took over five hours. Surgeons implanted a microchip into the retina of one of Ms. Carley's eyes. When she wears specially designed glasses with an attached camera, the video images transmit to the microchip. In turn, the optic nerve is stimulated, with visual information then sent to her brain. Although she can not see normally, her vision is now good enough to see outlines and shadows. As she progresses through a long period of rehabilitation, surgeons hope she will improve her vision by using her brain to interpret the new optical signals. The surgery offers great hope for the future. Currently, it is prohibitively expensive. The implanted device alone cost $150,000. Moreover, the implant only works for patients afflicted with RP." Read more.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

J.D. Powers Ranks Vision Plans

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Contact Lens Market to Reach $13.5 Billion in 5 Years

The contact lenses market will grow to approximately $13.5 billion in the next five years,. according to a Hexa Research study. A portion of the growth will come with the increasing prevalence of such eye diseases as astigmatism, hypermetropia and myopia. An increasing population, fashion, and tech advances will also fuel the growth. As per the 2009 report, by contact lens spectrum, study says that almost 150 million people are using contact lenses. Additionally, plano sunglasses have pushed the contact lenses market and led to the reduction in need for dependency on spectacles. As PRK and LASIK surgeries acceptance are increasing globally, they hinder growth of the CL market. Browse full research report with TOC on " Contact Lenses Market Analysis, By Product Types (Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Or Gas Permeable (GP) Contact Lenses, Soft Contact Lenses, And Hybrid Lenses.), By Design (Toric, Spherical, and Multifocal), By Usage (Therapeutic Lenses, Corrective Lenses, Prosthetic Lenses, Cosmetic Lenses and Lifestyle-oriented Lenses), And Segment Forecast From 2012 To 2020" at

NEI Funding Robotics for Visually Impaired

As part of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), the National Institutes of Health announced that it will fund the development of three innovative co-robots—robots that work cooperatively with people. One of these will be a hand-worn device to help visually impaired people identify and grasp objects. Read more.

Valeant Reportedly Considering Sale of Paragon

CNBC has posted the following Reuters story: "Valeant Pharmaceuticals is reaching out to potential buyers for its specialty contact lens manufacturing division, Paragon Vision Sciences, amid scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, according to two people familiar with the matter.

"A sale of Paragon, which Valeant's Bausch & Lomb unit purchased earlier this year for an undisclosed sum, would deal a blow to the specialty pharmaceutical company's attempt to consolidate the market for gas permeable contact lenses, a type of rigid lens popular among people with keratoconus, a thinning disorder of the cornea, among other eye diseases. The FTC [Federal Trade Commission] has been investigating Valeant for potentially cornering a portion of the lens market." Read more.

New Dsquared2 Eyewear from Marcolin

"The new Dsquared2 Fall/Winter 2015 eyewear collection includes models loyal to the brand’s DNA, mixing retro influences and modern touches with carefree abandon," notes Midwest Lens. "The result is a collection dedicated to men and women whose style is intensely personal and truly iconic. Vivacious graphic elements and beguiling color choices make for models rich in fantasy and energy, while fun, sexy styling adds a final flourish to the whole affair." Read more.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Owner of Eyewear Store Accussed of Taking $3.4 Million in Fraudulent Loans

"The owner of two Brooklyn eyeglass stores applied for and received more than $3.4 million in fraudulent loans, then spent much of the money shopping for his girlfriend at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, paying rent on a Manhattan condominium and financing trips to Atlantic City casinos, prosecutors said on Wednesday," reports the New York Times. "The charges against the merchant, Maksim Grinberg, who operates D&M Optical and 9th Street Vision out of the same building at Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, were laid out in a 148-count indictment filed by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and unsealed in State Supreme Court. Standing handcuffed, Mr. Grinberg, 43, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Wednesday. From 2010 to this year, Mr. Grinberg submitted applications to seven financial institutions, including arms of major banks like Wells Fargo, seeking loans he said would go toward buying medical equipment, according to the indictment." Read more.

UK's Vision Direct Releases Christmas Campaign

Vision Direct worked closely in partnership with Bespoke Film and Communications to ensure its first Christmas ad would be something everyone could enjoy. The ad tells a heart-warming story about a boy and his short-sighted pug, Gizmo. The campaign was designed to really resonate with Vision Direct's customer base on an emotional level, whilst remaining relevant to the brand's products and ethics. "Contact lenses delivered in time for Christmas" was chosen as the ad's tagline, to showcase the company's superfast, next day delivery to UK addresses. The full length 1'20'’ advert will be available to watch online from Tuesday 1st December on YouTube and Ashley Mealor, chief marketing officer at Vision Direct, said: "As well as promoting our service to a brand new audience, our Christmas campaign is an opportunity to share something special with our customers over the festive season."

Novartis Considers Selling Alcon

"Novartis ($NVS) is mulling a sale of its contact lens care business as the company faces sluggish growth for its Alcon unit and targets eye care innovation to swing its numbers northward," states a post from Fierce Medical Devices. "The proposed sale is still in early stages and Novartis might decide not to go through with a sale, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. But if the Swiss company does unload the business, which includes products to clean lenses, it could bring in $1.6 billion, Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Fabian Wenner told the news outlet. Some analysts set that number lower, though, with Safra Sarasin analysts saying the sale would fetch no more than $1 billion. A sale would come at a critical moment for Novartis, as it deals with slumping numbers for its contact care business and Alcon unit." Read more.

New Harley-Davidson Eyewear from Marcolin

"Marcolin USA introduces two new men’s ophthalmic styles to the Harley-Davidson Eyewear Winter 2015 collection," reports Midwest Lens. "The clean and classic designs are infused with high-quality materials and interesting temple detailing that reflect the brand’s continuing pursuit of excellence in design, function and aesthetics. With concepts inspired by the brand’s esteemed motorcycles, the collection retains its unique look, while never leaving its core values." Read more.

New Sunlite Eyewear from Altair

"Sunlites introduces three new metal styles for men featuring classic shapes with texture and tonal detail," writes Midwest Lens. "These frames provide comfort, durability and a clean aesthetic paired with Sunlites signature technology. A set of three rimless magnetic clips, custom-fit for each Sunlites style, including one Polarized clip, one 3D clip and one Contrast clip are available for purchase for one affordable price." Read more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ANSI Revises Z80.1

ANSI has published its 2015 revisions of Standard Z80.1, Prescription Ophthalmic Lenses--Recommendations, reports the Vision Council. The revision, which supersedeses the 2010 Standard, made the following modifications:
  • Updates to the Scope and Purpose sections.
  • Modifications to definitions, and the addition of "Position of Wear."
  • Additions to the optical requirements section, such as clarifying the applied tolerances for compensated lenses.
  • Changes to marking guidelines.
  • A recommendation for minimum transmittance when driving, providing guidance and harmonizing with ANSI Z80.3 requirements.
  • The addition of a reference to orientation of polarization.
A copy of the standard publications is available in the ANSI webstore. A summary of the changes can be found in the foreword of the document. Read more.

Rise in Myopia Means a Boon for Eyewear Industry

"According to mounting research, myopia (nearsightedness) among the young has become a global epidemic. In the United States, myopia rates have roughly doubled over the last generation. A recent study published in JAMA reports that in China (where rates of myopia have skyrocketed to roughly 90% among urban youth), the major cause could be a lack of sun exposure. But young adults aren’t the only ones struggling to see clearly. Older adults are also looking for treatments that address their age-related vision problems. Amid rising demand, the eye care industry is poised to accelerate. It’s already developing new technologies that not only treat, but also prevent (and in some cases eliminate) vision problems," goes the post on Forbes. "With increasing demand from every age group, the $36 billion eye care industry has a bright future. The industry, which includes eye care professionals (opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists) and products (eye glasses, contact lenses, and corrective surgeries,) posted a steady combined annual growth rate of 3.4% from 2006 to 2012, outpacing the average growth of the economy at large (2.9%) over those years. Forecasters expect this rate to increase to 5.0% from 2014 to 2019." Read more, especially about the growth of myopia.

Researchers Turn Stem Cells into Retinal Ganglion Cells

"Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a method to efficiently turn human stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, the type of nerve cells located within the retina that transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. Death and dysfunction of these cells cause vision loss in conditions like glaucoma and multiple sclerosis," according to Science Digest. "The laboratory process, described in the journal Scientific Reports, entails genetically modifying a line of human embryonic stem cells to become fluorescent upon their differentiation to retinal ganglion cells, and then using that cell line for development of new differentiation methods and characterization of the resulting cells." Read more.