CONTACT LENSES TODAY

May 9, 2004

Contact Lenses Today is edited by Dr. Joseph T. Barr and the staff of Contact Lens Spectrum. This week CLToday reaches more than 10,000 readers in 74 countries.


ASCRT Holds First Symposium
The American Society of Corneal and Refractive Technologies (ASCRT), which was recently formed and introduced last month, is a non-profit organization with a Board of Directors made up of ophthalmologists, optometrists, vision scientists and ophthalmic technicians. The ASCRT is holding its inaugural symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona from June 4 to 6, 2004, to bring eyecare practitioners practical Corneal Refractive Therapy fitting and marketing information. Practitioners will also get updates on research and new developments in emerging refractive technologies such as OCT, pachymetry, corneal topography and wavefront sensing. Registration (offered at $395) includes 14 hours of continuing education (COPE approval pending), breakfast and lunch daily and interactive case study reviews. To register, visit http://www.crtsymposium.com.

1-800 Reports $10 Million in Cancelled Orders, Blames ECPs for Anticompetitive Behavior
In a statement reporting its first quarter results for 2004, 1-800 Contacts announced that it cancelled more than $10 million worth of orders during the quarter, which it attributes to eyecare practitioners (ECPs) taking "substantial advantage of their position as both prescriber and retailer" by unnecessarily canceling orders because they would prefer to record those sales at their own store. In its report, 1-800 accuses ECPs of soliciting its customers during the verification delay period, responding that prescriptions are expired or invalid, but then selling contact lenses themselves without further examination, or refusing to release prescriptions automatically to all contact lens wearers as required by law. In focusing on order recovery, 1-800 has extended its relationship with Cole Managed Vision. Under the agreement, 1-800 has negotiated an exclusive arrangement with a national retail chain that allows its customers to receive discounted eye exams, as well as value pricing on eyeglasses, sunglasses and other vision products, from a network of doctors.

Hydrogel Vision Offers Free Trial Set for Extreme H 2O Lenses
Hydrogel Vision Corp. is offering free 45-lens diagnostic sets of the new Extreme H2O G60 S-Xtra lens design, which is now available in both a steeper (8.3) base curve and in plus powers. G60 S-Xtra lenses with the expanded parameters are available directly through Hydrogel Vision Corp. and through any of the company's authorized Extreme H2O distributors.

AOA Suggests FCLCA Improvements
American Optometric Association (AOA) President Dr. Victor J. Connors recently sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that contained proposed regulations for implementing the federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA). The Act took effect on February 4, but the agency is still working on regulations to spell out exactly how retailers and eyecare practitioners must comply with the new law. In his letter, Dr. Connors requested that the FTC give eyecare practitioners up to 12 business hours to respond to prescription verification requests from contact lens sellers -- and longer for part-time satellite practices. He also requested that the FTC: institute a standardized form for the prescription verification, ban the use of recorded messages by contact lens sellers as a means of requesting prescription verifications, require that contact lens sellers, when verifying a prescription, to note on telephone logs the name of the eyecare practice staff person with whom contact was made, and much more.

So, what is HYDRACLEAR?
ACUVUE ADVANCE with HYDRACLEAR launched in January and it is already creating tremendous success for eyecare professionals (ECP) and their patients. In several instances, patients were so excited about the all-day comfort they experienced while wearing ACUVUE ADVANCE with HYDRACLEAR that they took the time to call their ECP to say, "Thank you!"
So what is the HYDRACLEAR technology difference? HYDRACLEAR technology is the VISTAKON brand name for the proprietary internal wetting agent that permeates the ACUVUE ADVANCE contact lens, creating a silky, smooth feel. HYDRACLEAR functions both as a humectant (moisture-loving agent) and as a lubricant. Its humectant nature provides the capacity to bind moisture and presents a wettable lens to the ocular surface. In addition, the ACUVUE ADVANCE proprietary formulation makes it possible to incorporate silicone into the lens -- significantly increasing oxygen transmissibility -- without the need for any surface coating.
Learn more by visiting http://www.ecp.acuvue.com.

--ADVERTISING

Company Pledges to Save Eye Docs Money
Doctors Business Associates has a new Web site, which you may visit at http://www.drsba.com. The Tennessee-based company aims at saving healthcare professionals money and is specifically geared toward eyecare professionals. As a member of Doctors Business Associates, the company proclaims that you'll have the ability to cut overhead costs significantly by slashing costs on insurance plans, telecom serves, cellular services and phones, web designs and hosting, credit card authorization and other products and services.

AMO and Quest Vision Enter One-Year Agreement
Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (AMO) has entered a one-year research and evaluation licensing agreement with Quest Vision Technologies, Inc. to develop accommodating intraocular lens (IOL) designs. Also, AMO will own a minority interest in Quest Vision and will have an option to purchase the company after one year.

Spinach Benefits More Than Just Strong Bones and a Healthy Body
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee recently reported in New Scientist that they plan to add light-absorbing pigments from spinach to cells in the retina. They've found that adding plant pigments to human cells make the cells respond to light, so they hope that the cells containing spinach pigment fire when exposed to light. They admit, however, that even if the experiment is successful, it would only partially restore vision and subjects would be color blind.

Industry Organizations Form Public Health Strategy to Save Vision
Prevent Blindness America (PBA), in collaboration with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, Lighthouse International and National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, has developed a public health strategy, Vision Problems Action Plan: A National Public Health Strategy. According to a PBA spokesperson, "The plan will initiate an important dialogue with lawmakers and public health organizations, to help address the rising prevalence of blindness associated with diabetes and other eye diseases." The Vision Problems Action Plan will cover three major priority areas:
1. Prevention/public health
2. Access to care
3. Treatment including rehabilitation and research.

NEI Picks Allergan to Partner in Macular Edema Trials
Allergan, Inc. announced recently that it has been selected as a partner to supply its ophthalmic formulation of triamcinolone for two National Eye Institute (NEI)-sponsored clinical trials on macular edema. The trials will investigate the efficacy and safety of the new intravitreal triamcinolone formulation for macular edema associated with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion. Under the terms of the agreement, Allergan will be responsible for all costs associated with drug development, manufacturing, pharmacokinetic studies and regulatory aspects of the trials.

Abstract: A Look at Contact Lens Wettability
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley applied a captive-bubble technique to PureVision, Focus Night & Day and Acuvue lenses to determine their water contact angles. (Advancing and receding contact angles are important to lens wettability performance.) The researchers found that in isotonic solution, all three lenses display considerable contact-angle hysteresis with advancing angles of almost 90 degrees. When lysozyme and/or mucin were added to the aqueous solution, hysteresis was eliminated, and equivalent and high-water wetting was achieved for the three lenses. They concluded that the captive-bubble technique provides contact angles that are relevant to on-eye lens wear and that when lysozyme and/or mucin are present in the solution, all lenses displayed low advancing and receding contact angles indicative of equivalent wettability performance.
Cheng L, Muller SJ, Radke CJ. Wettability of Silicone-Hydrogel Contact Lenses in the Presence of Tear-Film Components. Current Eye Research 2004 Feb;28(2):93-108.


Editor's Commentary: CVS Comments Get Feedback
Note that our tip this week is a response to my comments on computer vision syndrome and contact lens discomfort. Next week, we'll have a comment on the NY Yankees' decision to not let their players (employees) fly to Japan wearing their contact lenses. A few weeks ago, I preached about the need for trying the latest contact lens technology. Just this past week, I got an e-mail from one of my long-term patients who just flew to China wearing her new technology contact lenses. She suffers from mild to moderate dry eye and is fastidious about her vision and lens care. She was elated at the comfort with the new lenses! I guess oxygen, fresh lenses and new material technology can make a difference.

Fitting Tip: Help Your Patients Remember to Care for Their Lenses
Thank you for your commentary on computer vision syndrome and CLs (CLToday "Editor's Commentary," May 2, 2004). It's an area that too many doctors don't realize because they forget to ask the right questions of their patients. I have found that using quick-and-easy tips helps the patient remember what to do. I use the "Three Bs: Blink, Breathe and Break!" Regarding breaks, I suggest the "20/20/20 method:" Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away. These tips really stick with patients and they'll remember to do them. Using them in addition to proper nearpoint testing and environmental recommendations can make all the difference for our computer-using patients.
--Jeffrey Anshel, OD
Encinitas, Calif.


Don't Miss the Global Orthokeratology Symposium (GOS)
(July 22-25, 2004 Toronto, Canada)
Get the tools to implement orthokeratology in your practice.
http://www.gos2004.com

Report adverse contact lens reactions here: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/ or call (800) FDA-1088.

Access a reporting form for complications you've seen that were a result of contact lenses dispensed without a valid prescription at the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry's (ARBO's) Web site: http://www.arbo.org/arbo.asp?dt=R&doc=Complications. Complete and send the form online or print it out and fax it to (866) 886-6164.

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