July 30, 2006

Contact Lenses Today® is edited by Dr. Joseph T. Barr and the staff of Contact Lens Spectrum. This week CLToday® reaches more than 12,000 readers in 74 countries.

1-800 and ClearLab Introduces AquaSoft Singles
At a press conference last week, Clear Lab, a wholly owned subsidiary of 1-800 CONTACTS, debuted its new AuquaSoft Singles, an innovative flat pack for contact lenses. The new packs are 1mm thick and are color-coded to make it easier for patients to distinguish the right lens from the left. The lens is compressed to fit into the pack and packaged with the inside of the lens facing down. When patients peel back the foil, the lens presents with the outside of the lens facing up, so that patients do not have to touch the inside of the lens. The company says this reduces the chances of lens inversion. The new flat packs also take up less room than standard packaging. Graham Mullis, president and managing director of ClearLab, says, “People can carry thirty lenses in a small pack the size of an old-fashioned contact lens case that only holds two lenses — or even slip two spare pairs of lenses into the credit card slot in their wallet.”
    In a separate release issued by 1-800 CONTACTS, President Brian Bethers says, “ClearLab has deliberately not entered the U.S. market to avoid conflict for our U.S. retail business with its principal suppliers. Limiting ClearLab to less than half of the global market for contact lenses has been a considerable constraint on ClearLab’s business.” CEO Jonathan Coon says the company is considering the possible separation of ClearLab from the company’s U.S. retail business. “Through our current exploration of strategic alternatives for ClearLab, we aim to enable ClearLab to take full advantage of the revolutionary technology it has developed, to enable 1-800 CONTACTS to sharpen its focus on its U.S. retail business and to maximize value for our shareholders.”

Vistakon to Debut One-Day Acuvue Moist
Vistakon has announced plans to introduce 1-Day Acuvue Moist contact lenses to U.S. eyecare professionals in the coming months. The new lenses incorporate Lacreon technology, which employs a unique process that permanently embeds a water holding ingredient — similar to that found in natural tears — into the etafilcon material. The FDA has cleared the lenses for use in patients who suffer symptoms associated with ocular allergies during contact lens wear.

CooperVision Opposes S. 2480
Contact Lens Manufacturer CooperVision said last week it opposes Senate Bill 2480, which seeks to amend the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA). The company says the proposed Federal legislation would force contact lens manufacturer to sell their products to several poorly regulated classes of trade including Internet retail sales. If enacted, the amendment would require manufacturers to sell lenses to any mail order company, Internet retailer, pharmacy, buying club, department store and mass merchandise outlet that requests them.
    CooperVision has also begun talking with members of Congress who are considering the legislation explaining the risks to consumers and encouraging them to consult the FTC. The company has additionally been in contact with the National Association of State Attorneys General regarding the shortcomings of the proposed amendment.
    “We believe that S. 2480 will have detrimental effects on patient health, create barriers of entry for new innovative products and hurt the quality of service if manufacturers lose control over the distribution of their products,” says Jeff McClean, president of CooperVision Americas.

ACUVUE® ADVANCE™ Brand Contact Lenses for ASTIGMATISM help unmask low cylinder astigmats.
Correcting astigmatism used to be a choice between clear, stable vision or long-lasting comfort. For low cylinder astigmatic patients this meant a spherical or aspheric lens prescription that masked their condition.
    Now, you have a chance to unmask these patients. Because of Accelerated Stabilization Design, ACUVUE® ADVANCE™ for ASTIGMATISM offers crisp, stable vision regardless of the activity. Because of patented HYDRACLEAR™ Technology the new lens provides immediate and all-day comfort.
    Now, patients might not have to tolerate even a low level of blur that comes with masking their astigmatism.

VSP Funds ICO Pediatric Outreach
VSP has provided the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) with a $200,00 grant to expand the college’s Pediatric Outreach Program. Once a week, ICO faculty and optometry students visit community-based childcare centers across Chicago to perform comprehensive eye exams for children from birth to five years of age. They prescribe eyeglasses and deliver them to the children along with follow-up care if necessary. The goal is to serve 1,000 children per year, approximately one-third of whom are uninsured. The grant will allow ICO to significantly increase their comprehensive eyecare for children and advance optometry students’ education on normal vision development and the importance of care for at-risk children.

Alcon Gets Approval for Patanol in Japan
Alcon Inc. last week received approval from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan to market its eye allergy drug Patanol (olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution) 0.1% for allergic conjunctivitis. Alcon Japan president Scott Manning says Japan is the world’s second largest ocular allergy market and represents a significant business opportunity for the company to expand Patanol sales. Patanol is approved in 83 countries, including the U.S.

Global Keratoconus Congress Accepting Submissions The Educational Program Committee of the Global Keratoconus Congress invites the submission of abstracts for the Free Papers and Scientific Posters Competition to be held January 26-28, 2007 in Las Vegas. Papers and Posters related to keratoconus, corneal topography, post penetrating keratoplasty or related irregular corneal surface, gas permeable lens and lens care topics are welcome. Please visit for information.
    Additionally, the Global Keratoconus Congress is pleased to announce that registration is open for attendees. The website has been updated to include hotel information and a preliminary agenda as well as registration information. Please visit for information and to register.

Last week’s newsletter featured a link to a publication by the National Women’s Health Resource Center (NWHRC). This link took readers to the NWHRC site, but not to the publication directly. The direct link is as follows: CLToday regrets the error.

Abstract: Unusual Case of Acanthamoeba Keratitis
Researchers from the University of Patras Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology in Greece recently presented a case of Acanthamoeba keratitis in a 28-year-old female soft contact lens wearer. The patient presented with a six-day history of redness and blurred vision in the right eye. Examination revealed stromal keratitis that did not respond to herpes simplex virus therapy. Four weeks later, the patient had increased stromal infiltration, an endothelial plaque and a hypopyon. She did not complain of pain other than mild discomfort. Corneal smears and anterior chamber tap were negative for bacteria, fungi, Acanthamoeba and herpes simplex virus. Investigators prescribed fortified antibiotics.
    One week later, the patient presented with an apparent large, epithelial defect with a surrounding ring infiltrate. A corneal biopsy revealed Acanthamoeba. They treated the Acanthamoeba keratitis successfully. One year later, the patient had a residual visual deficit secondary to stromal scarring with best-corrected visual acuity of 20/29. The authors conclude that this case emphasizes the importance of considering Acanthamoeba species in the differential diagnosis of keratitis, even without severe pain, a classic symptom. A high degree of suspicion with rapid and appropriate treatment may result in improved recovery of vision.
Georgakopoulos CD, Exarchou AM, Gartaganis SP. Unusual case of acanthamoeba keratitis in a contact lens wearer. Eye Contact Lens. 2006 Jul;32(4):166-7.

Editor's Commentary: ClearLab, 1-800 Lens
A few things really struck me about our top news story this week. First, you should all look at the information that was presented at 1-800's press conference at Professor Nathan Efron, et al., gave a very interesting presentation indeed. The companies really think their breakthrough will substantially increase the number of contact lens wearers worldwide. Time will tell. 1-800 seeks a partner to market the ClearLab lens in the U.S, or may do so themselves within a couple of years. Pay attention to these facts as well, however. Interestingly, the lens posterior surface may not be touched during patient application of the lens. And the lens packages will have the prescribing doctor’s name and contact information on it. That is very interesting.
    The companies also believe that by increasing wear of single use lenses, whether for daily- or extended-wear, and making the "chemistry set" necessary for lens care obsolete, the whole field will grow. They feel their patents in the U.S. and Japan are strong. But will the lens material (yet unspecified) and price point be good enough to make it all work? They seem to think so. Again, time will tell. Overall, I think this innovation is great for our field and will spur competition.

Fitting Tip: Keeping Lens Cases Clean
In light of the recent concern about fungal infections and contact lens care, one of my patients came up with a great way to keep her contact lens case clean. She places the opened case in the utensil basket of the dishwasher and then lets it air dry the next morning. She has three cases and alternates every week.
Ed Rubin, O.D.,
Wantagh, N.Y.

This month at, get an update of silicone hydrogels at ARVO 2006 and review ‘oxygen flux‚’ as well as the cornea’s response to different levels of oxygen transmissibility.

Report adverse contact lens reactions here: 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: Complete and send the form online or print it out and fax it to (866) 886-6164.

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