Optometric Education

The Journal of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Optometric Education: Volume 41 Number 1 (Fall 2015)

Industry News

Industry News


 Save article as PDF

Company Makes “Change the World” List

Fortune magazine has named Essilor to its first-ever “Change the World” list. In including the company on the list of 51 companies it sees as making “genuine efforts to change the world for the better,” Fortune notes the progress Essilor is making in addressing the issue of visual health as part of its core business strategy. It also cites Essilor’s business division, “2.5 New Vision Generation,” which pioneers profitable business models in emerging countries across Asia, Latin America and Africa in order to bring good vision to people in need.

Visit Essilor’s website for more information about the company and its products.

Fourth-Year Students Win Scholarship Competition

VSP Global and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF), an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), are distributing more than $165,000 among top-performing fourth-year optometry students who were winners in the 2015 Practice Excellence Scholarship program.

The winners are: Eva Patel, Brianne Scanlon (Illinois College of Optometry); Michelle Brown, Christina Welling (Indiana University School of Optometry); Alyssa Ng, Nicholai Perez (Inter American University of Puerto, School of Optometry); Gloria L. Wu, Prathik M. Philip (MCPHS University School of Optometry); Elyse Kleifgen, Michael DeWit (Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University); Darren Phillips, Julie McCutcheon (Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry); Danielle Goldberg, Kathryn A. Hannis (New England College of Optometry); Kevin Tomasu, Ashley Zinser (Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry); Shelly Lomax, Sophie Robinson (Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry); Janet Harawa, Whitney Territo (The Ohio State University College of Optometry); Kathryn Dailey, Brooke Harkness (Pacific University College of Optometry); Janelle Engel, Nicole Rist (Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry); Dmitriy S. Zike, Desirae Brinkley (University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry); Patty Durongwong, Bita Asghari (Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University); Feyisayo Aworunse, Dahlia Haddad (Southern College of Optometry); Samantha Rao, Tracy Borst (State University of New York College of Optometry); Kayla Egner, Heather Cain (University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry); Catherine Huang, Alise Gentry (University of California – Berkeley, School of Optometry); Leanne Roach, Roberto Saenz (University of Houston College of Optometry); Shannon Niere, Jamie Weiser (University of Missouri at St. Louis College of Optometry); Audrey Daoust, Carolyn Perugino (University of Montreal School of Optometry); Morgan Welburn, Wylie Tan (University of Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science); and Clarissa Prieto-Ayala, Kaitlin Hash (Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry).

The scholarships are funded through VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with FYi Doctors in Canada and are administered through the AOF. Criteria for selecting the scholarship recipients included the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry and clinical and academic performance. In addition to the scholarship funds, this year’s winners received travel grants that enabled them to attend the AAO annual meeting in New Orleans.


Student Scholarship Competition Returns

Project Foresight, the Walmart and Sam’s Club Health & Wellness optometry scholarship competition, has returned for the 2015-2016 academic year. The national business plan competition highlights the vision of Walmart & Sam’s Club Health and Wellness to provide quality, affordable, accessible health care for everyone. Students create their own two-member teams to compete for a $1,500 team scholarship in their region and the chance to travel to the 2016 American Optometric Association meeting in Boston to compete for the grand prize (first place – $15,000 team scholarship; second place – $5,000 team scholarship).

Teams are asked to design an optometric practice that impacts their community. The practice must demonstrate how it will promote the profession of optometry as well as respect for the individual, service to customers, excellence and integrity. Project Foresight is open to students at all Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) member institutions who are enrolled in their first, second or third year of school during the 2015-2016 academic year. Detailed information about the competition is being sent to each ASCO member school and college of optometry.


Device Streamlines Slit Lamp Imaging

At this year’s Vision Expo West meeting, Marco unveiled its Ion Imaging System, an all-in-one anterior segment imaging device that combines an intra-optics beam-splitter/camera adapter with the computing and imaging power of the latest Apple technology to create a highly sophisticated “mainstream” imaging system that emphasizes image quality, simplicity and efficiency. The Ion combines all of the components (digital camera, adapter, computer, monitor, multiple cables, keyboard, mouse, etc.) of the traditional photo slit lamp, into one streamlined device.

Marco says the Ion enables eye doctors to “capture, integrate and educate” with every diagnosis. It includes an app dedicated to anterior segment imaging that consists of patient demographics, pre-set photography modes for maximizing various lighting techniques for video or still images, and auto storage to the Cloud or to a local network for EMR or for PACS integration. Find more information online.


Gel Drops a New Option for Dry Eye Sufferers

Refresh Optive Gel Drops, a new aqueous gel for patients who need or desire a more viscous artificial tear to relieve dry eye symptoms, are now available from Allergan. Gel Drops are designed to bind to the surface of the eye to provide long-lasting relief from dry eye discomfort, day or night. According to Allergan, in a multicenter, double-masked, randomized study, dry eye patients using Refresh Optive Gel Drops showed a statistically significant reduction in symptoms at day 30.

Also: Partnering with the U.S. First Responders Association to launch the Refresh America campaign, Allergan is helping the nation’s first responders, who often work in conditions that expose them to heat, smoke, wind and dust, to alleviate dry eye symptoms and perform at their best. Until July 31, 2016, every purchase of a specially-marked package in the company’s Refresh Optive product line will lead to donations of Refresh eye drops to select first responder groups nationwide.


OCT Learning Portal Now Available

Optovue has launched Optovue Academy, an online learning portal offering clinical education, technician training and practice development tracks related to spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT). The portal includes video PowerPoint presentations, recordings of live presentations, a library of research documents, a forum where learners can comment and a calendar of live events supported or hosted by Optovue Academy.

“Optovue Academy was created to give eyecare professionals the clinical knowledge they need to offer a higher level of medical eye care with OCT,” said Larry Alexander, OD, FAAO, Sr. Director of Clinical Education for Optovue. “In addition, this program supports the practice as a whole by providing training for technicians and resources for growing the practice with advanced imaging technology.”

Optovue Academy will be updated continually with new video courses, articles and discussion threads. Click here to learn more or to register for the site.


Study Suggests Usefulness of Ultrawide-Field Angiography

The results of a recently published study conducted by researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston indicate that retinal nonperfusion as detected by ultrawide-field fluorescein angiography is associated with predominantly peripheral lesions and the severity of diabetic retinopathy. Investigators reported that eyes with diabetic lesions that were predominantly located in the peripheral retina had a 4.7-fold increased risk of progression to proliferative diabetic retinopathy and a 3.2-fold increased risk of a ≥2-step progression in diabetic retinopathy severity. They noted that the results were statistically significant and independent of baseline retinopathy severity and prior hemoglobin A1C.

According to the senior author of the paper, Lloyd P. Aiello, MD, PhD, “These data re-affirm the importance of evaluating the entire retina when managing diabetic retinopathy and demonstrate the increased risk of retinopathy progression that could be missed if the peripheral retina is not carefully examined. If currently ongoing large multicenter trials confirm these results, then the status of the peripheral retina may need to be included in diabetic retinopathy grading scales to optimally define the risks of retinopathy progression in an individual.”


Dr. Hamada Appointed to Professional Affairs Position

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. (JJVCI) recently appointed Weslie M. Hamada, OD, FAAO, as the Associate Director of Professional Affairs North America. In this role, Dr. Hamada is responsible for strengthening and enhancing partnerships with state and national professional associations as well as helping to support key projects that elevate the profession.

Dr. Hamada, a graduate of Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, joined the Global Astigmatism Platform at JJVCI in 2013, where she was the research clinician responsible for the clinical development of astigmatism products. She is an active member of Johnson & Johnson Women’s Leadership Initiative and has more than 11 years of extensive clinical experience. While in private practice, she worked on numerous clinical studies with JJVCI and other eyecare companies.

Dr. Hamada served as the president of the Hawaii Optometric Association from 2009-2011 and is currently a member of the American Optometric Association’s Public Affairs Committee. In 2004 and 2010, respectively, she was named Hawaii’s Young Optometrist of the Year and Hawaii’s Optometrist of the Year. This year, she was named one of Vision Monday’s Most Influential Women in Optical.


Professional Strategy Team Expands

Bausch + Lomb appointed Brian Rosenblatt, OD, to the position of Director, Professional Strategy. Dr. Rosenblatt joins Jill Saxon, OD, and Todd Love, also Directors of Professional Strategy, in coordinating the company’s Eye Care Professional (ECP) outreach efforts across Vision Care. The company says this addition to the Professional Strategy team will help strengthen Vision Care’s support of the optometry community through a wide range of initiatives involving ECPs and students across the country.

Also: The FDA has accepted for review a New Drug Application from B+L and Nicox S.A. for latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution 0.024% (Vesneo), an intraocular pressure-lowering single-agent eye drop dosed once daily for patients with open angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. If approved, Vesneo would be the first nitric oxide-donating prostaglandin receptor agonist available for this indication.


Dry Eye Diagnostics in One Report

The JENVIS Dry Eye Report is a new way for eyecare professionals to create a convenient one-page overview of the exam results generated by the Oculus Keratograph 5M, a corneal topographer with a built-in real keratometer and a color camera optimized for external imaging. In addition to the meibography, NIKBUT, tear meniscus height, lipid layer and bulbar redness information from the Keratograph 5M, data collected from other tests, such as tear osmolarity, blink rate and the OSDI Dry Eye Questionnaire can be entered into the report.

The Dry Eye Report, which includes the practice logo, combines screening and consultancy. For the patient, it also provides the doctor’s treatment recommendations and easy-to-understand explanations of abbreviations and technical terms. Click here to see an example of the report.


New Retina Camera is Fully Automated

Topcon has unveiled its new, fully automatic TRC-NW400 Non-Mydriatic Retinal Camera. Using the TRC-NW400, operators do not need to spend time aligning, centering, focusing or capturing color retinal images because the unit automatically performs these steps once the camera is positioned in front of the eye. It also automatically travels from one eye to the other when both eyes are being imaged. The instrument can be operated from any angle because it incorporates a rotating touch panel monitor. This feature lets the photographer be in front, behind or at either side of the patient, optimizing space savings.

The TRC-NW400 can also take photographs of the anterior segment. Fully DICOM-compliant, it can be connected to a digital capture system or used as a stand-alone instrument. Click for more information.


Survey Highlights Need for Vision Awareness and Care among Hispanic Americans

A survey recently commissioned by Transitions Optical Inc. showed that nearly eight out of 10 Hispanic Americans are experiencing vision problems, but only four out of 10 reported visiting an eye doctor within the past year. Top vision-related complaints among Hispanic Americans who responded to the survey included trouble seeing up-close or far away, trouble seeing at night and blurry vision. Eight out of 10 Hispanics also report experiencing visual disturbances as a result of bright light or glare, such as squinting, eyestrain or fatigue and headaches.

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research among a representative sample of 1,000 American adults, also revealed that half of Hispanic Americans don’t know that their ethnicity could put them at an increased risk for several sight-threatening eye conditions, and nearly half incorrectly believe that protecting the eyes from UV rays is only necessary in the spring and summer.

To help raise awareness about the importance of regular eye care for at-risk, diverse populations, Transitions offers a number of education resources through its Transitions Cultural Connections initiative. Several materials, including a “What to Expect: Hispanic Eyes” brochure are available – in English and Spanish – free-of-charge at MyMulticulturalToolkit.com.


Expo Programs for Schools, Students and Alumni

This September at the International Vision Expo & Conference in Las Vegas, attendees were able to take advantage of a new onsite program, Job Link, which was designed to convey information about job searching, resume building, interviewing techniques, and more. Speed interviewing (like speed dating) sessions were held each day for optometry and opticianry students, optometrists and opticians. According to the Vision Council’s Professional Relations Manager Kristen Reynolds, a fourth-year optometry student received a job offer onsite.

Another programming first for Vision Expo West in 2015 was the opportunity for optometry and opticianry students to learn side-by-side. The “Choose Your Own Adventure” program enabled them to attend a course that best aligned with their interests and encouraged them to use industry as an additional resource, fostering valuable connections for the future. In addition, nightly networking events allowed students to connect with peers and industry professionals, and five optometry schools took advantage of alumni receptions.

Vision Expo West plans to work closely with the schools and colleges of optometry to identify challenges that prevent students from attending the conference. For information related to school, student or alumni programs at International Vision Expo, e-mail Reynolds.