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What you missed at AAO in Anaheim


Scientific research, new products, and industry announcements kicked off the 95th annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO)

Anaheim, CA-Scientific research, new products, and industry announcements kicked off the 95th annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO).

This year, a more than 7,700 ODs-a new record- attendees shared fellowship, information, and ideas in Anaheim.

Take a look at our roundup story from AAO 2015.


Cooper MiSight lens slows myopia progression

CooperVision’s MiSight dual-focus myopia control daily disposable contact lens is effective at slowing myopia progression by 59 percent in children as compared to a single-vision daily disposable contact lens.

MiSight, which features alternating visual correction and treatment zones, is not approved for myopia control in the U.S.

Paul Chamberlain, CooperVision senior manager of clinical research, presented two-year interim results from a prospective, multicenter, double-masked, randomized clinical trial. Some 144 myopic children, aged 8-12 years from Singapore, Canada, England, and Portugal participated.

MiSight was effective in slowing myopia progression by 59 percent when measured by mean cycloplegic spherical equivalent (SE) and by 53 percent when measured by mean axial elongation, according to study data.

Mean cycloplegic CE progression and mean axial length were significantly less in the test group by 0.54 D and by 0.24 mm over the two-year study period.

More from AAO: Gladwell: Health care is a mystery wrapped in a puzzle

Study children and their parents responded positively to the lens-wearing experience.

After 24 months, 84 percent of parents were comfortable with their children wearing contact lenses; up from 47 percent prior to lens dispensing. As well, 80 percent of parents rated their children “extremely happy” with the overall experience.

Vision and ocular comfort were rated highly by study participants.

In related news, CooperVision says eyecare practitioners are adopting the company’s LensFerry S subscription-based ordering system for daily disposable contact lens wearers. In the six months since the service launched, users have reported up to a 20 percent increase in sales of daily disposable annual supplies.

LensFerry S costs $49 per month plus $2.50 per shipment. A donation is made to Optometry Giving Sight for every completed patient annual subscription.

In related news, CooperVision’s Best Practices submission deadline is November 27. Candidates can submit their stories by November 27 via written responses or video at EyeCareBestPractices.com. The 2017 Best Practices will be named in early 2017.


AAO establishes Brien Holden humanitarian award

The American Academy of Optometry has established the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award to honor the memory and work of Professor Brien Holden, PhD, DSc, FAAO.

The award will recognize an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to improve eye care within a country or region.

In particular, the award will acknowledge humanitarian efforts in the non-profit/not-for-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eyecare systems in developing communities.

Related: Remembering Brien Holden

“This is a wonderful acknowledgement by the Academy, a body that Brien greatly respected and a meeting he enthusiastically attended for around four decades. This award will give important recognition to those people who may not be known globally, but who are making a difference in eye care in their country or region,” said Kovin Naidoo, OD, PhD, FAAO, CEO, of the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

The award, established by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Holden family estate, will be given annually beginning in 2017. Nominations should include two letters of nomination from Academy Fellows and a CV of the nominee. Nominations are due by April 1, 2017, to HelenV@aaoptom.org.

Professor Holden founded the Brien Holden Vision Institute and was a global leader in eye care and vision research.

Alcon introduces new Air Optix plus HydraGlyde

Alcon launched new Air Optix plus HydraGlyde monthly replacement contact lenses, combining the company’s SmartShield Technology and HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix for deposit protection and longer-lasting lens surface moisture, according to the company.

SmartShield Technology is a patented, ultra-thin protective shield that helps the lens resist lipid deposits and delivers outstanding wettability. It also helps the lens resist changes from everyday cosmetic product use, according to the company.

HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix is a wetting agent specifically designed for silicone hydrogel lenses that helps attract lens surface moisture and retain lens surface hydration, according to Alcon.


Air Optix plus HydraGlyde lenses are expected to be available to patients in the U.S. in February 2017. Launch powers will range from +8.00 D to -12.00 D.

In related news, Dailies Total1 contact lenses are now available in extended powers ranging from +6.00 D to -10.00 D, in three add powers.

In related news, Dailies  AquaComfort Plus contact lenses will receive new U.S.-only packaging with patient education information and instructions in Q2 2017.

The packaging will contain new educational elements, including illustrated instructions for lens preparation, insertion and removal; a patient helpline and email address; and the Dailies website address. Additionally, the U.S. flag symbol will appear on the packaging so that ECPs and their patients are assured that the product was meant for sale in the United States.

More from AAO: How to know when it’s not dry eye

ARVO launches OCT public awareness campaign

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) has independently produced a series of short videos, educational tools, and advocacy resources on the discovery and development of optical coherence tomography (OCT) titled “Revealing the back of the eye with OCT.”

The public-friendly videos feature testimony from patients, clinicians, and researchers describing how OCT improves the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity, and diabetic eye disease.

The disease-focused videos on glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy show the value of OCT to patients and may be of interest to ODs as educational tools for their waiting rooms.

Other resources, including an advocacy toolkit and a special issue on the latest OCT research in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS) are available on the ARVO website, www.arvo.org.


B+L launches contact lens, packaging recycling program

Bausch + Lomb unveiled its #ONEbyONE recycling program, encouraging consumers to recycle used contact lenses and blister packs.

The company is partnering with TerraCycle, a company which collects and repurposes hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste.

Consumers can sign up at www.BauschRecycles.com to receive a prepaid shipping label for any box filled with contact lens and lens packaging waste.

Eyecare practitioner offices can participate by collecting waste from patients as well as recycling the any waste from the office. The company will provide a bin for in-office use of trial lenses.

Consumers and practitioners are able to recycle used contact lenses and blister packs from any manufacturer.

Bausch + Lomb will donate $1 to Optometry Giving Sight for every pound of waste recycled.

More from AAO: Why ODs should monitor hypertension in patients

Artificial vision technology from OrCam helps the visually impaired

MyEye from OrCam Technologies communicates visual information by utilizing a small smart camera mounted on the wearer’s eyeglass frame which connects to a smartphone-sized computer.

Relayed through a tiny speaker positioned toward the ear, the device instantly and discreetly reads any printed text from any surface, including newspapers, books, computer screens, restaurant menus, labels on supermarket products, and street signs.

The device also recognizes faces of individuals and identifies products.

Each device is hand delivered by a trainer who teaches the new user how to incorporate the device’s technology into daily life.

A recent study in JAMA Ophthalmology shows that MyEye can positively impact users.


Digital Heat launches Heated Eye Pad

The Heated Eye Pad ophthalmic warmer, manufactured by Digital Heat Corporation, provides localized heat therapy.

It can be used in conditions which call for warm compresses to the lids or lashes, such as meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eye, blepharitis, style, or chalazia.

“It’s like putting on a pair of eyeglasses,” says John Devine, CEO of Digital Heat Corporation. “It conforms to the eyelids with minimal corneal pressure.”

Heated Eye Pad offers three benefits over traditional warm compresses:

• Heat only where needed

• More precise temperature

• Constant temperature over time

More from AAO: How to reduce vision impairment, promote eye health

Art Optical adds multifocal, advanced design features to Ampleye scleral lens

Eyecare practitioners can now manage up to four quadrants of scleral landing and limbal lift areas or opt for a center-near multifocal design with Art Optical’s Ampleye 16.5 mm scleral lens.

With Ampleye’s Quadrant Specific Control Technology, practitioners can manage up to four quadrants of the scleral landing and limbal lift areas. Each quadrant can be adjusted up to 375 µm higher or lower from a zero position. Using the Quad Control feature, Ampleye can be customized to compensate for scleral asymmetry as well as vaulting pterygiums, pingueculas, and limbal scars.

With the multifocal design, the standard center-near zone of 2.0 mm is adjustable from 1.0 mm to 4.0 mm in 0.50 mm steps. Add powers can be specified from +1.00 D to +3.50 D in 0.25 D steps.

Designed to fully vault the cornea and limbus and land gently on the sclera with 360 degrees of alignment, Ampleye ensures no corneal involvement to simplify irregular cornea fitting and maximize patient comfort.

Ampleye is ideal for patients with irregular corneas, lens stability issues, and corneal GP intolerance, as well as those with dry eye and ocular surface disease, according to the company. The lens is manufactured in Optimum materials by Contamac.

Fit Ampleye diagnostically by corneal condition and sagittal depth with a nine-lens trial set that can accommodate prolate and oblate corneas.


Vivid Vision launches home version of VR software

Binocular vision patients are now able to utilize a home version of Vivid Vision’s virtual reality software.

Eye clinics which use the software for patients with amblyopia, strabismus, and convergence insufficiency can prescribe therapeutic games and vision training exercises for home use.

Vivid Vision Home will support headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and android-based devices.

AOF awards Allergan Research Grant recipient

The American Optometric Foundation (AOF), in partnership with the Allergan Foundation, awarded the 2016-2017 recipient of the Allergan Research Grant.

Stephen A. Burns, PhD, FAAO, professor at Indiana University School of Optometry received a $60,000 grant for his project, “High Resolution, Adaptive Optics Imaging of the Trabecular Meshwork in Vivo.” Brett J. King, OD, FAAO, and Thomas J. Gast, MD, PhD, were co-investigators on this project.

The grant is awarded to a talented optometrist and/or vision scientist who is an Academy member and is currently undertaking cutting-edge research in the areas of glaucoma and/or anterior segment.

This is the third year the Allergan Foundation has sponsored the grant through the AOF.

More from AAO: Advances in femto provide better results, fewer complications

Luxottica, AOSA partner to send students to Tanzania clinic

Luxottica has partnered with the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) to create a OneSight clinic for optometry students in Tanzania May 5-13, 2017.

OneSight, a global non-profit founded and sponsored by Luxottica, has provided eye exams and glasses to more than 9 million people across 46 countries, according to Luxottica. Its special OD clinic, created in partnership with AOSA and the International Medical and Technological University (IMTU) in Tanzania, will give students a chance to work alongside a multinational team to help 2,500 patients in the Dar Es Salaam region. 

During the course of the one-week clinic, OD students will work under the supervision of licensed ODs performing comprehensive eye exams. They will also help support a core team of Luxottica volunteers in the frame fitting, manufacturing ,and dispensing of eyewear. 

For 25 OD students selected, Luxottica will cover expenses associated with the clinic, including airfare, accommodations, and meals. The selection committee will consist of the AOSA Board and AOA leaders.

Students may apply beginning December 1 through December 14 at http://www.onesight.org/apply. Clinic teams will be announced in February 2017.


IDOC acquired by private investment firm

Independent Doctors of Optometric Care (IDOC, LLC), a privately-held alliance of independent optometrists in the U.S., has been acquired by private investment firm Investors Management Corporation (IMC). The alliance was previously owned by The Riverside Company.

IDOC President and CEO Dave Brown along with Chief Optometric Officer Neil Gailmard, OD, and Chief Financial Officer Oliver Spandow will continue to lead IDOC.

The alliance included independent optometrists at over 2,000 locations in the U.S., according to the company.

Related: Handling patients who want you to adjust glasses purchased online

Age affects patient perceptions on purchasing online eyewear

People over age 40 are more likely to have concerns about purchasing eyewear online than younger people, according to research conducted at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.

Alisa Sivak, MA, DipEd; Marlee Spafford, OD, PhD, FAAO; and Elizabeth Irving, OD, PhD, examined patient views on purchasing eyewear via the Internet.

Some 25 subjects aged 18 to 71 years participated in one of seven focus groups.

Interviews were audio-recorded, anonymized and transcribed. Themes regarding online eyewear purchase were identified using grounded theory.

Two moderators asked participants about:

• Reasons for seeking eye care

• Purpose(s) of eye exams

• Differences among eyecare professionals

• Familiarity with eye tests

• Appropriate age(s) for a first eye exam

• Risks to vision

Some 15 of the 25 participants discussed online purchasing of eyewear. Two main themes with subthemes were identified: allure of online purchase and reluctance to purchase online.


According to the researchers, the allure of purchasing eye wear online included:

• Saving money while acknowledging the cost of “bricks and mortar”

• Ease of online purchasing due to advances in technology and personal preference

The reluctance to purchasing eyewear online included:

• Glasses require fitting

• Product quality is unknown

• Prescription glasses are too important

• Patient education is lacking

• Loyalty is important-although youth value cost over loyalty

Researchers noted that most comments about online purchases were made by participants over 40, who do not purchase eyewear online. While cost and convenience were tempting, they say, older participants chose ethics, loyalty, and product quality.

Younger participant reluctance was largely confined to the logistics of ordering online.

More from AAO: Addressing scleral lens clinical concerns

Patients with geographic atrophy secondary to AMD may be helped by technology

Geographic atrophy (GA) is an advanced stage of AMD that affects more 5 million people worldwide, and there is currently no approved or effective treatments, says Mark T. Dunbar, OD, FAAO.

Updated classifications of AMD list advanced AMD as any GA or neovascular or wet AMD.

In addition, new ICD-10 coding expansions now allow for specific GA coding. New nonexudative (dry) AMD codes will allow for better tracking of disease progression over time in EMR systems, says Dr. Dunbar.


Advances in multimodal GA imaging technologies can help monitor and predict disease progression.

Spectral domain OCT can reveal intraretinal changes during GA progression:

• Identifies degradation of individual layers

• Reveals loss of retinal pigment epithelium

• Defines GA boundaries

• Measures change in lesion size over time

• Becoming more widely available

Fundus autofluorescence is the current standard for morphological assessment of GA:

• Offers better delineation of lesion boundaries compared with fundus photos

• Enhanced signal at lesion boundaries may predict areas of lesion progression

• Now widely implemented in clinical trials

Related: OCT in pediatric eye disease

Some 19 genes are now associated with elevated risk of developing AMD. Although the pathophysiology of GA is not fully understood, it is believed that a combination of oxidative stress, genetic risk, and environmental exposure can trigger complement mediated inflammation that eventually leads to retinal cell injury and death, and the development of geographic atrophy.

While GA remains a high unmet need, the pace of GA research is increasing. Key advances in recent years have led to:

• More detailed disease characterization

• Improved imaging

• New therapeutic targets in clinical trials

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