Prevent Blindness Designates June as Cataract Awareness Month to Help Educate Public

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:27 AM CHICAGO—Prevent Blindness has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month to educate the public on risk factors, symptoms and treatment options. More than 25 million Americans are estimated to have cataract, a clouding of the eye's lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Most cataracts are caused by changes related to aging. However, other factors may cause cataracts to form including eye infections, some medicines (such as steroids), and injuries. Prolonged exposure to UV, and various diseases, such as diabetes or metabolic disorders, may also contribute to cataracts forming.

Oklahoma ODs Applaud Gov. Stitt and Legislature for State’s New Optometry Laws

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:24 AM OKLAHOMA CITY—Many Oklahoma optometrists this week thanked the state legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt for passing and signing legislation that removes from statute a prohibition on the sale of eyewear in non-medical, retail settings, according to an announcement by the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP).

Allergan, Sightsavers and IAPB Announce 'Keep Sight' Initiative

By Staff
Thursday, May 23, 2019 12:27 AM DUBLIN, Ireland—Allergan, Sightsavers and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IPAB) have joined forces to launch the “Keep Sight” initiative, aimed at addressing glaucoma in underserved areas of the world. The initiative will provide training for health care professions to learn how to screen at-risk populations, ensure early diagnosis, and provide treatment and long-term care. The first program will launch at a hospital in Nigeria, providing training to 50 health care professionals. The goal for this first program is to screen 5,000 people, treat 500 patients, and provide surgery for 70 patients. It is anticipated that the initiative will expand to screen 500,000 people by 2021.

PE-Backed EyeSouth Expands into Tennessee Through Affiliation With Two Private Practices

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Thursday, May 23, 2019 12:24 AM ATLANTA—EyeSouth Partners, which is backed by the private equity firm Shore Capital Partners, recently announced its expansion into Tennessee with an affiliation with Cumberland Eye Care and Plateau ASC, located in Crossville, and Cookeville Eye Specialists and Perimeter ASC of Cookeville. The affiliations will establish EyeSouth’s initial presence in Tennessee, “which will be a key growth state for the company going forward,” according to the announcement. Each practice and surgery center will continue to operate under its brand, with no changes to its staff, physicians or locations, the announcement noted.

Jefferson Health and Wills Eye Hospital Launch William H. Annesley, Jr., MD '48 EyeBrain Center

By Staff
Thursday, May 23, 2019 12:18 AM PHILADELPHIA—Jefferson Health and Wills Eye Hospital have launched the world’s first center focused on the connections between the eye and the brain. This center, created by Thomas Jefferson University in partnership with Wills Eye Hospital and thanks to the help of several generous philanthropists, will be the first of its kind to explore the visual signatures of neurological diseases.

Essilor And Royal Government of Bhutan Deliver 10,000 Pairs Of Glasses To Students

By Staff
Thursday, May 23, 2019 12:15 AM CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Essilor and the Royal Government of Bhutan are celebrating delivering 10,000 pairs of glasses as part of their joint partnership to make Bhutan the first country in the world to eradicate poor vision. Currently, 25 percent of people in Bhutan suffer from uncorrected poor vision, and a large portion of people are at risk of UVA/UVB rays due to high altitudes.

Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness Appoints New Advisory Committee Members

By Staff
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 12:18 AM CHICAGO—Prevent Blindness, has announced the appointment of its new Advisory Committee members for the Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness (CVPH). The CVPH was established in December 2018 as a national coordinating body for effective practices, state-level technical assistance, and programmatic interventions. This month, the CVPH convened the full membership of the Advisory Committee in Chicago for the first time, led by committee chair Heather E. Whitson, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine, associate professor in ophthalmology, and deputy director of the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University.

Study Probes ODs’ Attitudes About Blue-Light Blocking Devices

By Staff
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:24 AM VANCOUVER—A recent study found that optometrists remain split on the impact of blue light from electronic devices, such as computer and phone screens, and the effectiveness of blue light-blocking devices, according to reporting by Patrick Campbell in MD Magazine. The study, titled “Insights into Australian optometrists’ knowledge and attitude toward prescribing blue light-blocking ophthalmic devices,” was published in the Journal of the College of Optometrists and presented at the 2019 meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) held here recently.

FDA Approves EYLEA Injection for Diabetic Retinopathy

By Staff
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:21 AM TARRYTOWN, N.Y.—Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN) announced on May 13 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved EYLEA Injection to treat all stages of diabetic retinopathy (DR), and thereby reduce the risk of blindness. “Millions of people have been robbed of their vision due to the progression of diabetic retinopathy,” said David Brown, MD, FACS, an investigator for the Panorama trial and director of research at retina consultants of Houston. "The prevention of worsening diabetic retinopathy with EYLEA provides a compelling rationale for early treatment of patients with this disease, particularly since eyes dosed with EYLEA as infrequently as every 16 weeks showed significant improvements in the pivotal Panaroma trial.”

Versant Health Donates $100,000 to Vision To Learn, Supports Children’s Medicaid Vision Benefits

By Staff
Monday, May 20, 2019 12:21 AM BALTIMORE, Md.—Versant Health has announced a $100,000 gift to Vision To Learn, a non-profit organization aimed at ensuring all school children have access to eye screenings, eye exams and eyeglasses, as well as helping connect children with their Medicaid Vision benefits. Versant Health employees gave $50,000, and Versant Health matched that donation.

NCCVEH at Prevent Blindness Opens Nominations for 2019 Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award

By Staff
Monday, May 20, 2019 12:18 AM CHICAGO—The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has opened nominations for its fifth annual Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award. This award recognizes significant efforts to improve public health approaches to children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level. Nominations are open until July 10, 2019. Nominees for this award may include individuals or a group of diverse stakeholders, including family/caregiver and community leaders, who are creating and implementing changes to improve children’s vision in the U.S. Nominees should show an impact in one or more of the following areas:

LAST CHANCE! Nominate by This Wednesday Night for 2019 Most Influential Women in Optical Nominations

By Staff
Monday, May 20, 2019 12:15 AM NEW YORK—There is one final extension for the deadlines for people to submit their nominations to be considered for VM's Most Influential Women in Optical. Nominations will be accepted until May 22 at 11:59 p.m. Vision Monday will once again be highlighting The Most Influential Women in Optical in our July issue, marking the 17th anniversary of our signature Special Report saluting women in the eyewear/eyecare industry.

UPDATED: Monarch Alternative Capital Completes Shopko Optical Deal and Names Jim Eisen as Operating Partner

By Staff
Friday, May 17, 2019 12:24 AM GREEN BAY, Wis.—Monarch Alternative Capital LP said Thursday that it has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of Shopko Optical. The company expects to relocate almost 80 of its current locations housed inside Shopko stores to freestanding locations, the announcement noted.

Second Sight Announces Strategy Shift to Stem Losses

By Staff
Friday, May 17, 2019 12:15 AM LOS ANGELES—Faced with flat sales and continuing net losses, Second Sight Medical Products (NASDAQ:EYES) announced plans to suspend new production of its Argus II artificial retina systems and accelerate development of the Orion Visual Cortical Prosthesis System, a promising new technology that may restore some sight to the blind. For the three months ended March 31, 2019, Second Sight yesterday reported net sales on a GAAP basis of $1.1 million compared to $1.0 million in the first quarter of 2018. Gross profit for the quarter was $0.4 million compared to $0.3 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Bill Introduced in Congress to Create ‘Eye Bonds’ for Supporting Eye Disease Research

By Staff
Thursday, May 16, 2019 12:24 AM WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., a Georgia Democrat, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who represents eastern Washington state, recently introduced the “Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act (HR 2620).  The bill supports funding for translational research and advances treatments and cures for blindness and other eye conditions. It also lays the groundwork for a new financial instrument, Eye Bonds, that are intended to speed treatments and cures across the spectrum of eye diseases and disabilities, according to a statement on Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ website.