Safilo Signs an Agreement to Sell Solstice Retail Business to Fairway LLC

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 8:30 AM PADUA, Italy—Safilo Group S.p.A. announced Friday morning that it has reached an agreement to sell its U.S. retail chain Solstice to Fairway LLC. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fairway, a limited liability company, was formed by a group of investors active in the U.S. and in the European eyewear retail business, according to Safilo’s announcement. Safilo had announced in April that it had received “expressions of interest” in a deal for Solstice from unnamed buyers, as VMAIL reported. There were 73 Solstice locations in the U.S. at that time, of which 28 are outlets, a company spokesperson told VMAIL.

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).

William F. Stasior, Former Apple Employee, Joins Avellino Labs Executive Advisory Committee

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:21 AM MENLO PARK, Calif—Avellino Labs announced that William (Bill) F. Stasior has joined their executive advisory committee. Stasior, who formerly led the team at Apple responsible for creating Siri, will work to advance Avellino Labs’ genetic data management infrastructure. Before working at Apple, Stasior was a member of Amazon’s senior executive team, and has also worked at Altavista, Netcentives and Oracle, and has held research positions at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his undergraduate degree.

Black Optical’s Ryan Bowling Gets Expanded Role and Adds Vice President of Sales Title

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:18 AM OKLAHOMA CITY—Black Optical, an Oklahoma-based sun and eyewear retailer with three locations announced this week that Ryan Bowling will take on the role of vice president of sales in addition to his ongoing role as a managing partner.

VMail Scheduling Note for May 27, 2019

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:15 AM NEW YORK—Due to the Memorial Day Holiday, there will be no VMAIL on Monday, May 27. VMAIL is scheduled to resume its regular schedule on Tuesday, May 28. To catch up on all the week’s news, look for VMAIL Weekend coming your way tomorrow with all the regular features including Today’s Read, ICYMI and Voices + Views. Plus, don’t miss the digital edition of Vision Monday’s May edition, which can be found here.

The Vision Council to Host China Tariff Town Hall Forum on Tuesday May 28

By Staff
Friday, May 24, 2019 12:14 AM ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council will be hosting two town hall informational sessions to discuss the China 301 duties and how they will impact members as well as the optical industry. Members of The Vision Council are invited to join the discussion on Tuesday, May 28 at the below times.

1 p.m. EDT: Eyewear & Accessories, Sunglass & Reader, and Low Vision Divisions
Dial-in number: 800-581-5838 with Passcode: 272525

3 p.m. EDT: Lens Processing & Technology, Optical Retail, Lab and Lens Divisions
Dial-in number: 800-289-0459 with Passcode: 429777

Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, Greg Chavez, The Vision Council’s executive vice president of operations and membership, and Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council’s regulatory counsel, will discuss the following topics:

• Background on the Chinese and U.S. trade war
• The impact China 301 duties will have on optical products
• The Vision Council’s outreach and future plans
• Member Involvement

Following the discussion, the floor will be open for feedback from participants. The conversation is expected to last no more than one hour.

Questions can be directed to Greg Chavez at

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

By Staff
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.

Safilo Reimburses Equity Linked Bonds, Completing Refinancing Plan

By Staff
Thursday, May 23, 2019 12:21 AM PADOVA, Italy—Safilo Group S.p.A. (Reuters SFLG.MI ) said yesterday that the Group has proceeded with the expected reimbursement of the €150,000,000 equity linked bonds 2014-2019 (ISIN XS1069899232). This completes the refinancing plan developed by the Group during 2018, for a total amount of €300,000,000 between the share capital increase and the new credit agreement expiring in 2023.

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.

June Deadlines Approach for China Tariff Comments and Testimony; Process Could Shape Sizeable Duties on Eyewear

By Staff
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 12:24 AM ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The fourth list of tariff numbers—which could become subject to China 301 customs duties of as much as 25 percent—was published in the Federal Register last Friday, May 17 and as previously reported this list now includes core eyewear products including spectacle lenses, ophthalmic frames, sunglasses, reading glasses and other low vision devices made in China. Deadlines for comments opposing the proposed action must be filed by June 17 while comments from those requesting to testify at upcoming hearings need to be filed by June 10.

Total ECP Acquires Bethesda Vision Care, Maryland-Based Practice of Michael Berenhaus, OD

By Staff
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 12:21 AM BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—Total Eye Care Partners (Total ECP) said Tuesday that it has acquired Bethesda Vision Care from Dr. Michael Berenhaus, a member and former president of the Maryland Optometric Association. Total ECP, which is backed by Toronto-based private equity fund manager Imperial Capital Group, was founded in 2017. The terms of its most recent transaction were not disclosed. The Bethesda Vision Care practice becomes the 39th office location under the Total ECP corporate umbrella, and the fifth office in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, according to the announcement.

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.