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Luxottica Announces Decreased Retail Performance in Australia and New Zealand PDF
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Friday, 31 October 2014

Luxottica has announced solid growth in net sales and profitability in the third quarter of 2014 and record free cash flow. Luxottica's adjusted net sales are up by 6.8% (+ 5.5% on a reported basis) and its wholesale division's net sales are up by 9.3%, at constant and current exchange rates. The retail division's comparable store sales are up by 4.4% with LensCrafters comparable store sales up by 2.5%, accelerating versus the second quarter. However, Luxottica's optical specialty chains in Australia and New Zealand reported a slightly decreased performance in comparable store sales, as a consequence of a more competitive and promotional environment. Sunglass Hut, the company's sun specialty chain, continued to contribute significantly, reporting a 7.4% increase in comparable store sales in the third quarter of 2014 on a global basis, after growing by 8.3% in the first half of the year. Contributions came from all geographic areas in which Sunglass Hut is located, including Australia and New Zealand.

Overall adjusted operating income for the company is up by 16.1% while adjusted net income increased by 17.5%, to Euro 173 million.

Wayfinding and Tactile Signage System Launched in Sydney PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 30 October 2014

The City of Sydney has launched the first step in a comprehensive wayfinding and tactile signage network that will make the city more accessible for people of all abilities. The $8 million Legible Sydney Wayfinding System will link central Sydney streets using tactile and braille street signs, pedestrian-friendly maps, information pylons, new signs and digital technology. The first stage will be tested along two busy city routes.

With around 2,100 informative braille and tactile signs to be installed throughout the 26 square kilometre city area, the completed tactile sign rollout will be the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.

The new tactile signs featuring white lettering and braille on an aluminium plate appear on 38 poles next to pedestrian crossing buttons along the York Street test route between Druitt and Margaret streets. While the tactile signs are designed to primarily help people who are blind and vision impaired, it will also make street location information easier to access for everyone. The new signs will replace the current rubber panels installed in the early 1990s that have become worn out from use.

On the second test route, three pylons and 16 flag and finger signs will connect Wynyard Park and Walsh Bay near Barangaroo. The 1.5 kilometre route will travel from York Street, through the Kent Street underpass and along Kent Street to Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.

Pylons and tactile signs will also feature QR tags that can be used for digital links to City websites, Transport for NSW information and timetables and Destination NSW tourism information.

The signs were developed in consultation with Vision Australia and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. 

Researchers Use App To Image Fundus in Newborns PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Fundus Image AppResearchers at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences  of the University of Buffalo (UB) in the U.S. have successfully used a smartphone app to image the back of the eye, or fundus, in patients who can be particularly challenging to examine: newborn babies and children.

The iExaminer adapter, developed and marketed by WelchAllyn, allows the UB researchers to combine the PanOptic ophthalmoscope, a portable lighted instrument used to look inside the eye, with iPhone technology to instantly take photos and videos of the fundus. The findings were presented earlier this month by the researchers in a poster session and at a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago. 

Conventional fundus cameras, which typically accommodate adult patients, are expensive and generally only available in specialized eye clinics.

The system can capture key structures at the back of the eye in a single view without necessarily needing drops to dilate the eye. The iPhone technology also enables instant electronic transmission of images and consultation between physicians via telemedicine, and facilitates capturing, storing and transferring collected data. 

Essilor Reports Robust Growth in Australia PDF
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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Essilor has reported for the third quarter of this year sales up a strong 14.5% at constant exchange rates compared to previous year third quarter.

The company confirmed a further improvement in quarterly organic growth to 3.9%,  a swift momentum in the United States and fast-growing countries, and the integration of major acquisitions such as proceeding in line with objectives.

Performances by developed economies in the Asia-Pacific/Middle East/Africa region were mixed for Essilor. Japan's relatively weak performance was offset by Australia's robust growth, helped by the performance of the Crizal UV lens, which was endorsed by Cancer Council Australia for its protective action against harmful UV rays.

Clinical Trial of Implant in Retinitis Pigmentosa Successfully Completed PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 27 October 2014

BVA Semi Portable CamBionic Vision Australia (BVA), a consortium of researchers working together to develop bionic eye devices to restore a sense of vision to people with profound vision loss, has announced the successful completion of the first clinical trial of its prototype 24-channel percutaneous implant in patients with profound vision loss from the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). RP is an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and often blindness through progressive degeneration of the retina and death of the photoreceptors.

The two year Prototype 24-Channel Percutaneous Connector Study, which started in May 2012, involved three RP patients with profound vision loss (bare light perception only) who each received surgically implanted suprachoroidal electrode implants to aid the restoration of vision. Surgery was completed without any adverse events.

During the two year study, the implants were remarkably stable, with no significant movement, and were shown to be safe with no unexpected device-related serious adverse events observed. Although this was designed to be primarily a proof-of-concept and safety study, the trial also generated efficacy data showing that the device improved patient’s ability to see light and shapes, and helped with navigation around obstacles and detection of items on a tabletop search task.

"This study is critically important to the continuation of our research efforts and the results exceeded all our expectations," Professor Mark Hargreaves, Chair of the BVA board, commented. "We have demonstrated clearly that our suprachoroidal implants are safe to insert surgically and cause no adverse events once in place. Significantly, we have also been able to observe that our device prototype was able to evoke meaningful visual perception in patients with profound visual loss."

With this study complete, BVA has three other programs underway. The first of these, a 44-channel device will enter the clinic in mid-2015. The consortium is also developing a 98-channel device and a high acuity device.

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