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Net Sales Gains in 4Q and FY 2007 for Hoya PDF
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Tuesday, 06 May 2008
Economic conditions during the term under review made brisk improvements in corporate performance and led to keep high level of capital investments and expansion of employment. On the other hand, however, financial crisis caused by subprime loan problems in the United States made a negative impact not only on the United States but also Europe and Japan, and, together with rising cost of low materials and crude oil, increased economic uncertainty in the future.

Meanwhile, for the HOYA Group, in the Electro-Optics sector, sales went down in some products because of price decline, and delay in commencement of production of new items. Though, in other products, the developments of new products by clients were vigorous, promoting robust demand, the whole of the sector showed a decline in revenues and profit.

In Vision-Care division, the market overseas for eyeglass lenses showed an expansion, leading to increased revenues. Healthcare division performed well, showing an increase in revenues and profit. Moreover, the sales of newly consolidated Pentax Corporation and its subsidiaries for the six months from October 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008 have been combined.

As a result, during the term under review consolidated net sales increased year-on-year basis and posted historical record on annual basis. However operating income showed a decline year-on-year basis, mainly because of decline in revenues and profit in the Electro-Optics sector. Goodwill on the acquisition of Pentax has been amortized from the latter half of this term. Though ordinary income also decreased, earnings of equity method affiliates made significant growth. Net income showed a decline because there was a gain from sales of land last year (2006).

The slump in the domestic Japanese market for eyeglass lenses continued as before but HOYA realized growth in the high price bracket through the value-added enhancement of products centered in high-function coatings and newly-designed progressive lenses. In the low price bracket, however, overall sales in the domestic market decreased on a year-on-year basis due to stiff price competition.

In eyeglass lenses in markets overseas, the expansion continued to advance in sales for newly designed progressive lenses, high refraction lenses and other high value added products in Asia-Oceania, Europe and North America and the markets remained firm. There was an overall increase in the sales volume year-on-year in spite of tough competition due to a price offensive in low-end lenses.

As a result, an increase was realized in the sector overall year-on-year.

Source: Hoya
FDA Hearing on LASIK outcomes and satisfaction PDF
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International News
Monday, 05 May 2008
Physicians representing the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) and the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS) spoke recently to a meeting of the FDA’s Ophthalmic Devices Panel about the long track record of safety and effectiveness for LASIK eye surgery. LASIK has benefited millions of people, they said, and research should continue to determine how to improve outcomes even further for those who elect to have the procedure.

“LASIK is safe and effective. This has been documented in studies enrolling thousands of patients conducted over the last 15 years,” said Steve Schallhorn, MD, the Academy representative and the former director of cornea service and refractive surgery at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. “Patient satisfaction after LASIK is excellent.”

The FDA called the meeting to explore the issue of satisfaction with LASIK. The speakers before the panel included physicians and both satisfied and dissatisfied patients.

“LASIK is the most studied elective procedure. Collectively, 7,830 patients, representing 16,502 eyes, participated in FDA clinical trials between 1993 and 2005,” said Peter McDonnell, MD, the director and William Holland Wilmer professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who spoke on behalf of ISRS. “I believe it is safe to say that no elective ophthalmic surgical procedure has been as fully studied as has this procedure. But, as with any surgical procedure, there are complications that may occur after LASIK. Fortunately these are uncommon. No matter how uncommon, however, when complications occur they can be quite distressing to both patients and surgeons.”

Source: AAO
Hormone use related to lower risk of macular degeneration in postmenopausal women PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Friday, 02 May 2008
Women who take postmenopausal hormones appear to have a lower risk of developing advanced stages of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration, especially if they had also taken oral contraceptives in the past, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among older adults, affecting 1.75 million Americans, according to background information in the article. “Although genetics plays a key role in susceptibility to AMD, environmental factors, such as smoking, are also important,” the authors write. “Evidence of higher rates of AMD in women than in men and links between AMD and cardiovascular disease suggested a role for estrogen in the etiology” or development of the condition.

Diane Feskanich, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues assessed estrogen-related factors such as postmenopausal hormone use, past use of oral contraceptives, ages at first period and menopause and childbirth history in 74,996 post-menopausal women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Between 1980 and 2002, 554 of the women developed early (beginning-stage) AMD and 334 women developed neovascular (more advanced, involving the formation of new blood vessels) AMD.

“Current postmenopausal hormone users had a notable 48 percent lower risk of neovascular AMD compared with those who had never used postmenopausal hormones, although risk did not decline linearly with longer durations of use,” the authors write. “Risk was lowest for postmenopausal hormone users who had used oral contraceptives in the past.”

In contrast, risk of early AMD was 34 percent higher among current postmenopausal hormone users and oral contraceptive use was not associated with early AMD risk. “The higher risk of early AMD among postmenopausal hormone users was unexpected and in apparent conflict with the observed inverse association for neovascular AMD,” the authors write. Women who had given birth had a 26 percent lower risk of early AMD.

“Taken together, these findings suggest a role for estrogen in the pathogenesis of AMD that requires further research in specific early and late signs of disease,” they conclude.

Source: Archives of Ophthalmology
Apple files for patents on laser-based head-mounted displays PDF
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Feature Story
Thursday, 01 May 2008
A new series of patent filings by Apple outlines attempts to modernize head-mounted displays (HMDs) that can be plugged into iPods or iPhones by decoupling the image generation components from the headsets themselves, which would pave the way for more lightweight and comfortable designs.

There are several different architectures for producing HMDs -- including transmissive, emissive, and reflective -- Apple's design calls for the use of a micro-electro-mechanical/laser-based architecture. Still, there are concerns associated with laser HMD designs, mainly that the devices can generate a lot of heat and require a large amount of power to operate. Furthermore, some laser technologies also have safety concerns, and thus need to be housed in special enclosures in order to prevent laser leakage.

As such, the company suggests a HMD apparatus that separates the laser engine from the image generator via a fiber optic cable so that the laser engine can be physically decoupled from a headgear.

Source: Apple
Alcon's First Quarter Sales Rise 16.2 Percent PDF
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Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Alcon, Inc has reported global sales of $US1,536.4 million for the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 16.2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007, or 9.4 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

Net earnings for the first quarter of 2008 increased 24.0 percent to $429.4 million, or $1.43 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $346.2 million, or $1.14 per share for the first quarter of 2007.

International sales rose 25.6 percent to $864.4 million, or 12.6 percent excluding exchange, with emerging markets sales increasing 28.6 percent, or 17.6 percent excluding exchange.Sales in the United States increased 5.9 percent to $672.0 million.

Source: Alcon
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