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Eschenbach Group acquires International Eyewear Limited PDF
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Monday, 13 October 2008
Eschenbach Group is acquiring International Eyewear Limited, one of Great Britain’s leading suppliers of eyewear and prescription sunglasses. For more than ten years Eschenbach is already England’s market leader for optical low vision aids. The acquisition of International Eyewear Limited henceforth gives the Nuremberg-based company access to the attractive English market for spectacle frames. Now, Eschenbach will cover the entire European market for eyewear and optical equipment.

Barclays Private Equity, the company’s majority stakeholder with 70% since July 2007, supports the growth strategy of the Eschenbach Group management team. The parties agreed to keep the purchase price confidential.
Weakening Economy Prompts AMO to Lower 2008 Guidance PDF
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Monday, 13 October 2008
AMO last week lowered 2008 revenue guidance to a range of $1.17 billion to $1.20 billion and 2008 adjusted earnings-per-share (EPS) guidance to a range of $0.70 to $0.80. The company had previously forecasted a 2008 revenue range of $1.22 billion to $1.24 billion and a 2008 adjusted EPS range of $1.00 to $1.15.

"The change in guidance reflects our view that deteriorating economic conditions are impacting our U.S. and European refractive procedure and system sales more significantly than we had previously anticipated," said Jim Mazzo, AMO chairman and chief executive officer. "In addition, our revised guidance reflects slower-than-expected eye care sales for the balance of 2008."

Compared to the same period one year ago, AMO's third-quarter 2008 domestic excimer laser procedures declined about 37% and its domestic femtosecond procedures declined about 12%. Based on AMO's view that U.S. economic conditions will continue to weaken, the company now expects domestic excimer and femtosecond procedures to decline further in the fourth quarter. The company had previously expected its fourth-quarter U.S. excimer procedures to decline in the high 30% range and its U.S. femtosecond procedures to grow.

"International expansion of our refractive business is an important AMO strategy and we continue to forecast double-digit revenue growth from international markets in 2008," Mazzo said. "Our business remains strong in Japan and Asia Pacific. However, we began to experience more significant excimer and femtosecond procedure weakness in Europe during the third quarter as economic conditions worsened there. Our third-quarter refractive system sales were below expectations on a global basis and we expect this trend to continue in the fourth quarter, as well.

"We also believe the soft economy is contributing to lower-than-expected eye care sales as consumers curtail spending and retailers reduce inventory levels. In addition, while our recent multipurpose market share trends are positive, eye care sales in Japan remain below our expectations and we are making management and operational changes to improve our performance in future periods.

"Our cataract business, which is our largest and not generally economically sensitive, has continued to achieve strong growth in all geographies versus year-ago levels. We attribute this to increased demand for our flagship cataract products, including the Tecnis(R) intraocular lens, White Star Signature(TM) phacoemulsification system and Healon(R) family of viscoelastics."
Low scores for optical retail websites in UK PDF
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International News
Monday, 13 October 2008
Of all the retail websites that should be expected to provide the best accessibility to visually impaired people it is the online spectacles retailers but among this group there are some extremely poor performers with Direct Specs among the worst performing websites in the table of 100 retail websites tested this month for UK's online magazine The Retail Bulletin.

The comprehensive list of 100 sites, which includes not only the largest players but also some of the smaller specialist online merchants, has been created by The Retail Bulletin and specialist website testing company Sitemorse that used its automated testing of the first 125 pages of each retailer’s site to generate a ranked table.

Dollond & Aitchison and Specsavers also performed poorly on accessibility, which dragged down their overall scores with D&A placed 18th in the table with a score of 5.12 and Specsavers in 24th spot with 4.76. However, showing the way forward was Vision Express, which scored a respectable 6.56 that gained it fourth place in the table. Tesco Direct also had a poor month with a fall of 26 places as it suffered from a number of missing images and a serious drop in performance with some pages taking over one minute to respond.
Eye-opening statistics reveal avoidable impairment PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 13 October 2008
Last week's World Sight Day (October 9), Australians were being urged to have regular eye tests to help prevent permanent vision loss in their later years. Three-quarters of cases of vision impairment and blindness in older Australians could have been prevented with regular eye checks, said Dr Peter Hendicott, the Director of Optometry at the Queensland University of Technology Health Clinic.

"More than half a million Australians over the age of 40 are vision impaired or blind," said Dr Hendicott. "Around 75 per cent of these people have conditions that were preventable or treatable if diagnosed earlier." Dr Hendicott said that it was too late to wait for symptoms of vision impairment to appear before visiting an optometrist.

"A survey undertaken by Vision 2020 Australia shows that 66 per cent of Australians think there are noticeable symptoms to indicate early eye disease, but this is simply not the case," he said. "Very often these conditions have no obvious symptoms until they are well advanced at which point treatment options and the chance of retaining vision are much less. "A simple, regular eye test with an optometrist is vital for early detection and preventing permanent vision loss."

Dr Hendicott said vision impairment and blindness have a significant impact on an individual's wellbeing and their contribution to the community. "Older people who are vision impaired or blind are less likely to work than their peers, are more likely to be depressed, have falls or accidents - including traffic accidents - and tend to enter nursing homes earlier and die younger," he said.
Luxottica Retail sues Specsavers Australia PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 10 October 2008
Luxottica suing Specsavers and 2 persons Luxottica Retail, operator of OPSM, Laubman & Pank and Budget Eyewear, has announced it had launched legal proceedings against new rival Specsavers and two persons – a former and a departing employee, who will be opening a Specsavers retail store in Blacktown - NSW.

The proceedings filed two weeks ago in the NSW Supreme Court relate to alleged unlawful forwarding of proprietary Luxottica information to Specsavers by the departing employee, who had accepted a position with Specsavers. Specsavers says the claim is “entirely without merit” and that if Luxottica decides to pursue the matter further against Specsavers “it will vigorously defend the proceedings”.
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