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Merringtons ordered to pay damages to customers PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 08 September 2008
Justice Hartley Hansen has found that Merringtons breached the Fair Trading Act by supplying unsuitable spectacles and refusing to give refunds, in Supreme Court action taken by Consumer Affairs Victoria. Merringtons, a national chain which has 22 stores in Victoria, told the court it had since upgraded training for its optical mechanics and dispensers.

In a damning judgement Justice Hansen ordered injunctions restraining Merringtons from similar conduct in the future, saying he had "real cause for concern as to observance of the (law) when the dust of this case has settled down".Justice Hansen said Merringtons had behaved arrogantly towards disgruntled customers, and refused to enter into an enforecable undertaking with Consumer Affairs Victoria prior to trial.

Although Merringtons had changed its policies on taking deposits and providing refunds, he said the injunctions would have "a significant deterrent effect" on the company against any future breaches which would be in contempt of court. Justice Hansen said notices about the earlier court ruling posted in Merringtons stores were inadequate, and reworded "to reflect the gist of the findings and achieve the plaintiff's public interest objections".

He had little sympathy for Merringtons' arguments that publicity about the case had negatively impacted its business, stating the defendants were "the authors of their own misfortune". "They engaged in the offending conduct and then thumbed their noses at the attempts of the plaintiff to resolve the problems without resort to litigation," he said.

Justice Hansen ordered that Merringtons take out a newspaper advertisement, and display notices in its stores, containing information about the court findings to the satisfaction of Consumer Affairs Victoria. The firm must pay $300 in damages to nine customers, from a group of 17 whose complaints over the period 2002 to 2005 were upheld by the court, in recognition of the inconvenience they incurred.

Merringtons has since apologised to the customers concerned, and provided them with refunds.
 
Urgent need for Alice Springs eye clinic PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 05 September 2008
The manager of a Central Australian eye health program says there is an urgent need for a permanent eye clinic in Alice Springs.

56 people had eye surgery in Alice Springs last week as part of a series of "eye blitzes" in Central Australia. More than 250 people have had eye surgery since the blitzes, which use specialist staff from interstate, began in January last year. But Chris Masters from the Central Australian Integrated Eye Health program says waiting lists remain high as visiting specialists are finding increasing numbers of people with eye disease.

"We're finding that as we increase the access level and the amount of surgery we can do, there are more people coming out of communities who are trying to access the specialist team," he said. "It was then 360 patients waiting for eye surgery and it's now, after we've done five blitzes, we've done 250 operations just in these blitz weeks and we've still got over 300 patients of the list."
 
Bushnell To Acquire Millett Industries PDF
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Companies
Thursday, 04 September 2008
MidOcean Partners, a leading middle market private equity fund, and Bushnell Outdoor Products, the worldwide leader in sports optics, premium eyewear, and outdoor accessories for over 60 years, recently announced that Bushnell has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Millett Industries in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The transaction is expected to close within the next thirty days. The terms of the purchase agreement were not disclosed.

Founded in 1980, Millett Industries began with a line of pistol sights and scope mounting systems. Since then the company has expanded its product line to include optics and currently offers high-quality sighting solutions for sporting, tactical and law enforcement applications. The Millett product line includes sights and scope mounting hardware, riflescopes, red dot scopes and spotting scopes for hunting and tactical use.

Millett enjoys a strong brand equity and customer loyalty for their rings and bases and their recently expanded line of optics, particularly on the tactical and law enforcement side of the business, which will complement and strengthen our existing product lines,‖ said Joe Messner, President and CEO of Bushnell Outdoor Products.
 
AMD and Vision Loss: Low-Luminance Study Yields a New Predictive Tool PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Thursday, 04 September 2008
Janet S. Sunness, M.D., Director of the Hoover Low Vision Services at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and her fellow researchers have discovered a simple and inexpensive way to predict the rapid loss of visual acuity, the ability to see detail, in “dry” AMD patients. Of patients with GA who have visual acuity of 20/50 or better, about one-quarter become legally blind within four years. Other GA patients never progress to severe vision loss. The ability to identify GA patients at highest risk is important to patient care as well as future AMD research. Dr. Sunness’ study evaluated GA patients who began the study with 20/50 or better vision; their performance under “low luminance,” or low-light conditions, strongly predicted whether they would suffer significant loss of visual acuity within two years. This study was the first to quantify predictive values for “low luminance visual acuity deficit” and describe the importance of this predictive tool for GA patient screening.

It is known that the visual function of GA patients is significantly worse in low-light conditions. In annual exams over the two-year study period, Dr. Sunness’ team measured the patient’s standard visual acuity, the ability to read lines on a chart under regular testing conditions, and then repeated this measurement with the patient wearing moderate gray sunglasses (2 log unit neutral density filter). On average, elderly patients without GA were able to see two fewer lines with the filter in place, while GA patients with 20/50 vision or better at baseline saw five fewer lines. The 91 study participants were a cohort of a larger 1992 to 2000 National Institutes of Health-funded study, directed by Dr. Sunness, of the natural history of GA progression at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The participants with the worst “low-luminance deficit” (LLD) at baseline were significantly more likely to have lost visual acuity by the end of the study than the better LLD group. Contrast sensitivity and reading speed were also measured for participants; the retinas were photographed; the eyes were examined for AMD progression; and the total area of GA in each eye was determined. Another predictor of visual acuity loss was a significantly reduced reading rate at baseline. Factors that did not predict visual acuity loss in these patients included: age, gender, the GA total area at baseline, or the rate of GA enlargement during the study period.

GA is a public health issue that deserves heightened attention and research, Dr. Sunness says, as the disorder causes more severe vision loss than diabetic macular edema, a well-recognized public health problem, and as treatment or prevention of GA is not currently available. Also, GA affects both eyes for most patients, resulting in vision loss that is more devastating than when eye disorders affect one eye only.
 
Eye problems account for 1 in 30 hospitalisations PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 03 September 2008
Eye problems accounted for nearly 250,000 (or 1 in 30) hospitalisations in 2005-06, according to a report released 21st of August by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

'Around 70% of these hospitalisations were for lens surgery such as cataract removal, and many were same-day procedures,' said Robert Van der Hoek of the Institute's Population Health Unit.

The AIHW report, Eye health in Australia: a hospital perspective, shows that the rate of hospitalisations for eye problems rose marginally between 2001-02 and 2005-06. The total public hospital cost for treating eye problems in 2005-06 was nearly $233 million. For private hospitals the cost was an estimated $220 million. The report also found the rate of hospitalisations for eye problems among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was similar to the total Australian population.

'Hospitalisation rates for cataract were lower among Indigenous Australians, but eye-related injuries were higher,' said Mr Van der Hoek. 'The median waiting time for elective eye surgery in a public hospital was 69 days, which was the longest of any specialty,' he said.

This report is the first in a series of national reports providing an overview of eye health in Australia.
 
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