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Tesco in UK to launch online glasses service PDF
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International News
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Tesco has set its sights on Boots and Specsavers with the launch of an online glasses service.

Spec wearers such as How To Look Good Naked star Gok Wan can now buy a pair of prescription specs for as little as £15.

Customers can upload a picture of themselves to see if frames will suit them before picking them up from one of Tesco's 100 in-store opticians.

The Australian company PlanetVA provides the world's best virtual try on systems available today. For more information contact PlanetVA at

Smart specs for visually impaired patent submitted by Philips PDF
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Feature Story
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Philips has recently submitted a new patent that relates to an assistance system for visually handicapped persons and to a method for assisting visually handicapped persons.

Visual problems in a part of the visual field, like visual neglect or visual field loss, is a deficit shown by many stroke victims and traumatic brain injury survivors. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the western world and the most prominent cause for permanent disabilities. The incidence in the United States is 700.000 per year, with a tendency to increase, according to the ageing of society. For example, per year 105.000 new patients show visual neglect. In contrast to defects of the eyes, such as short-sightedness, the decrease in the field of view is of neurological origin. Thus, these patients frequently collide with objects, making their life dangerous and limiting their ability for independent living.

The patent submitted in the US refers to an electronic blind guidance cane with an electronic eye system which is capable of prompting an acoustic or tactile warning, whenever a solid or liquid obstruction is detected. It is a drawback of the known electronic eye system that it is not capable of distinguishing moving objects from stationary objects.

The assistance system for visually handicapped persons with visual impair in a part of their visual field aims at providing a technical solution for these persons, informing them actively about objects or movements in the visually impaired side, by way of body-worn sensors.
VSP Vision Care Acquires Marchon Eyewear PDF
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Tuesday, 19 August 2008
VSP, U.S. largest eyecare benefits provider with 55 million members, today acquired Marchon Eyewear, Inc., one of the industry’s largest manufacturers and distributors of quality eyewear and sunwear for US$735 million funded in a combination of cash and debt. The acquisition received regulatory approval from the California Department of Managed Care and the Connecticut Department of Insurance.

Under the terms of the agreement, Marchon will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of VSP. Al Berg, Marchon president and CEO, and Larry Roth, executive VP of Marchon, along with the Marchon global team will continue in their current roles. Marchon will operate from its New York-based headquarters as an independent entity within the VSP organization. Altair Eyewear, the VSP-owned eyewear company, will become a division of Marchon and remain in its Rancho Cordova, Calif., headquarters.

“Bringing together the world-class products and expertise of Marchon with Altair, VSP’s for-profit eyewear company, creates an integrated organization that benefits eyecare professionals and their customers,” says Rob Lynch, president and CEO of VSP. “Together we will deliver value by focusing on quality and operational excellence.”

Marchon manufactures and sells branded and proprietary eyewear and sunwear for such internationally-recognized brands as Calvin Klein, Coach, Emilio Pucci, FENDI, Jil Sander, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, Nautica, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Sean John and X Games. Additionally, the company manufactures its own collections of eyewear including products such as Airlock and Flexon.

Marchon offers the North American optical industry the most widely-used practice management and electronic medical records software through OfficeMate Software Solutions. The acquisition merges OfficeMate with VSP’s Eyefinity, the leading Web-based eyecare business management partner, to form the industry’s premier eyecare business solutions organization.

As part of the transaction, VSP will also acquire Marchon’s 50 percent ownership interest in Eye Designs, which is a leader in the design of custom interiors and merchandising systems for the optical industry.

“Given the rapidly changing eyecare marketplace, this is a win for Marchon, VSP and the optical industry,” Al Berg, president and CEO of Marchon, states. “This merger will help us continue our vision for growth by expanding our products, services and programs to our global customer base.”

VSP and Marchon will provide the following offerings to the marketplace:
  • Vision care benefits and services;
  • A global distribution channel;
  • An international portfolio of eyewear brands;
  • Integrated eyewear design and manufacturing capabilities;
  • Practice management technology; and,
  • Custom interior designs and merchandising systems.
VSP Vision Care provides vision insurance benefits to one in every six Americans. Through its network of more than 25,000 private practice eye doctors, VSP delivers full-service eyecare benefits to 55 million members in the United States and Canada. VSP is based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., and has a workforce of 2,400 employees. VSP’s total revenue in 2007 was US$2.6 billion.

Since its founding in 1983, Marchon has grown into one of the three largest eyewear companies in the world. Headquartered in Melville, N.Y., Marchon has international offices in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The Marchon sales team and employees number more than 2,500 globally. Marchon’s total sales in 2007 exceeded US$525 million.
Monthly CL wearers report decrease in comfort at month's end PDF
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Feature Story
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Wearers of monthly-replacement contact lenses tend to notice a decline in lens performance and comfort in weeks three and four of wear, a new survey reveals. The survey, conducted among 434 monthly lens wearers in France and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (subjects were unaware of the sponsor's identity), included representation of 20 different brands of lenses.

More than 70 percent of monthly silicone hydrogel wearers and 68 percent of hydrogel wearers reported a decrease in wearing comfort as the month progressed, and 95 percent of those respondents said they become aware of the discomfort in weeks three and four. Monthly silicone hydrogel wearers who experienced discomfort tended to notice it earlier in the lens cycle than hydrogel wearers.

The survey also asked about lens wearers' perceptions of the eyecare professional's role in communicating the benefits of contact lens innovations. Eighty-one percent said they expect their doctor to recommend an upgrade on comfort grounds; three-quarters of respondents would consider seeing their eyecare professional more often if he or she proactively proposed more comfortable lenses. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed also said that they are more satisfied when their eyecare professional shows them lenses that are better for their ocular health and that offer more comfort. The results suggest that eyecare practitioners question monthly-replacement contact lens wearers specifically on comfort performance.
National Glaucoma Week PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 18 August 2008
Glaucoma Australia’s 20th anniversary year will be marked by a national campaign this week that targets the ‘lack of awareness’ in country Australia about the severe impact of the eye condition, glaucoma.

National Executive Officer, Beverley Lindsell, said Glaucoma Australia was concerned at Australia-wide figures showing that only half of the estimated 300,000 plus Australians with glaucoma actually knew they had the disease. Even more alarming is data putting the awareness level of glaucoma significantly lower in regional and rural areas.

“A study shows that people in rural areas are almost twice as likely to have never been seen by an eye-care provider as their urban counterparts. In statistical terms, this presents as 13 percent of those living in the country compared with only seven percent of those in the city who have never seen an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

“Looking at the gender factor, the overall figure is 11 percent of males compared with eight percent of females who have never been to an eye-care practitioner,” Mrs Lindsell said.

National Glaucoma Week will be held from August 17 to 23 to promote understanding about glaucoma as a condition commonly referred to as ‘the sneak thief of sight’. It irreversibly destroys vision silently, gradually starting with the side vision. Fortunately, if detected early enough it can be arrested or at least slowed by appropriate treatment. Glaucoma cannot be self-detected.

Leading Sydney ophthalmologist, Dr Allan Bank, sees the rural and regional versus urban glaucoma patient difference constantly.

“In my experience, my patients from areas outside metropolitan Sydney tend to exhibit the worst effects of glaucoma largely because they are diagnosed at later stages of disease. The stories I am told suggest they don’t see it as important to have a regular eye check-up unless they need new glasses or they notice something seems very wrong with their eyesight”.

Glaucoma Australia urges all Australians over the age of 40 to have comprehensive eye checks, every two/three years, by an optometrist or ophthalmologist or more regularly if they have a family history of the disease, diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, an eye injury in the past eye or past or present prolonged use of cortisone.

“Eyesight is precious. Don’t risk losing it for the sake of not undertaking regular, simple and pain-free checks” Mrs Lindsell said.

National Glaucoma Week will be launched in Wagga Wagga this year to target awareness in regional and rural Australia. It is being sponsored by Pfizer Australia following the success of a pilot campaign on the Gold Coast earlier this year.
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