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Safilo Takes Givenchy Eyewear License from de Rigo PDF
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Monday, 09 March 2015

Safilo Group and Givenchy, the luxury brand founded in 1952 and recognized across the world for its Haute Couture, Ready-to-wear and Accessories collections for women and men, have announced their licensing agreement for the Givenchy eyewear collections of sunglasses and optical frames.

The licensing contract will run from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2021, renewable upon mutual agreement. Currently, the eyewear license for Givenchy is held by de Rigo Vision.

"We are proud of this new partnership and the trust placed in us. Givenchy's distinct and modern creativity has the potential to inspire unique eyewear creations of high quality and distinctiveness", said Luisa Delgado, CEO of Safilo Group. "Givenchy brings significant value to our portfolio, adding to our high-end premium segment a brand of unique character and significant size. It offers very interesting worldwide growth potential, including significant whitespace, that we will build up over time in a quality way, leveraging our new global commercial leadership capability."

"Eyewear is a fast growing category for Givenchy. We are delighted to count on Safilo as our strategic eyewear partner, who offers unique end-to-end integrated best-in-class capabilities, high quality products and worldwide distribution with a brand driven long term view", commented Philippe Fortunato, CEO of Givenchy. "We feel that we share a common vision for our brand, founded on the common values of excellence of product, design, craftsmanship, distribution, and results delivery."

Eye Care 'Overlooked' In Medicare Reform: OA PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 06 March 2015

MedicareOptometry Australia (OA) has voiced its concern that eye and vision care services had been 'overlooked' in the Government's latest round of Medicare reform announcements.

Kate Gifford, President of Optometry Australia, said it was vital the Government looked beyond general practice and extended the commitment to discontinue Medicare rebate cuts to optometry consultations.

"A 5 per cent cut to Medicare rebates for optometry consultations has been in place since 1 January 2015. Not only is this making it harder for our most vulnerable patients to access essential eye care, but combined with the freeze on Medicare indexation, it is also threatening the sustainability of optometry services in areas of socio-economic disadvantage. This is a matter of fairness for both patients and optometrists. In light of yesterday's announcement, we urge the Government to also reverse the Medicare rebate cuts to optometry," Ms Gifford said.

The optometry sector has been providing timely and affordable access for all Australians to eye care services under Medicare since 1975, playing a crucial role in preventing, detecting and managing eye and vision conditions and significantly reducing the heavy economic cost of unmanaged eye and vision disease. Ms Gifford said Optometry Australia had also supported the Government's previous public commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our community from changes to Medicare. 

"Now is the time for the Government to ensure optometric services are included in that commitment by reversing the cuts to Medicare rebates," Ms Gifford added. Up to 12 million Australians are living with an existing eye or vision condition, at an estimated cost of $16.6 billion to the community. Despite this, 80 per cent of eye and vision conditions are preventable with regular check-ups by an optometrist.

"With an ageing population, investment to maintain the eye and vision health of Australians should be an increasing priority for the Government. We must ensure all Australians are afforded the opportunity to access the eye and vision care they need and that optometric services are sustainable for the long-term." Ms Gifford concluded.

Scientists Develop Telescopic Contact Lenses PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Thursday, 05 March 2015

Telescopic Contact LensLast month researchers unveiled a new prototype of telescopic contact lens giving hope for better, stronger vision. They also showed  complementary smart glasses that recognize winks and ignore blinks, allowing wearers of the contact lenses to switch between normal and magnified vision.

"We think these lenses hold a lot of promise for low vision and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)," says Tremblay, a researcher in the team. "It's very important and hard to strike a balance between function and the social costs of wearing any kind of bulky visual device. There is a strong need for something more integrated, and a contact lens is an attractive direction. At this point this is still research, but we are hopeful it will eventually become a real option for people with AMD."

The first iteration of the telescopic contact lens--which magnifies 2.8 times--was announced in 2013. Since then the scientists behind the project have been fine-tuning the lens membranes and developing accessories to make the eyewear smarter and more comfortable for longer periods of time, and thus more usable in every day life.

The contacts work by incorporating a very thin reflective telescope inside a 1.55mm thick lens. Small mirrors within bounce light around, expanding the perceived size of objects and magnifying the view, so it's like looking through low magnification binoculars.

At this time, the telescopic contacts are made using a rigid lens known as a scleral lens--larger in diameter than the typical soft contacts you might be used to and valuable for special cases, such as for people with irregularly shaped corneas. Although large and rigid, scleral lenses are safe and comfortable for special applications, and present an attractive platform for technologies such as optics, sensors, and electronics like the ones in the telescopic contact lens, says Tremblay.

The final lenses are made from several precision cut and carefully assembled pieces of plastics, aluminum mirrors, and polarizing thin films, along with biologically safe glues.

Since the eye needs a steady supply of oxygen, the scientific team has spent the last couple of years making the lenses more breathable--a critical requirement. To achieve oxygen permeability, they are incorporating tiny air channels roughly 0.1mm wide within the lens to allow oxygen to flow around and underneath the complex and normally impermeable optical structures to get to the cornea.

Image quality and oxygen permeability in the lenses are ongoing challenges and objects of research, but results are improving as the mechanical and manufacturing processes are refined and better understood, say the scientists.

The researchers have also developed a novel method to electronically switch the wearer's view between normal, or unmagnified vision and telescopic. This switching functionality is crucial for the lenses to be widely useful for non-AMD sufferers who will be able to have magnification "on demand". In the system electronic glasses use a small light source and light detector to recognize winks and ignore blinks. The wearer will wink their right eye for magnification, and left eye for normal vision.

The glasses work by electronically selecting a polarization of light to reach the contact lens. The contact lens allows one type of polarization in the 1x aperture and another in the 2.8x aperture. Thus, the user sees the view where the polarization of the glasses and contact lens aperture match.

There are glasses already on the market for people with AMD that have mounted telescopes, but they tend to look bulky and interfere with social interaction. They also do not track eye movement, so you have to position your eyes and tilt your head to use them.

The combination of the telescopic contact lenses and optional blink-controlled eyewear represent a huge leap in functionality and usability in vision aid devices and a major feat for optics research.

Nikon Enters Medical Sector with Acquisition of Optos PDF
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Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Nikon, the 98-year-old Japanese company best known for its cameras, has agreed to buy retinal imaging company Optos. Optos was incorporated in 1992 and is domiciled in Scotland. Optos is listed on the Official List of the London Stock Exchange.

According to Nikon, the acquisition of Optos is an important step in the company’s implementation of its "Next 100 – Transform to Grow" strategic initiative, which is focused on driving sustainable long term growth. As part of this initiative, Nikon has announced its intention to enter the medical sector to leverage its optical technologies and know-how into the medical industry, which is a sector that offers a number of secular growth trends. The proposed acquisition of Optos therefore represents an important step for Nikon as it provides the establishment of a major footprint in the medical segment with a scale platform for future expansion, significant collaboration opportunities in product development, research, manufacturing and marketing, and a platform to expand Nikon's regenerative medical business.

Kazuo Ushida, President of Nikon, said: "I am pleased to announce this strategically important transaction for Optos and Nikon. I am confident that an Optos/Nikon combination would create a world class "retina" player and would significantly benefit our respective stakeholders. Together, we will pursue various collaboration opportunities and further expand the medical business in the future."

Commenting on the Transaction, Dr Peter Fellner, Chairman of Optos, said: "Under the leadership of Roy Davis and the management team, Optos has successfully established itself as a global leader in retinal imaging supported by the introduction of innovative new products such as the Daytona. During this period, our share price and financial results have shown material improvement and Optos is now well placed for further growth. Following the Transaction, Optos will become a key part of Nikon's future strategy to develop a global medical business and will continue to provide its market leading solutions to the patients we serve. We are therefore pleased to recommend this acquisition to our shareholders."

Next Week is World Glaucoma Week 2015 PDF
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International News
Tuesday, 03 March 2015

BIG BreakfastWorld Glaucoma Week 2015 (WGW-2015) is around the corner. This time World Glaucoma Week will be held from March 8-14, 2015.  

The World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA) will continue their joint initiative to expand global awareness of the Silent Thief of Sight, when they launch their 'BIG – Beat Invisible Glaucoma' campaign. Relentlessly pursuing their goal of having a BIG network of global glaucoma awareness, the WGA-WGPA team emphasizes that even today, too many people are unaware they have the disease.

During the week Glaucoma Australia will be holding a B.I.G Breakfast event to raise funds and help beat invisible glaucoma in families.

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