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Independents Are The Future Says Retail Guru PDF
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Current Affairs
Monday, 15 October 2007
Retail guru Mary Portas told 100 independent practitioners at a Luxottica hosted seminar in Italy that independent shopping was the future.

Luxottica launched its new initiative at the five-star Villa D'Este, Lake Como, where 100 top independents were invited to hear about a dedicated partnership programme from Luxottica led by specialist marketing support.

Portas, creative director of the Yellowdoor consultancy and former creative director at Harvey Nichols, gave advice on luxury and the future of independent retailing. She presented five recommendations to independents - to maximise the window, edit and focus product range, navigate, inspire and inform, act like a specialist and connect with the local community.

Portas, of BBC's Mary Queen of Shops, said it was critical that independent opticians learn to better exploit their window space, emphasising one brand at a time, creating drama and avoiding the 'hardware shop' effect by limiting the number of frames on display.

'I want to feel excited - don't just have some dodgy unit in the corner of the store. Inspire the shopper and they will buy two frames. You have the most desirable brands and that should get you off to a great start.'

She described it as heartbreaking to see small independent retailers being eaten up by a high street which has become a bland roll out of multiple formats. Retailers of the future had to be purveyors of lifestyle rather than simply products and independent opticians must leverage themselves as experts. 'You have a lead. You are experts and have a wonderful mix of specialism and fashion,' she said.

Luxottica UK's managing director Andrea Dorigo described the company's long-term commitment to supporting independent optical retail as he highlighted the benefits of being a Luxottica Elite Client. These included heavy-weight marketing support for its portfolio of luxury brands and the exclusive availability of key brands including the first ever eyewear line by US jeweller Tiffany in 2008. The company has developed two window display solutions for the programme, designed to deliver impact and the result of extensive trials which yielded impressive sales increases.

Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra, speaking at the event, described the 50-year-old company as a global leader in luxury eyewear, with a strategic retailing presence in North America, Australia and the Far East.

On the question of whether Luxottica was set to become a significant retailer in the UK, he said the group's strategic direction would be led by branding and wholesale. 'Our strategic [retailing] decision is to be out of Europe,' Guerra said. 'Other regions are more favourable for retail start ups, for example China, which we are very serious about and have started 300 stores in three years.'

Source: OpticianOnline
 
AMO Announces Voluntary Recall of Complete MoisturePlus Multipurpose Solution PDF
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Current Affairs
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
In response to information received on the 25th of May from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding eye infections from Acanthamoeba, a naturally occurring water-borne organism which can contribute to serious corneal infections, Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) (NYSE:EYE) is immediately and voluntarily recalling its Complete(R) MoisturePlus(TM) contact lens solutions. CDC data was made available to AMO on the 25th of May showing that it had completed interviews with 46 patients who had developed Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) since January 2005. A total of 39 of these patients were soft contact lens wearers, 21 of whom reported using Complete(R) MoisturePlus(TM) products. The CDC estimates a risk of at least seven times greater for those who used Complete(R) MoisturePLUS(TM) solution versus those who did not.

While AMO continues to work with the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to further assess the data, it is acting with an abundance of caution to voluntarily recall Complete(R) MoisturePlus(TM) from the market. There is no evidence to suggest that today's voluntary recall is related to a product contamination issue and this does not impact any of AMO's other contact lens care products, including our family of hydrogen peroxide disinfecting solutions. As patient safety is paramount to AMO, the company is taking decisive action to stop shipments, recall product from the marketplace, and encourage consumers to discontinue the use of AMO Complete(R) MoisturePlus(TM) until further information is available. Given the potential seriousness of the reported Acanthamoeba infections, AMO is working in close partnership with the CDC, the FDA and others to make sure consumers are aware of the need for proper contact lens disinfection and proper lens handling.

Acanthamoeba is a microorganism commonly found in water, soil, sewage systems, cooling towers, and heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a rare, but serious, infection of the cornea. AK is usually found among individuals who improperly store/handle/disinfect their lenses (e.g., use tap water or homemade solutions for cleaning), swim/use hot tubs/shower while wearing lenses, come in contact with contaminated water, have minor damage to their corneas, or have previous corneal trauma. The incidence of AK in the United States has been estimated by CDC at approximately one to two cases per million contact lens users.

Contact lens wearers should consult with their eye doctor if they have any of the following symptoms: eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, sensation of something in the eye, and excessive tearing. The symptoms, which can last several weeks to months, are not the same for everybody. Early in the infection, the symptoms of AK can be very similar to the symptoms of other more common eye infections but AK may eventually cause severe pain and possible vision loss with some patients requiring a corneal transplant if untreated.

Consumers who believe they are in possession of the recalled product should discontinue use immediately and call 1-888-899-9183. The company is currently contacting retailers, customers and distributors regarding return and replacement instructions. Reply cards and mailing slips are being provided for return of product. Retailers may also call 1-888-899-9183 for more information.

Please report any adverse reactions experienced with the use of this product and/or quality problems to AMO by calling 1-800-347-5005 and to the FDA's MedWatch Program by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail at MedWatch, HF-2, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787, or on the MedWatch Web site at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Source: Advanced Medical Optics
 
Bausch & Lomb Recalls 12 Lots of ReNu MultiPlus PDF
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Current Affairs
Wednesday, 07 March 2007
Bausch & Lomb (NYSE:BOL) has initiated a limited voluntary recall from distribution centers and retail shelves in the United States and specific other countries of 12 lots of ReNu MultiPlus lens care solution made at its plant in Greenville, SC because they contain an elevated level of trace iron. This may result in discoloration of the solution in some bottles, and the shelf life of the product may be shortened to less than its two-year expiration date, due to a potential loss of effectiveness over time. The Company has received no reports of serious adverse events associated with these lots and believes virtually all of the affected product, manufactured about a year ago, has already been used by consumers. Bausch & Lomb has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of this voluntary action.

About a million bottles of solution from nine of the 12 lots were originally distributed in the United States. Product from the 12 affected lots was also distributed in Canada, Latin America, Korea and Taiwan, where it is also being recalled.

The company initiated an investigation after receiving three customer reports of discolored solution. The root cause of the discoloration was determined to be an elevated level of trace iron in a single batch of raw material sourced from an outside supplier. Iron is an element present at trace levels – measured in parts per billion – in many compounds used in manufacturing food, drug, medical device and cosmetic products for human use. The elevated level of trace iron could combine with other compounds in the solution to cause discoloration which signals that the solution may be losing effectiveness over time.

“The health and safety of consumers is our top priority,” said Angela J. Panzarella, vice president and head of Bausch & Lomb’s global vision care business. “With detailed and specific information about the distribution of the affected product, and good information about consumer use patterns, we are highly confident that virtually all of the affected product was used before it began to lose effectiveness. We’re now in the process of confirming with distributors and retailers that there is no product still available for sale anywhere.”

“We are confident we have identified the source of the problem and we are taking appropriate measures designed to avoid a recurrence,” Panzarella said.

Bausch & Lomb does not expect the costs associated with this limited recall will have a significant impact on its financial results.

Source: Bausch & Lomb
 
Empire State Building Pays Tribute to ORBIS PDF
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Current Affairs
Thursday, 01 March 2007
In tribute to the blindness prevention work of ORBIS International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization devoted to blindness prevention and treatment in developing countries, on its 25th anniversary, the world-famous tower lights of the Empire State Building will be turned off for 28 minutes on March 1, 2007, to remember the 28 million people around the world who are unnecessarily blind.

Before the lights go out at 20:20 military time (8:20 p.m. ET), and once they go on again, the building’s tower will shine blue and white in ORBIS’s honor. More than 3 million people in 85 countries have had their sight restored by ORBIS volunteer medical faculty and staff, and untold millions more have received treatment through those trained by ORBIS during its Flying Eye Hospital or permanent country programs.

ORBIS staff and volunteers will be handing out brochures inside the Empire State Building on March 1. The brochures describe how to protect your sight and direct readers to the ORBIS website for additional information. Thousands of people pass through the building’s doors each day.

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity to help advance the work of ORBIS and have an unprecedented impact, both in terms of raising awareness and making a global call for the eradication of unnecessary blindness,” says James Connors, Empire State Building general manager.

ORBIS President and Executive Director Oliver Foot says, “Most people hear ‘20/20’ and think of perfect vision. When the Empire State Building turns off its lights at 20:20, this will draw attention to the plight of 28 million people who are blind and could be cured — right now — if they had access to the proper eye care. It is tremendously encouraging that the world’s most famous office building is supporting this initiative and lending its name to a global call for action.”

Source: Orbis International
 
Essilor Interested In Buying CooperVision PDF
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Current Affairs
Friday, 12 January 2007
According to the magazine Challenges of January 11, Essilor would plan to repurchase CooperVision, the world number 3 of contact lenses. The weekly magazine specifies that, according to the institute of financial analysis Oddo Securities, this operation would be done via a tender offer of 2.1 billion euros, which could be partially financed by an increase of the capital of Essilor. Upon this advertisement, the CooperVsion shares jumped by 11% at Wall Street to 51.39 euros.

Over the first 9 months of 2006, Essilor, the world leader of ophthalmic glasses recorded a sales turnover of 2,022.6 million euros, a rise of 7.8% in organic growth and 12.2% in real growth. There were many operations of external growth, with many acquisitions last year.

However, the purchase of a contactlens business would be a surprise because Essilor has exited this market some time ago. In January 2001, the company managed by Xavier Fontanet sold its contactlens business to the American company Ocular Sciences, which was purchased by CooperVision in July 2004. Essilor had decided to sell its contactlens division because it had no significant share in this segment.

Repurchasing CooperVision would return Essilor to the contactlens market with strong positioning. It is not the first time that Essilor seems to be interested in this field again. At the beginning of 2006, rumours circulated already on a possible purchase of CibaVision, the optical division of Novartis.

Source: acuite.fr
 
US Congress Votes Against The Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act PDF
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Current Affairs
Tuesday, 19 December 2006
The US Congress has voted against the Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act, a bill (H.R. 5762) proposed by Senator Robert Bennett (R) of Utah, home state of 1-800 CONTACTS.

The bill would have amended the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) and required manufacturers to make any contact lens they produce, market, distribute or sell available to specified alternative channels of distribution. Optometrists nationwide communicated their objections to this legislation.

Following the introduction of H.R. 5762, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Tom Allen (D-Maine) introduced the American Optometrists Association (AOA) - backed Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act, H.R. 6117. This bill seeks to strengthen patient safety protections under the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) by preventing Internet retailers from using automated telephone calls to verify contact lens prescriptions, allow O.D.s to respond to verification requests by their choice of fax, e-mail or phone call from a live operator and ensure that each Internet seller maintains a toll-free, patient safety phone and fax hotline.
 
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