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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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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.

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.
Eyewear Chain To Appeal For Dispensing Without Prescription PDF
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Monday, 04 December 2006
According to Toronto Sun the man behind the Great Glasses chain says will appeal a record CAN$1-million fine for dispensing eyewear without a prescription, describing it as a near-sighted decision that gives optometrists a monopoly.

"Now with the monopoly, what do you think it's going to cost now for eye exams?" Bruce Bergez said on 29 November.

Dr. Christopher Nicol, optometrist and policy consultant with the Ontario Association of Optometrists, rejected the accusation, saying fees have been in line with prices charged for non-insured eye exams under OHIP, at between CAN$80 and CAN$120. The province de-listed every-two-years eye exams two years ago.

Bergez is the founder of the Great Glasses chain that grew from three stores in the Hamilton area to 17 stores throughout southern Ontario. A Superior Court judge slapped him with the record fine Monday -- twice as large as the previous record fine for civil contempt -- calling his conduct "arrogant and egregious."

The optician had been using a computer system, Eyelogic, to assess people's vision and dispense eyewear. But under ministry rules, only optometrists, ophthalmologists and doctors are allowed to issue prescriptions.

Nicol echoed Justice David Crane sentiments, saying the Dundas man put his customers' vision at risk. "Anyone can do a blood test on their own," he said. "It's what you do with the information that's important."

Though the College of Opticians of Ontario has long pushed for the right to refract -- or write prescriptions -- spokesman Caroline MacIsaac-Power stressed it would have to be within the standard of practice and in conjunction with physicians.

The college also suspended Bergez's licence as an optician and has ordered all 17 locations -- alleged to have been staffed by unqualified employees -- to comply with the law.
Canadian Court Rules Eye Exam Required To Obtain Prescription PDF
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Current Affairs
Wednesday, 29 November 2006
The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) declared on 28 November that it is pleased with the record one million dollar fine imposed by Superior Court Justice, David Crane, in the contempt of court hearing on Great Glasses and Bruce and Joanne Marie Bergez.

"On June 24, 2003 it was found that Bruce Bergez and Great Glasses employees were illegally dispensing eyewear without a prescription from a physician or optometrist, contravening the Regulated Health Professions Act," said OAO President Dr. Derek MacDonald.

Since that date, Mr. Bergez has flouted the ruling by continuing to sell eyeglasses without a prescription and franchising additional locations.

The decision and record fine, twice as large as the previous record fine for civil contempt handed out in a Canadian court, marks the end of a three year legal battle fought by the College of Optometrists of Ontario, with the College of Opticians of Ontario acting as an intervenor, to bring Mr. Bergez to justice as he continued to violate a court order, blatantly disregarding public welfare.

In his findings Justice David Crane noted "in my view it is seriously irresponsible conduct to advertise a ‘free eye examination?and then by-pass an eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist." Justice Crane went on to say "I find that all those customers of Great Glasses that have been deprived of an eye examination as performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist have been put at risk of continuing undiagnosed eye disease."

The Regulated Health Professions Act defines a number of controlled acts which pose a danger to the public and therefore fall under the authorized acts of various health care professions. For example, under the Optometry Act, optometrists are granted a scope of practice that includes "assessment of the eye and vision system and the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of" a variety of diseases and disorders of the eye.
Advanced Medical Optics Recalls Contact Lens Solution PDF
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Current Affairs
Thursday, 23 November 2006
Advanced Medical Optics Inc. has recalled almost 3 million units of its Complete MoisturePlus contact lens solution due to sterility problems that could lead to eye infections, the second major recall of a contact lens solution this year.

The company has recalled 115,000 bottles of its contact lens solution in Southeast Asia due to contamination, following a similar action for 183,000 bottles in U.S. on Tuesday.

Due to a problem with the filtration system in its manufacturing plant in China, 2.9 million bottles of Advanced Medical Optics contact lens solution has been contaminated with the ralstonia bacteria, and are being recalled. Most of the recalled 2.9 million units were shipped to U.S., Japan and other parts of Asia, the company said.

"Firstly, I would like to apologise for the inconvenience we have caused some of our consumers. In about a week's time, we will give details on refund procedures in all countries that are affected," says Anthony Chung, VP of Asia Pacific, Advanced Medical Optics.

Doctors say the ralstonia bacteria does not cause any serious eye infections, but there are risks.

"If it's really contaminated with a bacteria that can cause eye infection, then users can potentially have an eye infection. The symptoms range from experiencing pain in the eye, redness in the eye, tearing and a drop in vision," says Dr Lee Sao Bing, consultant eye surgeon at The Eye Institute, National University Hospital, Singapore.

Advanced Medical Optics announcement comes just six months after rival company Bausch & Lomb recalled its ReNu MoistureLoc contact lens solution after it was linked with infections of the cornea.

Analysts have estimated that Bausch & Lomb faces up to US$1 billion in potential legal liabilities from the infection cases.
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