Gene Therapy May Preserve Vision in Retinal Disease and Serious Retinal Injury

By Andrew Karp
Friday, July 23, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Mount Sinai researchers have uncovered a potential pathway for treatment that can prevent blindness. Gene therapy in mouse models showed promise in preventing vision loss or blindness from serious retinal injury including optic nerve damage, and from retinal disease including diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, Mount Sinai researchers report. Their study, published in the July 22 online publication of Cell, could transform treatment for those at risk of major vision loss from retinal degenerative diseases, which currently have no cure.

All the News Is Not Bad as Sports Stars Step Up to Raise Eye Health Awareness and Give Back to the Community

By Mark Tosh
Friday, July 16, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Sports stars are often the subject of negative news stories and social media posts, and sometimes deservedly so, while their efforts at community service and good deeds go unnoticed. Yet, there are numerous examples of the latter—most recently a vision care clinic that the WNBA’s Diamond DeShields pulled together in Chicago—and these do not get as much attention. In an effort to flip-flop the news cycle and spotlight a few good-news stories about high-profile athletes, VMAIL Weekend is highlighting a few recent events in which athletes have stepped up to give back to their communities or to support health-related causes.

In a Sports-Filled Summer, Eye Protection Is Key

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, July 9, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—After a year and a half that saw most of us spending more time indoors than usual, summer 2021 is shaping up to be a season for getting active and getting outside. This summer is chock-full of big-deal sporting events—the Euros, the Tour de France, Wimbledon, the All-Star game and, of course, the Olympics, which are looming just over the horizon. This weekend, we’re taking a look at how some ECPs are using this moment to remind patients and followers just how important eye safety is. Adapt some ideas for yourself, and then catch a game.

High Caffeine Consumption May Increase Risk of Glaucoma

By Mary Kane
Friday, July 2, 2021 8:30 AM Back in 2018, VMAIL Weekend took a deep dive into how ECPs could educate patients on how to eat healthier and take care of their eyes at the same time. Linda Hardy, LDO, a contributor to 20/20’s Pro to Pro, said, “It is well known that exercising and discontinuing bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol will help us live a healthier life. Eating healthy foods is a big part of that healthy lifestyle—not only will it improve your overall health, but there are some vitamins and minerals that can have a direct effect on healthier vision.” Things like beta-carotene, zinc, Vitamin C and lutein can protect cells in the eyes. But are there foods and beverages out there that can pose a hazard to your eyes? Researchers have found that consuming large amounts of daily caffeine may increase the risk of glaucoma for those with a genetic predisposition to higher eye pressure, according to a recent study. 

Researchers Develop AI-Powered OCT Analysis Tools to Predict Demand for AMD Treatment

By Andrew Karp
Friday, June 25, 2021 8:30 AM Researchers in Switzerland have developed automated OCT analysis tools based on artificial intelligence, which can assist eye doctors in the assessment of a whole patient OCT-set in just a few seconds. Together with RetinAI, a startup specialized in AI-based eyecare technologies, they now have conducted a retrospective study of patients to assess how well AI can predict demand for anti-VEGF treatment for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) from the start. With the ageing population, cases of AMD, Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) are globally on the rise, making it hard for specialized eye clinics to keep up with the growing demand for regular treatments.

CooperVision’s Jerry Warner Talks About Myopia Management, Independent ODs and More

By Mark Tosh
Friday, June 18, 2021 10:33 AM VMAIL Weekend recently sat down with CooperVision’s Jerry Warner, Executive Vice President – President Americas & Global Commercial Functions, for an update on various efforts the company is pursuing. Warner, who was interviewed at the recent Vision Expo East meeting, spoke about independent ODs and their resilience during the pandemic, the proposed joint venture with EssilorLuxottica that is working to develop a spectacle lens for myopia and the launch of the MiSight 1 day lens for myopia management.

A Very Different Show Experience: The Sights and Sounds of Vision Expo East

By Mary Kane
Friday, June 11, 2021 8:00 AM The headline in the June 5 Show Daily from Vision Expo East said it all: “Show Attendees Feel Excited, Safe and Happy to be Back.” As Expo got into full swing on Friday, VM’s Gwendolyn Plummer, the onsite eyes and ears of our Expo Show Daily observed, “No matter where this year’s Vision Expo East attendees came from, and no matter what their plans are at the show, there seems to be one common feeling among everyone: it’s good to be back. Out on the show floor, attendees and exhibitors are back to doing what they love most, all while staying safe and cautious. The overall feeling of the show has been one of optimism and happiness—of a long overdue reunion that has finally arrived.”

National Eyewear Day Takes Center Stage on June 6

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, June 4, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Tomorrow, June 6, marks the sixth annual National Eyewear Day—a day set aside for the optical community, and dedicated to promoting tips, tools and philanthropic initiatives that bring awareness to the importance of comprehensive eye exams and overall eye health. National Eyewear Day became official in 2016, after Zyloware submitted it to the Registrar at National Day Calendar, and everyone can get involved with National Eyewear Day by posting on social media and using the hashtags #NationalEyewearDay #ZylowareEyewear #WeAreZyloware.

Searching for Fresh Answers to The Question: Why Are Glasses So Expensive?

By Andrew Karp
Friday, May 28, 2021 8:30 AM How often has this happened to you? You’re relaxing with friends or family, and someone shows up wearing a new pair of glasses. Naturally, you  say something like, “Those new glasses look great on you.” They reply, “Thanks. I paid a lot for them, so they better look good.” Then there’s a short pause, followed by what I call The Question: “Why are glasses so expensive?” I usually take a deep breath before responding. Then I give this little speech: “A nice looking, well-made pair of eyeglasses is one of the most important items you can own. It’s the result of a lot of research and development, manufacturing expertise and, often, craftsmanship.” I’ve been giving my speech for a long time and I wanted to freshen it up, so I asked some of my optical friends how they respond when asked The Question. Here’s what they told me.

Summer Reading: The Books People in Optical Are Reading Right Now

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 21, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—With the unofficial start of summer just a week away, what better time to start putting together a summer reading list? Right now there are enough good, thought-provoking business titles circulating right now to capture just about every special interest. For one, we like the premise of “The Future is Faster Than You Think,” which looks at how technologies will “completely reshape every industry and society over the next decade.” But don’t just take our suggestions for your next book: Here’s a roundup of what VMAIL Weekend learned when we asked several people in the optical business what books they have read recently, want to read or just have in the stack by their bed. (BTW, that's my bedside pile in the photo.)

Vaccine Hesitancy and the Road to Herd Immunity

By Mary Kane
Friday, May 14, 2021 1:00 PM As the country slowly but surely begins to open up, the mood surrounding COVID-19 is very hopeful as each day brings more good news about the pandemic winding down. Currently, infections have dropped from 60,000 per day to 30,000, and deaths and hospitalizations from the virus are also going in the right direction—downward. However, the stats concerning the number of people who have gotten the vaccine could be better—36 percent of adults in the country are vaccinated but 53 percent have not gotten the vaccine, according to numbers reported yesterday by CNN. It has become apparent that vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. is a thing. For a roundup of how employers and employees are handling the situation, we’ve highlighted some recent articles that offer tips and advice on returning to the workplace.

Celebrating Mother’s Day, and Protecting Eye Health

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, May 7, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Celebrating mothers and motherhood has been a part of human history for pretty much as long as it has existed, but it wasn’t until 1914 that Mother’s Day actually became an official holiday in the United States. The first American Mother’s Day happened in 1908, when West Virginia woman Anna Jarvis wanted a way to honor the sacrifices that mothers make for their children, History reports. Jarvis’ own mom had died three years prior, so she organized the first Mother’s Day celebration as a tribute to her, at a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. The holiday took off, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially declared the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day throughout the country.

Scientists Gain Insights in Causes of AMD by Studying Worm Physiology

By Andrew Karp
Friday, April 30, 2021 8:30 AM Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have identified a new potential mechanism for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—the leading cause of blindness among older adults—by studying laboratory-grown roundworms as well as human and mouse eye tissue. The UMSOM researchers said that the findings suggest a new and distinct cause that is different from the previous model of a problematic immune system, showing that the structural organization of the eye’s light-detecting cells may be affected by the disease.

The Story Behind the 50th Anniversary of the Soft Contact Lens

By Staff
Friday, April 23, 2021 8:30 AM ROCHESTER, N.Y.—More or less taken for granted today, the soft contact lens has a storied history and a fascinating backstory on its road to discovery and mass production. This story is getting attention today—or at least more attention—because it is the 50th anniversary of Bausch + Lomb’s introduction of SofLens in 1971. Bausch + Lomb introduced SofLens as the first mass-produced soft contact in the U.S. market shortly after the Food and Drug Administration had granted its approval of the novel device. This breakthrough and the many follow-on innovations have led to a $15 billion a year contact lens market today.

A Q&A With Vision Expo Execs Fran Pennella and Mitch Barkley

By Mary Kane
Friday, April 16, 2021 2:00 PM VMAIL Weekend recently sat down with (remotely of course) Fran Pennella, VP of Vision Expo at Reed Exhibitions and Mitch Barkley, VP of Trade Shows and Events at The Vision Council for an update on what’s in store for attendees at the upcoming Vision Expo East in Orlando, Fla. The two executives spoke about the new Neighborhoods debuting on the Show floor, safety precautions and procedures that are being put in place, and new Show events that attendees can expect to find. The two show organizers also detailed how this year’s Show experience will differ from years past as Vision Expo settles into its new location at the Orange County Convention Center from June 2-5, 2021.