New CEO for Brien Holden Vision Institute

Ms Yvette Waddell has replaced Professor Kovin Naidoo as chief executive officer of the Sydney-based Brien Holden Vision Institute, while Ms Amanda Davis has been appointed CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation.

Ms Wardell was chief operating officer of the BHVI since 2003 and took over as CEO on 13 July, after South-Africa-based Professor Naidoo’s term ended that day.

Ms Amanda Davis has been appointed interim CEO of the Foundation. She has been its chief operation officer since 2006.

Professor Naidoo was appointed CEO by the BHVI board some months after the sudden death of Professor Brien Holden in July 2015; prior to that, Professor Naidoo was deputy CEO.

Professor Brian Layland is chairman of the BHVI.

Myopia Awareness Week to be global next year

The BHVI and the World Council of Optometry are partnering to promote ‘Myopia Awareness Week’ globally in 2019.

The two organizations are launching a campaign that will target the general public and eye-care sector.

“Our aim will be to raise awareness about the impact myopia is likely to have on the lives of our children, highlight the critical role optometrists play in treating myopia and help keep practitioners informed about emerging trends in myopia control and management,” WCO president Dr Scott Mundle, OD, said.

Surprisingly, almost half the world’s population is expected to

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By | July 19th, 2018|Associations|

Opposition back-flips on health-insurance caps

Federal Labor’s opposition leader, Mr Bill Shorten, has back-flipped to favour small health funds over his previous commitment to impose caps on all health-insurance premiums.

Mr Shorten previously announced plans to impose a two-per-cent cap on health insurance premium increases, however he is now is understood to have told the Members Health Fund Alliance – which represents 23 small funds that cover 1.7 million Australians – that its members would not be affected by the proposed cap.

Labor has indicated the cap is aimed more at larger health-insurance providers, and that imposing it on smaller providers would lead to more consolidation in the sector.

Critics say it is an example of Mr Shorten’s indecisiveness, including his being forced to carve out pensioners from his dividend imputation crackdown and abandoning his plan to repeal already-legislated tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.

In an email marked “strictly confidential” and “not for circulation”, the chief executive of the Members Health Fund Alliance, Mr Matthew Koce, detailed a private meeting with Mr Shorten at Parliament House in Canberra in June where he received assurances that smaller funds would not be affected by the shake-up.

By | July 19th, 2018|Health insurance|

Essilor and Luxottica extend deadline for merger-agreement signing

Essilor and Luxottica have announced extension of the deadline of both the Combination Agreement and Contribution Agreement signed between Essilor and Delfin, Luxottica’s majority shareholder, to 31 July.

The reason is the Chinese competition authority has not yet approved the contemplated merger between Essilor and Luxottica, a prior condition for finalization.

The parties remain confident that they will succeed in completing the anti-trust processes in China and Turkey in the coming weeks.

The first general meeting of EssilorLuxottica shareholders which was scheduled for 25 July will be reconvened by the EssilorLuxottica’s directors for a later date to be announced as soon as possible.

Financial analysts have estimated the value of the combined company to be between $US55 billion and $58 billion.

By | July 19th, 2018|Business|

Vision business helps increase J&J’s quarterly results

 Johnson & Johnson has announced sales of $US20.8 billion in the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 10.6% from 2017’s second quarter totals, according to a company press release.

Net earnings for the quarter were $4 billion, or $1.45 per diluted share, which included an after-tax intangible amortisation expense of about $1 billion, as well as a charge for after-tax special items of $0.8 billion, the release said.

Adjusted net earnings for the quarter, excluding the amortisation expense and special items, were $5.7 billion, or $2.10 per share.

The company’s vision business, which includes Acuvue contact lenses and surgical products, helped drive its worldwide operational results, the release said.

Worldwide medical device sales were up 3.7% for the quarter to $7 billion with an operational increase of 1.9%. Domestic sales increased 1.1% and international sales were up by 6%.

Worldwide pharmaceutical sales increased 19.9% to $10.4 billion in the quarter, with an operational increase of 17.6%.

By | July 19th, 2018|Business|

Colgate-Palmolive invests in contact-lens company

Colgate-Palmolive Co has made an investment in Hubble, the contact-lens subscription service, a Colgate-Palmolive spokesman has confirmed to VMail.

The spokesman said on 9 July: “Online subscriptions are already a fast-growing part of our Hill’s pet nutrition business, which began with Amazon five years ago. Our strategy is to expand direct-to-consumer initiatives in selected product categories, and the investment with Hubble will accelerate our progress.”

Hubble, which markets its own brand of contact lenses via its subscription service, announced in the summer of 2017 a $US10 million financing round.

The news of a potential partnership between Hubble and Colgate-Palmolive was reported the prior week by The Wall Street Journal, which said Colgate would take a minority ownership position in the contact-lens startup and that the companies would explore the possibility of developing subscription services to sell certain Colgate items, such as teeth-whitening products.

A Hubble spokeswoman declined to comment on the newspaper’s report.

Hubble launched in November 2016 and has grown at a rapid rate. It also has raised more than $30 million in venture capital.

The subscription service offers consumers their first box of Hubble contact lenses for free, according to the company’s website.

By | July 19th, 2018|Business|

SILMO Sydney opens today

The SILMO Sydney trade fair opens today at the Exhibition Centre at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

The fair is open from 10am 20, 21 and 22 July and will close at 6pm on the first two days and 5 pm on the third.

It is being partnered between Optometry NSW/ACT and organizer Expertise Events, and supported by the Australasian College of Optical Dispensers, the Macular Disease Foundation, the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Optometry Giving Sight.

Meanwhile, the first SILMO Bangkok in Thailand was held on 20-22 June, with organisers saying it “reflected success as the new gateway to ASEAN’s optical industry” with 3,750 national and international trade visitors from 42 countries attending.

Loy Joon How, general manager of Impact Exhibition Management Co, said: “The theme ‘Business Meets Fashion’ was reflected through the showcases of the latest trends and eyewear collections from over 250 brands, and aimed to bridge the gap between suppliers and manufacturers of eyewear, lenses, instruments, equipment, machinery and business services by facilitating and providing learning opportunities.

The Thailand International Optometry Conference, organised by the Association of Thai Optometrists, attracted 550 optometrists and opticians to its two-day program.

The second SILMO Bangkok will be held on 19-21 June 2019 at Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre.

By | July 19th, 2018|Trade Fairs|

Pluvius comments …


Out of control?

President of the United States, Donald Trump, erratic performer extraordinaire, while he was in Britain managed to breach every known custom of diplomacy (and basic manners) by criticising British Prime Minister, Theresa May, over her post-Brexit negotiations.

So is he as clever at negotiating as he would have us all believe? Take his ability when it comes to health-care legislation in the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’; to be kind, it is downright pathetic.

Having made a great noise during the 2016 presidential election campaign about ‘fixing Obamacare’, he and his Republican lieutenants in Congress haven’t been able to come up with anything that worked for health care, with all their bills ending up amounting to just about nothing and failing to be passed into law.

As matters stand, Donald Trump has come over as an ignoramus, seemingly determined to insult and humiliate his host; appearing to be as crazy as they come.

As for his behavior in Helsinki, it was so outrageous as to not warrant comment.


Carrying on

Former Test-cricket great, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, has been in the news as his nation is about to go to the polls in an election that could see him become prime minister.

It brought to mind a report in Britain’s Private Eye

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By | July 19th, 2018|Comment|

Specsavers matches Federal Govt’s $1m funding for diabetes screening program

Specsavers is matching the Federal Government’s $1 million funding for the first year of a new national-diabetes-screening program, announced on 13 July.

Both the Federal Government and Specsavers have committed $1 million each for every year of five years – a total of $10 million over the first five years.

Major diabetes and eye-health groups have applauded the program to reduce vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes.

Combatimg diabetes-related blindness

The first such program is a major step in combating diabetes-related blindness and will assist early detection and treatment to protect the sight of over 1.2 million Australians living with diabetes.

Federal health minister, Mr Greg Hunt, on 13 July announced his department’s $1 million in funding for the first of five years, to commence development of the program outlined in a proposal put forward by the diabetes and eye-health groups.

Diabetes Australia will partner with Vision 2020 Australia, Oculo and Specsavers and engage all leading organisations in the eye-health and diabetes sectors across Australia to support the initiative.

Diabetes Australia’s chief executive officer, Professor Greg Johnson, said too many people with diabetes were missing out on eye checks that could prevent them from losing their sight.

Leading cause of blindness

“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Australians. We are pleased the Australian Government

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By | July 14th, 2018|Health|

RANZCO elects first female president

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists has elected Dr Heather Mack as its first female president.

Dr Mack, will serves as president-elect until the RANZCO 50th Annual Scientific Congress in Adelaide in November, when she will become president, and her predecessor, Associate Professor Mark Daniell, stands down.

A senior consultant with a focus on visual electrophysiology and medical retinal disorders, she is also a senior associate at Eye Surgery Associates in Melbourne

Continuing education

Dr Mack has a particular interest in continuing professional development and headed RANZCO’s CPD committee from 2004 to 2011. As well as being the first woman elected as RANZCO president, Dr Mack was the college’s first female treasurer, serving in the role up until her election as president, and the first female head of the CPD committee.

In addition to her clinical roles and her roles with RANZCO, Dr Mack is a member of Medical Panels for the Victorian government and a clinical researcher, holding the positions of honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery (Ophthalmology), honorary research associate at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and honorary clinical associate at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research at the University of Melbourne.

Fusrther developing leadearship role in region

During her two years as president,

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By | July 14th, 2018|People|

Medicos with burnout twice as likely to make mistakes: US study

Medical practitioners (or physicians as they prefer to be called in the United States) with burnout reported medical errors at double the rate of other practitioners after adjusting for specialty, work hours, fatigue and work unit safety rating, according to findings recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 

“A nuanced understanding of the potentially bidirectional connection between physician well-being and patient safety remains in its infancy,” Dr Daniel Tawfik, MD, of the department at paediatrics at Stanford University and colleagues wrote.

6,695 medical practitioners reviewed

Researchers reviewed survey responses from 6,695 actively practising medical practitioners, of whom 55% reported burnout symptoms, 33% reported excessive fatigue and 6.5% recently thought about suicide.

Eleven per cent of all physicians reported a “major medical error” and another 3.9% had a poor or failing patient safety grade in their primary work area during the previous three months.

In addition, multi-variable modelling showed perceived errors were independently more likely to be reported by physicians with burnout (OR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.8-2.8), fatigue (OR = 1.4; 95% CI 1.1-1.6), and in those who physicians who received ‘F’ grades for safety (OR = 4.4; 95 CI, 2.06-9.28). The most common errors were mistakes in judgment (39%), wrong diagnosis (20%), or technical mistake (13%). Fifty-five per cent of the errors did not affect patient outcome, but 5.3% led

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By | July 14th, 2018|Misadventure|