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$14B Needed to Eliminate Uncorrected Poor Vision Worldwide, Essilor Finds

It’s ‘the world’s most widespread disability.’

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Essilor International, subsidiary of EssilorLuxottica, has published a report defining the global scale of uncorrected poor vision and outlining solutions to eliminate it within a generation.

According to the report, a total investment of $14 billion over the next 30 years is required to eliminate uncorrected poor vision by 2050.

Uncorrected poor vision is the world’s most widespread disability, affecting 2.7 billion people, 90 percent of whom “live at the economic base of the pyramid,” Essilor stated in a press release. It costs the global economy $272 billion in lost productivity each year.

By 2050, uncorrected poor vision is predicted to reach epidemic proportions, with over 50 percent of the world’s population expected to suffer from myopia, many with serious vision-threatening side effects and drastic long-term implications, according to Essilor.

Essilor report is called “Eliminating poor vision in a Generation: What will it take to eliminate uncorrected refractive errors by 2050?” and uses analytical support provided by McKinsey. Its findings suggest that uncorrected poor vision can be eliminated by 2050 through an investment of $14 billion over the next 30 years, dedicated to creating sustainable access points to eyecare, innovating for affordable solutions, funding subsidized and free services and raising awareness.

Hubert Sagnières, executive vice chairman of EssilorLuxottica and chairman of Essilor International, said:

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“As the world leader in ophthalmic optics, and a firm believer in business as a force for good, our ambition is to eliminate poor vision within one generation. While there have been many successful initiatives by both public and private actors in recent years, there is clearly a need to do more to bring good vision to everyone. At the same time, there is simply no blueprint to achieve our ambition. This report will provide the necessary guidance while engaging the different stakeholders towards one goal. It illustrates our endeavor to take our efforts further by investigating this vision crisis and uncovering how to solve it. Governments, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral organizations, donors, eye care professionals and the private sector all have a role to play as we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to end a public health crisis.”

Using the key findings of the report as a starting point, Essilor hosted a panel discussion, in partnership with the social enterprise and media platform Devex, on the sidelines of 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The discussions examined how public and private stakeholders can jointly overcome the obstacles to meeting the 2050 target of universal vision.

The event, held on Sept. 24, brought together representatives from non-governmental organizations, health communities, multilateral agencies and international bodies.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Smart Glasses ‘Breakthrough’ Likely Not Far Off, Zuckerberg Says

New products ‘will redefine our relationship with technology.’

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says major developments in augmented reality are probable in the coming decade, CNBC reports.

He offered his thoughts in a Facebook post last week, writing, “The technology platform of the 2010s was the mobile phone. While I expect phones to still be our primary devices through most of this decade, at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.”

CNBC decribes augmented reality as “technology that lets users place digital objects on top of the real world.”

Zuckerberg acknowledged that some augmented-reality products to this point have felt “clunky.” But he said new products “will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet.”

He said augmented reality could improve many areas of life, including careers: “Imagine if you could live anywhere you chose and access any job anywhere else. If we deliver on what we’re building, this should be much closer to reality by 2030.”

In September, Facebook was reported to be working with Luxottica to develop a pair of smart glasses. The project was reportedly code-named Orion.

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The glasses would be intended to disrupt the smartphone market. Zacks reported at the time that the idea was to “allow users of the smart glasses to take calls, livestream on social media and many other such features that are intended to replace smartphones.”

With the smart glasses project, Facebook was apparently “raising its efforts to withstand the intense competition in the next-generation glasses space from Snap, Google, Microsoft and Apple,” Zacks said at the time.

Read more at the CNBC

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$60M to Support Potential Treatment for Eyelash Mite Outbreaks

It could be the ‘first-ever drug treatment for this condition.’

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IRVINE, CA — Tarsus Pharmaceuticals has announced the completion of $60 million in Series B financing.

The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company will use the funds to start a Phase 2b/3 trial in the U.S. of its lead product, a drug candidate for treatment of Demodex blepharitis.

An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from blepharitis, and approximately 45 percent of them have clinical signs of Demodex mites, the company explains in a press release. Tarsus is developing a topical ophthalmic that “targets an underlying cause of blepharitis and has the potential to be the first-ever drug treatment for this condition,” according to the release.

The funding will also fuel Phase 1 and 2 development of other clinical programs. The company’s product pipeline includes additional indications in eyecare and other areas of high unmet clinical need, according to the release.

“We’re excited to support this innovative company that is developing the first drug for Demodex blepharitis and building a pipeline of products to address other large market opportunities,” said Dr. Chen Yu, managing partner at Vivo Capital.

Michael Ackermann, Tarsus chairman, said, “We founded Tarsus with the mission of bringing to market the first drug for Demodex blepharitis, an important unmet need and one of the largest diseases in anterior segment medicine.”

Dr. Bobby Azamian, Tarsus CEO, added, “We are grateful for support from a leading syndicate of healthcare investors. This financing will allow Tarsus to grow, conduct a first registration study in Demodex blepharitis, and broaden our mission to deliver innovative therapies in eye care and beyond by advancing our clinical pipeline in 2020.”

The financing was led by Vivo Capital and included Frazier Healthcare Partners, Flying L Partners, Visionary Ventures, Aperture Venture Partners and Horowitz Group.

 

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California’s Medi-Cal Puts Eyeglasses Back on List of Covered Services

They were cut several years ago.

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California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, has restored eyeglasses to its list of covered services.

Eyeglasses were cut several years ago as California adjusted to the recession, leaving adults on the program to pay for them out of pocket, Central Coast Public Radio reports.

Capital Public Radio notes that vision exams and other eye health services have continued to be covered.

“We want everyone to see, and we think everyone deserves to see,” Dr. David Ardaya of the California Optometric Association said, acccording to Central Coast Public Radio.

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Contact lenses still will not be covered.

Medi-Cal is also restoring coverage for certain other services, such as podiatry and speech therapy.

Read more at the Central Coast Public Radio

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