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Eyecare Equipment Firm Acquired

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It focuses on pre-owned items.

STAMFORD, CT — Lombart Instrument has acquired Enhanced Medical Services, a distributor of pre-owned ophthalmic instruments in the U.S.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lombart, distributor of ophthalmic instruments to ophthalmologists and optometrists, is a portfolio company of private equity firm Atlantic Street Capital.

Founded in 2007 by CEO Tony Genovese, St. Louis-based EMS offers diagnostic, laser and classical solutions to the eyecare industry. In addition to pre-owned equipment, it also carries new products.

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Scott Lombart, chief commercial officer of Lombart, said, “The addition of EMS increases our product offering and our customer base but, most valuably, it gives our organization the opportunity to work more aggressively within a doctor’s budget. EMS’s relationships, expertise, and inventory provide us additional solutions for practices with different instrumentation needs.”

Genovese joins Lombart in a dual role as executive vice president EVP of Lombart’s national accounts and as the executive vice president of the pre-owned business. His team of professionals will supplement Lombart’s existing team.

Genovese said, “As founder of the company, I was determined to find a partner that would strengthen our operations and have an immediate impact on our ability to better service clients and patients. Lombart is an exclusive eye care instrument provider and is that ideal fit for us as we look to deliver even better service to our customers. I look forward to working with this premier organization to deliver quality and affordable eyecare products.”

Andy Wilkins, managing partner of Atlantic Street Capital, said, “Since our acquisition of Lombart in 2016 we have steadily built the business through organic growth, as well as expanded into Canada with the earlier acquisition of INNOVA. The addition of EMS is another significant investment to strengthen Lombart’s position as a key partner for its customers, further extending our ability to deliver a breadth of clinical solutions.”

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FDA Recalls Online Vision Test

The company was formerly known as Opternative.

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The Visibly Online Refractive Vision Test has been recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The test by Visibly, formerly known as Opternative, “is being recalled since the firm has not received authorization from FDA to market the product,” according to a notice from the FDA.

The FDA states that the test has had worldwide distribution, including including Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Utah.

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Healio.com notes that the FDA sent a warning letter to Opternative in 2017. The news site reports that the company did not respond to a request for comment on the recall.

The American Optometric Association states that in April 2016, it “issued a formal complaint to the FDA that emphasized Opternative’s lack of premarket approval (PMA) prior to marketing. The organization says it “indicated that the test should be removed from the market altogether.”

AOA states that it had concerns about “the potential for inaccurate prescriptions, missed diagnoses of serious and general health conditions, and the creation of a prescription with little input from an eye doctor.”

“Optometrists and other physicians know that eye exams are essential care and that new health technologies must always enhance the doctor-patient relationship and help deliver improved outcomes,” said AOA President Barbara L. Horn, OD. “They must also comply with the law — that’s exactly what the AOA and our state associations have insisted on through the information we provided to the FDA and other agencies in this matter, and we’re proud that it appears to have made a difference.”

The action is a Class 2 recall, meaning the FDA considers it “a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.”

The FDA explains that recall is “a voluntary action that takes place because manufacturers and distributors carry out their responsibility to protect the public health and well-being from products that present a risk of injury or gross deception or are otherwise defective.”

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6-Location Optometry Practice Acquired by VSP Ventures

All locations will continue to operate under the EyeZone brand.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Ventures announced the acquisition of EyeZone, a six-location optometry practice in Nevada.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2004 by Daniel Rowan, OD, EyeZone serves Northern Nevada, with locations in West Reno, Midtown, South Reno, Carson City, Fallon and Lake Tahoe. All locations will continue to operate under the EyeZone brand.

“With an unwavering focus on patient care and commitment to their community, the EyeZone team is a shining example of what a top-notch eye care and eyewear experience looks like,” said Steve Baker, president of VSP Ventures. “We’re thrilled to welcome them to the VSP Ventures family.”

“As we explored options to transition ownership, it was critical that it be with partners that shared our care-focused philosophy and would allow us to continue delivering that care while freeing us from the day-to-day management of the business,” said Rowan. “Partnering with VSP Ventures has afforded us that opportunity.”

In 2014, Rowan merged locations with a practice owned by Mark Michitsch, OD, who became a partner in EyeZone. In 2018, Amber Belaustegui, OD, also became a partner following EyeZone’s acquisition of her practice. Today, there are seven optometrists across EyeZone’s six locations. All doctors and practice staff will remain in their roles.

“Looking towards the next phase in our careers, we wanted to find partners who shared our values,” said Michitsch. “Our reputation and legacy of comprehensive patient care will continue on, and we’re set up for even more success as we look to the future in partnership with VSP Ventures.”

“Transitioning away from the administrative aspects of running a practice allows us to focus on what we love most – seeing patients and providing a differentiated and personal eye care experience to the community,” said Belaustegui.

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‘Eyeglass Store Pioneer’ Dies at 84

He founded Eyear 1 Hour Optical Inc. in Tennessee.

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Jim Crittenden, founder of Eyear 1 Hour Optical Inc. in Tennessee, has died, Chattanoogan.com reports.

He was 84.

The website described Crittenden as an “eyeglass store pioneer” for starting the state’s first one-hour eyewear superstore more than six decades ago.

He was well-known for his marketing antics, such as dying his beard purple for a TV commercial.

According to Chattanoogan.com, Crittenden’s business was the first of its kind to advertise in the state, following a legal victory in the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Crittenden was also an owner of the Lookouts minor league baseball team for several years, and helped bring the team back to Chattanooga in the 1970s.

Read more at Chattanoogan.com

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