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Eyecare Company Adds 3 Practices

They’re located in Georgia and Alabama.

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ST. LOUIS – EyeCare Partners LLC announced the acquisition of three optometry practices in Alabama and Georgia.

They are:

  • Potter Eye Care, the Decatur, AL, practice of Dr. Dale Potter, O.D.
  • Elan Eye, the Atlanta practice of Dr. Chad Poole, O.D.
  • Sharper Vision Eye Care, the Duluth, GA, practice of Dr. Mark Gottlieb, O.D.
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For years, Drs. Gottlieb, Poole and Potter have provided comprehensive optometric services and eyewear to patients in the Atlanta area as well as northern Alabama.

“Dr. Potter, Dr. Gottlieb and Dr. Poole are fantastic physicians who understand our mission and share the same values,” said Dr. James J. Wachter, chief professional officer of ECP. “They are a great fit with our model and we are excited to welcome them to our team.”

EyeCare Partners offers services throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and North Carolina. According to its website, the company has over 240 offices.

Potter said he had been “trying to decide on the best way to wind down my career” and hoped to focus on patient care rather than “the stresses of managing a business.”

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“I have known of EyeCare Associates in Alabama (now part of ECP) for several years,” he said. “ECP is a group of very well respected doctors, many of whom I have personally known for most of my professional career. By joining this group of fine doctors, I believe I can continue serving my patients for many more years with the same care and professional approach I have had in private practice while getting the value for my practice I thought I deserved after all these years.”

Poole said, “For some time I have wanted to spend more time on specialties such as pediatrics, emergency eye care, and specialty contact lenses. EyeCare Partners has many practice locations with extensive resources to assist me in growing these specialties. At the same time, my patients will enjoy the same private-practice feel, with the same doctor and improved organization and inventory management.”

Gottlieb, who ran his own practice for 27 years, said, “I am a medical optometrist and believe in the medical model, my research and conversations with other people in the industry confirmed my conclusion that ECP was the best partner.”

Kelly McCrann, CEO of ECP, said, “ECP is committed to expanding in our existing Atlanta and northern Alabama markets. Adding these top-notch physicians to our family is just another demonstration of that commitment. We are excited to learn best practices from our new partners and continue to expand the communities we serve.”

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Dark Chocolate May Not Help Eyesight After All, Study Finds

The new findings conflict with earlier research.

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A new study conflicts with earlier research that suggested that flavanol-rich dark chocolate helps with vision.

In the new study, German researchers selected 22 healthy participants to consume either 20 grams of dark chocolate (400 milligrams of flavanols) or 7.5 grams of milk chocolate, the American Optometric Association reports.

They evaluated the participants’ visual function and retinal perfusion two hours later.

The researchers found “no differences in the effect of dark vs. milk chocolate on subjective visual acuity or contrast sensitivity, no change in retinal vessel density and no difference in arterial pressure as measured by OCT angiography,” according to AOA.

The findings counter those of a 2018 study that showed a small improvement in visual function following consumption of 72% cacao dark chocolate. (That study did note that the effect was probably of little clinical relevance.)

The new research consisted of a small double-blind, randomized clinical crossover trial. It was published online on Sept. 26 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The researchers say additional trials with larger sample sizes may help rule out or in possible long-term benefits of dark chocolate.

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Optical Retailer to Add 25 Stores, Expand Into 4 New States

It’s entering the Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming markets.

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DALLAS –Dallas-based optical retailer Eyemart Express announced that it plans to have 25 new locations operating by the end up 2019.

The company currently owns and operates 206 stores in 38 states, according to a press release. It’s expanding into four additional states: Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

“The drive behind our aggressive growth strategy is to make prescription eyewear accessible and convenient for more communities,” said Michael Bender, Eyemart Express CEO. “Seeing clearly should not be a burden or an excessive expense for any family. We work hard to make all our locations an affordable one-stop shop for all eyewear needs.”

Eyemart Express carries more than 2,000 frames for prescription glasses and sunglasses, ranging from exclusive private label brands to well-known brands such as Converse, Longchamp, Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban and Nike. Stores also feature onsite labs so 90 percent of glasses can be ordered and received on the same day.

“Eyemart Express’ growth helps entire communities as well. Job creation is an important factor in determining new store locations — we examine where Eyemart Express can make the biggest contribution to local economies with career opportunities,” said Bender.

More than 300 jobs will be created for hourly wage earners as a result of the optical retailer’s expansion.

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Warby Parker Rolls Out 5 Extended Sizes

They range from ‘extra narrow’ to ‘extra wide.’

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Eyewear  retailer Warby Parker is launching an “extended sizes” collection to help more consumers benefit from its products.

It features “five proportional sizes, ranging from ‘extra narrow’ to ‘extra wide’ and even including low bridge options,” the Observer reports.

Twenty-seven styles are available in seven best-selling frames.

To leverage augmented reality, the company utilized Apple’s ARKit and TrueDepth camera to create software that evaluates proper fit, according to the Observer.

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Warby Parker co-founder Dave Gilboa was quoted saying, “We started getting feedback from our customers saying, ‘I love these styles, but you don’t have anything that fits me’ or ‘you only offer one frame that fits me.’”

Chain Store Age reports that Warby Parker spent two years developing the new sizes.

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