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Longtime AOA Leader and Volunteer Dies at Age 62

She was a ‘dedicated, driven leader for the profession of optometry.’

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Beth Kneib, an optometrist who spent years as a leader and volunteer with the American Optometric Association, has died.

She was 62, AOA reports.

“Beth was a dedicated, driven leader for the profession of optometry. Beth was a passionate advocate for patients and for quality improvement in the field of optometry,” said AOA President Samuel D. Pierce, OD. “She will truly be missed by all her colleagues here at the AOA. Our heart goes out to her family.”

Beginning in 2011, Kneib held leadership roles in the following AOA initiatives and committees: Optometric Registry; Ophthalmic Standards; Ethics and Values; New Technology; Community Health Programs, including InfantSEE, Healthy Eyes Healthy People and VISION USA. Most recently, she served as director of the AOA Clinical Resources Group, including the AOA Council on Research, Health Promotions Committee, and development, management and production of the AOA’s monumental, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.

“The guidelines were her passion and a core element of her professional work,” Andrew Morgenstern, OD, AOA consultant. “The clinical guidelines are not only a great legacy that Beth will live on by and leave behind, but also one of the greatest tools that doctors of optometry have to drive evidence-based clinical practice for the benefit of our patients for many years to come.”

Prior to her work with the AOA, Kneib served for more than 20 years on numerous committees for professional organizations and continued to promote educational initiatives for continuous quality improvement. She was a member of the Agency for Quality Alliance Steering Group, overseeing AQA activities, strategic planning and governance structure.

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Kneib graduated from the Southern California College of Optometry and completed her residency in hospital-based ocular disease at the American Lake Veterans Administration Medical Center. She worked in hospital-based services, surgical co-management centers, surgical quality assurance, and directed professional relations programs for both privately and publicly owned companies. She developed and delivered training materials and programs for optometrists throughout the country and served as an adjunct faculty member to three optometric colleges and universities.

Kneib was a true trailblazer in the profession. In 1985, she was the first American Optometric Student Association female president leading the first AOSA all-women executive council.

“As a person so proud of and focused on her family, a skilled and accomplished doctor, a highly respected health industry executive, a longtime AOA volunteer and, of course, cherished staff leader, and an extraordinarily caring person, Beth touched, aided, healed and improved many, many lives,” said AOA Executive Director Jon Hymes. “Her resilience, great courage and undiminished sense of humor throughout the time of her illness will remain a testament to her admirable strength and powerful spirit.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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$28M Financing Round Will Support Corneal Disease Research

The company’s drug candidate could ‘eliminate the need for surgical intervention.’

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SAN DIEGO — Trefoil Therapeutics announced that it raised $28 million in financing as it develops a treatment for corneal diseases.

The oversubscribed Series A round included new investors Bios Partners, which led the round, and Access Biotechnology. All existing investors, including Hatteras Venture Partners, Aju IB Investment, Correlation Ventures, ExSight Ventures and InFocus Capital Partners, participated in this financing.

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Stella M. Robertson, PhD, co-founder of Bios Partners, and a former vice president in research and development at Alcon Laboratories, will join Trefoil’s Board of Directors.

“Therapeutic options for endothelial corneal diseases are limited aside from cornea transplant surgery, which is invasive, expensive and may require life-long steroid use for immunosuppression,” said Richard L. Abbott, MD, professor emeritus, cornea and external diseases, UCSF Department of Ophthalmology.

“Fuchs dystrophy and other corneal endothelial diseases are among the leading causes of corneal transplantation. There is a high unmet need for a pharmacologic option that would allow treatment of these diseases earlier and potentially reduce or eliminate the need for surgical intervention.”

The company is developing novel engineered fibroblast growth factor-1 proteins (eFGF-1) as a regenerative pharmacologic therapy to treat serious corneal endothelial diseases and epithelial disorders.

Trefoil’s lead candidate, TTHX1114 ,is an engineered form of the FGF-1 protein designed to reverse vision loss by stimulating endothelial cell proliferation and migration.

Preclinical data has demonstrated TTHX1114’s ability to accelerate corneal clearing in animal models of corneal endothelial dystrophy and enhance healing in corneal chemical injury and herpetic keratopathy.

In human cornea organ culture models, TTHX1114 stimulates the proliferation and migration of endothelial tissue in both normal and diseased corneas, addressing the key defect in corneal endothelial dystrophies.

“Trefoil is developing TTHX1114 with the goal of providing the first regenerative therapeutic agent for the treatment of corneal dystrophy to reverse the vision loss associated with these conditions without the need for surgery for many patients,” said David Eveleth, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Trefoil. “We are grateful to our new and existing investors, who recognize the opportunity we have to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people with sight-destroying corneal diseases and conditions. We look forward to initiating our first clinical study early next year.”

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Ransomware Attack Puts 106K Eyecare Patient Records at Risk

The files were ‘rendered inaccessible.’

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Talley Medical Surgical Eyecare Associates in Evansville, IN, was hit by a ransomware attack that may have involved 106,000 patient records, Health IT Security reports.

Talley informed the Department of Health and Human Services of the breach on May 24.

The attack affected the practice’s electronic medical records, email, laptop computer, desktop and networ server, according to Health IT Security.

Files on the devices “were rendered inaccessible,” according to the publication.

The practice has not stated whether it paid to unlock the files.

Data subject to the potential breach included medical information and Social Security numbers.

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The attack began in April.

Spam Fighter quoted Talley’s practice manager saying, “We were able to get our data back, but our practice does not wish to divulge any additional details.”

Read more at Health IT Security

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Contact Lens Maker Acquired

The company sells the Extreme H2O product line.

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ROCHESTER, NY — Clerio Vision Inc., a developer of laser-based vision correction solutions, announced that it has acquired Hydrogel Vision Corp. (HVC).

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

HVC, founded in 2002, is best known for its Extreme H2O product line and its “multiple differentiated offerings that personalize the contact lens wearing experience,” according to a press release. For example, HVC offers lenses in multiple diameters, with smaller lenses to more comfortably fit those with smaller corneas or narrower eyelids, and larger lenses for those with larger corneas or for improved sports performance.

“As Clerio began preparations for its first contact lens offering, we quickly identified HVC as a best-in-class manufacturing partner,” said Alex Zapesochny, co-CEO of Clerio Vision. “We are thrilled to have now fully joined forces with HVC and to further build on its history of offering innovative products of the highest quality.”

HVC contacts are also made from a proprietary ultra-hydrating material that retains up to 99% of its moisture, “which can help to minimize the dryness and itchiness that is often experienced by contact lens wearers late in the day, and may be especially helpful to those who work a lot with screens or live in dryer climates,” according to the release. HVC also distributes the only disposable opaque color contacts for those with astigmatism.

Clerio was founded in 2014 to commercialize breakthrough femtosecond laser research at the University of Rochester. The company’s technology enables the laser writing of unique patterns into contact lenses that optimize visual acuity, including superior correction at both far and near distances for those with presbyopia. Clerio’s multifocal contact lens product is currently in clinical development and is expected to be on the market in the next 18 months.

HVC products are sold in 25 countries, either under the Extreme H2O brand or under one of several private label arrangements. All HVC employees will be retained and its manufacturing and fulfillment activities will continue to be carried out in its locations in Sarasota, FL.

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