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Optometry College Won’t Change Name After All

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A National Vision donation has been canceled.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry and National Vision Inc. have mutually agreed to end their recently announced philanthropic agreement.

On Sept. 25, NSU announced that the College of Optometry had received a “significant” philanthropic commitment from National Vision. The amount was not disclosed. 

The endowment would have provided the college with student scholarships, faculty research, and equipment for the college’s simulation lab. Also, as a result of National Vision’s support, the College of Optometry agreed to rename the NSU National Vision College of Optometry for an initial term of 10 years.

All terms under this agreement have been terminated, according to a press release.

“Although our organizations share many core values – particularly for serving our larger communities – we have come to realize that the issues associated with corporate philanthropy in the health sciences are still too nascent,” said Dr. George Hanbury, NSU’s president and CEO. “This topic deserves further thought and consideration over time from the broader academic, professional, philanthropic, and alumni communities. To that end, the CEO of National Vision and I have mutually agreed to end this philanthropic partnership. We greatly appreciate National Vision’s well-intended philanthropic gift and partnership, and look forward to continuing to explore meaningful collaborations between our two organizations in the future.”

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National Vision has been a longtime supporter of NSU and its optometry education program, including having donated a major piece of equipment – a binocular indirect ophthalmoscope simulator – to the College of Optometry’s training lab in 2015. The company has also sponsored numerous student events over the past few years.

“National Vision is and will always be an ‘optometrist-centric’ organization,” said Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision. “We will continue to assess the most productive and impactful approaches for investing in optometric education to do our part in advancing the profession of optometry.”

In a Sept. 28 letter addressed to the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, the American Optometric Association had questioned the appropriateness of the naming arrangement. National Vision’s goals “are frequently at direct odds with priorities advocated for by the profession’s representative associations, the AOA and AOA-affiliated state associations,” according to the letter.

“We recognize that corporate support of educational institutions is not new,” the letter continued. “However, we feel that naming a school after a corporation is inappropriate, and suggestive of a relationship between the donor and the program that has the potential to influence the curriculum, especially as its relates to the development of practice skills through externship programs and other means.”

Dr. Samuel Pierce, AOA president, said in a media statement: “Clearly, the students, faculty and alumni and the AOA raised the right concerns at the right time to help bring about this result. The lesson is clear: We must remain ever vigilant to protect and advance our profession.”INVISION optometry2

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Japanese Women Seek Right to Wear Eyeglasses at Work

Some companies require female workers to wear contacts instead.

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Women in Japan are calling for an end to company policies that forbid them from wearing eyeglasses, Fortune reports.

The issue appeared in the news recently, with Nippon TV reporting on companies that have such a ban in place, requiring female employees who need vision correction to wear contact lenses instead. That report sparked the hashtag “glasses ban” on Twitter.

Fortune quoted Banri Yanagi, a 40-year-old sales associate in Tokyo, saying, “The emphasis on appearance is often on young women and wanting them to look feminine.”

Yanagi added that it’s “strange” to prohibit eyeglasses for women but allow them for men.

Employees have also rallied against requirements at some companies for women to wear makeup and/or high heels.

Read more at the Fortune

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Eye Health Firm Plans Job Cuts

It will focus resources on Dextenza.

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BEDFORD, MA — Ocular Therapeutix Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for eye conditions and diseases, announced an operational restructuring plan.

The plan is expected to result in about $11 million in annualized savings through personnel reductions and $14 million in “one-time program deferrals,” according to a press release. The company did not say how many jobs would be cut.

With the restructuring, the company is looking to focus resources on Dextenza, an FDA-approved corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of ocular inflammation and pain following ophthalmic surgery.

“We have elected to restructure Ocular in order to maximize the opportunity we have with DEXTENZA and our pipeline,” said Antony Mattessich, president and CEO. “We will use a portion of the savings generated to increase the size of our commercial field force to broaden our national reach and increase DEXTENZA promotional capabilities. Additionally, the savings are anticipated to extend our cash runway through the end of 2020 and provide an improved financial position as we build the Company for the long term.”

According to the press release:

The restructuring represents a strategic realignment and commitment by the Company to allocate capital and resources to maximize the commercial opportunity of DEXTENZA® and focus resources on progressing key pipeline assets, including completion of its DEXTENZA Phase 3 trial in allergic conjunctivitis and completion of Phase 1 trials of OTX-TIC for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension and OTX-TKI for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. The Company believes the savings, combined with projected sales of DEXTENZA and cash and cash equivalents, will result in an extension of the Company’s current cash runway through the fourth quarter of 2020.

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FTC Releases Disclosures Guidance for Social Media Influencers

It explains when and how influencers must disclose sponsorships to their followers.

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Enlisting social media “influencers” has become a popular way to promote a wide range of products, including eyewear.

Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious to consumers what is and isn’t an ad. The Federal Trade Commission wants to fix that.

The FTC has released a new publication for online influencers that lays out the agency’s rules of the road for when and how influencers must disclose sponsorships to their followers.

The new guide, “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers,” provides influencers with tips from FTC staff about what triggers the need for a disclosure and offers examples of both effective and ineffective disclosures.

The guide and accompanying videos underscore that the responsibility to make disclosures about endorsements lies with the influencer. The guide outlines the various ways that an influencer’s relationship with a brand would make disclosures necessary, and it reminds influencers that they cannot assume that followers are aware of their connections to brands.

The guide includes tips for when and how influencers should tell their followers about a relationship. For example, it suggests the words influencers might use, as well as where in their social posts a disclosure should appear.

The new publication summarizes the FTC’s existing guidance in this area, including the FTC’s Endorsement Guides and a 2017 question-and-answer document produced by staff.

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