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Prevent Blindness to Hold 8th Annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit

It’s set for July 17.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CHICAGO — Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, will hold its eighth annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit on July 17, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The summit will include a variety of presentations related to this year’s theme, “A Lifetime of Vision.”

Expected attendees include patient advocates, community-based organizations, national vision and eye health organizations, government agencies and legislative staff. Those unable to attend in person will have an opportunity to watch a live video stream of event presentations as well as follow the event on Twitter at #eyesummit.

Bill Barkley, a visually impaired adventurer, advocate and author, will be the keynote speaker for the Summit. Barkley will inspire the audience by reflecting on building a life without limits and overcoming barriers as he shares tales of his accomplishments including being the first deaf-blind individual to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in 2008, leading expeditions for deaf teenagers to the Amazon jungle and the Grand Canyon, and being the first deaf-blind person to complete the Boston Marathon.

Additional presentations at the Focus on Eye Health Summit include:

  • The Scope of Vision and Eye Health – Guidance from Surveillance- David Rein, PhD, and John Whittenborn, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Emerging Sight – Vision and the Young Child- Moderated by Jean Ramsey, MD, MPH, Boston University and Sandra S. Block, OD, MEd, MPH, Illinois College of Optometry, this session will include presentations by Alejandra de Alba Campomanes, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco, Dawn DeCarlo, OD, MS, MSPH, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Edwin Marshall, OD, MS, MPH, Indiana University
  • Looking Forward – Promoting Sight in Young Adults- Kristina Beaugh, MPH, National Eye Health Education Program
  • Losing Vision and Gaining Perspective – Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University
  • Strategic Vision: Population Health and Vision in the Military- Moderated by James Jorkasky, Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, this session will include presentations by Col. Mark Reynolds, MD, MPH and David Eliason, MD, DoD/VA Vision Center of Excellence
  • Center on Vision and Population Health- Moderated by Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, Duke University, this session will include a presentation by Kira Baldonado, Prevent Blindness
  • The Keystone for Independence: Low Vision, Vision Loss, and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults- Moderated by Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, Duke University, this session will include presentations by Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University, Joshua R. Ehrlich, MD, MPH, University of Michigan, and Marcus Escobedo, MPA, The John A. Hartford Foundation

At the Summit, Prevent Blindness will formally present the 2019 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health to Cynthia Owsley, PhD, MSPH, Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology, and Director of the Clinical Research Unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. The Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health recognizes an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, national and/or international level.

Summit sponsorship opportunities are available. Current Gold sponsors are Genentech, International Retinal Research Foundation, Lighthouse Guild, National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, NORC at the University of Chicago, Shire, the Center for Vision and Population Health and The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama.

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Silver sponsors include the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, Bausch Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation, CooperVision, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Lions Clubs International, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, OneSight, Research to Prevent Blindness, Vision 2020 USA, Vision Impact Institute and VisionServe Alliance.

“Every year, the Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit brings dedicated leaders in the vision and eye health field together with those in public health and community outreach to discuss the best ways to improve vision for children, adults, and seniors,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We especially thank all of our sponsors for their instrumental role in making this important event so successful.”

Prevent Blindness will also hold its annual Eyes on Capitol Hill event, providing volunteer patient advocates with the opportunity to meet with their government representatives on Tuesday, July 16. A reception for the Congressional Vision Caucus will be held the evening of this Capitol Hill event.

To register or for more information about the 2019 Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit and sponsorship opportunities, visit https://www.preventblindness.org/eyesummit or call (800) 331-2020.

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Safilo’s “American Eyes” Video Celebrates Elasta and Emozioni starring ECPs Peter Tacia and Heidi Dancer

For the third year in a row, Safilo has looked to trusted eyecare professionals to star in its American Eyes campaign for its Elasta and Emozioni collections.Their latest testimonials are from Peter Tacia, O.D. and Heidi Dancer, optician, of Alma, MI, talking about two best-selling collections: Elasta and Emozioni.

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Press Releases

SKYGEN International Foundation Celebrates Anniversary

It has completed more than 72,000 vision tests in Tanzania.

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(PRESS RELEASE) MENOMONEE FALLS, WI – The SKYGEN International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the healthcare benefits technology and administration company SKYGEN USA, celebrates a year of achievement and growth in its effort to provide vision services throughout underserved communities in Tanzania. Since July 2018, this non-profit organization provided more than 72,000 Tanzanians with vision tests and distributed more than 19,000 pairs of free prescription glasses and will expand its reach to more regions of the East African country in the coming months.

Craig Kasten, SKYGEN USA CEO and managing partner, and Greg Borca, co-founder of SKYGEN USA, advocated for the creation of the foundation in 2017 after a trip to Tanzania by Kasten shed light on the nearly nonexistent eye care in many regions of the country. Kasten gained the first-hand experience on the negative impact the lack of care had on schools within the communities.

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“There is an average of four eye doctors for every 2 million people in Tanzania,” says Kasten. “This past year has been extremely successful. We have expanded our capabilities to provide glasses to those in need, and we continue to see more students and community members receiving eye care that was not possible a year ago.”

On July 9, 2018, a team from SKYGEN International Foundation, led by executive director Lisa Sweeney, traveled to the Meru region of Tanzania to begin the groundwork for the project — the first of its kind for the SKYGEN USA group. Since then, the foundation has provided tens of thousands of locals with vision tests and provided more than 19,000 pairs of glasses; of those tested, over 50,000 are students and 2,300 are teachers. The glasses are built to each person’s specific prescription and in most cases delivered on the day of the test. In May alone, 11,000 people received vision tests, making it the organization’s most successful month to date. For students, the work the Foundation is doing means creating more opportunities for a better life. For adults and elders, it means restoring dignity and allowing them to lead richer, more fulfilling lives.

The foundation has consistently delivered life-changing healthcare benefits to those without access and makes it a priority to utilize its Enterprise System vision platform to maintain a record of those who have utilized the now-available eye care services. Because of its efforts, SKYGEN International Foundation recently received the Platinum Seal of Transparency award from GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. The top-tier award is given to organizations with high transparency and accuracy in regard to its reported results, overview of the organization and insight on the communities it serves.

“This award is a sign that we are moving in the right direction with the transparency of our work within the philanthropic community,” states Sweeney. “After providing thousands of people with access to eye care, I am eager to see the foundation continue as it begins providing services to more regions of Tanzania and beyond.”

On top of school visits, the foundation regularly conducts vision tests at clinics where locals can receive vision tests and prescription glasses. Previously, these efforts have focused on the Meru region of Tanzania. The foundation has recently expanded into the Arusha region, an area that can substantially benefit from accessible eye care. Following the anniversary, on August 18, 2019, a team will revisit the regions to build on its efforts, work with the local Tanzanian team and secure partnerships.

To learn more about the SKYGEN International Foundation, see current results and/or donate to the foundation, visit https://skygenfoundation.org.

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Press Releases

Essilor of America Celebrates Launch of Transitions Signature Gen 8

It comes with the introduction of the ‘Essilor Next Gen’ buy one, get one offer.

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(PRESS RELEASE) DALLAS, TX – Essilor of America kicked off back-to-school season with the launch of the Essilor Next GEN Offer, a consumer promotion designed to enable eyecare professionals to recommend the new Transitions Signature GEN 8T lenses to more patients and increase overall practice revenue while providing patients with their best vision possible. From July 10 through Dec. 31, 2019, when patients purchase Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses with select Essilor lenses from participating practices, they can receive a free bonus pair of clear, qualifying lenses with frame purchase.

Engineered with proprietary technology, Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses, the best overall photochromic lenses, provide all of the benefits patients want: protection, outdoor darkness, full indoor clarity, responsiveness and long-lasting performance with improved activation and fade back speed. In fact, 9 out of 10 Transitions lens wearers are satisfied and would repurchase.

The Essilor Next GEN Offer allows patients to customize their lenses to best fit their vision needs. When they purchase Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses with any Crizal, they can choose between Varilux X Series T, Eyezen + or Essilor Single Vision lenses to qualify for a free pair of lenses with the offer2. For their free clear pair, patients can select any Crizal on any Varilux, Eyezen+ or Essilor Single Vision lenses.

“The Essilor Next GEN Offer will provide our customers a powerful incentive to increase trial of Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses with all patients. We have designed the offer so that patients can choose from any single vision lenses with Crizal and Transitions Signature GEN 8, to ensure that our customers have a compelling tool to win during the critical back-to-school season,” says Sherianne James, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Essilor of America. “We don’t want our customers to miss out on the opportunity with single vision wearers and we want them to recognize that many single vision patients desire their guidance and expertise. They trust their eyecare professionals to recommend the best lenses for them and with this offer, they can feel confident to introduce them to a superior photochromic experience and our best-in-class brands at an incredible value.”

In an effort to amplify awareness of the Essilor Next GEN Offer and generate patient traffic for its eyecare provider partners, Essilor will launch an extensive consumer advertising campaign consisting of national TV, connected TV, digital advertising including video and display ads, in-store advertising, and geo-targeted and smart search ads.

“From our advertising investment to our compelling promotion, we will bring Transitions Signature GEN 8 lenses to more consumers of all ages. We are committed to delivering exceptional support to our partners to deliver the best patient experience in the market,” James adds.

Any qualifying eyecare practice is eligible to participate in the Essilor Next GEN Offer. To participate, eyecare professionals must enroll their practice at MyEssilorLabs.com, PartnershipRewardsPortal.com, MyIDDLabs.com and/or Nassau247.com. Enrollment started June 3 and ends Dec. 30, 2019. Promotion period is July 10 (or enrollment date, whichever is later) until Dec. 31, 2019. Visit EssilorUSA.com for more details, full terms and conditions.

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Press Releases

ABB Optical Announces New Board Member

His career in the optical industry spans more than 25 years.

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John Weber

(PRESS RELEASE) CORAL SPRINGS, FL – ABB Optical Group, a national provider of optical products and business services for the eyecare industry, announced that John Weber has joined the its board of directors.

Weber’s career in the optical industry spans more than 25 years. He most recently served as chief commercial officer for Hoya Vision. Prior to that, he served as the chief executive officer of Vision-Ease Lens and previously held a number of senior leadership roles within CooperVision, Inc., culminating in his role as president.

“John has extensive experience in the eye care industry and will provide fresh insights as we continue to execute on our customer-centric strategy and vision for the future,” said ABB Optical CEO Tom Burke. “We share a strong passion for enhancing the customer experience for both eye care practitioners and patients, and I believe he will be an outstanding addition to our board.”

A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in economics, Weber also holds an MBA from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, and was a captain in the U.S. Army.

“I am excited to work alongside the leadership team to enhance ABB OPTICAL’s role in the optical marketplace,” said Weber. “I look forward to helping the company achieve its full potential as it continues to scale and grow its offerings to deliver best-in-class business solutions for eye care practitioners, thereby enabling them to provide the best care to their patients.”

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