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Safilo Announces Deal to Sell US Retail Business

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

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PADUA, ITALY – Safilo Group announced that it has reached an agreement to sell the U.S. retail chain Solstice to Fairway LLC, formed by a group of investors active in the U.S. and in the European eyewear retail business.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019.

The sale of Solstice “confirms the group’s efforts to focus on its core wholesale business, and thereby marks a further key step in Safilo’s strategy of recovering a sustainable economic profile,” according to a press release.

Safilo announced in April that it received expressions of interest to purchase its Solstice and planned to proceed with a sale.

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Solstice was acquired by Safilo in 2002, when the retailer had six stores. Today it has 73 stores, of which 28 are outlets.

Safilo makes sunglasses, optical frames, sports eyewear and other products. It has subsidiaries in 40 countries, along with more than 50 distribution partners in key markets.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Ransomware Attack Locks Eyecare Practice’s Computer Systems for Over 2 Weeks

The practice chose not to deal with the hackers.

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BEAVER TOWNSHIP, OH — A ransomware attack left Eye Care Associates Inc. without the use of its computer systems for more than two weeks.

Hackers hit the systems on July 28, The Business Journal of Youngstown, OH, reports. The publication reported on Aug. 14 that, according to Mary Jo Sierra, director of operations for the practice, the systems were expected to be restored “in the next day or two.”

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Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries

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Podcast: More Ways to Motivate Your Own Eyecare Business Team

A report filed with the Beaver Township Police Department stated that “unknown computer hacking software had taken control of the entire Eye Care Associates computer system and locked them out until unknown ransom was paid.”

The police report said the system was infected with a virus that appeared to have originated in North Korea.

The practice chose not to reply that would tell them how much they must pay to regain access to the computer system, the Business Journal reports.

“Once the directors of Eye Care Associates were told that there were valid backup copies [of the data], they decided to restore the system on a brand-new environment,” Ronald Lipinski of Global Business Solutions Corp., which handles data storage and backups for the practice, was quoted saying.

The attack was disruptive for the ophthalmology and optometry practice. One patient told the Business Journal that he called for an appointment and was told that it could not be set because the computer system was down.

Read more at The Business Journal

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Patients Often Forget Contact Lens Safety Tips As Soon As They Hear Them, Study Suggests

The CDC reported on new findings.

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A third of contact lens wearers don’t recall ever hearing any lens care recommendations from their eyecare providers, according to a survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s despite the fact that most eyecare providers reported sharing recommendations always or most of the time.

The CDC’s online public health survey of 4,088 participants focused on nine contact lens recommendations.

As the American Optometric Association notes in a blog post about the findings, patients recalled hearing about some recommendations more often than others. On their last visit:

  • 47.9 percent recalled their provider advising against sleeping in lenses
  • 46.9 percent recalled their provider advising hand hygiene when handling lenses
  • 41.6 percent recalled their provider advising replacing lenses as recommended
  • 23.8 percent recalled their provider advising a case replacement schedule
  • 21 percent recalled their provider advising against storing lenses in water
  • 19.8 percent recalled their provider advising against “topping off” solution or rinsing lenses in tap water
  • 12.4 percent recalled their provider advising against swimming in lenses
  • 8.3 percent recalled their provider advising against swimming in lenses

Patients overwhelmingly reported hearing all nine recommendations with an initial contact lens fitting, AOA reports.

To describe provider health communication practices, 1,100 randomly selected licensed, practicing eyecare providers were surveyed. The survey was piloted by members of the American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens and Corneal section.

ECPs reported sharing all nine recommendations regularly, but most frequently when patients present with a contact lens-related complication. Providers shared some recommendations more frequently than others during routine “check-ups,” including:

  • 85.1 percent advise replacing lenses as often as recommended
  • 79 percent advise replace lenses as recommended, and against sleeping in lenses
  • 70 percent advise against storing or rinsing lenses in water

“Previous studies have identified health behaviors that can reduce the risk for contact lens-associated eye infections,” according to the CDC. “Although eye care providers report mentioning these behaviors to their patients frequently, patients report hearing the messages less frequently, suggesting that new communication strategies might be needed.”

The results were published Aug. 15 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC estimates 99 percent of contact lens wearers report at least one behavior that increases their risk for a contact lens-related eye infection.

The AOA notes that the observed deficit in provider-patient communication isn’t an anomaly unique to eyecare. As much as 80 percent of the medical information patients are told during office visits is forgotten immediately, while nearly half of the information they do retain is altogether incorrect, studies show.

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New Technology Could Help the Legally Blind to See

The glasses work by capturing images with a small camera, enhancing them, and then projecting them onto screens in front of each eye in real-time.

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TUCSON, AZ – Technology being developed at the University of Arizona could help those who are legally blind or who have impaired eyesight to see.

Hong Hua, professor of optical sciences at the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, has become highly recognized for her research in innovative 3D display technologies, complex visualization systems and novel image acquisition systems. Working with graduate student Jason Kuhn, the team developed technology that has enabled the creation of the latest generation of near-eye optics, according to a press release from the university.

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Specifically, Hua and Kuhn developed a wedge-shaped prism eyepiece design with free-form surfaces that provide both high resolution and a large exit pupil – a combination and level of image quality that has not been previously achieved.

In optics, the exit pupil of an eyepiece is a virtual aperture through which light exits a system and projects into a viewer’s eye. Imagine holding a pair of binoculars about ten inches in front of your eyes; the small circle of light you see in each lens is the exit pupil.

In developing a way to deliver a larger exit pupil and wider field of view in a near-eye system, the UA invention provides a larger image and thus more visual data to the brain.

“This is where we see the real-world impact of the leading research being done at the UA,” said TLA Director of Licensing Rakhi Gibbons. “We’re so proud of Dr. Hua and her work, and of the UA’s commitment to contributing to improving lives.”

Working with Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the UA that commercializes inventions stemming from research, the university patented the technologies and licensed them to eSight Corp., a company that has integrated the inventions into new electronic glasses that deliver the ultimate combination of image quality, field of view, size, weight and cost.

“When I originally met with the eSight team, I was intrigued by the broad social impact of the project,” Hua said. “They said they were developing a system to help low vision people, and the more I listened to them, the more I thought they were doing something really useful and helpful, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

The end product – eSight 3 – allows individuals with low vision to see, permitting the legally blind to be mobile, thrive at work, study independently and engage in virtually all activities of daily life. The glasses work by capturing images with a small camera, enhancing them, and then projecting them onto screens in front of each eye in real-time, providing more visual data to the brain and triggering an increased reaction from the eye. The glasses also allow users to adjust zoom, focus, contrast and color.

According to eSight Chief Technology Officer Charles Lim, the partnership with Hua and the UA has helped the company be an innovative leader.

He said, “The IP we worked on with the University of Arizona has been critical in allowing us to develop our proprietary best in class near-eye optics that have allowed eSight to deliver the best combination of image quality, field of view, size, weight and cost to help position us as leaders in this space.”

According to the company’s website, the glasses restore sight for a majority of individuals with low vision, helping people with macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, retinopathy and other conditions.

Watch a video about the technology:

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