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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.”

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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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Coburn Technologies Introduces TruBlu Edging Pads

It’s a general-purpose blocking pad.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SOUTH WINDSOR, CT – Coburn Technologies, Inc. introduces TruBlu edging pads. Compatible with all types of lens materials, styles and base curves, TruBlu is a general-purpose blocking pad, which also provides a secure bond on most AR coatings. TruBlu edging pads are manufactured at the Coburn manufacturing facility in South Windsor, Connecticut.

“With proven performance at various testing facilities worldwide, TruBlu Edging pads are engineered for excellent adhesion,” states Khristina Selley, consumables sales manager at Coburn Technologies.

“TruBlu also provides excellent torque resistance with clean removability from the lens and block,” states Selley. She added, “TruBlu edging pads are available in most common shapes and configurations with a precision die cut.”

TruBlu edging pads will be showcased at this year’s Vision Expo West in Las Vegas at booth LP6075 and are also available through Coburn’s brand new e-commerce site, www.shopcoburn.com, where eye care professionals can conveniently order consumables and spare parts. For more information, visit the site or directly contact a representative at 1-800-COBURN1.

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Innovega Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign with Crowdfunder

Funds will be earmarked to move Innovega’s eMacula toward commercial launch.

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(PRESS RELEASE) BELLEVUE, WA — Innovega Inc., a company engaged in developing stylish, lightweight, wearable display technology with a panoramic field of view for virtual and augmented reality, launched an equity crowdfunding round with Crowdfunder, a leader in funding high-growth ventures. Funds will be earmarked to move Innovega’s eMacula toward commercial launch.

Innovega’s eMacula is a wearable display system that includes patented disposable soft contact lenses (“smart lenses”) and a range of display eyewear (“smart glasses”). This combination system meets wearers’ parallel demands for lightweight, stylish eyewear and access to high-quality media with a high-resolution, panoramic field of view. eMacula provides a synthesis of features that is unavailable in other AR/VR products — which are typically encumbered by heavy, obtrusive headsets or eyewear with a narrow display field.

With a network of more than 130,000 entrepreneurs and investors, Crowdfunder is an equity crowdfunding leader for sourcing and funding high-growth ventures. Crowdfunder provides access to a global network of accredited investors who participate in funding startups.

Innovega’s business model allows established contact lens manufacturers to bring the eMacula system’s smart lenses to market, and allows multiple manufacturing and distribution partners to commercialize its display eyewear, configured for many applications or use cases. Its patented portfolio of Enhanced Retina Technologies covers the system of contact lenses and smart glasses, including key sub-systems such as eye tracking, and is protected by twenty-six filed patent applications and thirteen granted U.S. patents.

To learn more about Innovega and the eMacula system, and the opportunity for equity investment during the current limited-time funding round, please visit https://www.crowdfunder.com/innovega.

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Press Releases

VSP Global Premier Program to Launch National Consumer Advertising Campaign and Program Enhancements

This is in support of private practice.

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(PRESS RELEASE) RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – As part of its commitment to support private practice Doctors of Optometry, theVSP Global Premier Program announced it will launch a national consumer advertising campaign, designed to drive patients to Premier Program practices. Debuting later this month, a mix of television, radio, outdoor, and digital advertising will motivate patients to schedule an appointment at a local Premier Program private practice, where they can maximize their benefits and receive a personalized eye care experience.

Enhancements to the Premier Program were also announced to provide doctors more of what they are asking for: improved revenue opportunities, more patients, marketing and exclusive offers, as well as access to the best brands and robust staff training and education.

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Through a new tiered loyalty framework, the Premier Program offers a competitive advantage to private practice through business-building benefits, increased patient traffic, and greater profitability.

“Doctors have asked for greater choice and flexibility, and we’re excited to expand the Premier Program in response to that feedback and support private practice’s ability to differentiate and compete,” said Michelle Skinner, VSP Global’s chief provider relations officer.

Practices can choose their level of participation from three new distinct tiers. To unlock the benefits, practices must meet tier criteria, including flexible combined purchases within the last 12 months from Marchon Eyewear, Altair Eyewear, and VSP Optics. Qualifying practices must also offer consumer conveniences like retinal imaging, exclusive VSP ‘Member Extra’ offers, and free fittings and adjustments. Tiers and key benefits include:

  • Silver: Practices can leverage My Marketing Team to increase patient engagement and will have full access toPremier Academy360.
  • Gold: In addition to enjoying all Silver benefits, practices will receive thePremier Program banner, enhancing their listing on vsp.com to increase patient traffic, complete with online appointment scheduling and more. They will also enjoy special offers and discounts withPremier Program Partners.
  • Platinum: In addition to all Silver and Gold benefits, practices will unlockadditional payments and rewards. They will also have access to job posting andrecruitment services, as well as enhanced marketing services, including complimentary social media management and much more.

Practices can learn more at: EnhancedPremier.com

Additionally, in response to feedback from doctors, Premier Academy360 is a new educational platform which will soon be made available to practices participating in the Premier Program. Premier Academy360 will offer comprehensive training and education programs tailored to VSP network doctors and staff. Designed to expand potential practice services, enhance the patient experience, and save doctors time and money on staff development, it will include 24/7 online education, webinars, and in-person workshops.

Since the Premier Program’s inception in 2013, $9.2 billion in revenue has been delivered to participating practices, with over 32 million patient visits – with nearly half of them being new patients. Data shows that practices with the Premier Program banner average 2 times more clicks on the vsp.com ‘Find A Doctor’ directory than those without. In 2018, VSP sent 1.4 million members direct marketing encouraging them to visit Premier Program locations to maximize their vision benefits and take advantage of special offers, which helped reduce out-of-network claims.

“In fulfilling our mission of helping people see, we remain committed to connecting VSP members with the core of our network – Premier Program private practices,” added Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “We’re excited by these new investments in the program because they are critical to fulfilling that commitment.”

Additional investments and business-driving initiatives will be announced through the end of 2019, with more to debut at ‘SHiFT19,’ the annual Premier Program meeting in late October.

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