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Vision Benefits Firm Acquired

It is expanding its business in the Southeastern US.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA — VSP Vision Care has acquired Community Eye Care, a North Carolina-based vision benefits company that manages vision plans on behalf of employer groups and health insurers and has 252,000 members. Through this acquisition, VSP is expanding its business in the Southeastern U.S.

CEC “will continue to operate independently to grow its business while both sides assess future integration and expansion opportunities,” according to a press release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This acquisition is a part of our broader strategy of accelerating membership growth to help fulfill our vision of providing access to affordable, high-quality eye care and eyewear to more people,” said Kate Renwick-Espinosa, president of VSP Vision Care.

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Amy Eatmon, president of Community Eye Care, said, “We are excited to grow Community Eye Care with VSP’s support while also remaining focused on what we do best, which is offering affordable vision plans that are easy to understand, administer and use.”

CEC was founded in 1998 by Dr. Stephen Pollock, MD, and Dr. Marvin Schrum, OD. Its portfolio of clients includes hospitals, financial institutions, city and county governments, school systems, manufacturers and retailers.

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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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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