Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Famously in both the comic book and the movies, Peter Parker wears glasses, until his spider bite. Then he suddenly sees perfectly and no longer needs glasses! Impossible you say? Well I just saw it happen with my own eyes! Read further b/c it's not quite as miraculous as you think! A patient came in this morning saying that a few weeks ago he had been bitten on the left upper eyelid by a spider. The bite caused his eyelid to swell up nearly shut and be "hard", full of infected material (I promise not to get too gross here), that's called "preseptal cellulitis". He was put on antibiotics by his primary care provider. The swelling subsided as the infection was treated, and when his eye started being open enough to see again he noticed that he now sees better out of the left eye WITHOUT his glasses! He came in telling me that he thought the poison from the spider bite made that eye not need glasses anymore! And when we evaluated him...he was right! His formerly nearsighted left eye was...NO LONGER NEARSIGHTED! It was "mixed astigmatism", and his uncorrected acuity in that eye was 20/25! So here's the skinny: the swollen, hard left upper lid temporarily deformed/distorted/flattened his left cornea, temporarily eliminating his myopia (but inducing astigmatism) making his myopic glasses blurry and his uncorrected vision in that eye BETTER. The topographical map shows central and superior flattening ("ortho-k" effect) from the constant pressure of the swollen/hard/closed left eyelid. Pretty interesting! Unfortunately I had to inform him that it was not the "poison" (not directly, anyway) that caused his vision to improve, and that sadly this was a temporary effect and will wear off when his corneal distortion resolves after his eyelid swelling goes down. Ah well. It was too good to be true anyway!
Thursday, September 11, 2014
BTS = "Back To School: *THE* busiest time of an optometrist's year. Everyone needs a new look and a new prescription for glasses & contacts when school starts. Students, teachers, administration...as well as their accompanying parents, spouses, etc. It's good for optometrists because we finally get in the black for the year (most optometrists operate in the red until sept/oct), but it's really no fun. 35+ exams per doctor per day from the beginning of July thru the 2nd or 3rd week of Sept. It's BRUTAL. Exhausting. Anyway today was the 1st kind of normal, "not-insanely busy" day I've had in months and I am very, very thankful for it. So I finally got to mess with my 1 mo old Galaxy s5. Chrome recently had an update that I *hate* (multiple button-pushing to reload a page) so I'm ditching it for CM Browser by Cheetah, which has an easy-to-locate 1-touch reload. I'm already loving it. It's notably faster than Chrome, and has a great interface. Also ditched this round is HootSuite, which I've used for years but irritates me b/c it's hard to change your profile pic and now on my Galaxy s5 it frequently just refuses to reload. Push reload...nothing. Have to close it and reopen THEN reload. This occurs probably 30% of the time. It's really bad. I'm trying "Plume", which was an easy setup and is easy to change my profile pic and background...and also loads instantly every time. I could do w/o the banner ads at the bottom, tho...might hafta pay the $5 to get the premium version to get rid of that. Oh well!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Just like the dotcom bubble burst in March of 2000, so will the 1-800-CONTACTS bubble soon do the same, if it hasn't already. The cracks are already beginning to show. Online contact lens sales are down anyway, and Alcon and J&J both recently announced "unilateral pricing policies", i.e. no longer will WalMart or 1-800-CONTACTS (or anyone else) get special pricing. For the retailers it means everyone is back on a level playing field and in-office convenience now trumps online bulk pricing. Uh oh, 1-800's. That was their niche and they just lost it. Local retailers get to price-match the online retailers and WalMart can no longer afford to sell $12.59 boxes of Acuvues. I am super broken up about it, too [/sarcasm]. 1-800-CONTACTS talks a big game but consistenly makes the prescribing doctors mad by marketing directly to the consumer, having some questionable-at-best business practices designed to ("IMO", see what I did there?) circumvent the verification portion of state optometry laws, and backing legislation (with big dollars!) that would allow opticians to refract and Rx's to be avilable w/o seeing a doctor. Does this sound like a company that has patients best interests in mind? I find it um, rewarding... yeah that's the word I'm looking for... that the contact lens companies have finally figured out that WalMart and 1-800-CONTACTS are not their friends. They never were, but the manufacturers were wooed by the promise of HUGE sales if they offered BIG/deep price cuts. What, it's not working anymore? You don't say? 1-800-CONTACTS in its heyday openly taunted optometrists with their advertising (remember the "your eyes are not special" and "the number is on the box" ad campaigns?), and even went so far as to have employees (I won't name names but his initials are "M.C.") come onto optometry related bulletin boards and taunt/argue with/make fun of OD's and their attempts at competing for sales. They basically made themselves detested by the profession and it finally, finally is coming back to bite them. Can't say I'm too surpised, nor am I upset. Maybe I'll call 1-800-JUST-DESERTS and talk about it with them. Edit: I just found out that the #specialeyes ad campagn is ongoing.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Potentially big news in the contact lens world. Novartis ("Alcon" is the contact lens division of Novartis) has partnered with Google to work on contact lenses that monitor blood glucose levels, and also "autofocus" lenses for presbyopia. Both of those would be really exciting! Google Enlists Novartis To Ship Glucose-Sensing And Autofocus Smart Contact Lenses In As Little As 5 Years
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Coopervision to purchase Sauflon I have been down on Coopervision a little of late. I don't think they're a terrible company or anything, I just get a little tired of their stupid private-label game (see blog post about private labeling here) and I don't think they have superior products at this time. Their big lens "Biofinity" is, IMO, inferior to it's 2 major competitors (J&J's Acuvue Oasys and Alcon's Air Optix Aqua). Biofinity is not a *bad* lens, it's just not special enough for me to Rx it over what I consider to be other, superior products. However apparently they just inked a deal to buy Sauflon...a small, UK-based soft contact lens company. Sauflon is interesting for sure. Back before silicone hydrogels got big (about 2005), I really liked their non-silicone lens Sauflon 55UV. It had a great design and was very comfortable. I kind of forgot about them once silicone got big, tho because they didn't have a silicone lens (because they are a smaller company...not as "cutting edge" with new products, etc). But now I see that Coopervision is purchasing them. I hope Cooper keeps their products, as I see now that Sauflon has a silicone hydrogel daily disposable (one of only 3 I can think of available in the US), as well as a silicone hydrogel daily disposable TORIC (there is not another one of these on the US market at all...this is a unique product). Sauflon also makes contact lens solutions including a competing hydrogen peroxide soft contact lens cleaning/storage solution that compares with Alcon's Clear Care. That's interesting because Coopervision is not currently in the "solutions" market. Are they going to "GET" into it? That'd be kind of cool. Basically for a company who doesn't have a single product that I routinely Rx, maybe if they widely distribute Sauflon's products they could have a niche in the market. Now if they'd only drop the private label game. Here is the Sauflon press release about the acquisition.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I recently realized that I wasn't being notified when someone commented. So I just looked and I have 120 pending comments! Wow! I cannot respond to them all, so for those of you who asked questions and I "never answered" - I'm very sorry. I'll try to stay on top of it better. Again, I didn't even know people were reading, much less commenting! I just approved nearly all the comments. I deleted the obvious spam ones but the rest got approved. I tried to answer a few of the more important ones...if I skipped yours I'm very sorry. I didn't do more than just scan thru the 120 avaiting approval. Sorry! I'll be better, I promise.
I'm an Android/Google guy. I hate iTunes and I despise the constant time-consuming iTunes and iOS updates. So for the last 2 years I've had a Motorola Droid Razr M. It was great! It did everything my wife's iPhone 5c did, and for approx $250 less. We have repeatedly done a side-to-side direct comparison of the Speaktoit Assistant android app vs Siri, and my Assistant (whom I named "Victoria" and given an adorable British accent to) wins every time. Siri comparatively sucks, especially at voice recognition and pronunciation. Anyhoo I digress. My Droid started losing power. Wouldn't hold a charge, and it wasn't an app problem (believe me I looked). Well the Razr M has no removable battery so I was stuck. I was due for an upgrade so off we went and I got a Galaxy S5. It's smooth! Here are my initial DISLIKES: 1) the phone antenna kind of sucks. My wife's iPhone 5c is better, my old Razr M was better, and my old-old iPhone 4 was better. We live in the country where signal is not great, and not having a great antenna is disappointing. It still works at my house on 1 bar of signal, but obviously I would rather have 3 bars like my Razr did. 2) it's huge. People love big screens but I could do without. It's huge in my slacks pocket at work, and I will never be a belt-clip guy so I'm stuck. I hope I get used to it but right now it feels massive. 3) One of my fav apps is not compatible. My Guitar, a music app that allows me to play around with songwriting by strumming chords in any key. So disappointed because I used the heck out of that app. 4) I don't like the "plug" that has to be removed to charge and reinserted when done. I understand WHY I have to do this and I like it being waterproof (see "likes"), but the thing is annoying to plug in and out and I would rather not have to. Conversely here are my LIKES: 1) it's waterproof! If i get it wet I'm ok! 2) the screen is big, bright, clear and easy to see 3) the battery is removable. 3) it's fast fast fast 4) all kinds of customizable settings like easily using a current mp3 file as a ringtone. 4) it's Google so all my contacts/settings/apps were instantly available (no chugging away on stupid iTunes). Sign in and BAM! It's done. This is the best part about Google. 5) transfered by existing microSD card so all my music is literally instantly available (again, no lenghty iOS update 1st and no time consuming "sync" or re-download needed. BAM! Instantly rockin'. I'm still getting used to it. I like it! I wish it was smaller.