Corporate OD Meeting Presents ‘Healthy’ Eyecare Market

NEW YORK—Attendees packed the semiannual Alcon-sponsored Corporate Optometry Reports (COR) Meeting at the Westin Hotel in Times Square here on March 14. The meeting addressed an audience of optical executives and ECPs with statistical trends about the overall eyewear market.

Vision care is “one of the biggest markets in the country,” according to the opening presentation by Marge Axelrad, SVP/editorial director, Vision Monday, Jobson Medical Information. It “was very healthy in the 12 months ending December 2012, and the market is approaching $35 billion.”

In the presentation that followed, “Performance Driven by Science: We Can Change Lives,” Jim Murphy, VP/GM, U.S., Vision Care, Alcon, said that rather than “looking at numbers” and market share to instead “start with the why” and think about the quality of life of patients and helping them see better. He said, “At Alcon, we’re trying to change how we look at patients,” aspiring to “provide patients with a good quality comfortable fit, so they can choose to wear contact lenses for as long as they desire, whether throughout the day or the aging process.”

Hi cited one of the latest studies showing that over 50 percent of wearers drop out over comfort. Alcon’s hypothesis, he said, is that dry eye is the cause. “When you look back at all the studies, all the way back to 1993, patients have been reporting dropping out because they’re uncomfortable.”

This, he sees as “blue ocean opportunity,” and rather than competing in the “red ocean” full of competition, he said, “I would maintain that this industry, look at this blue ocean and what we are doing to address it.”

Kevin Roe, OD, FAAO, director, professional affairs optometry and professional organizations, delved more deeply into the science of the tear film and how it reacts with contact lenses in his presentation on “Performance Driven by Science: We Can Change Lives.” Defining hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces, he explained that “dry attracts dry and wet attracts wet.” More specifically, he described how silicone hydrogel lenses behave on the ocular surface.

Business analyst, Joseph Zale, partner, Monitor Deloitte, set out to determine whether contact lenses should be considered a commodity in “The Commoditization of Contact Lenses: Sustainable Model?” After explaining that once a product becomes commoditized, ultimately price is the determining purchasing factor. His conclusion was that the industry does itself a disservice when it discusses contact lenses as commodities.

In his “AOA Update,” David Cockrell, OD, FAAO, then followed by presenting the services that the American Optometric Association offers.

David Alexander, JD, director, Global Integrity and Compliance, Alcon, navigated the changing landscape of government regulations in his presentation on “The Changing Regulatory Environment: Compliance and the Sunshine Act.” With a slide showing the billions of dollars that a number of companies have had to pay, illustrated why companies must be careful to comply with regulations controlling how companies are allowed to “pay” practitioners.

To conclude, Dwight Akerman, OD, FAAO, who’s been promoted to Head, Global Professional Affairs, and who has been conducting COR meetings for 26 years, handed the reins over to Carl Spear, OD, FAAO, director, professional development and implementation, Alcon, who will now be responsible for the meetings.

Dwight Akerman, OD, FAAO, head, global professional affairs, Alcon, led the COR meeting for the last time after 26 years.

 Arriving together for the Corporate Optometry Reports (COR) Meeting are (l to r) Sergio Tirado, Vince Machi and John McMahan of Alcon.

 Enjoying a bite to eat at the COR luncheon are (l to r) Alcon’s Joe Zale; Blaine Chippendale; Monitor Deloitte’s Tom Guthrie; Stephen Reinhart, OD; Richard Fabio; David Alexander, JD; and Carl Spear, OD of Alcon.
 Alcon’s Jim Murphy, VP/GM U.S. Vision Care, Alcon addresses the standing-room only crowd.
Introducing the next speaker at the COR Meeting is Carl Spear, OD, FAAO.