Vady Khalil Instagram Page Serves as a ‘Beacon of Light’ for Potential Optometry Students

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, January 18, 2019 11:07 AM For Vady Khalil, a second-year optometry student at the Western University of Health Sciences—College of Optometry, his journey to the U.S. was not an easy one. Khalil came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2008 after having migrated within the Middle East for five years. His father, who was an employee at the United Nations in Iraq, was severely injured when his office building was bombed in August of 2003 and eventually had to be moved to Europe for treatment, causing Khalil to be separated from his family—his mother and two younger brothers moved to London to be with his father while he and his sister moved to Jordan. After living in Jordan for two years, Khalil and his sister were once again forced to move to Syria because without Jordanian citizenship, they couldn’t complete their education. After spending three years in Syria, he finally came to the U.S. in 2008 and is now an optometry student.

Eyecare Services Partners Names Susan Ludwick as SVP of Optical Services

By Staff
Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:27 AM DALLAS—Eyecare Services Partners (ESP), a leader in integrated eyecare services, has appointed Susan Ludwick as senior vice president of optical services. Ludwick brings more than 25 years of optical industry leadership experience to ESP, most recently as senior vice president and brand manager of Refac Optical Group, which operates U.S. Vision Inc., the sixth-largest retail optical chain in the U.S. market, according to an announcement this week. Ludwick also was executive vice president, retail partnerships, at Refac, and she held escalating operational leadership roles at U.S. Vision and was a regional training operations director and general manager for Luxottica.

Natural Ophthalmics Appoints Linda Axelrod as New President

By Staff
Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:24 AM NEW YORK—Natural Ophthalmics, Inc. has appointed Linda Axelrod as their new president, according to an announcement from the company. Axelrod has been with the company for 15 years and has become a familiar face at conferences and symposia across the country.

Third Annual Blogger Spectacle Awards to Take Place at opti 2019

By Staff
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:21 AM MUNICH—During opti 2019 in Munich, the show will present the third annual Blogger Spectacle Award. A jury of over 20 international eyewear and fashion bloggers from Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Great Britain, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Lithuania will get together at the trade show in Munich to share the latest news from the opti exhibitors about spectacle frames, design, and style with their fans and followers. They will also be tasked with choosing the winner of this year’s trophy. In a discussion panel prior to the awards ceremony, the influencers will reveal how opticians can find more customers online. The 2019 Blogger Spectacle Award will be presented on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 12:30 p.m. at the opti FORUM in Hall C4.

For Eyes Adds to Leadership Team With New Marketing and Store Operations Executives

By Staff
Monday, January 14, 2019 12:18 AM MIRAMAR, Fla.—For Eyes has announced the addition of Andrea Kane and Lauren Macleod to their leadership team. Kane is joining the For Eyes team as new vice president of store operations. Before moving to For Eyes, Kane held the vice president position at LensCrafters, and has spent more than 25 years working in sales. Kane said, "I am delighted to join the For Eyes team and help with company efficiencies in this new position. As the new vice president of store operations, I plan to use my experience to assist in the growth of the company, focusing on optimizing the value of each of our For Eyes team members to ensure that our consumers have a memorable experience at every location."

Husain Patanwala’s ‘Sight Humour’ is All About the Funnier Side of Optometry

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, January 11, 2019 12:17 PM Sight Humour is a carefully curated Instagram page that offers lighthearted, witty and surely relatable optometry-themed memes for anyone who deals with the eye. A brain child of Husain Patanwala, Sight Humour is only three months old, but has already managed to gain over 1,000 followers. Patanwala, who is a consulting optometrist at the Asian Eye Hospital and Laser Institute in Pune, India created the page with the hope of bringing some laughter and trivial material to an otherwise very serious and sometimes intense profession. “My friends always commented that I have a quirky and weird sense of humor and I would usually crack up in serious situations. It came quite easily to me that I should start a funny page about something I know so much about,” Patanwala explained.

California Optometric Association Says its Ready to Support State’s New Governor

By Staff
Friday, January 11, 2019 12:21 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California Optometric Association (COA) said this week that the state’s optometrists “stand ready to contribute [their] expertise and leadership” to the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was sworn in as the state’s 40th governor earlier this week. “Governor Gavin Newsom was sworn into office [Monday] as the nation is increasingly looking to California for health care leadership, and as we face our own challenges of serving a growing, aging and uniquely diverse population,” COA president Ranjeet S. Bajwa, OD, FAAO, Diplomate ABO, said in a statement.

Coburn Technologies Names Al Bednar Director Of Laboratory Sales

By Staff
Friday, January 11, 2019 12:15 AM SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn—Coburn Technologies has appointed Al Bednar as their new director of laboratory sales for the U.S and Canadian markets. Bednar has worked in the optical industry for more than 40 years, in technical, sales and management roles. Before moving to Coburn, he spent eight years as an area manager for DAC Vision, and before that was a development manager for Essilor of America, where he helped create Essilor Laboratory University. “Having spent the majority of my career in the optical industry, and specifically in the laboratory segment, I am excited to join the Coburn team where I will continue to advocate for the needs of the labs through the development of new products and processes, and by providing excellent service that our customers have come to expect,” said Bednar.

Andrea Zaffin Appointed Safilo’s New Commercial Head IMEA

By Staff
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 12:15 AM PADUA, Italy—Safilo Group has appointed Andrea Zaffin as commercial head of India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA), effective January 2019. In his role, Zaffin will spearhead the company’s business in India, the Middle East and South Africa. He will report to Angelo Trocchia, Safilo Group’s CEO. Zaffin will be based in Dubai. “We welcome Andrea who has a long experience in the industry and in these very specific markets. He has strong entrepreneurial skills with a solid and successful background,” Trocchia said.

Think About Your Eyes Announces 2019 Board Members

By Staff
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 12:18 AM ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Think About Your Eyes, a national public awareness campaign about the importance of scheduling an annual eye exam with an optometrist, announced its advisory board members for 2019, led by incoming chairman, Dr. Rick Weisbarth. The board is comprised of a representative from each of the six leadership partners, and an at-large member representing and elected by Tier 2 partners. Dr. Weisbarth, who represents Alcon, succeeds Dr. Steve Loomis of the American Optometric Association, who will move to the non-voting role of immediate past chairman for 2019.

Matteo Gaeta Appointed as Managing Director of Marchon Asia Pacific

By Staff
Monday, January 7, 2019 12:21 AM HONG KONG and NEW YORK—Marchon Eyewear, Inc. announced the appointment of Matteo Gaeta as managing director of Asia Pacific, effective January 2019. Gaeta will be based in Marchon’s regional APAC headquarters in Hong Kong and will also serve as a member of Marchon’s global management team. He will report directly to Nicola Zotta, Marchon Eyewear’s president and CEO.

Richard Hughes Named President of Satisloh North America

By Staff
Friday, January 4, 2019 12:24 AM GERMANTOWN, Wis.—Satisloh North America announced that Richard Hughes has been named president, effective Jan. 1. Hughes, a lab industry veteran, succeeds Pete Lothes, who recently became president and CTO of Satisloh’s global business. In his new role, Hughes will report to Lothes. Hughes began his 22-year optical industry career as director of sales and service for ophthalmic instruments at Beitler McKee Optical Company, a wholesale lab in Pittsburgh. He soon became vice president of lab operations and sales and, in 2004, was appointed president and CEO.

Shopko Debuts Three Freestanding Optical Stores and Plans for Additional Locations

By Staff
Thursday, January 3, 2019 12:27 AM GREEN BAY, Wis.—Shopko Stores, one of the nation’s larger optical retail businesses, opened its first three freestanding Shopko Optical locations over the final months of 2018, according to a company spokeswoman. The new freestanding Shopko Optical Centers are located in Mequon, Oshkosh and Waukesha, Wis., and these locations “are three of up to 15 freestanding locations planned as part of our growth strategy,” the spokeswoman told VMAIL. In addition, Shopko added an optical center in its Appleton, Wis., Shopko Express store last fall. 

Ophthotech Names Dr. Calvin Roberts to Its Board of Directors

By Staff
Thursday, January 3, 2019 12:18 AM NEW YORK—Ophthotech Corporation has elected Calvin W. Roberts, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Eye Care at Bausch Health Companies and clinical professor of ophthalmology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, to its board of directors, effective January 1. Dr. Roberts brings over 25 years of experience in the pharma/biotech industry. He is well-respected for his business expertise, industry experience and ophthalmic leadership, according to an announcement from Ophthotech.

Vision Benefits of America Names Jeff Hollowood as President and CEO

By Staff
Friday, December 28, 2018 12:21 AM PITTSBURGH—The board of directors of Vision Benefits of America (VBA) has named Jeff A. Hollowood, a former VBA board member and chairman of its audit and finance committee, as president and chief executive officer. Prior to this appointment, Hollowood served as VBA’s interim president and chief executive officer following the retirement of the company’s previous president and chief executive officer in March 2018. “I am excited to take a more permanent leadership role at VBA,” Hollowood said in the company’s recent announcement.