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Behavioural optometrists barred by children’s hospital

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


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J&J enters cataract market through acquisition

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


AMO is known for its intraocular lenses. Credit: Frank C. Müller


Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to buy ophthalmic equipment supplier Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), marking its entry into the cataract surgery market.

The US$4.3 billion (AU$5.7 b) acquisition of Abbott Laboratories’ wholly-owned subsidiary will include ophthalmic products in three business segments: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health. 

“Eye health is one of the largest, fastest-growing and most underserved segments in healthcare today,” J&J Vision Care company group chairman Ms Ashley McEvoy said. 

“With the acquisition of AMO’s strong and differentiated surgical ophthalmic portfolio, coupled with our world-leading Acuvue contact lens business, we will become a more broad-based leader in vision care. 

“Importantly, with this acquisition we will enter cataract surgery – one of the most-commonly-performed surgeries and the number one cause of preventable blindness.”

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 20 million people are blind from age-related cataracts and there are at least 100 million eyes with compromised visual acuity caused by cataracts. These numbers are believed to be rising due to population growth and increasing life expectancy.

It was said that AMO, which reported sales of US$1.1 billion (AU$1.5 b) in 2015, is a global leader in ophthalmic surgery and is known for the intraocular lenses it produces for use in cataract surgery, presenting an attractive growth opportunity for J&J in a new market. 

In addition to the cataract business, AMO has advanced laser vision (LASIK) technologies designed to enhance surgeon productivity and correct near sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism. 

The acquisition will also include AMO’s consumer eye-health products, such as its non-prescription eye drops for dry eye and its multipurpose solutions and hydrogen peroxide cleaning systems for contact lens patients.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions. 
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UNSW revamps optometry program

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UNSW’s School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS) has announced several changes to its optometry program. 

For the past 10 years, the SOVS has offered a double undergraduate degree comprising a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Optometry to those seeking to pursue a career in optometry.

From 2017, however, a new Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry program will replace the previous double undergraduate degree. The new program will comprise a three-year undergraduate course followed by two years of Masters-level coursework, which includes a research project. 

The Bachelor of Vision Science will also be available as a standalone thee-year undergraduate course for those seeking a career in vision science.

Head of school Professor Fiona Stapleton told Insight that SOVS regularly reviews its programs and how they compare to those offered in other jurisdictions, noting that the recent changes came about after one such review. 

“The skills and competencies taught in our program were more closely aligned with a Masters by coursework according to the Australian Qualifications Framework. As a result, our program has now been revised,” she explained. “The recent changes are recognition of the level of training and education offered by the UNSW SOVS.”

Prof Stapleton added that Commonwealth Supported Places would be available for the Bachelor of Vision Science/Masters of Clinical Optometry program at UNSW. 

“Often this is not available in many coursework Masters programs, many of which attract high fees beyond HECS,” she stated. “This means that the Bachelor of Vision Science/Masters of Clinical Optometry remains an equitable program that is open to everybody.” 

The first student intake will begin the new program in February 2017. 
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