Luxottica reveals plans for new service model

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Luxottica Group has announced plans to launch a new service model next year that will include the opening of new laboratories.

Early details of the plans to create “an integrated logistics and production hub between lenses and frames” were announced as part of Luxottica’s third quarter (Q3) financial results, released on 24 October.

The company recently opened a laboratory in Sedico, Italy to produce ophthalmic lenses for the European market and it was said that by early 2017, two more central labs would be established to serve the Asia-Pacific and North America regions. 

The new sites – the exact locations of which were not disclosed – will produce ophthalmic lenses specially adapted to fit each frame manufactured by the international eyewear company.

“Luxottica will offer eye-care providers a new service model, unparalleled in the market, integrating lenses and frames while also leveraging the efficiency of the group’s global distribution network,” the financial report stated.

Sales across the Asia-Pacific region reached €283 million (AU$404 m) in the three months ended 30 September 2016. This was an increase of 4.5% at current exchange rates compared with the previous corresponding period.

The financial report noted that in Australia, OPSM “continues to generate growing comparable store sales due to the assortment changes and distribution policies implemented in the first half of the year”.

Globally, reported net sales increased 3.2% to €2.2 billion (AU$3.1 b) in Q3 2016. This was attributed to “solid” results in Europe and emerging markets, an overall acceleration of retail, and an extended summer season, which benefitted sales of the group’s new collections.

In a joint statement, executive chairman Mr Leonardo Del Vecchio and CEO for product and operations Mr Massimo Vian said they were “pleased with the quality of our growth in the quarter and the vitality of our business in markets such as Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia”. 

“We managed to achieve these results during a period of major investment, integration and organisational simplification of the group, and an uncertain macroeconomic setting,” they commented in the statement. 

The statement went on to note the increase in retail sales “more than offset” a reduction in wholesale volumes, which were affected by the decision to reduce sales to online operators in North America and withdraw goods from Chinese independent distributors who were not aligned with the group’s new distribution strategies.

“By year’s end we will have substantially completed the integration of our businesses and we are already seeing the results of the various initiatives undertaken over the last 12 months,” Mr Vecchio and Mr Vian said. “We therefore believe we can accelerate the growth of the group starting in 2017, and keep it healthy and sustainable in the long run.” more

Optometry service stats show gender differences

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Recent statistics have highlighted gender differences in optometry patients, including that women suffer a higher rate of vision disorders compared with men.

According to a report from Optometry Australia (OA), the latest statistics from Medicare reveal that of the 8.5 million optometric services provided in 2015–16, women received approximately 57% while men received 43%.

The highest level of optometric services were said to have been absorbed by women aged between 45 and 74, numbering at around 2.3 million services. By comparison, approximately 1.8 million of those services were provided to men within the same age bracket.

However, men accounted for 83% of the 8,222 services to remove a foreign body from the eye. With 6,826 male cases versus 1,396 female cases, men were almost five times more likely to need an optometrist to remove a foreign body such as bits of metal, sand, dirt, grit and vegetative matter from their eye. 

OA also pointed to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report, Australia’s Health 2016. The report showed that more than 55% of Australians – more than 12 million – have at least one long-term vision disorder, and that these are more common among females than men, with a prevalence of 59% and 51%, respectively.

“It is critical that men and women don’t take their eyesight for granted,” OA senior resident optometrist Mr Simon Hanna said. “Just like the rest of our body, we have to look after our eyes and the sooner we start doing this, the better our chance of maintaining good vision for life.” 

Mr Hanna’s comment referenced OA’s consumer eye-health awareness campaign, ‘Good vision for life’, which launched in September. OA recently reported that more than 1.6 million Australians had been exposed to the campaign last month.

Interestingly, females were the most popular campaign fans across the website and Facebook, accounting for 55% and 77% of visitors/fans, respectively.

In September, the website had 17,605 page views – including 515 page views for the ‘Find an optometrist’ section – with 23% returning visitors. The most popular section of the website excluding the landing page was the ‘Visiting your optometrist’ section. 

The full September campaign results can be viewed at more

Australian demand helps boost Essilor sales

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Essilor International’s latest financial results have reported an upturn in demand in Australia, particularly from optical chains.

This demand was said to have contributed to the 6.6% sales revenue increase to €288 million (AU$410.7 m) in the combined Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region for the three months ended 30 September.

The positive third quarter result was also attributed to the “excellent performance” of “fast-growing countries”, which offset a slowdown in consumer spending in the Middle East and “difficulties” in Turkey, according to the financial report, released 21 October.

“The product mix continues to improve in most of the region, thanks to strong sales of Varilux, Crizal and Transitions lenses and the launch of the Eyezen line, which has been well received by eye-care professionals,” the report added.

Essilor chief operating officer Mr Laurent Vacherot noted in an earnings conference call on 21 October that currency impact improved in the third quarter compared to the first half of the year. 

The appreciation of the Australian dollar, Brazilian real and Japanese yen had “almost offset the sharp depreciation of the British pound”, he said.

Across all regions, the company posted revenue totalling €1.7 billion (AU$2.5 b) for the third quarter of 2016. This marked a 6.4% increase as reported compared with the previous year. 

“Driven by its commitment to improving and protecting vision, Essilor continues to deliver a sustainable, well-balanced mix of organic and acquisitions-led growth,” Essilor chairman and CEO Mr Hubert Sagnières commented.

“We remain firmly aligned with our medium- and long-term growth dynamic, despite the temporary difficulties that we have experienced in certain markets.”

Mr Sagnières went on to say Essilor continued to deploy a wide array of “strategic initiatives” in prescription lenses and sun lenses, in the development of online sales, and in fast-growing countries.

“We expect these initiatives to start delivering tangible results in the near future, and to provide an uplift to growth through 2017,” he added. more

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RANZCO referral pathway criticised

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Optometry Australia (OA) has criticised the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management.

A report from OA’s publication Australian Optometry stated that the referral pathway failed to reflect the diversity of optometry expertise, patients’ circumstances or the scope of the optometrists’ practice. The initiative was also said to deviate from current guidelines.

The report centred on a member statement released by OA national president Ms Kate Gifford. Ms Gifford was quoted as saying, “The RANZCO referral pathway was developed without advice from OA, the professional organisation which represents the optometry profession in Australia, yet it seeks to advise our profession on patient care.

“Though RANZCO has every right to release referral pathways to its own members, it does not have the authority to instruct the optometry profession on how patients should be managed or referred.”

Ms Gifford was said to have made the statement following detailed analysis and discussions with the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) and after consulting “key members” of the industry, including OA’s Glaucoma Australia Working Group.

As previously reported by Insight, RANZCO and Specsavers Australia and New Zealand announced the joint venture to produce a series of eye-care referral guidelines in August. 

According to the two parties, the guidelines were developed with input from both ophthalmologists and optometrists, and the first referral pathway, the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management, was made available online to all optometrists and GPs across Australia and New Zealand.

Ms Gifford was cited as saying the pathway seemed “ophthalmology-centric” rather than “patient-centric”.

“It fails to recognise the scope of practice of optometrists to diagnose, manage and treat glaucoma. This scope is recognised by the OBA as the regulatory body for our profession,” she stated.

“The RANZCO referral pathway instead encourages potentially unnecessary referrals and an increased burden on Medicare, as well as unnecessary financial burden for patients in clinical, travel and time-related costs.”

Ms Gifford also criticised the RANZCO referral pathway for diverging from OBA and National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines, as well as for omitting gonioscopy from the standard baseline examination, which she said was an entry-level competency in Australia. 

“OA will communicate with RANZCO in relation to these concerns and encourage RANZCO to work in a collaborative manner with OA prior to publication of its future referral pathways, to ensure they fully reflect the context of optometry clinical management in Australia,” Ms Gifford said. more

Australians waiting too long for vision help: Guide Dogs Australia

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New research suggests more than half of Australians are waiting too long to seek help with deteriorating eyesight.

Guide Dogs Australia conducted a survey of more than 600 people with low vision or blindness and found more than 50% put off going to a professional, leading to an increased risk of accidents and loss of independence.

The research also revealed more than 25% of respondents waited for more than a year to have an examination after first experiencing vision problems.  A further 18% waited for more than five years and 11% more than 10 years. more

Eye test could detect Parkinson’s earlier

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New research in rats suggests a new low-cost and non-invasive eye test could detect Parkinson’s disease before symptoms including tremors and muscle stiffness develop. 

Using ophthalmic instruments that are routinely used in eye clinics, researchers at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology in the UK developed a new imaging technique by which they could observe changes in the retinas of rats. 

These retinal changes can be seen in Parkinson’s before changes in the brain occur and the first symptoms of the disease become evident. As such, it was said the new technique could enable earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s while also offering a method by which to monitor how patients respond to treatment. 

After observing the retinal changes in the experimental model, the research team treated the rats with a newly formulated version of the anti-diabetic drug rosiglitazone, which is designed to help protect nerve cells. 

Following administration of the drug, the researchers found evidence of reduced retina cell death as well as a protective effect on the brain, suggesting the drug could have potential as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

“These discoveries have the potential to limit and perhaps eliminate the suffering of thousands of patients if we are able to diagnose early and to treat with this new formulation,” first author Dr Eduardo Normando, consultant ophthalmologist at Western Eye Hospital and UCL, said.

“The evidence we have strongly suggests that we might be able to intervene much earlier and more effectively in treating people with this devastating condition using this non-invasive and affordable imaging technique.”

It was said the technique had already been tested in humans for glaucoma and that trials were due to start soon for Alzheimer’s. more

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