“How are we going to create a better tomorrow in vision care?” – so asked Alcon’s vice president of professional affairs, Dr Rick Weisbarth, at SECO 2019 in New Orleans (20–24 February 2019).
The Alcon representative told delegates that 2019 would be a busy year, chiefly following confirmation by parent company Novartis that Alcon will be spun-out as an “independent eye company.” The spin-out is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.
Discussing product innovations from Alcon, Dr Weisbarth highlighted the company’s acquisition of Tear Film Innovations in December 2018, which expands Alcon’s portfolio of ocular health products, including its treatments for the temporary relief of dry eye symptoms.
Focusing on Tear Film Innovations’ iLux, Dr Weisbarth explained that the handheld and portable product enables eye care professionals to directly target a patient’s blocked meibomian glands.
He added that by using iLux, a practitioner can warm the eyelids via disposable silicone pads to address blocked meibomian glands through the application of light-based heating. While applying iLux, the practitioner can view the eyelid margin and apply manually controlled compression to express blockages, making adjustments as needed to tailor treatment to the individual needs of the patient.
iLux received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in December 2017 and is currently available in the US and Canada. Alcon is expected to announce plans to expand the product to other countries in 2019.
Reflecting on other trends in his presentation, Dr Weisbarth told SECO delegates that coloured lenses remained a key growth market for the company, promising that “there are more products to come.”
He added that as an independent eye company, Alcon recognised its role to “stand with eye care practitioners to advocate for patient health and safety.”
Dr Weisbarth also stated that Alcon opposes “the sale or use of contact lenses without an evaluation, consultation and a valid contact lens prescription from a licensed eye care practitioner.”