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AOA, OAA form SUN alliance

April 27, 2012

Citing the public health concerns of ultraviolet (UV) damage to the eyes, the AOA and the Opticians Association of America (OAA), with sponsorship from Luxottica and The Vision Council, have formed a SUN alliance designed to empower practices and businesses with the training and information needed to educate and prescribe appropriate sun protection for every patient.

At a press conference March 22, representatives of the four organizations outlined how they will collectively embark on a comprehensive training program created to help eye care professionals deliver a lifetime of outdoor eye protection.

“We have joined together in this outstanding industry alliance to confirm to all that sun protection is not optional. It is a professional responsibility,” said Dori Carlson, O.D., AOA president. “It is the responsibility of optometry to educate the public about the dangers of the sun and the importance of prescribing proper protection.”

The SUN training program clearly defines the elements of quality protection in terms of lenses and frame choices.

“We are confident that the optician’s emphasis on quality protection will go a long way in ensuring a lifetime of good sight and eye protection, as well as improving and protecting the health of every office,” said Shirley Earley, OAA president.

Beginning in April, the COPE and ABO-approved educational series “Protect, Prescribe and Present” will be delivered digitally on www. AOA.org and www.OAA.org and encompass the following:

  • Part 1 • Protect describes the health issues resulting from UV and High Energy Visible (HEV) radiation exposure, delivering a set of actionable steps for the practitioner to ensure that all patients understand the importance of quality outdoor eye protection.
  • Part 2 • Prescribe develops an action plan for the optometrist and the optician. For the doctor, this course delivers examples of how to discuss the research that proves the need for sun protection. For the optician, this segment clearly defines how to set goals and identify the best protective products.
  • Part 3 • Present teaches one of the most difficult areas for many offices to master – the language and methods to visually merchandise outdoor eyewear to every consumer/ patient. This segment presents methods to easily communicate the benefits of prescribing and dispensing outdoor eyewear.

“Luxottica is honored to support the industry-wide SUN initiative. We believe this initiative is vitally important to the safety and eye health of every patient and consumer, and the growth and success of the optical industry,” said Andrea Dorigo, president, Luxottica USA. “This is an actionable program that can truly make a difference in preventing sun-related eye diseases among people young and old.”

Essilor launches E-SPF (Eye-Sun Protection Factor)

Also during Vision Expo East, Essilor of America introduced the first-ever “Eye-Sun Protection Factor” (E-SPF) to drive consumer awareness about the importance of protecting eyes from damaging UV rays.

“Inspired by the systems used to rate skin care and sunscreen products, this new evaluation system reinforces Essilor’s commitment to UV defense, following the recent launch of a new generation of Crizal No-Glare lenses, the only lenses to offer the most complete protection against UV rays,” according to the company.

“Essilor is convinced that the new E-SPF evaluation system, along with the new generation of Crizal lenses, will improve consumer knowledge about the need for visual health protection from the invisible and often irreversible dangers of UV light,” said Carl Bracy, senior vice president of marketing and new business, Essilor of America. “These breakthrough advancements have the potential to make an impact on the lives of individuals of all ages with all types of vision needs, all year long.”

The E-SPF evaluation system developed by Essilor is intended to provide an objective index for eyewear. Values currently vary from 2 to a maximum of 25 for every day, clear lenses and “50+” for tinted as well as polarized sun lenses. Developed and studied in collaboration with independent third parties, the E-SPF protocol and values have been endorsed by Karl Citek, O.D., Ph.D., professor of optometry at Pacific University College of Optometry, and one of the first researchers to have established the hazard linked to lens back side UV reflection.

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