• CIBA Vision is launching a new 15-second consumer national television advertising campaign to promote the Dailies contact lens brand. This will be the first television advertisement for the brand. For more information on the Dailies brand contact lenses, visit www.dailies.com.

• The Vision Care Institute has launched a new educational program for practicing optometrists. The one-day course will be held at the Jacksonville, Fla. headquarters and will include an update on the latest in contact lens research, training on new technologies and a review of emerging trends and best practices. The course is available at no cost to participants. Upcoming course dates include May 19-20, June 2-3, June 9-10 and September 22-23. For more information or to register, contact your Vistakon representative or e-mail theinstitute@vcius.jnj.com.

• Management & Business Academy (MBA) introduced the publication of a biweekly e-newsletter, MBA Intelligence, to provide optometrists with actionable metrics and strategies to manage and grow their practices. Sponsored by CIBA Vision and Essilor,  the MBA provides ECPs with resources to track consumer trends, embrace technological advances and respond to economic dynamics. Since its inception six years ago, over 2,000 ECPs have been completed. For information, visit www.mba-ce.com.

• Lagado Corporation’s Tyro (hofocon A) and Onsi (onsifocon A) gas-permeable contact lens materials have received an expanded indication from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for managing irregular corneal conditions (in non-diseased eyes) for keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, post penetrating keratoplasty, post radial keratotomy and post LASIK surgery. For more information, visit www.lagadocorp.com.

Merck to Acquire Inspire Pharmaceuticals
Merck & Co. announced plans to acquire Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $430 million, to expand its ophthalmic business. Inspire’s key product is AzaSite (azithromycin). It also receives royalties from sales of Allergan’s Restasis.

With the purchase of Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Merck will add to its eye care portfolio that includes proposed glaucoma treatment Saflutan (tafluprost). Merck has made a $5-per-share cash offer for Inspire—an offer that has been accepted by both boards of directors. For more information, visit www.merck.com.

GP Lens Pocket Guide
The GP Lens Institute (GPLI) has released the Contact Lens Clinical Pearls Pocket Guide. This 24-page resource offers clinical pearls pertaining to the fitting of spherical GP, soft toric, GP back surface and bitoric, soft and GP multifocal, orthokeratology, keratoconus and scleral lens designs. The book also contains diopter-to-radius conversion and vertex conversion charts. The guide may be downloaded at www.gpli.info/pdf/pearl-fitting-guide.pdf.

A New Convenience Kit
OcuSoft, Inc., an ophthalmic research and development company, introduced a prescription-only Ocudox Convenience Kit for the treatment of acute eyelid conditions. The kit contains 60 capsules of Ocudox (doxyclycline hyclate 50mg, USP), OcuSoft Lid Scrub Plus Extra Strength Pre-Moistened Pads (30 ct.) and Tears Again advanced liposome spray (15ml). For more information, call 800-233-5469 or visit www.ocudox.com.

Allergy Season Extended One Month
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the 2011 allergy season is expected to be 27 days longer in North America. The typical pollen season runs February/March to October. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) offers a free educational brochure, “Eye Health and Allergies,” to better help allergy sufferers understand and manage their condition. The brochure can be viewed or downloaded at www.aafa.org/eyeallergies.