What’s New This New Year?

By John Sailer: Senior Editor

The year is new, and so am I, at least with Jobson, as evidenced by this article, my first Vision Monday column. Compared to the decades my coworkers have spent covering the optical field, my seven years writing for various publications in this arena make me a newbie.

In addition to me being new and the year being new, in many ways it could also be considered a “new day” for eyecare professionals as well. With the implementation of health care reform gradually creeping up on us, with the growing prominence of online optical retailing and social media increasingly influencing our day-to-day operations, and with digitally surfaced lenses quickly becoming the norm, it seems there’s something “new” impacting us at every turn.

Of course, there’s also a domino effect to all this newness. To take the precise measurements necessary to digitally surface those personalized lenses, optical retailers are installing automated digital measurement systems. This in turn differentiates the brick-and-mortar stores from the online retailers who may boast virtual try-on systems but cannot offer such sophisticated measuring devices.

Even the online retailers have taken steps to stand out. To set itself apart from all of the other online optical retailers, not only did one fast-growing eyewear company create its own line of retro vintage frames, but it also established a practice of giving one pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair it sold. This, in turn, made others follow the same model.

Still, for the successful eyecare practices and optical labs who have been at this for years, many of which have thrived in this business for multiple generations, reacting to all of this newness is just more of the same old thing. They’ve become old hands at riding the waves of newness as they cyclically ebb and flow. It’s nothing new to them.