Latest News Optical Business Barometer Rises in December 2013 By Staff Monday, January 20, 2014 12:30 AM NEW YORK—According to the latest Optical Business Barometer, which rates independent ECPs' attitudes toward current and future optical business as sourced from Jobson Optical Research, the overall optical business rating for December 2013 has risen to 3.65, comparing to a November 2013 rating of 3.58. The average of overall optical ratings for the period of January through December 2013 stood at 3.67, showing slight decrease from the average of the same period in 2012, which stood at 3.69. The confidence rating, measuring ECPs’ outlook of overall optical retail business for the upcoming six months, also decreased from a 3.75 rating in November 2013 to a 3.70 rating December. Despite decreased confidence for the next six months, however, the latest report showed increase in ratings for eyeglasses and exams for December. The December 2013 eyeglasses rating increased to 3.62 from 3.57 in November, and the rating for exams increased to 3.73 from 3.69. The rating for contact lenses, however, decreased from 3.53 in November to 3.50 in December. The average of eyeglass ratings for the period January through December 2013 remained at 3.63, even with the average rating for the same period in 2012, and showed increase from the same periods in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.54 and 3.43, respectively. The average rating for contact lenses in the period January through December 2013 decreased very slightly, showing a 3.54 rating compared to a 3.55 rating in 2012, and showed increase from the periods in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.49 and 3.39, respectively. For exams, the average rating for the period January through December 2013 stood even with the average rating for the period in 2012, which stood at 3.70, and showed increase from the 2011 rating of 3.63 and the 2010 rating of 3.49. The overall optical rating by census region for the period of January through December 2013 stood at 3.69 for the Northeast, 3.80 for the South, 3.63 for the Midwest and 3.58 for the West census region. Jobson's OBB is further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board, for which the December 2013 rating rebounded to a 78.1 from a revised rating of 72.0 in November. The Optical Business Barometer is designed to gauge the optical business trends of eyecare professionals at independent optical locations and to provide independent optical retailers with a comparative “how's business” benchmark. It is conducted online by Jobson Optical Research and is based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very negative, 3 is neutral and 5 is very positive. See VM’s full OBB report on VisionMonday.com.