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Learning More about Google+ and Virtual Try-On

More eyecare professionals are starting to take a look at Google+, the new social media platform, which launched at the end of June; we see what they have to say so far. And the web brings a range of new technologies to bear on the eyewear buying process. This month we look into how one leading eyewear company, ClearVision, is bringing virtual try-on into its launch of the modern, contemporary men's collection, Marc Ecko.

Remember: The 2nd Annual CLICK Conference is now set for Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, just prior to the start of International Vision Expo West in Las Vegas. Sponsored by The Hoya Free-Form Company, the 2011 CLICK Conference will be held at the Sands/Venetian Convention Center, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

This year's CLICK Conference theme is "Social Circles," which will feature leading web experts and colleagues from the eyecare professional community who are going to examine how social influence is changing brands' and businesses' profiles on the web and what's working best for them. Among our speakers: social media evangelist, CLICK and Review of Optometric Business contributor, Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD. Space will be limited, so make your plans now! Registration is now open!

The CLICK Archive which features dozens of Cool Tools, important Sites to See and all of our special features and articles, are easy-to-access under the CLICK button at

Have you tried something new on your website or launched a special social media campaign? Tell us about it and we'll consider it for an upcoming feature in CLICK!

—The Editors





What Are Eyecare Professionals Saying About Google+?

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO

TAMPA, Fla.—Google+ is now a month old and has over 25 million users. A major source of discussion on the internet since its debut in late June, Google + or Google Plus is the new social-networking platform from Google. As we explored in the July 6th edition of CLICK and in an additional 3-part series about Google + and Facebook on Vision, the arrival of this new platform is expanding the reach of social media.

While I have found traditional marketing strategies to be increasingly useless in promoting my practice, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, it has steadily grown through online marketing. We use email, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and Google daily to reach both current and potential patients. After receiving an early invitation to check out Google Plus. I've spent much time learning how it works and discovering how I can use it to promote Bright Eyes.

The Google Plus release is noteworthy for several reasons. The past social applications from the search giant, Wave and Buzz, were considered major missteps. The recent roll-out of the "Plus One" button was seen as Google's copy of Facebook's "Like Button" that would have little impact on the social web. This time, however, Google Plus is receiving major attention as a potential force to alter the internet ecosystem for both individuals and businesses.

The novelty is wearing off and users have had time to sort out for themselves what they think about the new social network. Is it a dud? Is it a Facebook and/or Twitter killer? I have talked to a variety of eye care providers who have spent time on Google+. As one would expect, results are mixed.

Many ECPs have a positive initial response to Google+. Dave Macarty, OD., "I hardly use Facebook anymore, because everyone is on it. I love the Google+"circles" concept of selectively sharing with people."

Optometrist and social media writer, Alan Glazier, OD, FAAO, likes the interaction with existing online tools, "It integrates with my Google toolbar, so I can go right from my Gmail to my Google +; from old school email to new school social media communication and back and forth with ease."

Many people see similarities between Facebook and Google+, but not everyone thinks this is a good thing. Walt Mayo, OD, owner of, likes it, but thought the interface could have been different. "I think Google+ is better for small groups, but I wish they hadn't copied so much of the Facebook 'look'."

Some, like Dickson Chin, OD, are pessimistic about Google+'s chances of success. "With so many amazing connections and reconnections on Facebook, I just don't see Google+ ever giving the type of random connections that can turn into valuable friendships."

We will not know how Google+ fares until business pages are available and it is open for the general public. Some, like Cheryl G. Murphy, OD, like the service but are skeptical about it knocking Facebook out of the top position. "I think Google+ and Google are great because they are connecting things like has never before such as a social network, email, document-sharing," she says. "However, I think the general public is dreading the switch from Facebook and having to start from scratch on Google+. Time will tell if everyone takes the leap of faith over to it."

But it may turn out that it what keeps from being mainstream is not just the concern of starting over, but the same powerful feature that techies like. As Ruth Villeneuve, owner of Social Visionaries says, "I think the promise of Google+ is exciting. However, I fear that the very thing which makes it great, the Circles, maybe intimidating some users and keeping them away.

Want to learn more? Watch this short video series about Google+: A Quick Look on You Tube. And Mashable offers regular information and updates about the Google+ platform.

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, Tampa, Fla., is an optometrist specializing in the vision of infants and children. He helped create "Peripheral Vision" which educates eyecare professionals about social media. Dr. Warford was a speaker at the first CLICK Conference last year and will be on the program again at the 2nd CLICK Conference this year on Thurs. Sept 22 in Las Vegas. He chairs the social media committee of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and the Florida Optometric Association's Children's Vision Committee. He founded Foursquare Day in March 2010.




Virtual Try-On Builds Excitement For ClearVision's
Marc Ecko Brand Launch

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.—ClearVision Optical is encouraging optical retailers and eyecare professionals to get actively involved with modern web technology for the launch of the company's new Marc Ecko Cut & Sew Collection, a new contemporary men's line, by inviting them to experience virtual try-on technology (VTO) directly. In a program which launched this month, ClearVision is looking to build interest and excitement for the Marc Ecko brand, and show ECPs how to purchase for their stores virtually and demonstrate how they can share the experience of VTO with their patients, once the collection gets to stores and dispensaries this fall.

ClearVision execs underscored to CLICK that while VTO has been a phenomenon of direct-to-consumer online eyewear sales sites, they do not plan to sell the new brand to consumers this way. "We are 100% committed to point the consumer to the eye care professional," states Peter Friedfeld, executive vice president of ClearVision, emphatically. "But we are very excited as a company to bring a leading-edge technology tool to the launch of the Mark Ecko brand and feel this is an exciting way for our accounts to see and experience the new styles, see the potential of VTO and encourage their patients to use the sharing aspect of VTO with their friends and family."

In addition, Friedfeld notes, "Marc Ecko himself is one of the most influential young designers and multi-media impresarios in our culture today. And the Marc Ecko Cut & Sew collection targets a Marc Ecko 'guy,' young, contemporary, involved with culture, work and technology in new ways."

ClearVision is partnering with the Fitting Box, a France-based company that provides virtual try-on solutions to the eyewear industry and is one of the first in the business community to use VTO in this manner, a platform enabling ECPs the opportunity to "try before they buy, creating a more interactive experience for the buyer as compared to a paper or online catalog."

Customers can use their webcam to take their picture, upload their own image to the site, or use one of the "Mark Ecko models" provided; to try the frames on virtually. The VTO app allows viewers to see themselves in multiple frames from multiple angles. Viewers can select their favorite shot and share it on their Facebook page or download it to their desktop. Customers can select the frames they want from the site and order directly online. For those that order through the site, special promotions are available. The VTO is designed to be shared with consumers within the dispensary as well. Customers who order the Marc Ecko collection can use the VTO technology with consumers to showcase the brand and enhance the experience in store.

The VTO is part of an innovative website custom designed for the brand featuring the designer and a catalog feature that showcases the collection with QR codes.



Wordnik is described as "a dictionary on steroids," which uses words and definitions that are in traditional dictionaries and ones "that have not made it there yet." The concept of this distinctive site is to show words in context, to display conversations, pictures and other discussions/talk about a word. There's a large and growing community of wordniks, a featured "word of the day" and a streamlined, interesting graphic approach to describing what a word means which enable the user to see a definition, a list of the word being used, ways to discuss, see, hear and share or love words.



Help Save the Words! That's the mission of Oxford Dictionaries' unique site, which pulls together (now) obscure or unusual words, explains what they mean and offers visitors the chance to "Adopt a Word," enabling them to sign a vow to use them in conversation or writing. The premise of Save the Words is to help people better understand language. The site offers "Spread the Word" choices, too, such as encouraging users to feature words in emails, letters, tattoos and speeches. Users can sign up for a "Word a Day" email, shop at the Save the Words store and encourage words that they know to become part of the site's resources by submitting words to be saved and becoming part of SaveTheWords' growing Facebook community.


Classic Optical Laboratories has debuted a dramatic redesign of its site, created by the company's in–house digital team, marked by a number of new features including up–to–date news, expanded content and additional info about the many ways in which Classic functions as much more than "just a lab".

The new site features a blog, provider newsletters, videos, links to social media sites and a secure provider portal for the thousands of eyecare providers served by Classic from Maine to California. According to Dawn Friedkin, Classic's COO, the site was created with an improved architecture and fresh graphic enhancements to be more appealing and user-friendly for customers and visitors alike to ensure easy access to the informational content that they are seeking. The redesign incorporates bold colors and graphics and completely new navigational tools.

"Our online visitors will now experience a more vibrant and seamless view of Classic and its deep online resources," stated Friedkin. "With our new marketing effort, we intend to spread the word about our lab's robust production capabilities and fully integrated information technology resulting in a partner model to best meet the eyewear needs for members of managed vision care organizations, governmental agencies and correctional institutions as well as our direct service ECPs and their patients across the country."


Eschenbach Optik of America has unveiled a totally new website with enhanced navigation and a range of new features to keep eyecare providers, consumers and commercial/industrial managers updated about the latest low vision topics, products and technologies. The site features new capabilities such as online ordering for its extensive product range, technology, new product and company news as well as informative free webinars for customers. Improved search tools for the site and the product range are featured as are training modules, clinical case studies and reviews of webinars for preferred customers.

There's also a new newsletter and, to debut soon, a "Find a Low Vision Professional" locator for consumer visitors. An updated listing of upcoming trade show participation, and webinar schedules are also easily located on the new site.

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