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Business Updates

Review of Ophthalmology: How to Capitalize on the LASIK Boom

By Staff
Friday, September 30, 2022 3:06 PM In recent years, laser vision correction procedures, specifically LASIK, have increased in popularity. In fact, the Refractive Surgery Council has reported that the laser vision correction procedure volume for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 190,509, which is a year-to-date increase of 32 percent over 2020. The total procedure volume for 2021 topped 833,000 for the first time since the council began tracking laser vision correction procedures in 2015. According to John Vukich, MD, who is in practice in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, there are several reasons that LASIK rates increased starting in 2020, and the effects of the pandemic are at the top of the list. “During the pandemic, people were working from home. They were wearing masks, and if they had glasses, there was the potential for masks fogging the lenses,” he noted. Read More

Billionaire Wealth Soars During the Pandemic

By Staff
Wednesday, September 28, 2022 10:57 AM According to a new report by Swiss bank UBS, the combined fortunes of billionaires around the world have soared despite the coronavirus pandemic. The event has proven to be an accelerator of change for billionaires and their businesses, according to the authors, which see tech billionaires and those ready to lift their fortunes into the digital age as the winners of the current state of the world.

The U.S. and China saw the biggest absolute wealth increases for billionaires between mid-2019 and mid-2020, with $660 billion and $490 billion added to the wealth of the ultra-rich, respectively. The highest percent increases were recorded in France (+47 percent), China (+41 percent) and Brazil (+38 percent).

Billionaire wealth rose by 27 percent to $10.2 trillion between the beginning of April until the end of July of this year alone. Click here to read the full story from Statista.com.

ECPs and Optical Retailers Adjust Costs, Note Supply Chain Issues in Latest Q3 Jobson ECPulse Survey

By Staff
Monday, September 26, 2022 12:24 AM NEW YORK—Even as staffing challenges continue for many ECPs, economic pressures including inflation and business costs as well as ongoing supply chain issues were among the concerns within the second ECPulse Survey conducted in September 2022 by Jobson Optical Research. Some 80 percent of the ECPs surveyed said they noticed that patients are trying to save money due to inflation. Concurrently most noted a change in their traditionally "busy" months in terms of patient traffic.

Amid a Renewed Sense of Normalcy, the Industry Gathers as Vision Expo West Returns to Las Vegas

By Mary Kane
Monday, September 26, 2022 12:00 AM LAS VEGAS—It was a wrap for Vision Expo West 2022 in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 17, as the four-day event concluded at The Venetian Convention Center & Expo. The Conference and Exhibiton, brought thousands of members of the optical industry together from Sept. 14-17 for four days of trailblazing trends, education and plenty of networking opportunities. “It was amazing to see the full scope of the vision care industry come together in Las Vegas last week, both on and off the Show Floor,” said Fran Pennella, vice president, Vision Expo, at RX, co-organizer of Vision Expo.

20/20 Magazine: A Conversation With Henrik Orgreen, CEO of Orgreen Optics

By Staff
Friday, September 23, 2022 4:04 PM Teamwork and team commitment, solid communication and sheer hard work, with an attitude of openness and affability, have stood the Danish company in good stead through the pandemic of 2020 and 2021... and represent the foundation of its success, stability and growth in 2022, said Henrik Orgreen, CEO. When asked what are your hopes and priorities for the new eyewear season, he said, "Our hope is to get back to much more of the face-to-face meetings we are used to with more visitors to our new headquarters in Copenhagen. We are a customer-driven company, and we will always be that. We need to meet up again, spend time with customers and have those moments to talk. We have stayed well connected—even in lockdowns, there was someone at the end of our phones. But now it’s time to reconnect." Read More

Goldman Sachs Predicts Recession Will Hit Sometime in the Next 12 Months

By Staff
Friday, September 23, 2022 3:11 PM Goldman Sachs is predicting the U.S. economy will continue to take a downturn as recession fears grow. GS Research indicates that a recession is likely to happen within the next 12 months.

Analysts believe that the post-COVID recession will be mild and that the unemployment rate increase should only be approximately 1 percentage point. The reason behind this is a continued glut in jobs versus workers. It’s believed the imbalance between available jobs and workers should absorb much of that contraction without triggering a large rise in unemployment.  

“Recent preliminary evidence suggests this is possible,” said senior global economist Daan Struyven. “In fact, the U.S. job openings rate has declined by 0.7 percentage points since March while the unemployment rate has actually declined by 0.1 percentage points. This suggests that the slowdown in output growth is likely to have a smaller-than-usual effect on employment, which tends to drop sharply in traditional U.S. recessions.”

Struyven noted there are still clear drives for growth in the U.S. economy and as the normalization of COVID-sensitive sectors returns industries like tourism and office work will rebound. 

Review of Optometry: What We’ve Learned and What’s to Come for Telemedicine

By Staff
Monday, September 19, 2022 3:29 PM Shuttered offices and international pandemic guidelines curtailed in-person patient care in 2020 but also led to demonstrations of sheer tenacity. Despite the challenges, loss and unsteadiness that COVID-19 brought into all of our lives, we would be remiss not to reflect on the opportunities, invention and hopefully lasting patient care innovation that transpired from the events of the last several years. Between social distancing, periods of mandated quarantine and general caution to remain at home, many patients found great utility in virtual communications with practitioners, and doctors were relieved to keep in touch with their patients’ needs. Read More

Employee Shortage May Strain an Already Challenging Holiday Retail Season

By Staff
Friday, September 9, 2022 3:45 PM An employee shortage may put a strain on an already challenging holiday retail season. According to a recent survey from MultiMediaPlus, executives are scrambling to address staffing and wage issues on top of supply chain challenges. 

For the past 3 years, the retail industry has faced significant product shortages due to COVID-19 cutting off the supply chain. This, compounded with staffing shortages and employees reluctant to return to the workplace, employers are increasingly worried about keeping up with demand. 

Executives were asked what their focus has been heading into the fall season. Fifty percent responded that staffing and wage issues were their greatest focus this fall, with supply chain issues coming in at 28 percent and global events and gas prices coming in at 15 percent. 

More than 45 percent of respondents noted that employee training will be their Q4 focus. Task management for employees came in at 25 percent.

Employers will be making strides to improve their employee development with 27 percent noting that operations training is their top priority in 2023 followed by leadership development and product knowledge.

From Great Resignation to Great Regret?

By Staff
Wednesday, August 31, 2022 2:39 PM Following the pandemic shock to the labor market that saw millions of Americans lose their jobs in a matter of weeks, the balance of power has shifted in favor of workers as companies struggled to fill open positions in the swift recovery following the COVID shutdown. In what has become known as “the Great Resignation” or “the Great Reshuffle,” almost 50 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, hoping for higher pay, more benefits or better career options elsewhere, according to a recent feature in Statista.com

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, however, and a sizeable chunk of those who left their previous jobs are now feeling quitter’s remorse. According to a recent survey from job search portal Joblist, one in four workers who quit their previous job say that they regret the decision, citing a variety of reasons for their second thoughts. 

The most common reason for workers’ regrets is that they quit without having a new job lined up and are now finding it harder than expected to find one. This comes as a surprise given the current labor market where open positions far exceed the number of unemployed workers. Other reasons for regretting the decision to quit include missing the people at their old company, disappointment in the new job and the realization that the old job wasn’t half bad after all.

Neurolens Is the 28th Fastest Growing Health Care Company on Inc. 5000 List for 2022

By Staff
Tuesday, August 30, 2022 12:21 AM NEW YORK—This month, Inc. revealed that Neurolens has been recognized on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

Retail E-Commerce Sales Surge in the Second Quarter

By Staff
Monday, August 29, 2022 4:54 PM Retail e-commerce sales are tracking higher despite inflation fears. The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced e-commerce sales for the second quarter of 2022 rose 2.7 percent to $257 billion. E-commerce sales accounted for 14.5 percent of total retail sales in the second quarter of 2022. 

A similar report by Morgan Stanley found that despite waning COVID numbers and a return to in-person shopping, the trend for e-commerce is here to stay, predicting growth to $5.4 trillion by 2026.

The driving factor behind the increase is logistics, mobile device ownership and marketplace expansion. It’s expected this will increase growth across multiple industries, regions and verticals. 

It’s believed this trend will also continue to grow with improved payment technology and stabilization of the supply chain.

Dr. Fauci Moves On

By Staff
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 11:33 AM This week, Dr. Fauci announced he plans to step down from his roles as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation and chief medical adviser to President Biden. Dr. Fauci has held his director position at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 38 years, and has been a crucial figure in helping navigate the United States through health crises including HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. Head over to NPR for a look at Dr. Fauci's incredible career, plus what's next for him once he retires. 

Unemployment Rate Drops Across the U.S.

By Staff
Monday, August 22, 2022 12:21 PM The number of unemployed in the U.S. continues to drop. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Employment Situation Summary, the total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 528,000 in July, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent. 

Job gains were seen across the board with the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and health care seeing the largest gains. These numbers reflect a return to pre-pandemic levels after two years of job losses. 

The number of unemployed people in the U.S. now sits at 5.7 million, with the highest unemployment rates among women and Caucasians at 3.1 percent respectively. The jobless rate on the other hand sits at 3.2 percent for adult men, 11 percent among teenagers and 6.0 among African Americans. 

The number of persons on temporary layoff, sat at 791,000 in July, while the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons rose by 303,000 to 3.9 million in July. In its Summary, the Bureau noted this rise reflected an increase in the number of persons whose hours were cut due to slack work or business conditions. 

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.9 million in July. The number of Americans choosing to work remotely continues to grow with numbers reaching 7.1 percent in July. Meanwhile in the same month, 2.2 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic.

Investor Interest in Health Care Services Maintained a ‘Consistent Pace’ in Q2, Advisory Firm Says

By Staff
Friday, August 19, 2022 2:58 PM NEW YORK—Following the record-breaking deal volume seen in 2021, M&A activity and investor interest in the health care services space has continued at a consistent pace through this year’s second quarter, albeit with some drop-off in transactions in the eyecare sector. With the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic finally setting in, “the health care landscape has changed dramatically,” according to a recent analysis and report by Provident Healthcare Partners, an investment banking and advisory firm with offices in Boston and New York. 

“The disruption of the pandemic affected various levels of the supply chain for provider–based services,” the report noted. “These financial impacts are beginning to normalize while larger macro-economic conditions are beginning to worsen. Fears of rising interest rates, high levels of inflation, and declining overall economic health have led to an initial decline in consolidation in the overall market.” 

(Readers may sign up to receive Provident’s updates and newsletters here.)

In the ophthalmology sector, Provident said this area “continues to be one of the most active specialties within physician services as macro-economic concerns have, so far, done very little to slow the pace of deal-making within the sector.” The report noted several “strategic add-on transactions” in the quarter, as well as the entry of a new private equity firm investing in the space by way of a deal with Vision Innovation Partners (a platform formerly backed by Centre Partners that Gryphon Investors of San Francisco partnered with in May 2022).

With more than 60 of the investor-backed platforms at least four years into their investment in the eyecare sector, Provident said it expects secondary buyouts, similar to the Vision Innovation Partners’ transaction, to play a large role in consolidating a very fragmented space.

The New England College of Optometry Announces Industry Collaborative, Scheduled for Aug. 29-30

By Staff
Friday, August 19, 2022 12:18 AM BOSTON—The New England College of Optometry (NECO) has announced the 2022 Industry Collaborative, which begins the afternoon of Aug. 29 at the Cambridge Innovation Center, and continues Aug. 30 at NECO’s Beacon Street location.