NEW YORK—Lack of staff and staffing challenges continue to plague many eyecare professionals out there, with some 45 percent of respondents in the latest Wave 30 of Jobson Research's ECP Coronavirus Surveys saying that lack of staff is their number one challenge in being able to see more patients due to COVID's impact. That number is lower than the 63 percent of people who said so back in the December wave of the survey but it's still a big issue. Jobson Research's Wave 30 was conducted April 8-12 of this year.

Survey respondents confirm that mask mandates have been relaxed in most retail locations though they are still in force at most medical locations in their states. The Wave 30 survey also indicates that 70 percent of respondents are requiring doctors to wear masks, 67 percent are requiring staff to do so while 57 percent require masks of patients and 58 percent require masks for sales reps. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents said that someone who works at their location has had COVID.
Supply chain problems are persisting for more than half of the Wave 30 respondents—58 percent in April overall compared to the 63 percent who said so in the March survey. They are saying that the delays can be as long as two to three weeks in some cases. The supply chain problems are spread among various eyewear categories including frames, spectacle lenses, contact lenses, lab services and accessories.
But the supply chain issues overall are highest in the frames sector—76 percent in April compared to 65 percent who said so in the December 2021 Wave. Respondents are mixed in their responses re frame supply chain issues—54 percent in April said its among "certain frame suppliers" while 32 percent feel it's involving certain frame materials across multiple suppliers and 42 percent said they feel it pertains to frames imported from certain countries. Forty six percent said that they didn't expect supply chain issues to persist until this date.

Eighty-six percent of the Wave 30 respondents said they noticed manufacturers were increasing prices due to an increase in shipping costs. In terms of overall business, year-over-year comparisons for April 2022 compared to April 2021 were positive. 
Go to VM's Coronavirus Briefing section to catch up on all of the 2020 and 2021 Jobson surveys.
Click here to view a PDF of the full Wave 29 Survey results.