NEW YORK—ECP practices and optical retail businesses did experience the waves of the omicron COVID-19 variant which began in the later part of December 2021 and impacted many in the first few months of 2022, as indicated by Wave 29 of the Jobson ECP Coronavirus Survey, conducted by Jobson Research which ran March 4-7. In that period, 80 percent of the respondents said that someone that works at their practice got COVID. And they added that masks are not required by the local government at medical facilities/offices in their area, and that at retail locations, 66 percent reported that local government requirements did not require masks.

However, 52 percent said they plan to still wear masks all the time even when not required by government/local rules. Overall, though, a little over half (54 percent) of the respondents feel that the major challenge to them serving more patients than they are currently seeing now is "lack of staff," due to staff shortages. This was the leading reason, as compared to lack of patient traffic or government regulations related to COVID.
For the Wave 29 survey period, business had continued to stabilize for respondents. Overall, practice revenues and optical sales were up by 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in February 2022 versus February 2021, while capture rates were up by 3 percent in February 2022 versus February 2021.
Supply chain issues are still a factor for the majority of respondents in the Wave 29 Jobson ECP survey, particularly for frames, where 69 percent of respondents in early March cited supply chain problems there, compared to the assessment back in December 2021 when 65 percent said they were experiencing supply chain issues.  All other categories, like spectacle lenses, contact lenses and lab services were also having supply chain issues, ECPs said, noting that they were concerned customers who might have patience to wait about two weeks for a finished pair of glasses were being asked to extend to three or even four, which created issues for them—and nearly 48 percent said they didn't expect supply chain issues to still be a problem.

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.