VM's Conversation With HEA’s Justin Manning, OD: Eyecare Professionals Adapt and Prosper Through a Year of the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Staff
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:15 AM NEW YORK—Eyecare professionals have shown both their resilience and their willingness to adapt over the past year as the coronavirus pandemic has forced practice closings, upended in-office procedures and put more emphasis on digital offerings and meeting new patient expectations. But through it all, many ECPs have managed to continue growing their practices and making the changes that will be necessary to succeed going forward after the COVID-19 threat subsides, according to Justin Manning, OD, MPH, FAAO, executive vice president, professional strategies for Healthy Eyes Advantage (HEA).

Optical Industry Veteran Erik Ritchie Joins EnChroma as CEO

By Staff
Monday, January 11, 2021 12:27 AM BERKELEY, Calif.—EnChroma, creators of EnChroma eyewear for color blindness, has named Erik Ritchie as CEO. Ritchie brings 25 years of business management experience to EnChroma.

Virtual Vision Care Grows Up: A VM Conversation With Dr. Jacqueline Evans and Andrew Karp

By Staff
Thursday, July 16, 2020 12:30 AM Jacqueline Evans, OD, has skillfully integrated telehealth into her independent optometric practice in Denver. Colo. In a wide-ranging video interview with VM's Andrew Karp, Dr. Evans explains how she utilizes ocular telehealth technology to provide comprehensive eye exams remotely, what types of patients are best suited for telehealth and what the learning curve is like for optometrists who want to add virtual vision care to their practice. To learn more about the different ocular telehealth options available today, and how more optometrists and patients are learning how to take advantage of them, read VM's June cover story, "Virtual Vision Care Grows Up." 

Protect Your Eyes From UV Rays

By Staff
Monday, June 22, 2020 1:00 AM As cities around the world reopen and June ushers in the summer season, it’s important for us to protect our eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Although the sun emits harmful rays 365 days of the year, it is strongest during the spring and summer months. So longer days coupled with more time spent outdoors can make our eyes susceptible to significant problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis, a condition that’s similar to a sunburn, except it affects the corneas of the eye.

Black Eyecare Perspective Launches '13% Promise' to Encourage Commitment and Action to Increase Black Presence in the Vision Care Field

By Staff
Friday, June 19, 2020 12:18 AM RALEIGH, N.C. and PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.—On the occasion of Juneteenth and a growing awareness of the need to recognize Black Lives Matter and encourage action in the vision care profession and industry, the members of Black Eyecare Perspective (BEP) are initiating a 13% Promise today.

Standard Optical's CEO Aaron Schubach: VM's Conversations With Top 50 Retail Leaders

By Marge Axelrad
Thursday, June 18, 2020 12:24 AM NEW YORK—A major re-examination of its business in mid year of 2019 and subsequent investments in several new technologies, new types of communications with patients, and a rebranding which included its physical stores and its overall marketing and social media, helped Utah's optical retail leader, Standard Optical, as last year was ending and 2020 was beginning. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

VM's Top 50 Sales Concentration Grows

By Marge Axelrad and Mark Tosh
Monday, May 18, 2020 12:28 AM NEW YORK—Comparable to prior VM Top 50 reports, there was a concentration of sales among the 2020 VM Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers, accounting for an estimated $15.7 billion of a $37.5 billion total U.S. market for the 12 months ending Dec. 2019. The Top 10 optical retailers collectively comprise 85.4 percent of the Top 50’s collective U.S. optical retail sales, meaning that retail groups ranked numbers 11 through 50 comprise just under 15 percent of that remaining Top 50 group.

Survey: Americans Have Upped Their Snacking in Times of Stress

By Staff
Friday, May 15, 2020 3:34 PM NEW YORK—While many things about the COVID-19 situation are unsettled and even mysterious, one aspect does seem to be true for most Americans: stuck at home, we can’t help but find more time for snacking.

Since mid-March—when the World Health Organization (WHO) first declared COVID-19 a pandemic—many Americans are reaching for potato chips and other treats in the pantry. A YouGov survey released earlier this month of more than 9,000 American adults showed that more than one-third (36 percent) of the country has been snacking more during the pandemic.

Younger Americans, ages 18-24, are slightly more likely to be snacking more (45 percent), as are those ages 25-34 (44 percent). The survey also shows women (39 percent) are more likely than men (32 percent) to be snacking more.

As many Americans remain under shelter-in-place orders, many are suffering from boredom. According to ongoing YouGov Profiles data, 61 percent of Americans say they sometimes eat out of boredom, not out of hunger.

This extra snacking has proven to be a boon for the potato chip category, as the number of Americans likely to purchase Lay’s brand chips has increased by 35 percent, according to YouGov’s report.

Right now, 18 percent of the American population say they’re likely to purchase a bag of Lay’s, the highest that figure has been in three years.

COVID-19 Crisis Response Tactics: GlobeChek, Maui Jim, Transitions Optical

By Staff
Friday, May 15, 2020 12:15 AM VM brings you the latest information from optical companies and organizations responding to the coronavirus. GlobeChek, a mobile kiosk that performs 11 eye tests in under 10 minutes, was designed to bring the exam to the patient instead of requiring the patient to come to the doctor.

U.S. Public Opposes Reopening Most Businesses

By Staff
Thursday, May 7, 2020 4:35 PM A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll has found that there's widespread opposition to reopening businesses across the U.S. as governors ease restrictions and loosen lockdowns, according to a recent story from Statista.com. Even if businesses do get up and running quickly, public reluctance to shop and dine could prove a major obstacle to restarting the economy. 

That's without even considering a further spike in new infections and deaths. The research found that only 56 percent of the U.S. public feel comfortable going grocery shopping and the share is even lower for clothes shopping and dining out at just 33 percent and 22 percent respectively. 

The poll specifically asked Americans about whether their states should open eight different types of business. Golf courses had the highest support for reopening at 41 percent which is probably understandable given that they guarantee wide open space outdoors with plenty of opportunities for social distancing. People are more apprehensive about businesses that involve closer contact with support for retail stores reopening at 34 percent and hairdressers at 31 percent. 29 percent of those polled also want their states to reopen gun stores. 

Click here to read the full story from Statista.com.

With More Reopenings, ECP Practices Reflected an Uptick in Overall Performance for Week Ending May 3

By Staff
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 12:27 AM NEW YORK—ECP practices reflected an uptick in overall performance in the week ending May 3, according to the latest COVID-19 Practice Performance Tracker. All optical product/service categories being tracked throughout the U.S. have been inching upward over the past month (except contact lenses) with the largest increase occurring last week, when comparing metrics from April 27-May 3 with the previous week of April 20-April 26.

Click to view the COVID-19 Practice Performance Tracker for May 5, 2020.

20/20 Magazine Surveys Lens Sales by ECPs

By Staff
Monday, May 4, 2020 10:33 AM The annual L&T Lens Usage survey in the May issue of 20/20 magazine provides a useful benchmark for independent eyecare practitioners to compare their spectacle lens and Rx sun lens sales against. The data complied here, based on input from 537 independent optical retailers, also sheds light on how these ECPs dispense certain lenses, such as digital progressive and single vision lenses that may require personalized measurements. Three-year comparative data is included wherever possible to show how sales of various products are trending.

A Majority of Eyecare Practices Expect to be 'Up and Running' Within a Week, After Receiving Official Go-Ahead, Jobson Survey Finds

By Staff
Friday, May 1, 2020 2:00 PM NEW YORK—Slightly more than four in 10 (41.2 percent) eyecare professionals who responded to a Jobson Optical Research survey said they expect to be "up and running" their practices immediately once given the required regulatory approvals and go-ahead. And three in 10 (29.9 percent) said they believe they could reopen “within one week” of receiving the official go-ahead, according to the results of the Jobson survey released today. These were among the findings of Wave 7 of Jobson Optical Research’s ECP Coronavirus Study. Wave 7 of the survey asked, for the first time, how many more weeks the practice could survive without being permitted to reopen. More than 40 percent of respondents estimated the practice could survive no more than four weeks under these circumstances.

Jobson Practice Performance Tracker Shows Uptick in 2 Product Categories

By Staff
Friday, May 1, 2020 10:06 AM NEW YORK—As some states have started reopening select businesses, most remain shut, yet the optical business throughout the U.S. experienced a slight uptick in all but one product/service category last week.
Click to view the COVID19 Practice Performance Tracker for April 28, 2020.

3 Ways the Coronavirus Is Changing How We Think About Mother’s Day

By Staff
Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:33 PM With some cities and communities still under stay-at-home mandates across the country and many schools and offices closed for the foreseeable future, it’s not surprising that COVID-19 would impact Mother’s Day plans this year. However, at first glance, the latest data from NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics annual Mother’s Day survey seems to tell a different story.

The vast majority (71 percent) of consumers are social distancing and are concerned about the pandemic’s impact on their personal health and financial stability. At the same time, consumers are planning to spend as much, if not more, on Mother’s Day than they have in the past. An optimistic 46 percent still want to plan a traditional special outing, brunch or other activity. Are consumers overly hopeful that things are ready to return to normal? Or is Mother’s Day getting a coronavirus-inspired boost? To understand what is driving these seemingly contradictory trends, NRF took a closer look at what is shaping consumers’ attitudes and behavior right now.

1. Mother’s Day may be more meaningful this year. For many consumers, the coronavirus has put a spotlight on opportunities to celebrate and show their loved ones they care. In fact, 78 percent say that celebrating Mother’s Day is important to them this year, given the current state of the pandemic. And this sentiment shows up in spending plans as well: On average, consumers say they plan to spend 205 on cards, special meals and other gifts for mom, approximately $8 more than last year.

2. All things being equal, consumers want to return to normal. Even in the midst of the current uncertainty, consumers are hopeful their daily lives and routines will return to normal in time for Mother’s Day. While fewer consumers say they are planning traditional outings, 46 percent still want to celebrate mom with a special meal, day out or other activity.

3. Social distancing means thinking outside the bouquet. While consumers are hopeful, they are also realistic about the limitations they are facing right now. Two-thirds (66 percent) admit they are likely to celebrate virtually this year.

Click here to read the full story from the National Retail Federation.