A Very Different Show Experience: The Sights and Sounds of Vision Expo East

By Mary Kane
Friday, June 11, 2021 8:00 AM The headline in the June 5 Show Daily from Vision Expo East said it all: “Show Attendees Feel Excited, Safe and Happy to be Back.” As Expo got into full swing on Friday, VM’s Gwendolyn Plummer, the onsite eyes and ears of our Expo Show Daily observed, “No matter where this year’s Vision Expo East attendees came from, and no matter what their plans are at the show, there seems to be one common feeling among everyone: it’s good to be back. Out on the show floor, attendees and exhibitors are back to doing what they love most, all while staying safe and cautious. The overall feeling of the show has been one of optimism and happiness—of a long overdue reunion that has finally arrived.”

National Eyewear Day Takes Center Stage on June 6

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, June 4, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Tomorrow, June 6, marks the sixth annual National Eyewear Day—a day set aside for the optical community, and dedicated to promoting tips, tools and philanthropic initiatives that bring awareness to the importance of comprehensive eye exams and overall eye health. National Eyewear Day became official in 2016, after Zyloware submitted it to the Registrar at National Day Calendar, and everyone can get involved with National Eyewear Day by posting on social media and using the hashtags #NationalEyewearDay #ZylowareEyewear #WeAreZyloware.

Searching for Fresh Answers to The Question: Why Are Glasses So Expensive?

By Andrew Karp
Friday, May 28, 2021 8:30 AM How often has this happened to you? You’re relaxing with friends or family, and someone shows up wearing a new pair of glasses. Naturally, you  say something like, “Those new glasses look great on you.” They reply, “Thanks. I paid a lot for them, so they better look good.” Then there’s a short pause, followed by what I call The Question: “Why are glasses so expensive?” I usually take a deep breath before responding. Then I give this little speech: “A nice looking, well-made pair of eyeglasses is one of the most important items you can own. It’s the result of a lot of research and development, manufacturing expertise and, often, craftsmanship.” I’ve been giving my speech for a long time and I wanted to freshen it up, so I asked some of my optical friends how they respond when asked The Question. Here’s what they told me.

Summer Reading: The Books People in Optical Are Reading Right Now

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 21, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—With the unofficial start of summer just a week away, what better time to start putting together a summer reading list? Right now there are enough good, thought-provoking business titles circulating right now to capture just about every special interest. For one, we like the premise of “The Future is Faster Than You Think,” which looks at how technologies will “completely reshape every industry and society over the next decade.” But don’t just take our suggestions for your next book: Here’s a roundup of what VMAIL Weekend learned when we asked several people in the optical business what books they have read recently, want to read or just have in the stack by their bed. (BTW, that's my bedside pile in the photo.)

Vaccine Hesitancy and the Road to Herd Immunity

By Mary Kane
Friday, May 14, 2021 1:00 PM As the country slowly but surely begins to open up, the mood surrounding COVID-19 is very hopeful as each day brings more good news about the pandemic winding down. Currently, infections have dropped from 60,000 per day to 30,000, and deaths and hospitalizations from the virus are also going in the right direction—downward. However, the stats concerning the number of people who have gotten the vaccine could be better—36 percent of adults in the country are vaccinated but 53 percent have not gotten the vaccine, according to numbers reported yesterday by CNN. It has become apparent that vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. is a thing. For a roundup of how employers and employees are handling the situation, we’ve highlighted some recent articles that offer tips and advice on returning to the workplace.

Celebrating Mother’s Day, and Protecting Eye Health

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, May 7, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Celebrating mothers and motherhood has been a part of human history for pretty much as long as it has existed, but it wasn’t until 1914 that Mother’s Day actually became an official holiday in the United States. The first American Mother’s Day happened in 1908, when West Virginia woman Anna Jarvis wanted a way to honor the sacrifices that mothers make for their children, History reports. Jarvis’ own mom had died three years prior, so she organized the first Mother’s Day celebration as a tribute to her, at a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. The holiday took off, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially declared the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day throughout the country.

Scientists Gain Insights in Causes of AMD by Studying Worm Physiology

By Andrew Karp
Friday, April 30, 2021 8:30 AM Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have identified a new potential mechanism for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—the leading cause of blindness among older adults—by studying laboratory-grown roundworms as well as human and mouse eye tissue. The UMSOM researchers said that the findings suggest a new and distinct cause that is different from the previous model of a problematic immune system, showing that the structural organization of the eye’s light-detecting cells may be affected by the disease.

The Story Behind the 50th Anniversary of the Soft Contact Lens

By Staff
Friday, April 23, 2021 8:30 AM ROCHESTER, N.Y.—More or less taken for granted today, the soft contact lens has a storied history and a fascinating backstory on its road to discovery and mass production. This story is getting attention today—or at least more attention—because it is the 50th anniversary of Bausch + Lomb’s introduction of SofLens in 1971. Bausch + Lomb introduced SofLens as the first mass-produced soft contact in the U.S. market shortly after the Food and Drug Administration had granted its approval of the novel device. This breakthrough and the many follow-on innovations have led to a $15 billion a year contact lens market today.

A Q&A With Vision Expo Execs Fran Pennella and Mitch Barkley

By Mary Kane
Friday, April 16, 2021 2:00 PM VMAIL Weekend recently sat down with (remotely of course) Fran Pennella, VP of Vision Expo at Reed Exhibitions and Mitch Barkley, VP of Trade Shows and Events at The Vision Council for an update on what’s in store for attendees at the upcoming Vision Expo East in Orlando, Fla. The two executives spoke about the new Neighborhoods debuting on the Show floor, safety precautions and procedures that are being put in place, and new Show events that attendees can expect to find. The two show organizers also detailed how this year’s Show experience will differ from years past as Vision Expo settles into its new location at the Orange County Convention Center from June 2-5, 2021.

The Optical Community Takes to Instagram to Mark Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, April 9, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—For many of us, April is when Spring truly begins. It’s a month of more sunlight, warmer days, blooming flowers, and a look toward what summer might have in store. And in the optical world, April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, too. Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, as declared by Prevent Blindness, is an effort to raise awareness of women’s increased risk of vision health issues, as well as the steps that they can take to prevent vision loss.

Using Eye Tracking Technology to Understand Human Behavior, Ocular and Neurological Health

By Andrew Karp
Friday, April 2, 2021 8:30 AM As a journalist who covers vision technology, I’ve become fascinated with eye tracking and its many uses, which range from health care to virtual and augmented reality, sports training, gaming, retail, marketing, education and military applications. Eye tracking uses motion-detecting sensors embedded in special eyeglasses or behind a computer screen to detect and measure eye movement. As many VMAIL readers know, it’s used for diagnosing and treating vision problems related to the eye-brain connection. “We use eye tracking on virtually every single one of our patients who are coming in with a visual processing issue,” said Charles Shidlofsky, OD, FCOVD, a vision development and vision rehabilitation specialist whose practice, Neuro-Vision Associates of North Texas, is in Plano, Texas.

Meet the New Office: Out Go the Desks, In Come the Breakout Spaces and Armchairs

By Mark Tosh
Friday, March 26, 2021 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Many Americans have been working remotely for much of the past 12 months. But recently there has been much discussion about how and when those who have been out of their offices will begin the process of re-entry and what the office will look like when they arrive. The return to work in New York City took a step forward this week when mayor Bill de Blasio said city employees would begin making a return to their offices beginning May 3. “We’re going to make it safe, but we need our city workers back in their offices where they can do the most to help their fellow New Yorkers,” he said. Read on for a look at how some of the country’s biggest employers hope to get their workers back to life in the office.

Digital Eye Strain—Another Pandemic Pain Point

By Mary Kane
Friday, March 19, 2021 8:30 AM We’ve all seen those notifications and displays on our phones tallying up our average screen time for the week. Ever since we went into lockdown last March, we’ve all been spending way too much time not just on our phones, but on electronic devices in general—including laptops, ipads and TVs. And once you add in children learning remotely on screens, you have a recipe for digital overload throughout the entire family. Here are some eye opening statistics about the rise of Digital Eye Strain (DES) and some advice from several eye doctors on how to combat the problem.

Last Weekend, Oprah’s Frames Stole the Show

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, March 11, 2021 4:07 PM NEW YORK—If you spent any time on the internet at all last week, you probably saw people talking about Meghan, Harry and Oprah. Oprah’s bombshell interview with the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex trended for days, prompting important discussions about race, mental health and misogyny, and has reframed how many look at institutions like the British royal family. In addition to these important discussions, the two-hour long interview inspired another trend: serious love for Oprah’s glasses. In fact, her Götti OR02 frames in the colorway Sand pretty much stole the show—and prompted people all across the world to post on social media about how much they loved the frames, or wanted them for themselves.

Scientists Take Important Step Toward Using Retinal Cell Transplants to Treat Blindness

By Andrew Karp
Friday, March 5, 2021 2:00 PM Retinal cells derived from a cadaver human eye survived when transplanted into the eyes of primate models, an important advance in the development of cell therapy to treat blindness, according to a study published on January 14 in Stem Cell Reports. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a layer of pigmented cells in the retina, functions as a barrier and regulator in the eye to maintain normal vision. RPE dysfunction can lead to eye disorders including macular degeneration and can cause blindness, which affects about 200 million people worldwide.