A Look Back at ‘Today’s Read’ 2018

Back in the fall of 2017, when we first considered doing a Weekend edition of VMAIL we knew it was going to be a challenge to add a 6th edition to our VMAIL repertoire. The fact that we were going to take a lighter look at the news and features surrounding the optical industry might seem like an easier task than reporting hard news, but bright and breezy can sometimes feel like a tall order. The VM editorial staff knew that the anchor feature of the Weekend edition, Today’s Read, would always be our greatest challenge each week. And truth be told, in the early days the weight of it was a little scary for all of us on the editorial team. But in looking back on past Today’s Read features I can honestly say we rose to the occasion.

As you may have noticed, the responsibility of the feature rotates among the staff, and each writer seems to bring a little bit of themselves to the Today’s Read department. While we pride ourselves on bringing you the news, it’s nice to be able to share different kinds of stories with our readers—they run the gamut from inspiring to comical but they are always informative and we hope you’ve learned a lot along the way. So warm up that cup of coffee, put your feet up, take 5 before the Holiday madness begins and check out these Today’s Read highlights from 2018.

Taking a Closer Look at GOTPOTUS (Glasses of the Presidents of the United States)

In honor of President’s Day 2018, VMail Weekend took the opportunity to take a closer look at “the eyewear-wearing inclinations of our 45 U.S. presidents, which for purposes of this assignment we called GOTPOTUS, Glasses of the Presidents of the United States. Senior Editor Mark Tosh uncovered some interesting facts while researching and writing about our glasses-wearing Commanders in Chief. While many presidents wore reading glasses, only three were regular wearers of eyewear. And surprisingly, the POTUS with the most extensive eyewear collection was No. 36, Lyndon B. Johnson who amassed at least 53 pairs of eyeglasses at one time or another. And the first president to be photographed wearing eyeglasses was the first Roosevelt to ascend to the presidency—that would be Teddy. Click here to visit the full article and find out how Teddy’s specs may have helped to save his life.

Jobson’s Dennis Murphy with doctors
Eliza Yaghoubian and Deeba Chaudri.
When a ‘Regular’ Eye Exam Is Anything But Routine

While a lot of the features in Today’s Read have a fun edge, this particular entry was anything but fun as a simple vision check-up turned into a serious medical event for Jobson’s own Dennis Murphy, our VP of sales. We all know there’s quite a bit of debate today around the concept of an eye exam, and even what qualifies as an “acceptable” exam. Dennis’ journey began with a routine appointment for an eye exam at a New York LensCrafters and turned into a trip to an ophthalmologist and eventually under the knife of a noted vascular surgeon. The Optos device used at the eyecare office at the Sixth Avenue LensCrafters showed some red spots, or hemorrhages, on his peripheral retina. Dr. Eliza Yaghoubian felt the red spots could be an indication of a blockage and subsequent tests at Mount Sinai confirmed Dennis had two blocked carotid arteries. Spoiler alert, the story, thankfully, ends on a very happy note for everyone involved. Click here to read more about how Dennis’ eye exam revealed a life threatening medical condition.

‘And We'll Never Be Royals’

This July will mark 242 years since the U.S. colonies declared independence from the British and yet it seems many Americans can’t escape the lure of “royal-mania.” From the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle to the Netflix series “The Crown” it seems we can’t get enough details about the Royal Family. And the mainstay behind our obsession with everything royal is of course, the Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II whose coronation took place in 1953. That makes the 92-year-old the longest ruling monarch in British history as well as the world’s oldest head of state. So, to commemorate her coronation, Vision Monday’s associate editor Jamie Wilson took a look at some lesser known facts about the longest reigning Monarch and curated a selection of some of her iconic eyewear looks. God Save the Queen!

Reimagining the White Cane

Technology can be a powerful thing, especially when it is used to help people cope with a disability. In this feature, from Vision Monday’s group editor Andrew Karp noted, “As a tech journalist, one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is reporting about designers who reimagine a familiar object and imbue it with new capabilities.” Karp came across such a story involving four engineering students at Texas A&M University who set out to update the white cane. This simple but effective tool has been used since the 1920s by blind and visually impaired people to navigate surroundings and visually notify others of visual impairments. The researchers developed a white cane attachment that can provide object detection and turn-by-turn navigation assistance via haptic feedback. Their project, the Navigational & Object Visual Assistant (NOVA), uses an ultrasonic sensor and vibration motors to alert white cane users of any obstacles above the waist with specific vibration patterns. The team also created a mobile application that will interact with the NOVA to signal directions to the user (e.g., turn left, or turn right). Read more about the tech-enabled white cane developed by these innovative students and check out a list and descriptions of similar assistive technologies that are currently on the market.

Back to the Future
It's always exciting to look to the future but, sometimes we need to look back first. The year is 1964, I'm a five-year old at the World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens and the future is all around me. My memories of the Fair are vivid because it was like nothing I, or anyone else, had ever seen or experienced before. My 11-year old brother “driving” the car on the Ford's Magic Skyway past scenes featuring dinosaurs, cavemen and a futuristic cityscape. General Electric's Progressland where we were seated in a revolving auditorium called the Carousel of Progress watching an audio-animatronic presentation of the progress of electricity in the home. And the summer of ’64 was so oppressively hot that for the first time ever, I saw my parents drink beer at the Schaefer Pavilion. It’s hard to believe but in a little more than a year, the year 2020 will be upon us. While we won’t have a World’s Fair to tell us what life will be like in 2020, we do have this thing called the internet where we can find some predictions for what will be trending that year and in the years to come. Here are two interesting predictions for what the workplace and the look of our bathrooms (2 places where we spend a lot of time) will look like. And in the design world, color will influence everything, from what we buy to what we wear.

Get Into the ‘Swing’ of the Holiday Season
Since the Holidays are almost here, we are going to cheat a little and end with a Today’s Read that ran last December. And since holiday music never really goes out of style, this feature take a more traditional approach to the music of the season. Last December, we presented an offbeat take on some obscure holiday tunes but for this story we went back to some familiar music roots. To get into the “Swing” of things, we invite you to take a listen to these jazzy renditions in the hopes you’ll find the spirit of the season before Saint Nick makes his appearance.

Finally, we all know that the holidays are often filled with last minute shopping at packed stores, catching flights at crowded airports and quite possibly a little too much family time. To help you get through it all, the Jobson staff would like to share our favorite seasonal drinks with you. So, whether you like it shaken or stirred, we can all raise a glass to getting in the holiday spirit. Happy Holidays to all from your friends at Vision Monday and Jobson.