COLORFUL SUMMER EYEWEAR / PAGE 6 ART FOR THE BLIND / PAGE 40 April 2010 • Volume 4, Issue 28 • www.ECPmag.com
Vol. 4 Issue 28
Courtesy of Charmant USA
COLORFUL SUMMER EYEWEAR Brighten up your practice for the Summer with the latest in colorful eyewear. by Amy Endo, ABOM, CPOT
STRATEGIC DISPENSARY MANAGEMENT In todayâ€™s optical environment, in-depth strategic management is more important than ever.
by Warren McDonald, PhD
READING CARD SALES Customized reading cards are a great way to alert your patients to all your products and services. by Anthony Record ABO/NCLE, RDO
VISUAL FATIGUE SYNDROME Education about the affects of eye fatigue is important as computers become increasingly ubiquitous. by Carrie Wilson, BS, LDO, ABOAC, NCLEC
COLOR OF THE YEAR The use of trendy and enticing colors has the unique ability to attract potential customers. by Judy Canty, ABO/NCLE
ART FOR THE BLIND The loss of their sight has not kept a number of remarkable individuals from appreciating the beauty of art. by Elmer Friedman, OD
On The Cover: US OPTICAL LLC 800-445-2773 www.USOPTICAL.com
Departments EDITOR/VIEW .....................................................................................................4 MOVERS AND SHAKERS.................................................................................12 MOBILE OPTICIAN .........................................................................................32 ADVERTISER INDEX .......................................................................................44 INDUSTRY QUICK ACCESS............................................................................47 LAST LOOK .......................................................................................................50
Editor / view
by Jeff Smith
Publisher/Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Smith Production/Graphics Manager. . . . . . . . . . . Bruce S. Drob Director, Advertising Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . Lynnette Grande Contributing Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judy Canty, Dee Carew, Harry Chilinguerian, Timothy Coronis, Amy Endo, Bob Fesmire, Elmer Friedman, Lindsey Getz, Ginny Johnson, Jim Magay, Warren McDonald, Anthony Record, Carrie Wilson Technical Editor . . . . . . . . Brian A. Thomas, P.h.D, ABOM Internet Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terry Adler Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ are those of the individual writers exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ assume no responsibility toward independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.
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EDITORIAL OFFICES 111 E. Pennsylvania Blvd. Feasterville, PA 19053 (215) 355-6444 • Fax (215) 355-7618 www.ECPmag.com editor@ECPmag.com EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ is published monthly by OptiCourier, Ltd. Delivered by Third Class Mail Volume 4 Number 28 TrademarkSM 1994 by OptiCourier, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher.
OptiCourier, Ltd. makes no warranty of any kind, either expressed, or implied, with regard to the material contained herein. OptiCourier, Ltd. is not responsible for any errors and omissions, typographical, clerical and otherwise. The possibility of errors does exist with respect to anything printed herein. It shall not be construed that OptiCourier, Ltd. endorses, promotes, subsidizes, advocates or is an agent or representative for any of the products, services or individuals in this publication. Purpose: EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ is a publication dedicated to providing information and resources affecting the financial well-being of the Optical Professional both professionally and personally. It is committed to introducing a wide array of product and service vendors, national and regional, and the myriad cost savings and benefits they offer.
For Back Issues and Reprints contact Jeff Smith, Publisher at 800-914-4322 or by Email: jeff@ECPmag.com Copyright © 2010 by OptiCourier Ltd. All Rights Reserved
4 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2010
Attitude YEWEAR AND LENSES have changed from being drab prosthetics to eye-catching accessories, so your sales approach must be altered to reflect these changes. The attitude you bring to the dispensary and your process of dealing with patients profoundly affects your ability to provide the best in care and service. You can use all the techniques ever written about sales & dealing with patients, but not bringing some excitement and fun into the process is completely missing the point.
Can you imagine a sales clerk at an upscale clothing boutique handing a customer one of the latest fashions and saying, “Here, this is the latest fashion; try it on if you think it looks nice.” More likely they will say, “Look, here’s the latest fashion... isn’t it stunning! It would look so good on you, why don’t you try it on and see.” The same type of approach, or at least a modified form of it, should be used in the fashion business of eyewear. You are providing the benefit of making sure the frame the patient chooses is appropriate for the prescription and their lifestyle, while at the same time reducing the cost of having to wear glasses by guiding them to fashionable frames they will enjoy wearing. Remember, for some patients if the cost of wearing glasses exceeds the benefits of better vision and fashion, they won’t perceive the value of wearing glasses and may not wear them when they need to. You are not “selling” anything, but rather offering guidance so they will choose stylish and functional frames that provide real value. When showing frames, be aware of the personality of the patient. Try matching the frame style, and your approach, with the patient’s personality. If they seem more conservative minded, then you might have to calm your approach and present more conventional styles, while still maintaining an undercurrent of enthusiasm. With a more extroverted patient, you can really have some fun. Don’t be afraid to have them try on some of the more outlandish frames ... you never know. At the very least it will often get them thinking in a different fashion direction and is a good way to move the patient off the same style they’ve had for the past 10 years! You might even find that a frame style you thought no one would look good in really does work for them. If you are excited, your infectious enthusiasm will most certainly rub off on the patient, hopefully creating a satisfied and “chic” customer for life.
The Colors of
1. Silver Dollar Silver Dollar Optical is adding new styles to its Kids Central Collection. Classic and contemporary styles will be available in full metals, zyls and one combination zyl/metal frame in an array of color combinations. KC1620 is a laminated zyl with a flower adorned metal, spring hinge temple and comes in colors of caramel, mauve and lavender. www.silverdollaroptical.com 2. Revolution Eyewear Ed Hardy Eyewear has rocked the world with the embellishments on temples not seen in any other brand. Now Revolution Eyewear takes the temple to a new level with the Ed Hardy Street Collection. Look through the Windows of color. Youthful, Fun and Innovative at a remarkable price point. www.revolutioneyewear.com
3. Ronit Furst Ronit Furst hand painted eyewear introduces new bright colors for summer 2010 collection of fun yet sophisticated ophthalmic and sunglass frames. These extraordinary hand painted optical frames feature the amazing range of hand painted glass wear by talented Israeli artist, Ronit FĂźrst. www.ronitfurst-usa.com
COLORS, COLORS & MORE COLORS. This summer itâ€™s all about wearing distinctive hues, so you might want to show frames in colors such as ivory, lavender, lilac, lemon yellow, mint green, light blue, and grayish, pink or coral pink.
4. Charmant LACOSTE: Women’s style BERMUDA uses color blocks that extend from their wide temples into the frames for a sharp graphic effect. BERMUDA’s larger-than-life frames are red-carpet ready in black, demi brown, dark brown, grey and white. The beach theme includes men’s style BARBADOS featuring color blocking details as well to give this classic style a directional flavor. BARBADOS has a color pop that extends from the temple into the frame and is available in black, green, havana, navy and white. www.charmant-usa.com 5. Modo Handcrafted in Japan, the 3.1 phillip lim collection covers an array of shapes and inspirations – from retro to oversized, flat to curved, round and square. Japanese gold, brown wood and crystal taupe are part of the new set. Shades of pink and purple give the collection a vivid character. Another unique addition is the translucent frame Judith in crystal-taupe, a chromatic effect which adds to the uniqueness of the shape. www.modobiz.com
6. Morel Eyewear Koali takes us to the watery depths of the Atlantic Ocean. In creating these new optical models, the designer was inspired by the axinella: a very colorful sea sponge. Available in 5 eye-shapes, 4 rimmed frames and one semi-rimless front, Axinelle draws on contrasts, offering a range of unique colors. Combining sensibility and originality, the injected plastic temples have an almost plant-like appearance: a velvety-textured colored elastomer that hugs the temples. www.morel-france.com
YOU’S, Palm Optical brand new Buzz division eyewear line, is a fashion-forward, beautifully colored, Dutch designed line of affordably priced eyewear. It features intricate metalwork, artistically painted temples, a youthful sensibility and shapes that flatter nearly every sized face. Made from top materials such as stainless steel, monel and grylamide TR 90, this collection provides both fashion and durability. www.youseyes.com
The McGee Group
Daphne is a semi-rimless frame that offers a modified rectangle eyeshape and handmade acetate temples. This style features adjustable nosepads and the Vera Bradley logo on the temple tips. Daphne also includes beautiful rhinestone encrusted embellishments on the temples and the latest Vera Bradley designs on the interior of the temples. Daphne features three Vera Bradley designs, Poppy Fields and Totally Turq, and Carnaby. www.mcgeegroup.com
Global Optique Luxottica
Tory Burch TY 7001: Mixing metal hardware with acetate frames, this chic style redefines the cat eye. This design is completed with an oblong square-shaped frame, high arms engraved with the Tory Burch brand “T,” and a faded lens. www.luxottica.com
Fitovers® Fitovers® Eyewear introduces a bold new frame color, “Purple Haze”. This color is one of many new colors that Fitovers® Eyewear has released for 2010. Purple Haze is available in the Aurora, Element, and Jett frame styles. www.fitovers.com
Paola Belle’s PB373 and PB369 boast a classy shape with a hint of avant-garde design. These newcomers are available in a variety of vivacious colors (PB373- black and red, purple and raspberry and PB369 (shown)-summer brown, black and purple and simply purple). Both models are assembled employing superb technologies and materials (such as double-laminated coloration and hand-made from fine European Zyl). www.globaloptique.com
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ProDesign ProDesign 9908-12: A perfect example of how fresh contrasting colors can emphasize the whole design of a frame. The metallic color of the front adds depth to the design and brings out the three-dimensional detail of the frame. This new collection from Gail Spence does not deny her background as a jeweler or her creative pursuit of functional, simple and beautiful solutions. www.prodesigndenmark.com
Kenmark is adding five new optical frames into its Thalia Eyewear collection this Spring. New styles are available in full rim acetates, semi-rimless and rimless designs. Several frames feature spring hinges and adjustable nosepads for added comfort. The Gardenia is an acetate, modern shaped frame featuring a laser etched floral pattern cut out on the temples to reveal a bottom layer of color. Available in colors: black, brown and burgundy. www.kenmarkoptical.com
The Lipstick Eyewear Collection is targeted at women 18-45 years old, and features ten frames, three in acetate and seven in metal. Chic, sleek and a little bit flirty, these frames are contemporary designs for the fashion forward female. Each Lipstick frame comes in its own rich â€œLipstickâ€? pink vinyl case, where inside hides a mirror and custom lipstick holder, perfect for touch-ups on the go. www.remeyewear.com
Cinzia Designs Trendies presents a collection filled with funky, offbeat shapes in the hottest seasonal colors. The initial roll-out of nearly 20 new styles consists of readers, sunreaders, and 8 new additions to the coveted pocket eyes series of foldable readers in their own case, small enough for the tiniest clutch or smallest pocket. Four different styles of bifocal sunreaders round out the debut collection that will appeal to men and women alike. www.trendiesbycinzia.com
The Diane von Furstenberg Eyewear Collection features sun and optical frames inspired by iconic DVF design elements, such as the wrap dress, lip print, love knot, and power stone. Color also plays an integral role both in subtle prints and customized zyls. DVF511S is a vintage inspired cat eye sunglass that uses proprietary carved zyl to reveal colorful patterns. It is available in a rich color palette of Black Merlot, Brown Teal, Teal Gold and Hot Pink Granite. www.marchon.com
A Palette of Options Could it be the effects of the summer? Or, maybe it’s simply because it’s almost the midyear and we’re beginning to settle in? Nonetheless, whatever the reason may be, here are the “in” colors this summer. Let's find out which shades can help spruce up your dispensary this summer.
Neutral Colors Neutral colors can be combined with nearly every shade and color. Some of the nicest neutral colors available this summer are: Soft beige, light brown, taupe and light steel gray.
Softly Tinted Pales Softly tinted pales or pastels will provide you with a gentle, subtle look. They can also easily be combined with most neutrals and darks. Look for these softly tinted pales this summer: Light pink, pea green, aqua and pink.
Mid-tone Series Combine mid-tone colors with whites for a crisp look, or with taupe-based neutrals for a softer, more comfortable look. Choose from these mid-tone colors: Eggplant purple and evergreen, lime green and coral.
Deep Brights “Deep brights” are generally seen on women, but this summer all colors are "in" for men. Try some of these deep bright colors: Teal, fucshia, blue violet and bright red.
Darks Darks are generally more popular during colder seasons; however, when combined with neutrals like cement, blued gray, putty, or khaki, they can make a major impact for summer.
Wild Colors It’s all about wearing distinctive hues, so you might want to show off in colors such as ivory, lavender, lilac, lemon yellow, mint green, light blue, and grayish or coral pink. Then again, wild colors might not suit everyone’s taste and style, so make sure you feel comfortable wearing them before buying them.
Amy Endo, ABOM, CPOT firstname.lastname@example.org
VSP Global VSP Global has announced the VSP Global Board of Directors elected Timothy Jankowski, O.D., F.A.A.O. as Chairman of the Board for a term of two years. A practicing optometrist for 30 years, Dr. Jankowski has served on the board Timothy Jankowski of directors since 1999 and as vice chairman since 2008. Dr. Jankowski is an active member of the community and the optometric industry including the American Optometric Association, California Optometric Association and the Rio Hondo Optometric Society. SM
Bausch & Lomb Bausch & Lomb has named Fred Hassan as chairman of the board of directors and has named Brent Saunders as chief executive officer and appointed him to the board of directors, effective immediately. Current chairman Fred Hassan and CEO Gerald M. Ostrov is retiring, and will serve as a consultant to the new leaders. Hassan served most recently as chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough Corporation until its merger with Merck & Co. in November 2009. Saunders was previously senior vice president and president of Schering-Plough’s Consumer Brent Saunders Healthcare unit, where he implemented a successful growth strategy including expansion into international markets.
Kenmark Group Cynthia McWilliams joins the Kenmark Group as the new VP of Corporate Sales. In her new position, McWilliams will oversee and manage corporate sales for large chain business. She will also work closely with Kenmark’s management Cynthia team to provide guidance and leadership for McWilliams future growth opportunities. McWilliams joins the Kenmark Group from Luxottica, where she was the VP of Key Account Sales. She has held similar management positions at other companies within the optical industry including Viva International.
Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital Brian Spraberry has been named president and chief executive officer of Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital. The Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital (CEFH) is part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) Brian Spraberry
12 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2010
health system. Spraberry, a Birmingham native, received his master’s in health administration at UAB and has served as chief of business development for the University of Mississippi Medical Center since 2007.
Viva International Group Viva International Group has named Kelly O’Grady as director of sales, West. In his new role, O’Grady will oversee and manage all sales activities for that region, including independent optical, key accounts and alliance Kelly O’Grady customers. He has held similar national sales management roles, including those in the gift and specialty products arena, working with licensed products and expanding upon entertainment licenses.
Robertson Optical Laboratories Dan Floyd recently joined the sales team of Robertson Optical Laboratories of Atlanta (Loganville) and is serving various territories in Georgia. He is a Georgia-licensed optician with 33 years of eye care industry experience. Dan Floyd His most recent position was territorial sales manager of HOYA Vision America. He has also provided sales for such companies as Ralph Lauren Polo.
Leybold Optics Leybold Optics has announced the appointment of Antonio Requena as General Manager Optics Division, effective since January 1. He will report to Kurt Hakansson, who has been leading as the Leybold Optics corporation Antonio Requena since October 2009 as CEO. Requena has 20 years experience in the optics and vacuum thin film industry and is currently president of Leybold Optics USA. Based in Alzenau Germany, he will remain president of Leybold Optics USA, while George Kim will be appointed vice president of Leybold Optics USA.
Luxottica Group Leadership of Luxottica Group’s wholesale division in North America will be assumed by Andrea Dorigo on May 1. Dorigo, most recently the Luxottica Group’s London-based wholesale director for Northern Europe, will replace Pierre Fay, who will be leaving the Luxottica organization at that time. Dorigo, who joined Luxottica in 2005, started his Luxottica career in a wholesale corporate capacity in Milan. Over the years, he expanded his responsibilities to manage various subsidiaries.
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New Thermal Transfer Printer from Arch Crown The Zebra GK420T thermal transfer desktop label printer offers a 4-inch print width capability. This new model provides value in a basic desktop printer with a print speed of 5â€? per second at 203 DPI resolution. The GK420T has a sleek and compact design, boasts one of the easiest ribbon loading system on the market, and supports a variety of applications for the office, warehouse, lab or store. Zebraâ€™s affordable GK420T fulfills a multitude of labeling requirements. Arch Crown offers a complete line of Zebra thermal transfer printers. For more info go to www.ArchCrown.com
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The 21st Century Optician Warren G. McDonald, PhD Professor of Health Administration Reeves School of Business / Methodist University
For The Eye Care Professional, Part IV WE BEGAN the discussion of Strategic Management several months ago and will end the series this month.
wants and needs of our patients/customers. That may require some revision from time to time as well, and to maintain our competitive position, we must have all our internal pieces in place. Let’s get started! Directional Strategies: Mission How many small optical organizations have ever thought about a mission statement? What is it? A definition I regularly use can be summarized by the following: • The mission of an organization indicates what the organization really is about. Who it is and what it does. It is its “distinctiveness” among other organizations. • It is broadly defined and states the purpose of the organization
To date we have reflected upon the purpose of strategy in our operations and attempted to provide some food for thought as you begin to look to the future of your organization. We have described the importance of environmental analysis for your organization, both from an external and an internal perspective. This month we wrap up with some insights into developing appropriate directional strategies. No matter how large or small, an organization must have an appropriate vision for the future. They need a solid understanding of their mission (mission statement), they must set realistic goals and objectives, and most importantly, they must review and constantly assess each of those goals and objectives to maintain positive growth. As we described in the second article, there are many environmental influences that can affect us. We need to meet this head on, and if we do not know where we are going, or who we currently are, we are like a ship floundering on the ocean without a rudder. We also must be internally sound to meet the
The mission lets us, and the environments in which we operate know who we are and what we do. Now, that may sound simplistic, but it is vitally important. Do your employees know what you do? Of course, but often in the day-to-day operations we sometimes forget. It is helpful to have a well-placed statement of the mission on the wall for all to see in order to remind us and keep us focused on the mission. Go to any hospital, and you will see it in many places. Seeing the mission statement lets the patients they serve know how the organization views their role. These statements target the population they serve, and indicate the products or services offered. They define the philosophy of the organization and share that philosophy with all those who enter. Mission statements are generally developed by those at the top of the organization, but with input from all of the staff and stakeholders. Directional Strategies: Vision The vision of the organization also comes from the senior leadership, and should state where the organization wishes to go in Continued on page 18
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WHEN A S N E L R O D I R R O C T R O H S IT F T S E B E IS TH
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the future. It asks what you want to be down the road. Vision is something that may be difficult to teach. It requires an individual have an ability to see the potential and then be able to communicate it to the organization. Once communicated, the organization must accept it. Without acceptance by all parties, it can never be effective, so the communication piece is very important. Make sure you have a vision for your organization, and then communicate it effectively to the staff so that your vision becomes theirs. When all of the people involved pull in the same direction, we can then move into the future and achieve that goal. Characteristics of vision include: • Inspiring • Clear and Challenging • Sensible • Stable but Challenged • Directive • Empowering • Futuristic • Detailed
1. Relate specifically to activities that are critical to accomplish the mission. 2. Link the success factors to the strategic momentum (carrying out the objectives). 3. Limited in number and achievable. 4. Come from the leadership, but should be accepted and appreciated by everyone. Goals are not developed willy-nilly. We must carefully design our goals to make sure they follow the above guidelines. Goals should be measurable and obtainable. Setting goals outside our capabilities will do nothing more than set us up for failure, and that sends the wrong message. I have a friend who sells frames. His company sets unrealistic goals, and then can’t figure out why they never achieve them. It causes significant turnover and hurts all of those involved. They are not doing well, and will not until they learn to set realistic goals. Make sure you provide goals that are achievable, and also develop objectives...short term goals, if you will, that help us reach our overall goal. This aids the organization’s overall workplace satisfaction and will allow us to increase our goals over time. Conclusion
Directional Strategies: Values What are values? They are the core beliefs of the organization. They are the fundamental principles that the organization and those within it live by on a daily basis. It is the moral compass of the organization. Values are easy to establish, but as people change, they can prove difficult to maintain. Symbolism is important here. Think about the United States Marine Corps and their television commercials. The symbol of the young people in their dress blues with crossed swords provides a symbol for us all. The history that is celebrated cements that symbol in our minds. While your organization is probably not the Marine Corps, think about ways you can develop some symbolism. Do you have a well-designed logo or something else that can be associated with your organization? Do you celebrate the history and current activities of the company? Values should be the collective beliefs of all those in the organization. They meld into a single set of values that all live by. It is imperative that the leaders of the organization assure in the hiring process that they bring in people who can add to the overall organizations goals and values and are going to be comfortable in the environment. Directional Strategies: Goals Strategic goals are extremely important to the success of the organization. Goals:
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In summary, strategic management is a process. Beyond the mission, vision, values, and goals and objectives, there are action steps that need to be implemented to make the process work. It is an ongoing activity that includes: 1. Analysis – analyzing specific situations that present themselves as opportunities and based on where we see our market heading. 2. Planning – planning the appropriate strategies to help reach those overall goals and objectives. 3. Implementation – implementing the plan. 4. Evaluation and Control – evaluating our results, and if necessary choosing an alternative strategy if our original plan is not achieving what was expected. This simplistic overview of the process must be revisited regularly. Much like CQI, we must constantly scan the environment for changes and adapt what we are doing to meet them. We must look to the future, and improve, or at least maintain our position through appropriate strategies for success. Unfortunately, we in the eye care industry do more reacting than strategically positioning ourselves for the future, and it is my sincere hope that this series has stimulated you to at least think about strategic management. I know it can make you more competitive in your marketplace. We can react, or be the leader that sets the tone. What is your strategy for the future? ■
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Receive a scratch-off card with every pair of Seiko Internal Free-Form or double-aspheric 1.67 Super MV single vision lenses that you purchase from a participating independent lab during the months of February, March & April, 2010. Scratch-off prize: $1 to $100 cash, or chances to win Seiko watches and clocks. Each card returned will be entered into a drawing for a Hawaii Dream Vacation worth up to $5,000 (grand prize), a flat screen TV (second prize), or $500 American Express Gift Card (third prize). We recommend you save and submit all entries at the end of the promotion, but no later than May 31, 2010. Cash will be paid by check on or about June 30, 2010. Grand prize drawing held June 15, 2010. Fraudulent, mutilated, incomplete, or illegible cards will not be honored. We are not responsible for lost, late or misdirected mail. For complete details, visit www.seikoeyewear.com.
Managing Optician Anthony Record, ABO/NCLE, RDO
ONE GOOD IDEA Vision Expo East 2010 is history. Held in New York in early spring and in Las Vegas in the fall, Vision Expo is the premier optical event that every Eye Care Professional should attend.
had the privilege of presenting four, 2-hour continuing education classes in the Big Apple this year, and something that happened in one of those classes has inspired me to pass on to everyone what I have modestly called “One Good Idea.”
The final class I taught was 212° Dispensing, and as attendees were exiting through the back doors, a woman named Christine approached me at the front of the room. “I just wanted to thank you for the great class,” she said, “I’m walking away with a bunch of great ideas.” It was gratifying to hear, and I responded to Christine by saying, “Thank you. It’s always a good thing when you can leave a class with a lot of great ideas.” That’s when she said something that really got me thinking. With a real seriousness of purpose she told me, “Are you kidding me? If I can walk away with just one good idea from a class, then I think it was worthwhile.” She went on to explain what a “good idea” is: Anything that can make work a little more enjoyable or less stressful; something that might increase sales or decrease problems; something that is new or innovative – all of those things qualified as good ideas in Christine’s mind. What a rare and refreshing attitude and approach to CE hours! With that in mind, and as a sort of homage to Christine, I decided that perhaps that same approach to an article you read in a professional journal might be appropriate. So I decided to think about all of the ideas that were discussed during those eight hours of classes I taught, and share one good idea with all of you. It was something I presented during a class called The One-Minute Optician. It is a two-hour class where we discuss dozens of ideas, all designed to make our practice of opticianry
more effective (good ideas, Christine would say). Judging by everyone’s positive reaction to the idea, and the fact that only 3 of the more than 150 attendees said that they had actually done this themselves, I settled on this as my one good idea. Here it is: Why not make your own reading cards? I thought of doing this many years ago in my own practice, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if the idea was born so much out of brilliance as it was boredom. I mean after twenty years on the front lines, I was getting damn tired of listening to patients read out loud, “I walked up the street gazing about, until near the marketplace I met a boy with bread.” Despite the fact that line is an excerpt from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, if I heard it one more time I might have lost it. Some of you can relate to similar tedium from hearing, “To make the cake, beat and soften the eggs...” Some of you may have your patients reading aloud from what amounts to a self-service instruction sheet on how to use progressive lenses...boring! Why not use the reading card as a tool to help open the door to a necessary second pair of eyeglasses. The beauty of this concept is that you can say whatever you like on your card, but here are some excerpts from my reading cards, which might serve to inspire you to create your own. J-1 and J-2 reads: “It is important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Polarized lenses can also eliminate all of the annoying and sometimes blinding glare that is reflected off highways, lakes, and rivers. Polarized lenses can also allow a fisherman to see several feet into the water. Can you give me a demonstration of how they work?” My answer? Of course, I can! Continued on page 22
20 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2010
J-3: “I should probably have a second pair of eyeglasses in case something ever happens to these. If I lost them or they were broken, I would be in big trouble! With the prices that Max Optics offers, I should really probably order another pair. Let’s talk about it.” And talk we do. J-4 is one of my favorite, and has led to countless impulse orders: “Sometimes when I am reclining when I watch TV, it becomes difficult to see because my bifocals actually get in the way. Tell me about how I could get a pair of glasses that I could use just for watching the television.” J-5 is a good one to ask patients to read who rejected AR on their glasses: “Anti-reflective lenses can help to eliminate annoying reflections and halos around headlights and streetlights, making night driving more comfortable. AR makes night driving safer too, as studies show that people driving with AR lenses have significantly improved reaction time.” J-10 is loud and clear: “Max Optics is proud to provide you with your eyeglasses or contact lenses. Offering quality goods at reasonable prices, with efficient service and great warranties is what Max is all about. Telling your friends and family about Max Optics is the greatest compliment of all. Thank you for your patronage.” With the information provided below, you can easily create a reading card in no time at all, using programs like Word, Power Point, or Publisher. Here is a step-by-step guide to making it happen: 1. Write six paragraphs of about 50-60 words, choosing carefully what messages you want to share with your patients. I don’t mind if you use mine, but why not consult your staff and collectively come up with something creative and unique to
“I’m walking away with a bunch of great ideas.” It was gratifying to hear, and I responded to Christine by saying, “Thank you. It’s always a good thing when you can leave a class with a lot of great ideas.” your practice. If you involve the whole staff they’ll be more excited about using the cards and reporting on their successes. 2. Be sure to print your text on bright-white, plain copy paper. You might be inclined to use card stock or photograph paper – but don’t do it! Card stock is too thick and most photograph paper will cause the lamination to bubble and eventually lose its integrity. 3. Use a paper cutter, not scissors, to cut the cards to size. If you do not have access to a paper cutter, let the folks at your local office store do it for you. 4. Go to an Office Depot or Staples and get the cards laminated. Each one should cost about a dollar. What a great investment! Think also about a creative reverse-side as well. You can use actual sheet music, a newspaper clipping, or the image of an Internet page. The next time you are on your Yahoo or Google home page, use a simple “Function + Print Screen” keystroke. This will “take a picture” of exactly what you see on your screen and store it on your computer’s clipboard. Then with a simple paste command you can incorporate it into a document within any of the progams mentioned above. Why not have different backsides for each of the reading cards? I
Have some fun and see what can happen with this one good idea. J-1
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Through the Lens Carrie Wilson, BS, LDO, ABOAC, NCLEC
COMPUTERS are a necessary part of life. Individuals look at computer screens from the moment they wake to the moment they go to sleep.
OT ONLY ARE COMPUTERS being used for professional use, but recreational use has grown tremendously with the popularity of social sites such as Facebook and games like World of Warcraft. With this increase in computer use, eye fatigue is a common and expected side effect.
Why does eye fatigue occur? Eye fatigue, or asthenopia, is a weakness of the eye that can cause pain, dimmed vision, double vision, nausea and several different types of headaches. The kind of asthenopia that is associated with computer use is accommodative asthenopia, which is due to a strain of the ciliary muscle. To understand what this means, the ECP must have a broad understanding of accommodation. Accommodation, in simple terms, is the change that the eye goes through to enable a person to see an object at various distances. Accommodation is a multistep process that involves the
crystalline lens, ciliary muscles, a cranial nerve and the Zonules of Zinn. How the process works is the: • Brain recognizes a blurred near or intermediate image • Cranial nerve III (oculomotor) is activated. This nerve controls accommodation, papillary constriction and ocular convergence • Eyes converge as the medial recti muscles contract and the pupils undergo miosis, or constriction • Ciliary muscles contract and moves toward the crystalline lens, causing the crystalline lens to move forward • Zonule fibers relax and cause the crystalline lens to bulge, increasing its power • Light is refocused through the lens so that the image falls on the retina Now, when an individual concentrates on something at a close or intermediate distance, the ciliary muscles are in a Continued on page 26
24 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |APRIL 2010
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constant state of contraction. As the contraction continues fatigue sets in and the muscles are forced to begin to relax. When the muscles begin to loosen, the crystalline lens flattens and the image starts to blur slightly. This constant state of contraction can also lead to pain in and around the eye, squinting, headaches as well as a condition known as pseudomyopia. Pseudomyopia is a spasm in the ciliary muscle caused by a constant state of ciliary contraction. When a spasm occurs, distance objects become blurry because the crystalline lens remains in a constant state of accommodation. The eye would then be in a myopic state due to the fact that the eye is now over plus in power from the spasm. All of the images would be focused before the retina just like in traditional myopia. When the spasm releases, vision would go back to normal. In the case of the computer, this situation is aggravated by the construction of the image that the patient is trying to view. Computer images are created by pixels or small dots that are aligned to create the image. However, a pixel does not have the same sharp definition that the printed counterpart contains. This causes the eyes to work harder trying to see the computer image. In addition, the computer screen has a refresh rate that re-draws the screen every so often. This causes further strain on our accommodative mechanism as we try to follow this movement unconsciously. Finally, the glare from the screen and/or the overhead lighting can cause even further accommodative strain. Correcting the Fatigue One of the easiest ways to treat computer eye fatigue syndrome is to provide the patient with computer lenses. By providing spectacle lenses formulated just for computer distance, accommodation relaxes and eyestrain and blurred vision is reduced. The hard part is trying to convince a patient that he or she needs a separate pair of glasses for the computer. Computer glasses are needed for the unusual distance most computers are set in relation to the eye. They are usually positioned 20 to 26 inches from the eye, closer than distance or driving visual needs and farther away than near or reading visual needs. Glasses are not commonly prescribed for this distance. Most single vision glasses are prescribed to correct near or far vision. Bifocal lenses correct near and far but neglect the intermediate area, and other multifocals such as progressives and trifocals have only a small area dedicated to this zone and are inadequate for long time computer use. This inadequacy stems from the unusual head position required to view most computer screens through a progressive or trifocal.
Choosing the Appropriate Lens Intermediate Single Vision Only Lens This computer lens is designed to have only the prescription for computer distance throughout the whole lens. If the patient is in a multifocal prescription, the ECP must take half of the add power and add it to the distance. This provides the intermediate power correction for most cases. The benefits to this lens are that it provides the widest intermediate area possible with no image jump or possibly distracting lines. The main drawback is the lack of a near area. This can be a serious problem because many who work on a computer usually have to look at a near distance also if only to see the keyboard. Flat Top Occupational Lens A modified flat top is a very successful way to ease computer eye fatigue syndrome. The portion of the lens that is usually prescribed to treat distance is modified for intermediate use and the segment remains for near use. To do this, the ECP must create a new add power that is usually 50% of the original add power. This is important because otherwise the near power will be too strong and the lens will be unusable. Although all bifocal widths can be used, the flat top 35 (or wider) is usually the most effective choice. The benefits to using a flat top 35 are very wide, useable areas, the least amount of distortion, and two powers in one lens. The drawback is a line that some patients will find unflattering or distracting. It is important to stress that these spectacles are strictly for the computer/office work and should be left at the work station. Customized Occupational Progressives With baby boomers increasing both their occupational and recreational computer use at a significant rate, many lens companies have developed a progressive lens for computer use. Usually designed to correct for distances of 12 to 48 inches, these lenses offer numerous benefits to the fashion forward individual. The distracting line is removed, image jump is eliminated, and the patient may already be accustomed to progressives in their dress wear. Some of the best occupational progressives on the market today are the Shamir Office™; Zeiss Gradal® RD and Zeiss Business; SOLA Access®; and Essilor® Computer™. The Shamir Office uses a system that the company calls Dynamic Power. Dynamic Power is a slow reduction of power as the lens moves from intermediate to near and is classified by the amount of power that is subtracted from the near power to reach the intermediate distance. Dynamic Power is available in four design classifications: –0.75, –1.25, –1.75, –2.25. This Continued on page 28
“The kind of asthenopia that is associated with computer use is accommodative asthenopia, which is due to a strain of the ciliary muscle.” system is achieved through a proprietary free form manufacturing techniques termed Eyepoint Technology that creates a wide, edge to edge, clear visual path from the intermediate to near areas. The Carl Zeiss Company manufactures the Zeiss Gradal RD, Zeiss Business and the SOLA Access. Each lens is designed to meet the different needs of a patient based on his or her professional and recreational habits. The Zeiss Gradal RD is designed for distances of 10 feet or closer, called Room Distance (RD) by the company. It provides clear vision for all indoor activities and eliminates the “head bobbing” that commonly occurs with traditional progressives.
Base-In and Base out Prism Lenses Horizontal prism lenses may be prescribed when the eyes are not converging appropriately. When the eyes do not converge adequately, a binocular dysfunction occurs resulting in eyestrain and blurred vision. Convergence issues can take the form of converging too little or too much. Both conditions result in the aforementioned eyestrain and blurred vision. Horizontal prism helps the eyes work together more comfortably when viewing intermediate and near objects.
The Zeiss Business lens is a short corridor lens that can fit in the smaller frames and is developed for distances up to 4 feet. The SOLA Access is developed to give high quality vision at distances up to 7 feet while providing an exceptionally wide near area and a larger intermediate area than traditional progressives.
“Computer glasses are needed for the unusual distance most computers are set in relation to the eye. They are usually positioned 20 to 26 inches from the eye, closer than distance or driving visual needs and farther away than near or reading visual needs.” Essilor has developed a lens called the Anti-Fatigue™ Lens. It is different than traditional computer lenses because it is intended for full time wear and it does not follow a progressive type lens design. It has a power boost at the bottom of the lens of a little over a half a diopter that helps to ease eyestrain and fatigue. The lens is intended for myopes experiencing fatigue and emerging presbyopes, making it an excellent lens for those with computer eye fatigue once it has been prescribed. When ordering occupational progressives, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
28 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |APRIL 2010
Conclusion Computer eye fatigue syndrome is an increasing concern and problem today. OSHA estimates that as many as 90% of the United States work force have this condition to one extent or another. It not only causes discomfort for the individual but a decrease in productivity and enjoyment for the ever increasing computer using population. It is the job of the ECP to not only uncover these issues but to help his or her patients by providing the correct computer lens to ease this situation. Careful questioning of your patient’s visual habits will translate into more sales of these computer specific lenses. But more importantly, by helping patients see clearly at all distances for greater lengths of time, the ECP is improving the quality of their patient’s lives. And isn’t that why we became ECPs in the first place? ■
Essilor Launches ECP Website, Acquires Majority in FramesDirect.com Essilor of America announced last month that it is launching MyOnlineOptical.com, an e-commerce Web site for independent eyecare professionals. Following a successful Beta test with a limited number of ECPs, in partnership with FramesDirect.com, Essilor has expanded the availability of the offering which enables ECPs to provide optical products online to their current and future patients. In order to secure and deploy the service, Essilor has acquired a majority stake in FramesDirect.com, an online eyewear vendor. Essilor did not disclose the extent of its stake in the company. “E-commerce is rapidly emerging in our industry as more consumers enjoy the convenience of online purchasing,” said John Carrier, president, Essilor of America. “However, a solution including the ECP did not exist and our research indicated that most ECPs felt ill-equipped to compete. As long time industry partners, Essilor felt responsible to provide our customers with a solution to meet this challenge.”
“Eyeglass e-commerce is undeniably becoming a reality in today’s ophthalmic industry worldwide,” said Randolph E. Brooks, OD, American Optometric Association president, which has declared its full support for the venture. “We’ve received positive feedback from the Beta test and believe that MyOnlineOptical.com will provide optometrists with an opportunity to compete with online entities by offering additional visual correction solutions, and therefore increase patient retention and promote healthy practice growth.” Essilor said any optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist in the U.S. with a “brick and mortar” store can utilize MyOnlineOptical.com. The site allows ECPs to “maintain complete control, determining the product pricing and selection, and preserving the look and feel of their practice Web sites,” according to Essilor. “ECPs can provide patients with up to 100,000 eyeglass options, and keep them from walking out the door to a competitive offering,” the company said.
Gunnar Optiks Partners With Revolution Eyewear to Supply 3D Clip-Ons Gunnar Optiks, a leading manufacturer of digital performance eyewear, announced that the company has partnered with Revolution Eyewear to supply Gunnar i-AMP3D lenses, a premium 3D polarized lens technology, for use in Revolution’s patented magnetic clip-on product line. Gunnar Optiks is the first company to develop a full package of lens and frame solutions that address the needs of demanding digital media users. A recent extension of their core technology, Gunnar’s i-AMP3D lens technology brings performance optics that have previously been reserved for only the highest level of movie making to today’s 3D viewer. Compatible with RealD movies, this innovative lens technology enhances and enriches the viewing experience by providing precision machined, optical quality lenses in place of the cheap, disposable eyewear typically offered by movie theaters.
30 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2010
Revolution Eyewear is a worldwide leader in auxiliary, magnetic clip-on eyewear, a category of eyeglass accessories that allows users to easily add sun lenses by magnetically attaching them under their existing corrective eyewear. In a similar manner, with Gunnar i-AMP 3D lenses mounted in Revolution’s patented system, end users can adapt their eyewear for 3D movie viewing. This innovation benefits an enormous number of moviegoers since prescription wearers previously had no choice but to wear a pair of movie-theater glasses over their own eyewear. “We create the most aesthetically pleasing and best quality eyewear in our category,” said Gary Martin, president and CEO of Revolution Eyewear. “We are proud and extremely excited to join forces with Gunnar Optiks in creating a new, leading-edge category: 3D-Enabled Magnetic Clip-Ons.” continued Martin. “This new product category is as innovative and exciting as any other product we have ever offered.”
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The Mobile Optician Ginny Johnson, LDO, ABOC
Too Much Time On My Hands Big Ben requires group effort. Working a clock punching position at the same location everyday works well for some ECPs. It can take ongoing training for the punctually challenged ECP with endless excuses. Everyone needs to be in the same time zone as your timely practice. Set your watch, cell phone, automobile clock (whatever device you use to keep accurate time) to match the practice’s time. Call ahead if you know you are going to be late. We sometimes waste more time explaining why it took us so long to get there once we get there. If it is not life threatening or life changing, don’t make a grand adrenaline rush entrance and disturb everyone else. It takes just as much effort, if not more, to be late for work. Save that adrenaline rush and your reputation, you are going to need them.
T-T-T-T-T-Ticking away Too much time on my hands and there’s so much more to do... Time is a vast subject that can be valued, wasted, lost track of, scheduled, abused, to name a few. We each have our own concept of time which we define individually. How we spend our time unveils what is important to us. Our perception of time can change over time. Please allow me a few minutes of your valuable time as I broach this subject from the eyes of a Mobile Optician. Throw a talented group of ECPs together in a practice with time commitments and deadlines and there’s never a dull moment. Aligning each individual’s perception of time with the practice’s 32 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2010
Anyone in charge of scheduling for the practice might agree that it can be compared to a time bomb. Each practice has probably experienced an ECP with explosive type behavior (not using their inside voice) over a scheduling issue. This can cause disastrous consequences for the entire staff as well as the patients. Your scheduling squad has to work ever so carefully not to ignite a combustion. They are aware that we all function at different levels of effectiveness during different times of the day. Our energy levels fluctuate depending on blood sugar, routine distractions, stress, hydration and squad team morale. False alarms such as noshow patients and last minute schedule changes continue to be a real nuisance. Warnings of vacating the premises, private appointments, travel destinations and seeking new grounds are frequently voiced. If ECPs fear their chances of survival, they will find another bomb shelter. Hats off to the scheduling squad! You are the bomb! Continued on page 34
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Staying on task after arrival to the office is often hard to do with a busy daily agenda. Time is money when we’re on someone else’s dime. Just when you thought the patient flow and your paperless work were smooth sailing, a snag comes along. Take a wild guess as to what snag I am referring to? If you guessed third party insurance, I’m sorry, you’re incorrect. The snag I am referring to is cell phone/text messaging. Every practice should have realistic cell phone boundaries. If your practice forbids you from bringing your cell phone inside the building, this does not apply to you, so skip to the next paragraph. Unless you are being sneaky by keeping your forbidden cell phone tucked in your sock and taking frequent restroom breaks. Don’t worry, time will tell, if your cell phone boundary abiding co-worker doesn’t. Save your Bluetooth for hands free activities outside of the practice. Please make sure to silence your ringtones while you are at work. Timing is everything. Have you ever noticed how they ring and sing on high volume at the worst possible times? It’s the fastest I’ve ever seen some ECPs move trying to get to it. Marvin Gaye and barking dogs were the two latest ringtones (oops) I have heard in practices. Trust me, they were not entertaining at the time. ECPs play an important role in the patient’s overall visual health which requires undivided time and attention. Sometimes it is hard as heck to stay in the moment with a long winded patient when we are pressed for time. We also have a hard time understanding how other staff members can spend so much time with patients that we would deem to be a waste of time. Try to relax and stay in the moment. I have to think back on a patient I worked with in 1993. She came to pick up her new eyewear and was tearful as she thanked us. Her plans were to commit suicide the same day she was in our office because she had recently been diagnosed with AIDS. She said that the patient care we provided her that day is what saved her life. That was 17 years ago and it’s still a huge reminder to me that our patients should be priceless to us. We can get so caught up in the numbers game and the patient dollar signs mentality. If we can just remember that staying in the moment has its rewards to. Let’s face(book) it, computers with internet access in our practices are here to stay. There are websites that we are required to use for certain ordering, insurance verification, filing claims...etc. And then there’s...Facebook. Before you lock down and tighten the computer reins on your staff, think about the business. Sit down with the staff and discuss the pros and cons of using Facebook for business purposes.
Facebook For Business Purposes • What are the advertising needs of our practice? • Do we need to recruit additional staff members? • How much time will be spent on Facebook daily, weekly? • Do we want to introduce new products? • Do we want to have promotions? • Who’s going to manage the Facebook page? • Ability to connect with others in the industry • Event invitations • Target specific audiences • Posting links, blogs, photos, videos • Questions & Answers section • Develop a plan to avoid meandering Lastly I want to share a few common ECP habits that ruffle CEO feathers. If you are not being paid to perform these activities on company time, then stop doing them. Just because you think you should be entitled to do so, unless you own the place, don’t go there. • Checking personal email, Facebook • Cell phone/texting • Taking longer breaks than allowed • Paying your personal bills online • Shopping online • Watching YouTube videos • Excess printing of information for personal use • Lengthy staying visitors To the CEO’s with ruffled feathers, maybe you can take these habits and use them in your practice in a positive way. How about using them when ECPs go above and beyond their call of duty? Write some habit coupons and hand them out as rewards for a job well done. Let them text, take a long lunch, show up late, talk on the phone... on your business terms. Unleash the creativity so they won’t have too much time on their hands. I
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The Color of the Year 2010 is... TURQUOISE. Pantone is pleased to announce PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, an inviting, luminous hue, as the Color of the Year for 2010. Combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, Turquoise inspires thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a comforting escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of wellbeing. —pantone.com WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Because it’s everywhere...clothing, shoes, home fashions, jewelry and of course, eyewear. So what, you say. The year’s nearly half over. Maybe, but it was the bad half, with the lousy weather and the still-shaky economy. The good half is here. The half with more sunshine than night. It just feels better...happier, more positive. AND? Well, Fashion Week was in New York City in February and they weren’t showing Spring and Summer stuff. They were showing Fall and Winter stuff. Time is flying! So the fact that turquoise is the color for 2010 means that you should be using it in your store NOW. Perhaps you could show it in your case selection. It should be in your frame merchandising, especially if you are fortunate enough to have display windows. I’m not recommending that you buy and then try to sell turquoise colored eyewear, just that the little things that make a good display and tell a good story ought to include that color. The nice thing about the color of the year is that it will coordinate with all four seasons. I checked and these are the colors for Fall and Winter: • Endive—a sort of yellow-green • Golden Glow—yeah, it’s gold, just not shiny gold • Living Coral—kinda like salmon, but pink-er • Purple Orchid—bright but not electric purple • Chocolate Truffle—a very rich, plum-y brown • Lagoon—looks a lot like Turquoise
• Woodbine—a muted, woodsy green with a little yellow • Oyster Grey—a very soft grey • Rose Dust—a beige pink that’s almost a neutral color What do all these colors have in common? They look great with a turquoise accent. It might just be me, but a number of those Fall/Winter colors sound and look like frame colors. According to Laurie Pressman and Leatrice Eiseman of Pantone, “There is no doubt that in today’s complex and challenging marketplace, color has the unique ability to attract and engage the eye, elicit emotion, enhance the product or environment and ultimately tempt the consumer or client. In fact, color is the catalyst that can spark the sale, define the space and create the magic and the mood.” They also advise that when money is tight there is concern about the longevity of a color and people have a tendency to play it safe by choosing neutrals. We see that in the continued popularity of tortoise shell, black and brown frames. Perhaps you should be looking for women’s frames with the color on the inside or as part of a temple design. Or you could suggest fashion-forward colors for readers or computer eyewear. Again, Pressman and Eiseman suggest that to combat these challenging times, they caution retailers today not to overlook the strategic use of color in their product selections, believing that it is important to be mindful of creating visual excitement in their stores.“In an environment where consumers are cutting back on their spending, it would be a mistake to overlook this fundamental element of human psychology. Additionally, because impulse purchasing is part of the human condition, the simple placement of products that feature unexpected splashes Continued on page 38
36 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |APRIL 2010
of color or unique color combinations, can be a highly effective way to stimulate retail sales.” I’m thinking resale cases, chains, cleaning kits, readers, pocket magnifiers, contact lens cases...all the little doo-dads that don’t cost an arm and a leg and we just want for no good reason. We as smaller retailers have a distinct advantage in today’s marketplace. We can more easily adapt to changes in fashion than our big-box counterparts. However, it will take hard work and a commitment to change to stay ahead of our clients. According to Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Companies, “Comfort is a trend because of the state of crisis we’ve been in, but there’s always a yin to a yang. When we talk to consumers and ask them how many shoes they plan to buy next year, they’ll say that, while they used to buy one quality pair and 10 Payless pairs they thought of as disposable, now they’d rather buy three pairs of shoes that are well-made and handcrafted and wear the heck out of them. They want value, and they’d rather pay for a well-crafted leather shoe or exceptional design, and they don’t want the same old stuff. They’re buying less, but they’re buying better.” Go to the mall, she advises, and count shopping bags. See where they’re shopping and look at what they’re wearing. Do your own market research. “Not only do you have to be fearless, but you must do your homework as well.” Two years ago, says Marshal Cohen, chief analyst at NPD Group, consumers saw something they wanted and they bought it. Now they ask themselves if they really need it. “With consumers already thinking about their bottom lines, retailers need to appeal to their practical sides. You have to make them understand that what they’re buying is an investment, that they’re going to use it day-in and day-out.” Never have I heard the need for continuing education stated more clearly. If we are asking our customers to invest their hard-earned dollars in a pair of technologically advanced lenses in fashionable and functional frames, then we’d better know the how and why of every element we discuss. Today’s consumers are bombarded daily with an unbelievable amount of information, some of it good and worthwhile, much of it hype. Our job as eyecare professionals is to help them navigate through the hype to find the combination of technology and fashion that works for their individual needs. That needs to be the reason your patients return and the reason they refer their friends. Your knowledge and your willingness to share it and to educate your patients will be your best advertisement. Not only do you know your technology, you know that the color for 2010 is turquoise and that Fall is just around the corner. ■
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Second Glance Elmer Friedman, OD
Photo: Courtesy of www.artbeyondsight.org
ART Broadcasts to the Blind I HADN’T HEARD from my friend and colleague, Dr. Natty Bumpo of Finster, NJ for some time. But to my delight, this morning’s mail brought me a brief letter from him. He had visited a gallery that featured the sculpture works of a blind artist. Natty’s impressions were strongly felt and he was compelled to share some of his experiences and observations with me. The artist is Zohar Ginio and his exhibit is called, “Feeling and Meaning: Seeing Art through Touch.” Ginio lost the sight in one eye completely and has little peripheral vision in the other. This was a result of a failed immune system suffered at the age of sixteen. He started by taking some sculpture courses at a local college eleven years ago. The artist is also a lawyer and follows a rigorous schedule. Natty writes, “He teaches law students the skill of how to memorize large portions of their text. Using that skill enables him to memorize a long deposition without requesting frequent repetition in the proceedings.” The artist has been warned that his condition will likely worsen. However, his passion for his art remains undimmed. Following his first year of learning the basics and rudiments of sculpture, he embarked on a three month hiatus in northern Tuscany, Italy. The quarries near Pietrasanta have produced marble since the Renaissance and the days of Michelangelo. The large stones there were an impractical media for Ginio to produce a quality result. Ginio lives in a village in the Judean Hills, in Israel. He need go no further than his own back yard to find the most appropriate stones for his art.
The artist explains, “My art is mid-sized and may not be larger than what I can comfortably handle with my hands. If the work is too large, it is easy for a sightless person to lose the sense of proportion.” Ginio admits to working, fully concentrated for long periods of time. A statue can take him as many as 150 hours to complete. Before working on the stone he inspects the surface for cracks or weak spots. Left undiscovered, the lesser quality surface may cause the stone to split apart. Ginio has great faith in the efficacy of his sense of touch, as well as the other senses of hearing, smell and taste. He says, “I believe the other senses are sharper and more sophisticated than sight. Vision can be easily disrupted if an object is placed in front of your line of gaze. You may not be able to see it, but you can still touch, smell or hear it. Vision is limited and subjective, but a dog’s sense of smell can tell you who was in the room three days ago.” Continued on page 42
40 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |APRIL 2010
The artist follows the psychological evidence that the part of the brain usually performing sight skills has been reprogrammed to respond to the sense of touch. He believed that his rehabilitation is miraculous. If you have a problem, count on your brain to adapt to your needs.
for a seminar/workshop in New York which was sponsored by Art Education for the Blind. It is a non profit organization of art educators and developmental psychologists who are attempting to formulate a training program for the blind and visually impaired.
Natty observes that, “Blind visitors to the gallery breached the universal ‘do not touch’ warning signs normally found in a museum. In addition to the sculptor works there are many paintings with thickened surfaces that were also appreciated by the blind museum visitor. These handicapped people were encouraged to touch and finger the works on display. Experts say the exhibit is not to copy the blind experience for the sighted but rather to demonstrate that the blind can enjoy art just the same.”
The event took place during “Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month” in Oct. 2008. During the conference, Nashman Fraiman learned of the theory that children who learn how to make and understand art, grow up with greater cognitive abilities. She generated excitement with the feeling that the blind could benefit from similar training. Those that could be helped most were people who were born sighted but lose their vision later in life. They still have a memory of what things look like. Yet a blind person can appreciate the shape, feel and smell of a tree. Certainly a blind person knows what rain, wind and sunshine feel like. Colors present a special challenge to the unsighted person.
Natty continues, “I saw a young blind man touching a painting with a well projected surface and happily called out ‘mountain, moon’ as well as other areas that he recognized by his practiced touch skills.” One blind person who touched and examined a painting declared that he wondered why no humans or plants were depicted in that particular work. A companion asked how he could possibly decipher that. The answer left an indelible mark on all who heard him reply, “Because it broadcasts to me”. An art teacher nearby observed that it was a perfect phrase since a broadcast does not define a specific way of communication to the exclusion of all the others. For the teacher, an avenue is opened for new insights about a blind person’s sensitivities. These museums also utilize electronic audio guides and Braille captions on a wall to help the blind visitors navigate their way through the maze of art in the exhibition. One must keep in mind that some of the works are also pleasing to a sighted visitor, but will have an added effect for the blind. Natty explains, “Some of the sculptures included Braille as part of the work. One artist used a number of aluminum discs that he adhered to a wall. It reminded me of LP records. The sighted would see this work as a series of simple abstract shapes arranged for an esthetic effect without any narration incorporated. But, as a matter of fact the blind visitor, while feeling the surface, will touch an area that spells out a message in Braille. Another work consisted of several upright aluminum cylinders. Each is 15 cm high with Braille writing at the exposed ends. When they are touched from above they spell out “Let There Be Light.” Natty concluded, “Sighted people are accustomed to seeing light but, in this case the blind are feeling it. This must be an experience that is unknown to a sighted person.” Susan Nashman Fraiman is an art history professor who has delved into this special field and recently acted as a co-curator 42 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |APRIL 2010
However, once informed of a color that is important to the work they react with an expected normal emotion. The color red usually denotes rage or anger, blue is interpreted as depression or melancholy, yellow suggests a happy disposition, and so on. Nashman Fraiman remarks, “Blind people see but not just with the eyes.” It boils down to the fact that each blind museum visitor is painting his/her own picture and sculpting his own sculpture. The use of normal vision is taken for granted whereas eye movements must be explained to the unsighted. The audio guide is sometimes exasperating to the blind since an undue period of time elapses as the particular work of art is introduced. The unsighted becomes connected to the piece by information presented in sequence. The audio guide will instruct the blind listeners where to place their fingers and hands and the next direction to move them. It is a laborious undertaking which the sighted person accomplishes almost instantaneously. Curators are watchful since repeated touching may mar the works of art. Naishman Fraiman explains that rubber gloves are made available to help reduce the possibilities of damage to the pieces of art. A work with movable parts, for instance, would not be a safe entry. Many exhibitors do not prefer to enter their work to exhibits for the blind since they fear accidental damage may occur. For that reason, sturdy works made of wood, metal, plaster or stone are often chosen. Every precaution is undertaken to prevent the work from suffering damage. Naishman Fraiman concludes, “It takes a lot of time, but it is a wonderful sense of accomplishment. It is like the unfolding of a detective story, discovering one detail at a time. When all the pieces have been sorted out, there is a feeling of having solved a puzzle.” ■
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Fax: 607-748-2273 APRIL 2010 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | 49
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Last Look Jim Magay, RDO
Energized! IT’S HOW WE SHOULD BE FEELING. Daylight savings time, Vision Expo over, Spring springing out all over, snow drifts receding, and the birds singing in the morning.
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“The deep issue is democracy,” says David Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World. “Do we really believe that power should be rooted in people and community – decentralized – or should it be centralized either in government or in large corporations?” (FROM BALLE’S MISSION STATEMENT.)
We have been members of the Worcester chapter of Local First for several years now and fully believe in its principles. We make a point to use the WLF logo in our promotional efforts. We attend many of their networking/social functions, and we try to shop at local merchants more than the recommended 10 to 15% ratio. So, use that extra springtime energy (and not just for golf), join in with your community, boost it and boost yourself at the same time! ■
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Published on Apr 8, 2010
April 2010 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine. A Business to Business publication that is distributed to decision makers and participant...