Optical Industry: More Than the Eye Can See

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A seasoned member of the industry may not realize this, but most of the population does not know the difference between the three Os. Most people don’t even know there are three Os. I was familiar with the basics when I arrived here at VM, but I have come to realize that there is always something new to learn. With ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians, and their patients, customers and schools, optical is everywhere. The industry is vast, and there are many aspects of it that the general public is unaware of. After three months as Assistant Editor, I am beginning to understand the different dynamics embedded in optical.

A prominent impression I have gotten thus far is that this industry is always in motion. There is always news. Even in a specific industry like eyewear, the headlines never stop—no matter what time, day, or season, there is always something happening somewhere that needs to be reported. From industry suppliers to independent boutiques, there is infinite information that is constantly changing.

Since my start at VM, I have been greatly impressed by the efficiency and reach of this industry. I may not get much more than a polite nod when I explain my beat to a friend, but as soon as I speak to an eye doctor or optical retailer, I’m met not only with recognition, but respect. The gratitude I have received—when reaching out to the Influential Women I interviewed for our July cover story, or to the opticians I’ve connected with for our What Are You Wearing? section—has been both rewarding and inspiring.

I know now more than ever that there’s a lot more to glasses than putting them on your face and being able to see. I have a newfound appreciation for the Os, and for every person, process and program interlaced with them. I look forward to meeting some of you at Vision Expo West—I’m sure we’ll all learn some new things when we get there.

cwolinski@jobson.com