Marge Axelrad

Marge Axelrad, Sr. VP/Editorial Director

Marge oversees the overall editorial direction of Vision Monday and its print publication, VMAIL, e-newsletters, and special events including the VM Global Leadership Summit. She is also in charge of general corporate and company news, industry developments and business trends, financial news. Marge specializes in frame sunwear companies, practice management programs, spectacle lens and contact lens companies, managed care, wholesale laboratories, and research. She is also the editor of CLICK, a twice-a-month e-newsletter. Contact Marge at

VM's 2022 Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers Report: Recovery and Recalibration

By Marge Axelrad and Mark Tosh
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 1:00 AM NEW YORK—After the shock of the 2020 pandemic and the slow build back to some semblance of stability by the end of that year, the leading U.S. optical retailers and companies, both national and regional groups, came back in 2021 with a solid mid-to-high double digit performance overall. While the 2020 year was characterized as working past store and office closures to “craft a comeback,” as VM noted in our 2021 Top 50, the 12 months of 2021 were marked by tightening up operations, accelerating new digital technologies to power operations and to demonstrate new ideas to consumers and patients. Companies reconsidered initiatives like more online sales choices or remote eyecare.

A 2021 Sales Comeback, Combined With Acquisitions and New Entrants, Shape VM’s 2022 Top 50

By Marge Axelrad and Mark Tosh
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 12:59 AM NEW YORK—In contrast to the harrowing year that was 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and forced many stores to close in the U.S for many weeks, the 2021 business year saw a comeback for the U.S.’s Top 50 Optical Retailers and groups, Vision Monday has learned. Based on submissions from companies as well as VM’s own estimates, the collective Top 50 Retailers’ sales for the 12 months ending 2021 ended up higher by some 21 percent from the previous year.

Mass Merchants and Clubs Saw a Healthy 2021 Optical Sales Performance

By Marge Axelrad and Mark Tosh
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 12:56 AM NEW YORK—Mirroring their overall companies’ sales performance in 2021, which saw the U.S.’ mass merchants and warehouse clubs reflect strong consumer buying activity and a healthy return to business after the initial pandemic year of 2020, those operations with optical departments experienced healthy gains as well. Collective revenues from this sector of the market rose some 16 percent for the year, reaching $3.86 billion in calendar year 2021, according to their reports and VM estimates.

Growing Green

By Marge Axelrad and Gwendolyn Plummer
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 2:00 AM While sustainability and environmental concerns are not new, during the pandemic, people have become more sensitive to the environmental impact of their shopping decisions. In fact, much of the world’s recognition of the perils of climate change and accompanying social responsibility combined with shifting consumer priorities have led companies, executives, organizations and private citizens to dub this an era of a “global eco-awakening.”

Eastman’s Initiatives Propel a Range of Sustainable Eyewear Plastics

By Marge Axelrad
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 1:59 AM NEW YORK—Much progress continues to be made in developing new sustainable materials options for eyewear and sunwear manufacturers via the initiatives and collaborative efforts of Eastman (NYSE:EMN), one of the world’s largest plastics producers. Through the company’s multi-year efforts to create a more sustainable, circular approach to the system of recycling plastics into partnerships aimed at limiting the environmental impact of acetate frames and by using what they describe as “eco-responsible” formulas of recycled content and bio-sourced materials, a series of announcements have continued through 2021 and into 2022, “with more to come,” executives told VM.

Patient Experience/New Solutions Now

By Marge Axelrad
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:00 AM NEW YORK—The challenging business and cultural climate of the past couple of years have brought on many new definitions of what constitutes an excellent customer or patient experience. That’s because the pandemic shutdown was such an initial shock to the normal interactions between patients and doctors, customers and retailers that everything underwent a reassessment and rethinking, even as the situation improved.

Optify Helps ECPs See the Advantages of E-Comm and Wish List Options

By Marge Axelrad
Friday, May 20, 2022 12:59 AM NEW YORK—One of the trends gaining much more adoption among independents as well as multi-location chains this year and much of last year has been the willingness to offer patients of brick-and-mortar eyecare offices and optical retail locations the ability to explore eyewear options even before they get into the practice as well as to follow up visits with the doctor or dispensing expert via online e-commerce. Optify is one of the companies facilitating that process with a range of customizable options that can expand the practice’s outreach, connection and product selection.

Sunbit’s BNPL Approach Is a Fast Credit Check to Create New Flex Pay Options

By Marge Axelrad
Friday, May 20, 2022 12:58 AM LOS ANGELES—Part of the modern patient experience in health care and at retail is to help patients and consumers better understand the value of their services and purchases and also to minimize friction in the payment process. Sunbit’s buy now, pay later technology (BNPL), reflecting a broad trend in flexible payment options for consumers, has been widening its involvement with both independent eyecare practices and optical retailers along with multi-location clients.

David Kepron Speaks About Culture Shifts and Adapting to the Unknown

By Marge Axelrad
Saturday, April 23, 2022 12:53 AM NEW YORK—The pace of change is literally dizzying. In fact, it’s impossible for any human to “keep up” to manage the speed of it, certainly as digital technology moves ahead so rapidly. Those observations were part of the closing session of VM’s Summit, as offered by David Kepron, founder of the NXTVL Experience Design podcast, former head of global design for Marriott International, an experienced retail design expert, author and architect.

New Ways to Pay

By Marge Axelrad
Thursday, March 17, 2022 1:30 AM NEW YORK—The impact of a global pandemic has furthered a crescendo of new attitudes among patients toward how they want to pay, if they can afford to pay and the methods they are able to use to pay for their health care. Such concerns were in place prior to March of 2020 when COVID-19 threw so much into question, as most market experts agree. The retail and product worlds have been irrevocably changed by an escalation in online, digital and contactless payment options transforming those businesses for the past two years.

Financing Options Help Patients Access Specialty Clinical Eyecare and Quality Eyewear

By Marge Axelrad
Thursday, March 17, 2022 1:29 AM As one health care observer recently pointed out, COVID-19 offered a long overdue jolt to health care payments. The public health emergency, which impacted so many, underscored what is now perceived as out-of-date processes depending on manual, paper-based recordkeeping as much as the pandemic underscored confusion about health care costs.

Buy Now, Pay-Over-Time Helps Expedite In-Store Eyewear Purchases

By Marge Axelrad
Thursday, March 17, 2022 1:28 AM One of the more pronounced trends to emerge strongly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rise of digital and online shopping and along with that, the rise of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) approaches to retail payments. Accompanying a range of retailers using new flexible payment options has been the advent of companies like Sunbit, which has specifically targeted the need for flexible payment and fast credit approval options for business sectors where physical store customers also need more varied flex payment options.

MyEyeDr. Scales to Elevate Both Eyecare and the Patient Experience

By Marge Axelrad
Thursday, March 17, 2022 1:00 AM From its origins in October 2001, created by a team out to combine hands-on vision care, managed care expertise and optical retail experience with operational know-how, the vision for MyEyeDr. was different. The goal was to create a new business model, one that would emphasize, as the name implied, the doctor’s credibility to patients and consumers at a time when the industry was moving from a mid 80s-to-90s “one-hour optical” trend to one that could more expertly manage the onset of managed vision care which was starting to grow rapidly across the country.