Introducing Dover Eye Lab, a Rising Star Among Wholesalers

By Sarah McGoldrick / Contributing Editor
Thursday, August 4, 2022 12:59 AM In an optical market that continues to be dominated by multinational corporations, many independent optical labs are finding a niche by focusing on customer service and custom lens designs. After nearly 20 years in the optical industry, this is where Dover Eye Lab founder and CEO Scott Rosenwald knew he could corner the market.

Optical Lab Equipment Manufacturers Meet Chip Shortage Head On

By Sarah McGoldrick / Contributing Editor
Saturday, April 23, 2022 1:30 AM Microchips may be tiny, but they’ve having a huge impact worldwide, as every industry scrambles to deal with a global chip shortage. Already in short supply before COVID-19, the pandemic quickly pushed the shortage to new extremes, as everyone from car manufacturers to makers of optical lab equipment struggled to find alternative sources.

Speakers Highlight the Need for Brands to Explore New Outreach Mediums

By Sarah McGoldrick
Saturday, April 23, 2022 12:57 AM NEW YORK—Brand communication with customers was at the forefront of the Vision Monday Leadership Summit held prior to Vision Expo East. With the emergence of countless new social media tools and the increasing diversity in the way customers receive marketing messages, speakers at this year’s Summit pressed the need for brands to explore new outreach mediums.

Talking Tech: Two Takes on Health and Vision Trends

By Sarah McGoldrick
Saturday, April 23, 2022 12:56 AM NEW YORK—Big Tech companies are increasingly intersecting with the optical industry. Prescription-ready, wearable tech such as Amazon’s Echo Frames, which offer high quality audio and is Alexa-controllable, and Ray-Ban Stories—a collaboration between Meta and EssilorLuxottica that features audio and video capabilities—are gaining popularity with consumers. Apple is developing its own eyeglass wearable which, according to patents, may have augmented reality (AR) capabilities. Google, which acquired smart glass maker North several years ago, may field its own version of AR technology.

Optical Labs Get Creative About Supply Chain Disruptions and Shortages

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, February 6, 2022 2:59 AM Like most modern businesses that rely on overseas suppliers, the optical lens industry has been impacted by recent disruptions to the global supply chain. Evidence of product shortages are apparent at optical trade shows where spectacle lens manufacturers are willing to wait up to six months to take delivery of low-priced lenses made in Asia.

As Online Sales Grow, Labs Adapt to New Service Requirements

By Sarah McGoldrick / Contributing Editor
Monday, August 2, 2021 1:44 AM Despite a slump in optical retail sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a strong year for online optical sales. Total optical retail sales fell 17.4 percent from December 2019 to December 2020 and $36.05 billion in retail revenues during the same period, according to The Vision Council’s VisionWatch report for Q4 2020. Yet online sales of eyeglass frames topped 9 million pairs during the same period, a 22 percent increase over the previous year.

Maintaining Lab Service in the COVID-19 Era

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:00 AM It’s been a tough year for the optical industry, especially optical labs. Soon after COVID hit regional lockdowns began, and many eyecare practices closed or reduced their patient hours. Labs felt the impact almost immediately. A Vision Council Member Survey conducted in Spring, 2020 found that the majority of labs had reduced their production and service hours in response to decreased demand due to COVID-19. (see Fig. 1) As the volume of Rx orders fell, many labs reduced staff or staff hours. However, the decrease in sales from brick-and-mortar optical locations was partly offset by an increase in online optical sales, as homebound consumers increasingly turned to eyeglass e-tailers. Labs had to quickly adapt to these shifting market dynamics by adjusting their service and delivery strategies.

Pandemic Prompts Labs to Embrace New Marketing Approaches

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, April 25, 2021 9:59 AM More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, optical labs are still adjusting to the disruptions the pandemic has caused to the eyecare practices and optical retailers they service. With many lab customers operating on limited hours and under strict health restrictions that prevent making in-person sales calls, labs have had to develop new approaches to educating ECPs and staff about new products and services. In particular, many labs are shifting from face-to-face product demonstrations and traditional marketing materials and embracing virtual consultations.