VM's Most Read Feature Stories of 2019


How to Dispose of Your Contacts and Still Stay Friendly to the Environment
I’ve been a contact lens wearer for over 40 years. I started out wearing contacts that lasted several months and eventually graduated to daily disposable lenses, attracted by their comfort and no fuss maintenance. But looking back, I cringe to think of how many lenses and blister packs I’ve thrown away over the years. Every morning, after inserting my contacts, I put the blister packs in recycling and at night I throw my lenses in the garbage (NOT down the sink or toilet). According to the American Optometric Association, I am one of 45 million people in the U.S. who wear contact lenses. But after researching this feature, I have to ask myself—is there something more I could be doing when it comes to disposing of those used contact lenses. In a word, the answer is yes.

Meet the Achievers VM’s Most Influential Women in Optical
NEW YORK—We hear the term “influencer” a lot these days. It’s frequently used to describe celebrities, media personalities or the latest YouTube stars whose words and actions are magnified through the lens of social media. They connect with millions of people, but their impact is often fleeting, as our attention shifts to the next big thing. But there’s another type of influencer, those who are outstanding in their field, and who touch us in ways that are profound and lasting. They are the people VM honors each year as “The Most Influential Women in Optical.”

It’s Party Time at Vision Expo West 2019
LAS VEGAS—From parties featuring astronauts to product launch celebrations and awards for lab industry greats, Las Vegas was the place to be for Vision Expo West’s nighttime festivities. Here’s a slideshow of some of the major parties that took place around town last week.

Dashboard Data: Using Metrics to Discover the Patients’ Path to Purchase
From health care to retail, data has become an invaluable resource for businesses and practitioners. It’s what many see as the key ingredient to better meeting, and exceeding, consumer or patient expectations, and it provides a critical yardstick for measuring success across a variety of metrics. In eyecare and optical retailing, the growing interest in data also has led to an increase in the number of options partner companies are developing that collect, track and analyze the data for ECPs to draw upon to manage their practice. From software and tech companies to alliances and large retail groups, a dashboard or other analytical tools have become part of the de facto offering to member ECPs.

Screen Time for Kids—How Much Is Too Much?
Growing up in the ‘60s, I watched a LOT of television with friends and family. We were riveted by shows like “That Girl,” “Rat Patrol” and “Dark Shadows” and we spent countless hours lolling on the living room floor in front of the TV. My Mom used to refer to it as the “Boob Tube” and she was constantly yelling at us to “go outside and play.” Well, as usual, it seems like my Mom was on to something. Today’s electronic babysitter of choice is the iPhone and iPad. But the audience has changed a bit—it’s not just teens and tweens glued to the screens but toddlers and babies, some less than a year-old.

Getting a Flu Vaccine—The Facts, the Myths and What This Year’s Season Might Look Like
Halloween is only a few weeks away but there’s another season just around the corner that can be just as scary—the start of the flu season, which officially begins at the end of October. In addition to causing kids to miss school and adults to call out sick from work, there is no denying that the flu can be deadly for thousands, and in some years, tens of thousands of Americans. The importance of getting a flu shot is something ECPs should advocate for themselves, their associates/staff and their patients as practice waiting rooms can be breeding grounds for spreading the flu.

Dr. Joseph Allen’s ‘Dr. Eye Health’ Focuses on Teaching the Sciences of Eyecare
Doctor Eye Health is a 6-month-old educational YouTube Channel geared toward anyone who is interested in knowing more about the eyes, disease and vision products. Its creator, Joseph Allen, OD, is a graduate of the Rosenberg School of Optometry who did his residency in ocular disease and vision rehabilitation at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. Though he has been working on Doctor Eye Health since January of last year, his first video didn’t launch until July 2018 due to the amount of research he wanted to conduct prior.

Seeking Solutions: ODs Explore New Options for Practice Ownership and Transition
In the world of optical retailing and eyecare, the arrival of the year 2020 might be seen as the best of times for the profession. Demographics, especially an aging population, higher incidence of diseases that may impact eye health (such as diabetes), and new areas of practice focus—namely myopia and blue light protection—are opening up avenues of opportunity for eyecare professionals. At the same time, advances in telehealth, industry consolidation, the digital revolution and broad changes across retail in general are creating tough challenges for independent practitioners who are battling to maintain success in the face of this adversity.

Take a Virtual Lab Tour
As Vision Monday’s lenses and technology editor, I visit a lot of optical laboratories. Viewed from outside, most labs are unremarkable. Often located in industrial parks or on side streets, their drab exteriors give little indication of what goes on inside. Step onto the production floor, though, and you’ll see a scene humming with activity. Technicians are loading generators, edgers and coating machines, job trays are moving along conveyors, quality inspectors are checking lenses for flaws and Rx orders are being packed for shipment to customers. It’s an optical ballet in which every movement is carefully choreographed, and it requires skill, energy and careful attention to detail to execute.

Independent Optical Opens From the Ground Up
MOUNT PLEASANT, South Carolina—For Jake Sunkin, OD, independence has always been the way. In fact, Dr. Sunkin told Vision Monday, “I’m not sure I even knew optometry existed outside of private practice until I was maybe in high school.” Dr. Sunkin grew up surrounded by independent practices, namely the one his aunt and uncle owned near Akron, Ohio, where he worked as a tech in high school and during college breaks. After getting his degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Sunkin started working on his dream of opening his own independent practice. To achieve that dream, Dr. Sunkin worked in a small practice, and then spent a few years in corporate optometry. Then, he said, “I had my feet under me financially, had the clinical experience I needed, and with my 30th birthday looming, I knew it was time to start building my dream practice.”