Coronavirus BRIEFING
Supported by Essilor

VM Summit Session Examines How to Rebuild Patient Trust in the Wake of the Pandemic

By Staff
Friday, October 22, 2021 12:33 AM NEW YORK—As the Oct. 20 virtual VM Leadership Summit kicked off on Wednesday afternoon, two expert speakers talked about how the pandemic has put patients' trust to the test, and more importantly, how providers can tackle the issue of misinformation and help counter the formidable challenge of rebuilding that trust. In a session titled Rebuilding Trust, Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer for WebMD and Jennifer Hauser, head of Edelman’s Wellness 360 business unit, shared views about how today’s eyecare professionals can build trust with their patients.

Registration is Now Open for IDOC’s The Connection 2022 Event to Feature IDOC’s New Practice Management Services

By Staff
Friday, October 22, 2021 12:30 AM NORWALK, Conn.—Returning to a live, in-person format for 2022, IDOC’s annual national conference, The Connection, is scheduled for Feb. 24-26 in Orlando, Fla.

National Vision Issues First Corporate Responsibility Report, 'A World Worth Seeing'

By Staff
Friday, October 22, 2021 12:24 AM DULUTH, Ga.—National Vision, Inc. (NASDAQ: EYE) released its first Corporate Responsibility Report, titled A World Worth Seeing as part of its ongoing efforts to increase transparency in its environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities.

James Bond Returns and Theaters See Reason for Hope

By Staff
Friday, October 22, 2021 12:04 AM Superhero, action and horror movies are performing well in theaters, particularly when they are offered exclusively and not simultaneously available to stream. But parts of the business remain down. Dramas, character-driven and art-house movies were under pressure before the pandemic, and the bar is going to be even higher now.

September Retail Sales Grew as Delta Variant Favored Spending on Goods Over Services

By Staff
Thursday, October 21, 2021 1:41 PM WASHINGTON—Retail sales increased again in September as worries about the COVID-19 delta variant pushed consumer spending toward merchandise rather than services like dining, entertainment or travel despite supply chain disruptions and inflation, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said last week.

“Today’s retail sales data confirms the sheer power of the consumer to spend, and we expect this to continue,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Despite persistent challenges related to the global pandemic, supply chain and labor shortages, retailers and their partners have shown resilience and ingenuity in getting the workforce, goods and systems in place to serve their customers and the communities where they operate.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in September were up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August and up 13.9 percent year-over-year. That compares with increases of 0.9 percent month-over-month and 15.4 percent year-over-year in August. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to Census data.

For the first nine months of the year, sales as calculated by NRF were up 14.5 percent over the same period in 2020. That is consistent with NRF’s revised forecast that 2021 retail sales should grow between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent over 2020 to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion. Click here to read the full story from the NRF.

A C.D.C. Panel Is Considering Boosters and the ‘Mix-and-Match’ Strategy

By Staff
Thursday, October 21, 2021 8:00 AM As the latest wave of the coronavirus ebbs in most parts of the United States, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are meeting on Thursday to evaluate which Americans need extra doses of the coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

ECPs Are Hopeful About Business This Month, But Staffing Challenges Lead Their Concerns, Per Wave 27 of Jobson Research's Latest ECP Coronavirus Survey

By Staff
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 12:27 AM NEW YORK—Staffing challenges seem to be the biggest concern facing eyecare professionals and optical retailers now, with some 38 percent of those surveyed in late September pointing out that a "lack of staff" is the number one reason they will have trouble serving more patients going forward, more than issues such as a lack of patient traffic or government restrictions on business due to COVID-19. Nevertheless,  62 percent believe that their practice does have the capability to serve more patients now among those taking part in Wave 27 of Jobson Research's latest Coronavirus Survey, which was conducted Sept. 27-30.

The National Average for Gross Revenue at ECP Locations Decreased for Week of Oct. 11-17, Jobson’s Latest Practice Performance Tracker Shows

By Staff
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 12:24 AM NEW YORK—The national average for gross revenue at ECP locations decreased last week, Oct. 11-17, at a rate of -2 index points. That leaves gross revenue 1 index point above where it was at this point in time (Week 42) during 2019 and 8 index points below where it was during Week 42 of last year., according to Jobson’s most recent Practice Performance Tracker. Optical sales were either flat or down last week at rates ranging from 0 to -5 index points.

Johnson & Johnson Reports 10 Percent Sales Growth in Third Quarter and Raises Guidance for Full Year 2021

By Staff
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 12:21 AM NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported Tuesday that its third-quarter sales increased 10.7 percent to $23.3 billion, with operational growth of 9.9 percent (which excludes currency changes) and adjusted operational growth of 10.6 percent.

Recruiting and Team Building in 2021 and Beyond: Get Ready Now

By Staff
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 12:02 AM Way back in 2019 we were feeling the challenges of recruiting and the last two years have added a whole new wrinkle. What does that mean for the optometry clinic and optical? Here is a quick checklist of things you can do to make everything work better.

What We Know About Breakthrough Infections

By Staff
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:49 PM Breakthrough infections, or COVID-19 infections in the fully vaccinated, do happen, but the risk of severe illness and death is much lower. However, high-risk individuals may be more likely to experience severe illness when infected with COVID-19, even if they are fully vaccinated. Head over to USA Today to learn more about what we know about breakthrough infections. 

Mix-and-Match COVID Boosters: Why They Just Might Work

By Staff
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 8:05 AM The Food and Drug Administration seems likely to allow Americans to switch vaccines when choosing a COVID-19 booster shot. That authorization, which could come this week, is the latest development in a long-running debate over whether a mix-and-match strategy helps protect people from the coronavirus. Here are answers to some common questions about mixing and matching booster shots.

Eyemart Express Begins Rolling Out ‘Buy-Online, Pick-Up in Store’ Across the Company

By Staff
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:27 AM DALLAS—Eyemart Express, a national optical retailer, is gearing up for a company-wide launch of a buy online, pick-up in-store option (BOPIS) for same-day delivery of eyewear to its customers. The Eyemart Express team noted that it believes it is uniquely positioned in optical retail to provide this service to patients and customers, in part, because of the on-site labs in its stores. The process for consumers only takes three steps, and allows for customers to shop for high-quality glasses from anywhere and still enjoy the same-day convenience of in-person shopping at Eyemart Express locations.

COVID-19’s Impact on Vision Loss Across Canada

By Staff
Monday, October 18, 2021 12:02 AM The Addendum to the Cost of Vision Loss and Blindness in Canada Report estimates 1,437 Canadians lost vision due to delayed eye examinations and delayed treatment in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge Canadian patients and the health care system.

Most Americans Who Have Tried Virtual Try-On Are Happy With Their Experience

By Staff
Friday, October 15, 2021 2:13 PM NEW YORK—The ongoing pandemic and the resultant rise in online shopping has underlined the importance of virtual try-on technology, and the need for retailers across the country to offer it, according to the findings of a Piplsay survey. The survey and its corresponding report delve into people’s opinions and comfort levels regarding this fast-evolving retail technology.

Virtual try-on in retail, which first emerged in 2012, has undergone a transformation over the years, becoming much more simplified and user-friendly. While several top retailers and brands – including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nike and Sephora – have already adopted this technology, others such as Walmart and Gap are set to roll it out soon, according to Piplsay’s survey findings.

The technology, which uses a combination of real-time image processing, computer vision, machine learning, and other AI technology, allows consumers to visualize different products on themselves and confirm the style, size and fit before making a purchase.

Asked about what factors would prompt them to try virtual try-on, 34 percent of respondents said it would be “better decision-making,” and 23 percent said “for convenience.”

Piplsay polled 30,530 Americans nationwide to get some insights. Here is a summary of its findings:

• 34 percent of survey respondents have tried virtual try-on technology on a retail site

• 85 percent of respondents who have tried virtual try-on are happy with their experience

• 60 percent of respondents will be more encouraged to buy from brands that offer virtual try-on
• 43 percent of men and 27 percent of women have used virtual try-on so far; Clothes are most popular with men, while women prefer eyewear the most

• 39 percent of Millennials have used virtual try-on as compared with 31 percent of Gen Xers and 30 percent of Gen Zers

• 39 percent of Millennials would be more likely to buy from brands that offer virtual try-on, as compared to 34 percent of Gen Zers and 27 percent of Gen Xers