Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council Sign Final Merger Agreement

Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council Sign Final Merger Agreement

The Vision Council, AOA Partner to Bring Eye Health Message to Public on National Scale

MikeAlexandria, VA (January 27, 2012) - At The Vision Council's Executive Summit, the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) and The Vision Council have signed a final merger agreement, naming OLA the new Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council. The activities of both associations will be combined to benefit their respective members.

The OLA Board of Directors came to the 2012 Executive Summit, partly because of the unique synergistic environment here, specifically to complete the merger with The Vision Council, said Mike Francesconi, Chair, Optical Lab Division.

The announcement follows years of discussion and deliberation by both groups, with the first Letter of Intent (LOI) signed in January 2010, a letter of agreement signed in October 2010 culminating with the final merger agreement signed here today.

The Vision Council remains committed to ensuring there is a healthy optical marketplace for our members to thrive, said Jamie Shyer, The Vision Council Chairman. This merger is just another measure that we've taken in that regard, given that optical laboratories play such a critical role in our industry's distribution model.

Since the first optical lab organization began in 1894, there have been five separate mergers of organizations, in parallel with changes in the industry. We see today's merger as a continuation of that history, and a necessary step for labs to continue providing the best service and representation for optical labs, said Francesconi.

Moving forward, the OLA Board of Directors will become known as the Optical Lab Division Steering Committee, guiding all programs and services on behalf of the lab members. The steering committee roster is as follows:

  • Mike Francesconi, Katz & Klein (Chair)
  • Virginia Susie Lesher, Brondstater Optical America (Vice Chair)
  • Jon Jacobs, Superior Optical Labs (Past Chair)
  • John Haigh, J & J Optical
  • Drake McLean, Dietz-McLean Optical
  • Chris Bowers, Walman Optical
  • Swen Carlson, VSP Lab Columbus
  • Ronald Cooke, Jr., Diversified Ophthalmics
  • Bill Harding, LensTech Optical Laboratory
  • David Jochims, Carl Zeiss Vision
  • Keith Pulling, Essilor Labs of America
  • Steve Swalgen, Santinelli International
  • Adam Winkelman, Perfect Optics
  • Rick Tinson, Hoya

Francesconi and Jon Jacobs (Past Chair) will represent the Optical Lab Division on The Vision Council's Board of Directors.

According to Francesconi, This merger truly is a best of both worlds scenario. Lab members will continue to receive the same products & programs that they know and love from OLA, while having access to the latest market data, benefiting from consumer outreach programs, training for their accounts and more. In addition, labs will now have a chance to influence, develop and direct new programs that will help labs, given the resources available to us through The Vision Council.

Over the next few months, optical lab division members will receive updates and information about the new programs and services available to them. There will be an in-person opportunity to learn more while networking and taking continuing education, when the division convenes its next annual member meeting from September 5-8, 2012, in conjunction with Vision Expo West in Las Vegas.

For more information please contact Maureen Beddis at (703) 740-9496 or mbeddis@thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

||Vision Council Member News||OLA named the new Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council 7440|Sun’s Distraction Can Hinder Labor Day Travel|

WASHINGTON, DC (August 24, 2011) - Texting, talking, entertaining and navigating - drivers this Labor Day weekend will face record distractions while on the road. One of the biggest forgotten dangers is the threat of the sun's glare and UV rays to drivers' vision. The Vision Council urges holiday travelers to remember to utilize UV protective eyewear as a part of safe driving habits.

This Labor Day weekend, as the unofficial end to summer, UVA and UVB rays reaching the earth's surface will still be at their peak. UV radiation poses a critical risk to unprotected eyes, especially for those behind the wheel. UV rays can reflect off surfaces like concrete, glass and other automobiles, causing drivers to experience significant interference with their vision. The time of year, in addition to increased holiday traffic can exacerbate the chance of sun glare interfering with driving ability. While these hazards are serious, the solution is simple; invest in a pair of sunglasses before hitting the road.

We're constantly reminded to avoid distractions like cell phones and music while driving. But we're missing a big component, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. The threat the sun poses to eyesight is real and it affects drivers every day. Safe driving habits need to include the use of UV protective eyewear and glare reducing lenses such as anti-reflective or polarized to help curb this distraction.

Proper eyewear can effectively mitigate the issue of sun glare and keep drivers focused on the road. Polarized glasses in particular are designed to reduce glare and reflection, both in the car and outdoors.

To help drivers prepare their eyes for Labor Day travel, The Vision Council offers the following tips:

  • Purchase eyewear from a reputable retailer. Knowledgeable retailers will meet frame and lens safety criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Insist on shades with protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Both kinds of UV radiation can damage eyes.
  • Wear anti-reflective lenses to eliminate lens glare. Anti-reflective lenses act to improve vision by increasing the amount of light that reaches the eye and by reducing harmful glare due to reflections off the back surfaces of lenses.
  • Take breaks when driving long distances. Allowing eyes to relax after intense focus can help reduce eye strain and fatigue.
  • Go for comfort. Eyewear that doesn't feel right is less likely to get worn.
  • Find the right pair(s) of UV protective eyewear for the activities you do. Know that different lenses and frames may be suited to various types of activities. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses are best for water sports; gray, brown and amber are great for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for downhill skiing and snowboarding. Click here for more on lens color.
  • Pick a design that works. Wraparound glasses or glasses with larger template pieces help block the sun from side angles.

For more information about vision and safe driving, or to download an iPhone PackList app to help plan for your holiday travel, visit www.uvbeenmissingsomething.com.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

||Vision Council Member News||Safe Driving Recommendations from The Vision Council 7444|4th of July Brings Increased Risk for UV Exposure|

Alexandria, VA (June 30, 2011) - Whether you're heading to a barbeque, the beach or on vacation, the sun will most likely be shining bright this 4th of July weekend. Without protective measures both the skin and eyes are at extreme risk of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

As a part of their ongoing commitment to help consumers stay safe in the sun, The Vision Council has created a new UV website www.uvbeenmissingsomething.com. The website includes information about the importance of protecting eyes and the skin that surrounds the eyes and offers tips for preventing the vision problems that can be caused by UV exposure.

The site also features a free iphone packing app that allows users to view UV levels in cities around the country, create a quick list of the number of clothes and items needed on a vacation or business trip and reminds users not to forget their sunglasses. In addition to the app visitors can also find The Vision Council report, Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe which explains the factors that exacerbate exposure risks, highlights forecasts that show the intensity of solar UV in cities across the country.

Despite the danger, less than one in three Americans makes the link between UV rays and eye damage, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. We created this website and these tools to ensure that people understand how to shield their eyes from dangerous UV radiation.

Wearing sunglasses or other eyewear that offer UV protection is the best way to shield the eyes from the sun. The UV website details what consumers should consider when choosing a pair of shades. For instance:

  • Buy from a reputable retailer: Their products will meet frame and lens quality criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Look for UV protection: Sunglasses should filter UVA and UVB light.
  • Try the sunglasses on: Fit and feel make a difference because sunglasses that are uncomfortable are less likely to be worn.
  • Use multiple pairs: Different lenses and frames may be suited to various types of activities.
  • Understand lens color: The darkness of a lens has nothing to do with UV protection, although various lens colors can offer other benefits. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses are best for water sports; gray, brown and amber are great for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  • Focus on design: For extra protection, wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles.

The Vision Council has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise Program, an environmental and health education effort to teach children and their caregivers how to protect themselves-and their vision-from overexposure to the sun.

Children are particularly vulnerable, because they tend to spend more time outside and because their eyes aren't able to filter UV rays as effectively as adults' eyes. said W. Lee Ball, Jr., O.D., Chairman of the Better Vision Institute, the medical advisory board to The Vision Council. Along with sunscreen, hats and their other UV-protective gear, we want people to remember to protect their eyes and their children's eyes by wearing sunglasses whenever they're outside.

To download the free iphone app or to view or download a copy of Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe, please visit www.uvbeenmissingsomething.com.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Summer is the Perfect Time to Begin the Lifelong Practice of Protecting the Eyes from UV Damage 7445|Make Sunglasses a Packing Necessity for Winter Travel|

ALEXANDRIA, VA (December 8, 2011) - As winter gets underway, it is time to pack your bags and escape on a great winter sporting adventure. Many Americans put away their sunglasses and UV eye protection this time of year, but there is still a glaring need to protect the eyes and the skin around them from overexposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The Vision Council recommends UV eye protection that fit every winter sports enthusiasts needs.

No matter where you are travelling this winter, the risk of damage to eyes from unprotected UV exposure is still present. The Vision Council wants people to be aware of the potential for UV damage from participating in outdoor winter sports and other winter getaways, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council.

Some winter conditions heighten susceptibility to UV damage, particularly for those engaged in high-altitude sports or sports that involve snow or ice. Fresh snow reflects nearly 80 percent of UV radiation, and UV rays can bounce back off of frozen water, doubling exposure. Under clear skies, altitude increases exposure to UV radiation by an intensity of 16 percent for every 1,000 meters above sea level.

Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans. Snow blindness, with symptoms such as redness, puffiness around the eyes, burning, watering and sensitivity to light, is also a danger.

Winter activities in which there is an increased risk of UV exposure include: skiing, sledding, outdoor ice hockey and figure skating, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Anyone participating in outdoor activities in winter can protect their eyes by wearing appropriate UV protection which includes:

  • Sunglasses
  • Sport goggles
  • Polycarbonate lenses for eyewear which offer UV protection as well as impact-resistance
  • Photochromic lenses which darken to a sunglass lens as you move from the indoors out, providing a convenient way to defend eyes
  • Sunglasses designed to be worn over prescription eyeglasses
  • Sun-clips that can be snapped on to a pair of eyeglasses

The Vision Council has great tools available to help plan any winter getaway including a widget to check the UV index of your destination, or a free smart phone app, PackLists, that can tailor your packing list to your travel destination and UV index rating. Visit www.UVBeenMissingSomething.com/tools to learn more about these interactive tools.


It is important for people to keep in mind that, regardless of the season, the longer eyes are in the sun, the more UV radiation they receive, said Greene. Anytime an individual is outdoors they should limit UV exposure by wearing appropriate UV eye protection.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 7446|Record Numbers Gather at Executive Summit to Strategize, Innovate and Network |

Alexandria, VA (February 10, 2012) - The Vision Council's 2012 Executive Summit, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Fla., January 25-27, drew more than 255 C-level executives from the optical industry, a new record for the organization's annual meeting.

The Executive Summit continues to be the premiere gathering place for leaders from all areas of business in the optical industry, said Mike Hundert, chair of The Vision Council's program committee and CEO of REM Eyewear. Executives are quickly taking notice that this is the best place to obtain fresh, relevant content that they can immediately implement into their business.

The 2012 program delivered a dynamic combination of networking opportunities, division meetings and hot-topic breakouts. Keynote addresses focused on hidden opportunities in a turbulent economy from two, sought-after speakers: Brian Beaulieu, market trend analyst for Institute for Trend Research, on Seeing the Future First and Adam Hartung, managing partner of Spark Partners, on Beating the Competition through Marketplace Disruption. Attendees were also invited to a presentation on Social Media Trends and Technology, a workshop on Innovation Implementation, and an industry panel discussion, Strategies in a Digital Age, exploring the hot topic of selling eyewear over the internet.

The concepts and strategies discussed at the Executive Summit are vital to the continued growth and success of our industry, said Jamie Shyer, chairman of The Vision Council's board of directors. When I was elected last year, I spoke about market growth and pledged that I would make sure our programs were designed with growth in mind. As of September 2011, our data shows that the total optical industry marketplace has shown a 3.2 percent increase. He added, This year, we're going to continue the momentum and push for even more success by ensuring that The Vision Council's programs align with the diverse needs and interests of our membership and the industry.

The Vision Council also hosted the 37th Total Ophthalmic Community (TOC) meeting at the Executive Summit. Key representatives from the National Alliance for Eye & Vision Research (NAEVR), Prevent Blindness America, National Association for Opticians & Optometrists (NAOO), Opticians Association of America (OAA) and Foundation for Eye Health Awareness were in attendance to share information about their key activities, explore opportunities for collaboration and discuss current and foreseeable challenges in the optical industry.

During the annual business meeting, The Vision Council and The Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) signed a final merger agreement, naming the OLA the new Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council. The merger comes after nearly two years of discussion and deliberation by both organizations, beginning with a letter of intent signed in January 2010, followed by a letter of agreement in October 2010. Both chairs signed the final agreement on January 26 to complete the merger. Moving forward, the OLA Board of Directors will become known as the Optical Lab Division Steering Committee, guiding all programs and services on behalf of the lab members. The complete steering committee roster can be found online at www.thevisioncouncil.org/ola.

For a complete meeting summary, and to access the post event resources from the 2012 Executive Summit, please visit www.thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit.

EDITOR'S NOTE: High-resolution images are available upon request. Contact Stephanie Sikorski at ssikorski@thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council Complete Merger 7447|Registration Opens for 2012 Executive Summit|

Alexandria, VA (November 1, 2011) - Registration opens today for The Vision Council's 2012 Executive Summit -- the must-attend business strategy and networking event for CEOs and senior management from optical industry companies and organizations. The meeting, held at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami, on January 25-27, offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to network with fellow thought leaders, share ideas and get a clear picture of where the industry is headed.

This year's program focuses on the hidden opportunities in a turbulent economy with keynote addresses by Adam Hartung, managing partner of Spark Partners, and Brian Beaulieu, market trend analyst for Institute for Trend Research. Hartung will pull from a collection of case studies to reveal four easy steps that have been proven to launch new growth and innovation. Known for his accurate forecasting, Beaulieu will provide attendees with a comprehensive analysis of the optical industry, identifying the top 10 trends and make-your-move moments.

The theme of Strategize. Innovate. Network will be prevalent throughout the 2012 Executive Summit with special breakouts on Social Media Trends and Technology, Innovation Implementation and Strategies in a Digital Age. Facilitated breakfast roundtables featuring topic specific forums for divisions and small group discussions have also been scheduled. In addition, the return of the cabana chats will offer attendees a more intimate opportunity to pick the brains of Summit speakers.

The Executive Summit brings together some of the top minds in our industry to share business trends, insights and experiences, and to discuss best practices in a challenging marketplace, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. Our goal is to have attendees walk away feeling inspired and informed, with the tools to build sound business strategies and achieve greater success for their companies.

To register for the 2012 Executive Summit, visit www.thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit. For more information, please contact Rene Soltis Shepherd, senior director of meetings and education for The Vision Council, at rsoltis@thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 7492|Dates Announced for The Vision Council’s 2013 Executive Summit|

Alexandria, VA (April 17, 2012) - Mark your calendar for the most valuable optical industry interaction of the year. The Vision Council announced today that the 2013 Executive Summit will be held a week earlier, January 16-18, to accommodate the growing number of executives. Building on the success of last year's record-breaking event, the annual membership meeting will remain at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Fla., for 2013.

Traditionally the Executive Summit has been held at the end of January, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. Over the years we have watched the meeting grow in value and importance to become the largest gathering of key influencers from the supply side of the optical industry. In order to keep the momentum high, we felt it was critical to adjust our dates to accommodate the schedules of as many industry leaders as possible. He added, The concepts we develop, the strategies we discuss and the connections we make at the Summit are vital to the continued growth and success of our member companies and the vision care industry as a whole.

As the premier optical industry event, the Executive Summit delivers a dynamic combination of hot-topic panel discussions, division meetings, keynote speakers, and numerous opportunities for C-level networking. The meeting format is designed to ensure The Vision Council's programs align with the diverse needs and interests of its membership, and the industry, in 2013 and beyond.

A complete agenda for the 2013 Executive Summit will be available this fall.

For more information about the Executive Summit, and to access the post event resources from the 2012 Executive Summit, please visit www.thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit. For all additional inquiries, please contact Rene Soltis Shepherd, senior director of meetings and education for The Vision Council, at rsoltis@thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Annual meeting to be held January 16-18, in Key Biscayne, Florida 7528|The Vision Council Announces Leadership Changes|

Alexandria, VA (April 27, 2012) - The Vision Council is excited to announce a series of changes to its leadership. Effective May 1, Mike Daley joins the team as a full-time employee and will serve as the new Liaison to the Optical Lab Division. In this role, Mike will represent the viewpoint of the Lab Division at the staff level, and interact with the individual members to understand their unique perspective and concerns. He will also work with them to develop and execute programs and find solutions to meet their business challenges.

Mike is a perfect fit for this position given the number of years he's been in the optical industry and the reputation he has in the close-knit lab community, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. He will replace Bob Dziuban, the division's vice president and formerly the Optical Laboratories Association's executive director, who is taking a well-deserved retirement after 17 years with the organization.

Mike Daley began his career in the optical industry more than 40 years ago. He was president and chief operating officer of Essilor of America's United States Lens Division, known as Essilor Lenses, and retired in 2008. In his most recent role, he served as the president and executive director of the Foundation for Eye Health Awareness. Throughout his career, Mike has been recognized by his peers and has held seats on numerous boards. His accomplishments include National Academy of Opticianry (NAO) Hall of Fame, Prevent Blindness America board of directors, Optometry Cares board of directors (American Optometric Association's foundation), The Illinois College of Optometry's board of trustees, Ferris State honorary doctorate (2006) and OLA Hall of Fame and Director's Choice Award (2006). Mike also held the seat of Immediate Past Chairman on The Vision Council's Board of Directors. Jamie Shyer, Chairman, has selected Larry Clarke, Satisloh, to finish the term in his place until the organization's next elections are held in January 2013.

Most of us in the lab community have known Mike Daley for many years and we're excited to work with him in this new capacity, said Mike Francesconi, Chair, Optical Lab Division. At the same time, we're grateful for the years of service dedicated to optical laboratories over the years by Bob Dziuban and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.

The Optical Laboratories Association recently completed a transformation to a new organization, and I have recently decided to do that as well, said Bob Dziuban. I have decided to embark on a new path in my career. My work with the optical lab industry has been the most satisfying of professional experiences of my career. My family and I are very grateful for how warmly and openly we have been embraced by the lab community.

Mike Daley can be contacted by emailing mdaley@thevisioncouncil.org or calling (703) 548-2896.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

||Vision Council Member News|| 7578|For Millions of Americans, Missing Sunglasses Means Harmful Exposure to UV|

Alexandria, VA (May 15, 2012) - More than 55 percent of adults in the United States lose or break their sunglasses every year, according to a new consumer media report by The Vision Council. For these and the 27 percent of adults who do not ever wear sunglasses, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation could end up costing them a lot more than a new pair of shades. The report, Finding Your Shades, Protecting Your Vision, outlines trends in UV-protective behaviors like sunglass use, as well as the major health effects that can occur as a result of cumulative UV exposure, and the protective measures necessary to prevent them. Copies of the report will be issued to consumer health and lifestyle reporters nationwide on May 17, 2012, in an effort to increase public understanding of UV radiation and its harmful effects on vision health.

UV radiation remains a constant threat to eye health, yet few understand the risk and consequences of cumulative UV exposure. A recent VisionWatch survey conducted by The Vision Council found that 20 percent of people do not feel that their eyes are at risk for sun exposure and 11 percent do not believe that unprotected exposure to UV rays causes health problems. The survey also found that many Americans are not protecting their eyes - or their children's eyes - with proper use of sunglasses. While 73 percent use sunglasses to shield their eyes from the sun, only 58 percent make their children practice the same preventive behavior.

There is still a huge gap in public knowledge on the danger of UV radiation, especially as it relates to the eyes, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. This media report aims to help raise awareness of UV harm and equip people with the tools and information needed to adequately protect their eyes against UV exposure.

On May 11, The Vision Council hosted a briefing - Sunglasses, UV Protection and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision - for congressional staffers on Capitol Hill. In line with the report's findings, Justin Bazan, OD, owner of Park Slope Eye, discussed the dangerous effects UV rays can have on the eyes and the importance of vision protection, while Doug Hepper, president and CEO of Vision-Ease Lens and David Vander Schaaf, executive vice president of marketing for FGX International, presented lens and sunwear options by lifestyle and face shape respectively. The Vision Council will also be holding a media telebriefing and releasing a 60-second audio news release on May 17, timed to the launch of the report.

The report, however, is just one component of The Vision Council's refreshed UV protection campaign, Bureau of Missing Sunglasses, designed to increase eye protection purchases by promoting the importance of year-round UV protection to consumers. Mobile and online tools have also been developed to remind the public to keep their eyes shielded from the sun. PackLists, a free smartphone app, generates a customizable packing list for business trips and vacations while highlighting the UV rating for each destination. A UV indicator widget can be placed on any website or blog to make for easy checking, no matter what a person's location. Also in the works is a Facebook poster maker app. The public can create their very own ‘missing' or ‘wanted' poster with a photo of their ‘can't-live-without-‘em' shades. These online tools, and others, are available on the new campaign website, missingsunglasses.com.

Beginning next week, The Vision Council will be bringing the UV awareness message to cities nationwide through its official Bureau of Missing Sunglasses street teams. Agents will be visiting more than 10 cities across the U.S. from May through October, with the first event planned around Don't Fry Day, the Friday before Memorial Day, May 24-26, in New York City. Street teams will hand out educational materials about the dangers of UV exposure and shopping tips for sunwear and other UV-protective prescription eyewear selection.

The Vision Council has also developed free educational materials, including a UV-focused poster, children's activity booklet, and waiting room/community magazine, Under the Sun, to help eye care professionals inform their patients about the importance of vision protection year-round. These complimentary marketing materials are available through The Vision Council's online store at thevisioncouncil.org/ecp.

To learn more about The Vision Council's UV protection campaign, or to download a copy of the Finding Your Shades, Protecting Your Vision report, visit the Bureau of Missing Sunglasses at missingsunglasses.com.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses. If you or someone you know has missing or damaged sunglasses, report the incident online by using the #BOMS tag, like us on Facebook and check out our tools you can use to keep track of your shades and keep your eyes safe.

 

||Vision Council Member News||New Report by The Vision Council Examines Eye Health Risks of UV Damage 7585|Registration is Now Open for the Annual Optical Lab Division Meeting|

Alexandria, VA (May 17, 2012) - Registration for the 2012 Optical Lab Division (formerly the Optical Laboratories Association) meeting, held September 5-8 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, is now open. The annual event will once again be held in conjunction with the education and exhibits at International Vision Expo West.

There are no other comparable events available to labs, said Mike Francesconi, Chair, Optical Lab Division. The meeting offers lab professionals the best combination of hands-on education, relevant programming, and face-to-face networking. It's the one place where labs are guaranteed to get business done.

New for 2012, the education program will begin a day earlier on Wednesday, September 5, and will feature sessions covering timely industry topics, including:

  • Private Label Branding - Not just for Manufacturers Anymore! (Panel Discussion)
  • Warranties & Redos: Costs, Concerns and Impact on an Industry
  • What do ECPs Want from Labs? Part II, the Optician Perspective (Panel Discussion)
  • Putting it all Together - Integrated Electronic Marketing for Labs
  • Digital Surfacing Workshop - Tips, Techniques and Troubleshooting (In-Booth Demos)

There is no cost to attend the meeting for members of The Vision Council's Optical Lab Division. Members who register receive complimentary access to all breakfasts, luncheons and educational programming. Non-members can register for lab education at $50 per session (per person).

Plans for the 13th annual Optical Pioneers Hall of Fame banquet, held Wednesday, September 5 from 6:30-9:30p.m. at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, are also underway. The banquet brings together optical industry professionals - new and veteran - to celebrate the rich heritage of this strong and diverse industry. Tickets are $90 and can be purchased online at thevisioncouncil.org/labmeeting.

To register for the Optical Lab Division meeting, visit thevisioncouncil.org/labmeeting.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

About the Optical Lab Division

The Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) was founded in 1894 as an international business association to serve the needs of the optical industry's laboratories. In 2011, The Vision Council and the OLA announced their joint affiliation, naming OLA the new Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council, and combining the activities of both associations to benefit their respective members. The Optical Lab Division provides information, publications, education, and programs to help members operate and improve their business and their lab operations.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 7700|Protecting Eyes on Independence Day|

Alexandria, VA (July 3, 2012) - As families and individuals prepare to celebrate Independence Day, The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America urge Americans to safeguard eyes from holiday-related hazards. This Fourth of July, the U.S. Fire Administration projects that approximately 9,000 people will be treated at emergency rooms for firework related injuries. On average, 22 percent of these injuries will be to eyes, including serious issues like contusions and lacerations.

Independence Day is an extremely dangerous time for eyes and vision health, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. All too often, we hear about an unfortunate situation that cuts a July 4th celebration short. In order to have a fun and healthy Independence Day, The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America ask Americans to consider several safety precautions before heading outdoors.

Both groups urge consumers to not use fireworks and only attend displays by licensed operators. For those planning to attend professional displays, protective eyewear should be worn at all times. Flying objects like sparks, bottle rockets and sky rockets can hit the eye and result in permanent vision loss or damage. Protective eyewear like goggles and safety glasses can shield eyes from these types of projectiles. Unlike regular glasses and contacts, which can shatter or break, protective lenses are designed to withstand high levels of impact. This is especially important for young children, who are more frequently treated for firework-related eye injuries.

In addition to fireworks, Fourth of July hazards also include ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can be extremely damaging to eyes. During summer months, when UV levels are at their highest, solar radiation commonly causes short and long term vision impairment in both children and adults. To mitigate the risks of UV, sunglasses and other UV-protective eyewear should be worn at all times.

In a recent report - Finding Your Shades, Protecting Your Vision - The Vision Council describes the health risks of UV exposure. Photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eyes, is a common and painful condition that can occur from just a few hours of unprotected UV exposure. More serious conditions like abnormal growths on the eye, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye and eyelid are the result of cumulative exposure to the sun.

Wearing sunglasses or other UV-protective eyewear is the best way to shield eyes from the sun. Consumers should consider the following tips when choosing a pair of shades:

  • Buy from a reputable retailer: Their products will meet frame and lens quality criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Look for UV protection: Sunglasses should filter UVA and UVB light.
  • Try the sunglasses on: Fit and feel make a difference because sunglasses that are uncomfortable are less likely to worn.
  • Use multiple pairs: Different lenses and frames may be suited to various types of activities.
  • Understand lens color: The darkness of a lens has nothing to do with UV protection, although various lens colors can offer other benefits. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses are best when for water sports; gray, brown and amber are great for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for water sports.
  • Focus on design: For extra protection, wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles.

For more information about fireworks safety or UV protection for the eyes, please visit missingsunglasses.com or preventblindness.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

About Prevent Blindness America

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness America is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America.

 

||Vision Council Member News||The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America Outline Eye Safety Practices 7883|Two Thirds of U.S. Adults Report Discomfort While Using Digital Devices|

Alexandria, VA (September 19, 2012) - Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience some form of digital eye strain while using digital devices, according to The Vision Council. A new report, Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, examines how the prolonged use of digital devices can negatively impact eye health.

Digital device use in America is on the rise, and the mounting reliance on technologies like tablets and smartphones is only expected to intensify1. In a 2012 survey conducted by The Vision Council, more than one third of U.S. adults spend four to six hours a day on electronic devices; fourteen percent report daily use at 10 to 12 hours. Devices include televisions, desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, e-readers and tablets, and gaming systems.

Digital devices are an important part of our everyday lives - from business and recreation to socialization and even education, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. But this behavior can also be very strenuous on our eyes. Simple precautions can prevent the discomfort that many Americans experience while using popular devices.

Digital eye strain is defined by a collective set of physical symptoms, including eye redness or irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches. Individuals may also experience eye fatigue and strain as a result of blue light waves that are emitted from digital electronic screens. Symptoms often occur as a result of prolonged device use but can also be a product of an individual's environment. Intense overhead lighting, poor posture, chair positioning, and incorrect monitor arrangement can all lead to digital eye strain.

The Vision Council's survey found that the majority of Americans primarily use digital devices for recreation; work/business emerged as the second most popular reason. More women than men experience symptoms of digital eye strain and symptoms are more common in adults under 55, regardless of gender. Despite the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans experience digital eye strain, many do nothing to lessen their discomfort.

For individuals with computer-oriented jobs, I recommend using computer eyewear to alleviate eye strain, said Justin Bazan, OD, member of the Better Vision Institute. Computer eyewear products are designed specifically for computers and use special lenses and tints to reduce screen glare and improve contrast.

To prevent and alleviate digital eye strain, The Vision Council outlines key items to consider while using electronics:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Consider using computer eyewear to help combat eye strain.
  • Create an ergonomically-friendly work station with proper lighting, seat adjustments, and monitor settings.
  • Enlarge your computer's text and browser windows for easier viewing.
  • Remember to blink; staring at screens can dry eyes.

To view or download a copy of Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, visit The Vision Council's website at www.thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

1Global Consumer Electronics Market Forecast to 2013, RNCOS. October 2011.

||Vision Council Member News||New Report by The Vision Council Examines Emerging Occurrence of Digital Eye Strain 7929|European Sunglass Association and The Vision Council Announce Merger|

Alexandria, VA (October 3, 2012) - The European Sunglass Association (ESA) and The Vision Council today announced their intent to merge. Both parties signed a comprehensive Joint Operating Agreement - effective immediately - with the goal of fully merging the ESA into The Vision Council within 12-months. Leadership from the ESA and The Vision Council will elaborate during a press conference at Silmo in Paris, France, on Thursday, October 4, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. (CEST).

Today marks an exciting new chapter for our organization, said Jamie Shyer, chairman of The Vision Council's board of directors. By combining the leadership, programs and services from both associations, we are better positioned to support the growth and development of our members and the global vision industry.

To ensure a seamless transition, the ESA, its leadership and related committees will remain in place for one year. ESA members are entitled to select from six operating divisions within The Vision Council that provide guidance, education programs, marketing materials, research and advocacy outreach to address common interests among members. Each member is also eligible to serve on the various committees, subcommittees and taskforces under The Vision Council structure.

The new union is an important step towards establishing a strong presence in Europe and will enable The Vision Council to better address European-based issues. We are thrilled to join forces, said Martijn van Eerde, international marketing manager for the ESA. The Vision Council is a well-oiled organization that has been extremely successful in servicing the American optical industry. Adding their resources, experience and creativity to the European Sunglass Association will create a wealth of services and benefits for the European optical industry.

The addition of the ESA raises The Vision Council's total membership to 724 members.

For more information on becoming a member of The Vision Council or to learn more about the organization's programs and services, contact Greg Chavez, vice president of member services, at gchavez@thevisioncouncil.org or 703.740.1399.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

||Vision Council Member News|| 7937|The Vision Council Wins Awards in 2012 National Health Information Awards Program|

Alexandria, VA (October 9, 2012) - The Vision Council was selected as a winner in the 19th annual National Health Information AwardsSM. This program recognizes the nation's best consumer health information programs and materials.

The Kids Ultraviolet (UV) Brochure with Stickers received a Silver Award for Booklet / Brochure /
Pamphlet and the 2011/2012 Readers Campaign (video series) was awarded a Bronze Award for Total Health Information Program.

We were delighted to participate in the National Health Information Awards program and were honored to be selected as a winner among a wide variety of leading organizations in the consumer health field, said Maureen Beddis, vice president of marketing and communications for The Vision Council. Our winning entries were chosen from nearly 1,000 submissions judged by a national panel of health information experts.

The Kids UV Brochure is fun activity pamphlet with games, puzzles and stickers, designed to educate children (and their parents) about the dangers of unprotected UV exposure and to promote wearing sunglasses, or other UV-protective eyewear, year-round. This educational resource, and others, is available for free to eye care providers through The Vision Council's online store at thevisioncouncil.org/ecp.

Released last fall, the Readers Campaign offers a humorous take on the potential pitfalls of not wearing reading glasses and positions the eyewear as a functional and stylish necessity. The four-part video series targets males aged 40-55 - emerging presbyopes - through a mix of social media and blogger outreach, including placement on AARP's blog. A new series is expected to launch next month. To view the current videos, visit youtube.com/thevisioncouncil.

The awards program is coordinated by the Health Information Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials. To view the complete list of 2012 winners, such as the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mayo Clinic, visit healthawards.com/2012winners/2012hiawinners.pdf.

###

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

About the National Health Information Awards

The National Health Information Awards program is organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), a national clearinghouse for professionals who work in consumer health fields. Other HIRC products and services include the Web Health AwardsSM, National Women's Health & Fitness DaySM, and Family Health & Fitness Day USASM, and professional reference books.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 7964|Join the Conversation at the 2013 Executive Summit|

Alexandria, VA (October 17, 2012) - Registration opens today for The Vision Council's 2013 Executive Summit, the must-attend business strategy and networking event for senior and C-level executives. The annual meeting will return to The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, in Miami, Fla., January 16-18, and is expected to draw more than 250 key players from the vision industry.

There's no other event in our industry that brings together the same quality and diversity of top-tier talent and companies in a face-to-face setting, said Jamie Shyer, chairman of The Vision Council's board of directors. This is the best place to learn, collaborate, and analyze trends. It's also the best place to catch up with old friends, make new connections and strengthen professional relationships across the industry. Attending is a smart business decision.

The 2013 program will deliver seven valuable sessions offering insight from some of the best minds in the industry on topics designed to help companies drive innovation, build a sound business strategy and implement relevant leadership tactics. Keynote speaker, Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method Products, Inc., brings his knowledge and passion for successfully building retail and consumer concepts. Back by popular demand, Senior Economist Andrew Duguay with the Institute for Trend ResearchTM will provide an important economic update and forecast market trends.

Additional meeting features include a breakout on building customer loyalty, a leadership workshop designed to prime organizations for success and profit, and an industry panel on The Future of Eyewear Retail. More than 12-hours of dedicated networking time and division-specific meetings, including the first-ever Sunglass & Reader Division Power Breakfast and a breakthrough Strategic Planning Meeting for members of The Vision Council's Lens Processing Technology Division, round out this premiere event.

To register for the 2013 Executive Summit, and to view the complete agenda, visit thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit. For more information, please contact Rene Soltis Shepherd, senior director of meetings and education for The Vision Council, at rsoltis@thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Registration now open 8007|The Vision Council Launches In-Office Processing Web Series|

ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 5, 2012) - Eye care practices that are only performing exams and running a dispensary could be missing out on a third profit center: in-office processing. An insightful new web series created by The Vision Council offers firsthand commentary from eye care providers (ECPs) around the country who have chosen to invest in in-office processing equipment for their practice, from simple edging and lens assembly to full surfacing.

In the web series, eight ECPs of varying backgrounds talk unscripted about their use of in-office processing equipment. They discuss how in-office processing equipment can capture new customers, reduce errors, and speed up order turnaround - all while keeping costs in check. In addition, by stepping into their in-office labs, viewers will get a sense of the space requirements and equipment needs for their own practice. The videos will be released bi-weekly, with a promotion that will last five-months. Each testimonial will be added to the campaign's official website, inofficeprocessing.com, and The Vision Council's YouTube channel, YouTube.com/thevisioncouncil.

ECPs featured in The Vision Council's web series are:

  • Stephen Rozenberg, O.D., 10/10 Optics, New York, N.Y.
  • Dora Adamopoulos, O.D., Eye 2 Eye, Alexandria, Va.
  • Mike Gantley, Office Manager, Nilsen Eye Care, Richmond, Va.
  • Michael Stoff, O.D., Eye Shoppe on 7th, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Mike Morton, O.D., Eye Care Associates, San Bernardino, Calif.
  • Robert Bauman, O.D., Dr. Robert C. Bauman & Associates, Stowe, Vt.
  • Justin Bazan, O.D., Park Slope Eye, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Edward Kent, Owner, Economy Best Vision, New York, N.Y.

We know that when optometrists are researching in-office processing the first place they look is the web, so we thought using the Internet was a great way of allowing ECPs to hear from their peers, said Matthew Vulich, chair of The Vision Council's Lens Processing Technology Division task force and vice-president of marketing for AIT Industries. Information is key in any industry, and the goal of this campaign is to provide eye care providers with the information they need to take direct control of their product's quality.

As part of the campaign, inofficeprocessing.com offers access to interactive return-on-investment calculators, equipment providers and an online, American Board of Opticianry-certified continuing education course, Lens Processing: How to Control Your Quality, Destiny and Profits. In addition, a downloadable Get Started Kit - complete with a checklist - has been added to help ECPs plan for success. To learn more about The Vision Council's in-office processing campaign, visit inofficeprocessing.com.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses. Learn more at thevisioncouncil.org.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Online testimonials offer insight into benefits, costs for ECPs to consider when investing in lens equipment 8048|The Vision Council Announces Year-End CE Promotion for Eyecare Providers |

Alexandria, VA (November 28, 2012) - If you're scrambling to meet your annual continuing education (CE) requirements, The Vision Council has a timely Holiday gift just for you. Now through December 31, eyecare providers can earn free CE credits through The Vision Council's online education portal, available at thevisioncouncil.org/ecp/CE.

This year-end promotion aims to help alleviate some of the stress associated with meeting annual CE requirements, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. With courses focusing on sales, marketing, communication and business building skills, there's something for everyone. And, our online platform provides convenient access to accredited courses from the comfort of your home or practice.

The current online offerings consist of high-quality, product generic content designed to engage the learner and get results. Each course is one-hour long and combines industry research and data with subject matter experts on a variety of ABO and COPE approved optical topics. The interactive course content delivery is supported by audio, video, and print to address a variety of adult learning styles. Courses include:

  • How to Control Your Quality, Destiny and Profits - The Dollars and Sense of In-Office Processing
  • Troubleshooting Eyewear Complaints
  • A Systems Approach to Prescribing and Selling Anti-Reflective Lenses
  • Increasing Your Rx Capture Rate
  • Lenses and LifestylesTM

To take advantage of free continuing education, eyecare providers should use the promo code VC-TVC2012 when registering online at thevisioncouncil.org/ecp/CE.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses. Learn more at thevisioncouncil.org.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Free online CE, now through December 31 8145|California Optical Laboratories Association Joins The Vision Council|

Alexandria, VA (January 2, 2013) - The Vision Council, the largest association of manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry, and the California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA), an organization of full-service optical laboratories from California and other Western states, today announced that they have entered into a comprehensive Joint Operating Agreement - effective immediately - with the goal of fully merging the COLA into The Vision Council's Optical Lab Division (formally the Optical Laboratories Association) within the next several months.

This is a union of two long-standing associations that share a common commitment to the vision industry and have the best interests of their members at their core, said Mike Francesconi, chair of The Vision Council Optical Lab Division. The combination presents a significant opportunity to take our products and services to the next level. Together, we will be a stronger organization for our members, and a more resourceful association for the entire optical laboratory business.

Under the terms of the agreement, the current COLA leadership will remain in place to ensure a seamless transition. COLA members will join The Vision Council as The California Lab Committee under the Optical Lab Division umbrella, one of six operating divisions within The Vision Council that provide guidance, education programs, marketing materials, research, and advocacy outreach to address common interests among members. In addition, each member of the COLA is eligible to serve on the various committees, subcommittees and taskforces under The Vision Council structure.

We are very excited about this new chapter in our organization, said Lori Treadwell, president of the COLA. This partnership will provide our membership with the essential resources they need to stay informed and competitive. We're confident that COLA's proud past, and its future, is in good hands.

The Vision Council has committed to support the continuation of the association's programs, including their annual meeting in the spring. In addition, COLA members will be immediately eligible to receive all benefits and services offered by The Vision Council, including:

  • Member pricing for exhibiting at International Vision Expos
  • Complimentary optical industry research reports
  • Reduced registration fee for the Optical Lab Division meeting (formerly THE OLA)
  • Member discounts for products and services
  • Technical representation

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

About the California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA)

Founded in 1957, the California Optical Laboratories Association is an organization of full-service optical laboratories from California and other Western states.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 8182|The Vision Council Combats Digital Eye Strain at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show|

Alexandria, VA (January 10, 2013) - The Vision Council is raising awareness of digital eye strain among those audiences most at risk at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 8-11. With more than 150,000 people expected to attend CES this week in Las Vegas, The Vision Council is on hand to help digital device users protect their eyes from digital eye strain, a growing health concern for avid electronic consumers.

A 2012 survey by The Vision Council found that nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience some form of digital eye strain while using digital devices. The majority of Americans spend four to six hours daily in front of electronics - a number steadily on the rise among younger populations. Individuals can easily protect vision, however, through the use of the wide array of computer eyewear products available today.

Technology is taking us to fascinating places and CES is an opportune time to see what innovation will look like in 2013, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. As the largest tradeshow of consumer electronics, CES gives us a platform to reinforce safe eye behavior among those adults and children who most frequently use consumer electronics. We are especially excited to showcase computer eyewear and other eyewear solutions that can help to prevent the risk of digital eye strain.

Today at 3:30p.m. PST, Dr. Justin Bazan, optometrist and medical adviser to The Vision Council, will participate on a Digital Health Summit Panel at the Las Vegas Convention Center, North Hall, N250. Dr. Bazan will be joined by a panel of experts from ClearSounds Communications, Valencell, Inc., hi HealthInnovations and the Digital Health Journal to discuss Health Tech from the Neck Up. The 45-minute session will explore digital health innovations for hearing loss, vision loss and neuroscience and discuss how these technology solutions are being perfected to address key needs in our society.

Visitors stopping by The Vision Council's booth (#26434), located in South Hall 2 of the Las Vegas Convention Center, are invited to explore the latest in digital device accessories. The booth features the latest in computer eyewear technology from members as well as key findings from The Vision Council's recent digital eye strain report, Screens, Phones, Tablets and More: Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age. Attendees can also enter a 20-20-20 raffle to win an assortment of prizes, including top of the line computer eyewear. Every 20 minutes a new name will be chosen at random, reinforcing the fact that every 20 minutes, digital device users should take a 20 second break from their screens to look at something 20 feet away. Follow The Vision Council on Twitter during the show @Eye_Strained.

To learn more about digital eye strain, or to download a copy of the report, visit digitaleyestrain.com.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 8210|The Vision Council Holds Annual Executive Summit|

Alexandria, VA (January 17, 2013) - The Vision Council officially inducted its 2013 officers and board of directors during its annual Executive Summit, held at The Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Fla. on Jan. 16-18, 2013.

At the annual membership meeting, new officers were elected and it was announced that Raanan Naftalovich of Shamir Insight has been named chairman. Naftalovich has been an active member of The Vision Council for several years and is a past chair of its Lens Division, Finance Committee and Statistics Committee.

Naftalovich will be joined by Martin Bassett of Walman Optical as vice-chairman, Dick Russo of Safilo as secretary/treasurer and Jamie Shyer of Zyloware Eyewear as immediate past chairman. Also elected were directors at large Doug Hepper of Vision Ease (Lens Division), Claudio Gottardi of Marchon (Eyewear & Accessories Division), John Corsini of Super Systems (Lens Processing Technology Division) and Andrea Dorigo of Luxottica (Eyewear & Accessories Division). The complete roster for the 2013 Board of Directors can be found online at thevisioncouncil.org.

The vision industry's success lies in working closely with our government allies, capitalizing on critical changes in marketplace conditions and having the intuition to fully leverage advances in technology, said Raanan Naftalovich, chairman of The Vision Council's Board of Directors. My predecessor, Jamie Shyer, did an excellent job of working alongside The Vision Council to tailor programs necessary for such industry growth. Our challenge in 2013 will be to further refine these programs to ensure they are running as efficiently and effectively as possible to meet the needs of our ever-growing and diverse membership.

To help determine a path for the future of the organization, The Vision Council Board of Directors, CEO and Senior Management Team conducted a strategic planning session at The Vision Council's headquarters in Alexandria, Va. on Dec. 6, 2012. In the coming weeks, the board will be reviewing the results document from their December session and delegating to the appropriate committees and task forces for implementation.

This year's Executive Summit also broke attendance records with more than 290 participants. The Vision Council's Program Committee, which plans the annual meeting, attributed this growth to the members' increasing level of involvement and commitment to industry growth. The 2013 program provided senior executives with an opportunity to participate in special breakouts and an interactive panel discussion, facilitated by Program Chair Mike Hundert, on the future of eyewear distribution channels. Members were also invited to exclusive networking events and presentations from two keynote speakers. Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method Products, Inc., discussed the importance of branding your company from the inside out and being product-centric in building a sound business model, while Andrew Duguay, senior economist for the Institute for Trend Research, shared economic forecasts for the vision industry, which included insights into what leading economic indicators may be worth watching.

The 2014 Executive Summit will be held at Trump International Beach Resort in Miami, Fla., Jan. 22-24. To access the annual meeting summary, and post event resources from The Vision Council's 2013 Executive Summit, please visit thevisioncouncil.org/executivesummit.

EDITOR'S NOTE: High-resolution images are available upon request. Contact Stephanie Sikorski at ssikorski@thevisioncouncil.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We position our members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums.

 

||Vision Council Member News||Raanan Naftalovich Elected Chairman 8345|The Vision Council Launches Website for Low Vision Patients and Caregivers|

Alexandria, VA (February 28, 2013) - The Vision Council is pleased to announce the launch of a standalone website, whatislowvision.org, dedicated to educating consumers about low vision and low vision solutions. The site was created to serve as an online resource for people with vision impairment due to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other eye conditions often associated with aging. The initiative aims to answer questions that those with low vision, in addition to their loved ones and caregivers, may have by addressing its causes and warning signs, as well as vision enhancing devices and medical solutions.

When we began this project, our goal was to develop a centralized resource for all things low vision. We knew the site design would have to meet the needs of patients and caregivers, who were seeking answers to their questions about maintaining or supporting independence, said Maureen Beddis, vice president of marketing and communications for The Vision Council. During the past year we have been collaborating with key groups in the vision and caregiving communities toward the common goal of raising awareness for low vision and increasing knowledge of low vision solutions for improving quality of life. In addition to helping people afflicted with low vision, we also hope this site serves as a credible voice for caregivers.

The site design is fully functional for low vision users. It offers an easy-to-navigate layout and incorporates several specialty functions, including font size and contrast buttons, a doctor locator (find a low vision specialist), and a blog feed. The font was specifically developed with low vision readers in mind and colors were selected on their ability to provide the best contrast and legibility for users. Visitors have the ability to zoom in/out or change the level of contrast without the text or images being altered. Based on a review of keyword searches and low vision terms, The Vision Council has purchased additional what is urls, which will redirect individuals searching for similar questions to the main low vision site.

Following the launch, consumer outreach efforts will be focused on promoting the website to key aging publications and reporters. On March 13, Ken Bradley, chair of The Vision Council's Low Vision Division, and Paul Michelson, MD, chair of the Better Vision Institute, the medical advisory arm to The Vision Council, will meet with health editors from various magazines in New York to announce whatislowvision.org as a leading low vision resource and provide reporters with information about low vision, coping mechanisms and the availability of low vision products. Social media activities will target blogs, nursing facility review sites, eyecare message boards and current eye campaigns, which drive traffic to whatislowvision.org.

To learn more about The Vision Council's low vision website, contact Erin Hildreth, marketing and communications manager, consumer programs, at ehildreth@thevisioncouncil.org or visit www.whatislowvision.org.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses. Learn more at www.thevisioncouncil.org or find us on Facebook.

 

||Vision Council Member News|| 8382|Think About Your Eyes Public Awareness Initiative to Launch Nationally in 2013|

Alexandria, VA (March 15, 2013) - Think About Your Eyes, L.L.C., a non-profit organization under The Vision Council, announced today that it is launching a national public awareness initiative, focused on increasing the importance of overall vision health, in the second half of 2013. With support from the American Optometric Association (AOA), the Think About Your Eyes® campaign will also be reaching out to optometrists and other industry leaders around the country to join this public eye health initiative.

Originally piloted in May 2010, in nine test markets, the awareness initiative focused on educating the public about the benefits of eye health and the importance of getting an annual comprehensive eye exam. The campaign reached approximately 25 percent of the U.S. and demonstrated the ability to motivate and change public behavior when it came to vision health. Overall eye exams grew by 7.9 percent, translating to 120 incremental eye exams per practice, per year in those markets.

On the heels of a very successful pilot, we are excited to expand our efforts and deliver this message, alongside the AOA, to millions of Americans, said Ed Greene, chief executive officer of The Vision Council. The first Think About Your Eyes campaign resulted in more than 3.4 million incremental eye exams in our test markets and more than 367,000 previously undiagnosed cases of eye disease were discovered. With results like that, imagine the impact we can have on a national scale as we combine the strengths of the Vision Council, the leading industry association, and the AOA, the leading professional association.

In addition to raising awareness among consumers through television, print, online advertising and social media, the new effort will focus for the first time on engaging support from the eyecare community as a whole. With the additional support from optometry and other industry partners, Think About Your Eyes will become a long-term sustainable program.

Never before has it been possible to motivate preventive health behavior on a large scale like Think About Your Eyes has been able to do, and we are thrilled to join The Vision Council and others in support of this program as it takes off with a national launch, said Dr. Barry Barresi, Executive Director, American Optometric Association. We are also dedicated to engaging our membership of optometrists across the country to make a difference in the overall eye health of the public. We know working together as an eyecare community is key to the future success of this program.

To engage optometrists, members from Think About Your Eyes will be attending both state and local optical association meetings to seek support through annual membership and offer Think About Your Eyes advertising sponsorships to member optometrists in their markets. Meetings to garner ongoing awareness will also take place around the country with other leaders in the vision industry.

It is vital for all of us in the eyecare community to promote the importance of vision health to the general public and make sure everyone is aware of the consequences at stake if they don't take care of their eyes, said Marty Bassett, chief executive officer, Walman Optical and board member, The Vision Council. With Think About Your Eyes, we have found a solution to motivate the general public and our entire industry, and we say special thanks to Essilor of America and Luxottica for initiating this effort through their generous support.

To learn more, interested partners should contact Rick Holt, director of Think About Your Eyes, via email at rholt@thinkaboutyoureyes.com or by phone at 703-548-6504. For more information, visit www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com.

About Think About Your Eyes, LLC

Think About Your Eyes, LLC is a non-profit organization under The Vision Council with generous support from Essilor of America and Luxottica.

About Think About Your Eyes

Think About Your Eyes is a public awareness initiative focused on educating consumers about the importance of vision health and annual comprehensive eye exams.