Lab Division Update


Dear Member,

I hope you are managing to stay safe and sane during these challenging times. I wanted to provide an update on the Lab Division activities at The Vision Council.

As many of you are aware, Steve Sutherlin who has served as our Lab Division Liaison has recently retired. We thank Steve for his countless contributions to the division, The Vision Council and the industry at large.

As we move forward, Michael Vitale, The Vision Council's Senior Technical Director and Lens Division Liaison, will assume the Lab Division Liaison responsibilities. Michael has been in the optical industry for over 40 years and has an extensive background in lab operations as well as ophthalmic lenses. Additionally, Michael is a Master Optician, holds a North Carolina opticianry license and heads up The Vision Council's standards work as secretariat to ANSI ASC Z80 and US TAG Leader for ISO TC172/SC7 Ophthalmic Optics.

The Lab Division continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring clarity to the issue on lab registration. As reported previously, labs were exempt from registration in 1977 and it is still our position that labs are exempt from the federal registration process and thus do not need to register.

To assist members as they navigate through the rapidly evolving pandemic and complexities of the reopening process, The Vision Council has created a dedicated COVID-19 Implications webpage containing detailed research and information on all phases of the U.S. legislative response, best sanitization methods and guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force as well as the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Additionally, The Vision Council has presented several webinars as part of the Member Insights Webinar Series that is focused on connecting, informing and uplifting the vision community. On Thursday, May 21 at 12 p.m. EST, The Vision Council's research team will host a webinar to provide an updated view on consumer, member and eyecare provider sentiment and behavior.

As part of The Vision Council's recent governmental affairs efforts, this letter was sent to Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell, Schumer and McCarthy on behalf of members to request various levels of support for the optical industry in the fourth stimulus package. The letter includes specific calls for support surrounding personal protective equipment (PPE), the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 testing and liability protection.

There are many valuable resources available for our division members that can be found here. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Michael at or (703) 548-2684.


Swen Carlson, VSP
Lab Division Chair

COLA Spring Meeting
General Updates from The Vision Council
Lab Division