COVID-19 Implications



In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the lives of millions, including individuals and businesses in the vision care industry. The following information has been collected to help guide members as we emerge from the pandemic.

For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the evolving pandemic, click here.

Guidance for Eyecare Providers and Optical Retailers

The Vision Council worked closely with a taskforce of vision care industry leaders to launch, a digital platform designed to help eyecare providers navigate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses. The website is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource to help eyecare providers navigate the complex journey from shutdown back to ‘new normal’ business conditions with practical insights and a collection of best practices, protocols, tools and tips for reopening a practice and maintaining its health until conditions improve.

Resources available on include interactive cashflow calculators, guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) process, downloadable patient marketing materials and tips on acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Vision Council's Sanitization Operating Assumptions

At the request of members as well as the industry at large, The Vision Council has created a compilation of information regarding best sanitization methods for products and packages.

U.S. Legislative Response to COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, U.S. lawmakers have worked to provide emergency relief for individuals, families and businesses. The Vision Council has created a general analysis outlining all phases of the U.S. legislative response to COVID-19.

Shipping & Manufacturing

Members should continue to expect delays in shipping as well as production and should contact their manufacturers, suppliers and freight forwarders to determine the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their individual businesses. All freight modes continue to be impacted by the pandemic, particularly air freight due to dramatically rising rates caused by reduced capacity brought on by airlines' grounding flights. Courier services, such as FedEx, UPS and DHL, continue to experience route suspensions and other delays. Bottlenecks at ocean ports is also growing, as importers delay picking up cargo intended for still-closed retailers.

Travel Restrictions

The CDC regularly issues updates regarding international and domestic travel. The latest recommendations can be found here.

Optical Market Research

The Vision Council's market research team tracked the evolving eyewear and eyecare behavior of American consumers as well as members and eyecare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19-related reports can be found here.

Ongoing projects include:

  • COVID-19 Optical Impact Study: Launched in February 2020 as part of The Vision Council’s monthly VisionWatch consumer survey, the study is designed to measure respondents’ level of concern over exposure to COVID-19 and tracks trends related to their interactions with eyecare providers, eye exam intent and eyewear purchases. 
  • COVID-19 Eyecare Provider Study:  Through a weekly survey fielded to eyecare providers, the study explores the impact of tightening restrictions, evolving consumer sentiment and government guidance related to COVID-19 and is aimed at gaining a broad understanding of how the market is reacting to the pandemic.

Industry Events

With the city of Las Vegas fully reopened and returned to pre-pandemic guidelines Vision Expo West 2021 will take place September 22-25, 2021 (Education: Sept. 22-25; Exhibition: Sept. 23-25) at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vision Expo+, a free digital extension of the Vision Expo West 2021 experience delivered through the ShopVISION platform, will be offered in conjunction with the in-person Show to accommodate members of the community from around the globe.

For more information, click here.

Vision Expo has launched a comprehensive series of virtual programming to bring the optical community together in between in-person events. These virtual offerings are designed to help the eyewear and eyecare community source content, build industry knowledge and facilitate connections.

The Vision Council and RX, co-owners of Vision Expo, reimagined the Show’s continuing education offerings with the launch of VisionEd Direct, a virtual continuing education platform offering on-demand accredited courses, and plans for a new education area to debut at Vision Expo East 2021.

Built on the Quantum Optical platform, one of the premier sources for continuing education in the ophthalmic field, VisionEd Direct offers 10 hours of accredited education, including five hours of Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) courses and five hours of American Board of Opticianry (ABO) courses.

To visit the platform, click here.

To complement Vision Expo’s in-person trade shows, The Vision Council and RX launched ShopVISION, the groundbreaking digital sourcing solution for the vision care community. Created in partnership with Balluun, the world category leader in business-to-business marketplace technology, this state-of-the-art platform is designed as a one-stop virtual marketplace and year-round global hub for buyers to connect with suppliers and source vision care products and services. ShopVISION lives side-by-side with Vision Expo, providing a modern and global way to conduct business year-round and on-demand.

On the platform, buyers can source products, build relationships with suppliers and manage all of their product discovery and research needs.

Vision Expo+ is a free, digital extension of the Vision Expo experience, delivered through the ShopVISION platform. Vision Expo+ launched during Vision Expo East 2021, bringing Show content online through online showrooms from Vision Expo East’s more than 200 exhibitors and livestreamed Vision Expo East content. All events taking place at The Seen were simulcast live on the ShopVISION platform. Additionally, the recorded sessions are now available to view on ShopVISION. Details on Vision Expo+ for Vision Expo West 2021 will be announced in the coming months.

For access to Vision Expo+, register for ShopVISION here by clicking the “Sign in/Join” button and then “Register Now.” ShopVISION is being offered on a complimentary basis to all eyecare providers, buyers and all Vision Expo East 2021 exhibitors.

For more information, please contact Mitch Barkley, Vice President of Trade Shows and Meetings at The Vision Council at [email protected].



The information in The Vision Council's COVID -19 Implications update is derived from selected government and public sources. The Vision Council believes that the information comes from reliable sources, but does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness, which may be subject to change without notice.