UnitedHealthcare Selected to Provide Vision and Dental Benefits for Federal Government Employees

By Staff
Friday, September 25, 2020 12:36 AM MINNETONKA, Minn.—UnitedHealthcare has been awarded a seven-year contract to provide dental and vision benefits through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

Novartis Names Whitney Hauser, OD, to Key Ophthalmics Post

By Staff
Friday, September 25, 2020 12:30 AM BASEL, Switzerland—As part of its commitment to developing innovative resources and relevant educational opportunities for ECPS Novartis (NYSE: NVS) has announced that Dr. Whitney Hauser will join its eyecare team as director, peer education for U.S. Ophthalmics.

AOA to Establish Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity

By Staff
Friday, September 25, 2020 12:27 AM ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association (AOA), moving to follow-up on its earlier statement  on the national dialogue around diversity following the death of George Floyd, has taken the opportunity to look inward and assess how the organization can be even more impactful and focus on advocacy for doctors, patients and as a profession. One of the results has been the effort to develop a board-level Diversity and Inclusivity Task Force appointed by AOA president William T. Reynolds, OD.

DaTE Proves Restart Is Possible

By Staff
Friday, September 25, 2020 12:25 AM The 8th edition of DaTE, the showcase event for eyewear of the future, closed on September 21 in Florence. 1,000 pre-registered professionals and select buyers visited the show, meeting organizers’ expectations and confirming the importance of in-person events.

Fight for Sight and Prevent Blindness Announce Recipient of the 2020 Joanne Angle Public Health Award

By Staff
Friday, September 25, 2020 12:21 AM CHICAGO—Fight for Sight, the first nonprofit organization in the U.S. to promote eye research, and Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest voluntary eye health organization, announced today the recipient of the 2020 Joanne Angle Public Health Award as Angela R. Elam, MD, Clinical assistant professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan.  The $25,000 grant was awarded for Dr. Elam’s study, “Engagement in Telemedicine-Based Glaucoma Screening in the Community Clinics.” The Joanne Angle Public Health Award is presented annually to research focusing on the public health side of vision and eye health.

Economic Fallout From COVID-19 Continues to Hit Lower-Income Americans the Hardest

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 2:29 PM It’s been roughly six months since the coronavirus outbreak sent shockwaves through the U.S. economy. While the labor market has recovered somewhat and early stock market losses have been reversed, many Americans continue to face deep financial hardship.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that, overall, one-in-four adults have had trouble paying their bills since the coronavirus outbreak started, a third have dipped into savings or retirement accounts to make ends meet, and about one-in-six have borrowed money from friends or family or gotten food from a food bank. As was the case earlier this year,  these types of experiences continue to be more common among adults with lower incomes, those without a college degree and Black and Hispanic Americans.

Among lower-income adults, 46 percent say they have had trouble paying their bills since the pandemic started and roughly one third (32 percent) say it’s been hard for them to make rent or mortgage payments. About one-in-five or fewer middle-income adults have faced these challenges, and the shares are substantially smaller for those in the upper-income tier. To be sure, some of these financial pain points may have existed even before the pandemic – particularly for lower-income adults. 

Click here
 to read the full story from Pew Research Center. 

What About Halloween?

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:09 PM Believe it or not, it's almost October. For many of us, October means one thing: Halloween. But how do we approach the holiday season in the midst of a pandemic? Massive costume parties are definitely out of the question, but what about trick-or-treating for kids? Should we even bother to stock up on mini Reese's Cups to hand out? The CDC has discouraged trick-or-treating and costume parties, and instead put together a list of safer ways to celebrate. Head over to WebMD for a look. 

Landlords and Retail Tenants Compromise to Emerge Stronger Post-COVID-19

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 10:39 AM Genuine rent relief through this unprecedented period, whether it is landlord- or government-driven in the future, will hopefully provide sufficient runway for many of these retailers to maintain liquidity long enough to continue serving their customers and paying their employees until the pandemic’s most severe effects have retreated.

ECPs Optimistic as Business Increases, Wave 15 of Jobson Survey Finds

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:33 AM NEW YORK—Even with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to move across the U.S. in a hopscotch-like path, ECPs and eyecare practice managers seem to be exhibiting a more optimistic outlook on circumstances and taking steps to get back to more of a “normal” approach to business, according to the 15th Wave of Jobson's ECP Coronavirus Survey. Jobson Research conducted the survey during the Sept. 18-22 period.

LION Eye Group Signs Supplier Agreement With ABB Optical Group

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:30 AM NEW YORK—LION Eye Group, a network of independent optometry practices that utilizes various key initiatives and protocols across strategic and non-clinical operational disciplines to increase provider profitability, entered into a master service agreement with ABB Optical Group.

VSP Global’s COVID-19 Patient Care Grant Program to Help Offset Pandemic Expenses Is Now Available to ECPs

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:27 AM RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP network doctors can now apply for the recently announced VSP Global COVID-19 Patient Care Program, which offers grants to help practices offset expenses and financial hardships due to the pandemic.

Quantum Innovations Releases Germicidal UVC Device

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:09 AM

Clothing Stores and Food Services Fall Behind in Uneven Retail Recovery

By Staff
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 4:35 PM Despite the expiration of the weekly supplement to unemployment benefits at the end of July, U.S. consumer spending continued to bounce back in August, albeit at a slower pace than before, according to a recent feature from Statista.com. According to preliminary estimates published by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales amounted to $537.5 billion last month, up more than 30 percent from its April low and 2.5 percent from the same period last year.

While the ongoing bounce back in consumer spending is certainly encouraging, it needs to be noted that the recovery has been uneven and that spending levels are still below pre-crisis levels for many retailers. 

As the following chart shows, clothing and accessories stores have been badly impacted by the pandemic, with sales in the three months ended August 2020 more than 20 percent below the same period of 2019. The same is true for food services and drinking places, which saw spending levels 19 percent off last year’s total and department stores, which trailed last year’s sales for the months of June, July and August by 16 percent.

Click here to read the full story from Statista.com.

Reconfiguring the Plan

By Mark Tosh
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:30 AM A few weeks ago, I sent an email to people across the optical community asking if they could share a “good news” story. The idea was to collect these positive narratives and put them into a VMAIL Weekend feature. I called it a search for the “silver lining,” basing this on the assumption that there really is “good” sprinkled around and within the dark clouds of the coronavirus pandemic. Sure enough, the responses I received were great. Darren Horndasch, president and chief executive of Wisconsin Vision, had a great story about a surprise birthday party organized and kept secret by the management team and ownership at the optical retailer. Truly evidence that people enjoy doing good things for others. Read More

Can Dogs Sniff Out COVID-19?

By Staff
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:14 AM By now, we're all used to temperature screenings and mask mandates that help keep us and those around us safe from COVID-19. But at Helsinki Airport in Finland, a team of dogs trained to sniff out COVID-19 are screening travelers as well. Head over to Fast Company to learn more about how the dogs can do it, and if it might catch on.