Social Media Posts Shine a Spotlight on Myopia Awareness Week

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, May 16, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—This week, May 13 through 19, 2024, is Myopia Awareness Week, a global event that aims to raise awareness about juvenile-onset myopia and encourage eyecare professionals to take necessary actions. The week has been marked by a number of myopia awareness related initiatives, both big and small, as reported in VMAIL Weekend. In addition, ECPs have been putting in the extra work this week to educate their patients about myopia, both online and in person. Here, we’re taking a look at how some indies are approaching Myopia Awareness Week.

Getting Inspired for Small Business Month

By Staff
Thursday, May 16, 2024 8:20 AM NEW YORK—May is Small Business Month, an important marker for many independent ECPs who juggle life as both doctors and small business owners. While celebrating yourself and supporting other small business owners this May, it’s also a great moment to reflect on your business, where you’ve been, how far you’ve come and what your next steps might look like. In celebration of Small Business Month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put together a list of 11 critical areas for business development, including a number of action items to help business owners get started.

Brian Spittle, OD, Brings Solar Power Home to Virginia

By Staff
Thursday, May 9, 2024 8:30 AM RICHMOND, Va.—When Brian Spittle, OD, founder of The Eye Place, a multi-optometrist group practice located here, took a trip to Central America to learn more about contact lens manufacturing, he did not expect to return to the United States with a newfound look at sustainability in the industry. Dr. Spittle, who is also president of ECP Fastlane, a boutique consultancy, never thought that the trip would eventually lead to his practice becoming 99 percent solar powered. But sometimes the best changes come in the most unexpected ways.

Healthy Vision and Mental Health Awareness Intersect This May

By Staff
Thursday, May 2, 2024 8:20 AM NEW YORK—May is Healthy Vision Month. This year, because it overlaps with Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Eye Institute (NEI) has dedicated Healthy Vision Month to “shining a light on vision loss and mental health—and sharing steps people with a visual impairment can take to thrive in their daily lives.” The NEI noted, “The United States is facing an epidemic of loneliness and isolation with half of adults saying they feel lonely. That’s why Healthy Vision Month 2024 is focused on helping people with a visual impairment know how to access vision rehabilitation services, mental health support and social connection.”

ECPs Celebrate Earth Day Online and In Office

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, April 25, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—This week, billions around the world celebrated Earth Day. There are, of course, countless ways to celebrate our planet, from heading outside for some time in nature to dedicating yourself to pushing for legislative change that will protect our home. Big or small, every little action makes an important difference in keeping the earth as healthy as possible. For ECPs, Earth Day provides a great opportunity to discuss how we can keep sustainable practices at the forefront of our minds every day, through recycling programs, eco-conscious eyewear choices and so much more. This week, we take a look at how some ECPs celebrated.

Indies Look to the Skies for the Eclipse

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, April 18, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Last week, millions of North Americans turned their eyes to the skies for a solar eclipse—total for some, partial for others, but special for all. Leading up to the big day, ECPs spent months educating their communities on how to watch the eclipse safely, and when the eclipse finally arrived, they were able to enjoy watching the astronomical phenomenon with proper eye protection. Here, we’re taking a look back at how indies watched the solar eclipse.

Indies Celebrate World Optometry Day

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, April 4, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—The week of March 17–23, 2024 was World Optometry Week, culminating in World Optometry Day on March 23. With the theme “Advancing Optometry’s Commitment to Global Eye Care,” World Optometry Day aims to shine an annual spotlight on the profession of optometry and the contribution of optometrists worldwide to increasing access to eye health care as a human right, as reported in VMAIL. Here, we’re recapping how some independent optometrists across the country celebrated their profession’s special day.

Small Business Administration Announces 17 New Women’s Business Centers

By Staff
Thursday, April 4, 2024 8:15 AM Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice of more than 33 million U.S. small businesses, has announced the selection of 17 new Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), 13 of which will be hosted by established Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) across 10 states. “We have seen a historic Small Business Boom, with women, especially women of color, filing new business applications at double the rates of men,” said administrator Guzman.

This Year’s Official Earth Day Theme Is ‘Planet vs. Plastic’

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, March 28, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—There is less than a month to go until Earth Day, April 22, giving us all plenty of time to prepare for the holiday. This year, the official Earth Day theme is “Planet vs. Plastics,” an initiative dedicated to demanding a 60 percent reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. This goal is something the eyewear industry is already getting on board with, as more and more eyewear manufacturers switch to bio-acetates and other natural materials in place of traditional plastics.

Indies Take on New York for Vision Expo East

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, March 21, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Last week, the optical community descended on New York City for Vision Expo East, the show’s final edition in the Big Apple before it heads to Orlando beginning in 2025. In addition to the thousands of ECPs, buyers, students and sellers, Vision Expo East 2024 showcased the second annual NOW Awards, over 450 exhibitors and more than 200 education sessions. As reported in VMAIL, Fran Pennella, vice president, Vision Expo at RX, said, “We could not be happier to close out our final show in New York City on such a high note." As we set our sights on Las Vegas for Vision Expo West in September, and Orlando for 2025, let’s take a look back at how some Indies spent their last Vision Expo East in New York.

Indies at SECO Enjoy Optometric Education and Networking

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, March 7, 2024 8:30 AM ATLANTA—On March 3, SECO 2024 closed its five-day annual event of optometric education. As reported in VMAIL, the event, which featured special sessions, breakfast symposiums, hot topic breakfasts, awards events and an exhibit hall featuring more than 160 exhibitors, welcomed thousands of ECPs here. From executives to education professionals to tech experts to ODs, SECO 2024 created a hub for optometric minds.

March Is ‘Save Your Vision Month’ and Here’s How Indies Are Celebrating

By Staff
Thursday, March 7, 2024 8:20 AM NEW YORK—March is Save Your Vision Month, first proposed by the American Optometric Association as a way to remind all of us to keep eye health at the forefront of our minds. With its wide-ranging theme, Save Your Vision Month provides countless opportunities for the optical community to reach out, interact with our local communities, and champion the importance of keeping our eyes healthy and protected. There’s still plenty of time to get involved—and plenty of ways to make a difference.

Transitions Academy Brings Indies Together in Florida

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 8:30 AM ORLANDO, Fla.—From February 11 through 14, hundreds of ECPs gathered here for the 2024 edition of Transitions Academy. In front of more than 1,300 attendees from around the world, Chrystel Barranger, president, Transitions Optical, and president, EssilorLuxottica Wholesale EMEA, announced the launch of Transitions Gen S, as reported in VMAIL from Academy. In addition to this major product launch, the three-day event included breakout educational sessions, a brand experience and a number of networking opportunities. Here, we’re taking a look at a snapshot of Transitions Academy through the eyes of independent ECPs who were on-site.

Main Street America Offering Small-Business Grants

By Staff
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 8:15 AM CHICAGO—Main Street America has announced that it will be accepting applications for its Backing Small Business grant program from March 14 through April 7, 2024. Offered in partnership with American Express, the program supports economically vulnerable and under-resourced small businesses with community reach. This year, according to Main Street America, eligible small business owners can apply for $10,000 grants for projects that grow or improve their business by building community, supporting their economic viability, or bolstering meaningful change.

Review of Myopia Management: Autonomy in My Practice Allowed Me to Practice Full Scope Myopia Management

By Staff
Thursday, February 15, 2024 2:59 PM When I was in optometry school, myopia management wasn’t as front and center as it is now. Indeed, the pandemic and the increased use of digital devices has made it a more pressing concern. While juvenile-onset myopia was covered sporadically in our curriculum, there were few educators specializing in it. Since last year, I’ve taken ownership of a practice in New Jersey from an optometrist who was planning to retire and reduce their workload. This transition has afforded me the opportunity to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to myopia management. With newfound autonomy, I became empowered to engage in extensive parental education initiatives and deliver comprehensive myopia management solutions to my patients.