Sometimes we get so deeply involved in our own little universes that we forget that not everyone lives there, too. I’m reminded of this when I meet people for the first time and they ask me what type of work I do. When I tell them, “I edit magazines about eyeglasses and vision,” I sometimes get a quizzical look, followed by questions such as “Is there really a whole magazine just about eyeglasses? What’s there to write about?”

Granted, not everyone responds this way. People who work in other industries are usually quick to make an analogy to a business-to-business publication in their field. Yet many people have little or no idea what optical journalists do, much less understand anything about the industry we cover or the complexities of how it operates.

That’s fine. As consumers, most of us have little or no idea about how the products we buy are sourced or produced, and it doesn’t matter much. For example, I just bought a new garden hose. I have no clue how it’s made or how it got to the store where I bought it. I will probably never read the gardening industry trade magazine that may have written about it. All I know is that it does the job and the price was right.

However, eyeglasses are not garden hoses. They are special products that determine how we see the world and how the world sees us. (Apologies to all you ardent gardeners.) Because eyeglasses are such an integral part of many people’s lives, it might interest them to have some idea of what goes into making and dispensing them.

The next time you meet someone from outside of our optical universe and they give you that quizzical look, consider it a teachable moment. If we help even one more consumer appreciate the skill, talent and creativity required to produce a quality pair of glasses and understand the value it represents, we’ve done a good thing.