One of the many lessons that a lot of folks are realizing about the pandemic of the past nearly-two years is that things change constantly and nothing really stays the same. I mean, values, needs and ethics usually do stay the same, but getting to those things, how products and services that reflect those don’t ever stay the same.

The pandemic unleashed such a fast pace of change that the incremental ways that change used to take place kind of disappeared and so many things were accelerated, expedited, quickened, sparked forward and jump-started.

In a time when it seemed that “normal life” was suspended, many other things were propelled forward and fast!

This month’s VM Cover Topic about ophthalmic laboratories’ attempts to look at the work that’s never really “done” in Rx optical labs where super sophisticated equipment, lens design and people’s own specific visual Rx needs come together in a unique way all the time and have to be reliable and efficient. It’s a great and informative read put together by VM’s Andy Karp and contributor Jeff Hopkins, taking a look at where modern labs are reprioritizing their investments.

At the same time, I’d say that learning how to reengineer and rethink all types of processes and capitalize on new available technologies is something that every ECP and optical retailer—and their supplier partners—are also coping with in 2021, looking ahead to 2022.

From frame makers to contact lens companies, to associates and independent or regional and national optical groups managing new outreach and service expectations of patients, well, everyone’s coping with business-not-as-usual.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It does mean that things are starting to be done in new ways and the pace of those changes and readiness to be nimble, flexible and ready for “the pivot” are now the constant and necessary elements of succeeding in this “next normal.”