ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council hosted the organization’s second All-Member Virtual Meeting yesterday, Wednesday, May 5. The meeting brought together nearly 200 members of the vision care product and services community for an afternoon of engaging presentations from The Vision Council’s leadership and community leaders on timely topics including a look-ahead at Vision Expo East 2021, taking place from June 2-5 in Orlando, Florida; an update on the evolution of The Vision Council’s consumer education campaign; details on government and regulatory affairs priorities; and a breakdown of market trends.

The All-Member Virtual Meeting kicked off with a welcome address from Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, during which she highlighted the organization’s direction and goals for 2021.

“We are approaching 2021 with a spirit of forward momentum, bettering ourselves and the industry and building strong leadership, and the year is already off to an exciting start,” said Mills. “We are committed to growing and leading the community forward. We know we are only as good as our volunteer leadership and the more diverse this organization becomes, the greater the need for diverse volunteer leaders across our industry. We thank you for your continued support and remain committed to bettering our services to our members and the industry.”

Following Mills’ welcome address, the meeting continued with a presentation by Mitch Barkley, The Vision Council’s vice president of Trade Shows and Events, that highlighted what to expect at Vision Expo East 2021, taking place June 2-5 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Barkley spoke to the Show Floor neighborhoods, special events, and health and safety protocols to expect at the event.

Barkley also provided an overview of ShopVISION, the new online sourcing platform for the vision community launching in conjunction with Vision Expo, and Vision Expo+ Powered by ShopVISION, a virtual extension of the Vision Expo experience delivered through the new ShopVISION platform. More details on ShopVISION and Vision Expo+ Powered by ShopVISION will be released in the coming weeks.

The Vision Expo update was followed by remarks from Jane Balek, executive director of Think About Your Eyes, who highlighted the evolution of The Vision Council’s consumer education campaign.

The All-Member Meeting continued with a Government and Regulatory Affairs update. Fredric Grethel, chair of The Vision Council’s Government and Regulatory Affairs committee and a member of The Vision Council’s Board of Directors, shared information on The Vision Council’s involvement in the United Nations’ Friends of Vision Coalition.

This was followed by an update on the key government and regulatory affairs issues The Vision Council is monitoring on behalf of members in 2021 from Rick Van Arnam, Esq. regulatory affairs counsel, including Proposition 65 and current trade and supply chain policies.

“In light of the mission of our organization, we’ll expand beyond our work of having just business concerns as an industry and seize on the incredible opportunity to work on behalf of vision as an issue,” said Grethel. “With the involvement of the GR committee, we’re expanding our work in Washington to craft a positive, proactive platform for vision which we think will have an impact on many fronts, including employment, equity, and education, to name a few.”

The meeting concluded with an analysis of the U.S. optical market provided by The Vision Council’s research team, including Steve Kodey, senior director of Industry Research Services; Nathan Troxell, director of Consumer and Market Insights; and Alysse Henkel, director of Research Data and Analytics. The team provided a breakdown of the $37.4 billion optical industry by market segment and product line, noting that prescription eyeglasses continued to account for the majority of revenue for the 12-month period ending in March 2021.

The team also compared the change in online sales revenue over the past year, which increased by 18.3 percent, to sales performance through other distribution channels (aggregated: -13.3 percent). Additionally, they examined how recent changes in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as government stimulus spending, are impacting the optical industry from both a consumer and eyecare provider perspective.

Members can access post-event resources from The Vision Council's All-Member Virtual Meeting on The Vision Council’s division-secured pages, here.