The Optical Industry Embraces Juneteenth

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, June 21, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Juneteenth, our newest federal holiday, has its roots in Galveston, Texas, dating back to 1865. On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston were informed of their freedom, which had been declared two years earlier when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Fast forward to 2021, when President Biden signed legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday. Now, June 19 is celebrated as Juneteenth nationwide with parades, parties, commemoration events and community gatherings. This week, VMAIL Weekend takes a look at the rich history and growing importance of the Juneteenth holiday, including celebration posts from members of the optical community.

National Sunglasses Day Sends the Right Message About the Dangers of UV Rays

By Mary Kane
Friday, June 14, 2024 8:30 AM This June 27 will mark 11 years for National Sunglasses Day (NSD), an initiative that began in 2014 with the goal of raising awareness among consumers about the dangers of UV rays to the eyes. VMAIL Weekend sat down with Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, to talk about how the initiative started, where it’s going this year, and how the effort to promote healthy vision has grown in popularity these past 11 years.

Cataract Awareness Month Calls Attention to Common But Potentially Dangerous Eye Condition

By Daniel Breeman
Friday, June 7, 2024 8:30 AM The good news is that cataracts is an easily treatable condition with simple and safe corrective surgery. But cataracts don’t go away on their own, experts warn, and ignoring the signs and symptoms could potentially lead to vision impairment or eventually vision loss. According to the National Eye Institute, cataracts affect more than half of all Americans aged 80 years or older. During June’s Cataract Awareness Month, ECPs should remind their patients, especially those over the age of 40, to have regular eye exams and to be aware of the symptoms related to the onset of cataracts. “The biggest risk factor is really age,” said Sila Bal, MD, MPH, a global ophthalmology fellow and a cataract, cornea and refractive surgeon.

Summer Celebrations Prompt Renewed Call for Improved Fireworks Safety

By Sarah McGoldrick, Contributing Editor
Thursday, May 30, 2024 8:30 AM With the summer months approaching, there are lots of reasons to celebrate, and one of the most popular ways to do so is with fireworks. Before lighting up the night sky, however, it is important to take the right precautions to avoid injuries, especially injuries to the eyes. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2022 Fireworks Annual Report, there were more than 10,000 injuries and 11 deaths that year resulting from firework injuries. Today, VMAIL Weekend takes a look at why fireworks are so dangerous and how ECPs can educate their patients about staying safe this summer season.

Optometry Schools Welcome a New Class of ODs

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, May 24, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—With summer on the horizon, it is officially graduation season across the country, from pre-k “Stepping Up” ceremonies to conferring doctorates. And, of course, hundreds of students in the U.S. are also graduating from optometry school this May, making the transition from student to doctor and entering the workforce. This weekend, we’re taking a look at how a few optometry schools are celebrating their 2024 graduates—and welcoming a new group of ODs into the world.

As the Sustainability Movement Grows, Optical Responds to Consumers’ ‘Green’ Needs

By Staff
Friday, May 17, 2024 8:30 AM For the second year in a row, VM has tackled the subject of sustainability in the optical industry in our May Cover Story titled, "Growing Into Sustainability." Across most sectors of the industry, eyewear companies, contact lens manufacturers, lens makers, optical labs and ECPs have gotten the memo—sustainability matters to consumers, whether it’s shopping for eyewear, recycling contact lenses or buying from optical companies that worry about their carbon footprint. VM’s editors talked to a wide variety of optical players for this special feature and one theme resonated—consumers want to take a more sustainable approach to shopping, and optical companies are sitting up and taking notice.

Myopia Awareness Week Calls Attention to Global Eye Health Concern

By Daniel Breeman
Friday, May 10, 2024 8:30 AM The numbers are overwhelming and still climbing. Myopia is growing around the world, with a recent study estimating that on average, 30 percent of the world is currently myopic, and by 2050 almost 50 percent (5 billion people) will be myopic, according to the International Myopia Institute. Myopia prevalence is also rising in the U.S., with a reported prevalence of 42 percent, a number that has almost doubled in three decades. The week of May 13-19 has been designated as Myopia Awareness Week 2024, a global event that aims to raise awareness about juvenile-onset myopia and encourage eyecare professionals to take necessary actions.

A New Contact Lens Material May Transform Corneal Wound Treatment

By Sarah McGoldrick, Contributing Editor
Friday, May 3, 2024 8:30 AM A cross-disciplinary team of researchers and doctors at the University of Waterloo (UW) are developing a new contact lens material that could change the way eyecare providers treat corneal wounds. The team, from the Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE), located within the School of Optometry & Vision Science and the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University, believe the new material, acting as a bandage for corneal wounds, could release drugs in a controlled manner to help the eye heal faster.

A Guide to Guide Dogs

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, April 26, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—International Guide Dog Day falls on the last Wednesday of April every year, making this past Wednesday, April 24, the 2024 edition. The day was first introduced to mark the establishment of the International Federation of Guide Dog Associations, which was founded on April 26, 1989, and offers a chance to celebrate the life-saving work guide dogs and their trainers and handlers do every day, said the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). References to guide dogs date back to the 16th century, according to the IGDF. There’s no denying that man’s best friend has worked alongside us for much of human history—and that they are more than deserving of a holiday set aside just for them and the teams they create.

The Power of Reading Glasses

By Mary Kane
Friday, April 19, 2024 8:30 AM Just how valuable are a pair of reading glasses? According to a recent study, having access to a pair of readers can make all the difference, especially if you are presbyopic and live in a part of the world with limited access to eyecare and eyewear products. This past week, VisionSpring, a nonprofit provider of affordable eyeglasses to people in need, BRAC, an international development organization that works with marginalized communities, and Queen’s University Belfast released the findings of their collaborative THRIVE study, which found that a pair of reading glasses increases the earnings of people in low-income communities by 33 percent.  Ella Gudwin, CEO of VisionSpring, summed it up best when she said, “THRIVE strengthens the case that it’s not about the eyeglasses—it’s about everything that comes after.”

Keeping the Focus on Women’s Eye Health and Safety

By Daniel Breeman
Friday, April 12, 2024 8:30 AM There is a notable gender imbalance when it comes to eye health. In fact, two-thirds of all blindness and visual impairment occurs in women, according to the National Eye Institute. Women also have a higher prevalence of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, dry eye, glaucoma, refractive error and thyroid eye disease. According to the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: Vision Beyond 2020 report, this gender imbalance can be attributed to both demographic factors and social factors. As we celebrate Women’s Eye Health and Safely Month during April, the optical industry is shining a light on this issue, with a sharp focus on prevention, education and eliminating the barriers to improved women’s eye health, including greater access to care.

April 8 Solar Eclipse Draws Concern About Eye Safety and Counterfeit Glasses

By Sarah McGoldrick, Contributing Editor
Friday, April 5, 2024 8:30 AM All eyes will be on the sky on Monday, April 8, as North America experiences the first total solar eclipse since 2017. The event will offer sky gazers a chance to experience a total solar eclipse throughout most of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and will be the last time a solar eclipse will be visible in the contiguous U.S. until 2044. Making sure people view the eclipse safely is the top priority of eyecare specialists and optical industry leaders, who have spent the last few months sharing tips and resources to reduce the chances of eye damage during the event.

This Allergy Season Is Worse Than Before; Still, We Can Get Through It

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, March 29, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Spring officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere mid-March, and it brought allergy season with it. The 2024 allergy season is expected to start earlier and potentially feel worse than other years; The New York Times reports, “Spring allergy seasons are beginning about 20 days earlier than they had, according to an analysis of pollen count data from 60 stations across North America from 1990 to 2018.” But why, and what does that mean for those of us who suffer from sneezing, itching and coughing every Spring?

Attendees Celebrate Grand Finale of Vision Expo East in New York

By Daniel Breeman, Mary Kane
Friday, March 22, 2024 8:30 AM NEW YORK—After nearly four decades of showcasing some of the best eyewear products, eyecare technologies and countless hours of continuing education at Vision Expo in New York City, attendees at this year’s Show soaked in every moment and celebrated Expo East held for the final time at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. More than 450 leading eyewear and eyecare companies showcased their latest products and technologies, and attendees were again treated to VisionEd, the accredited educational program of Vision Expo featuring nearly 200 sessions, new product launches, special events and company anniversary celebrations. Read on for a review of special events and photo highlights from the Show.

Keeping Your Eyes Safe During the April 8 Solar Eclipse

By Sarah McGoldrick, Contributing Editor
Friday, March 15, 2024 8:30 AM On April 8, millions of people will have their eyes on the sky for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a rare total solar eclipse that will be visible throughout North America as it passes across Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The April eclipse will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. until 2044. Experts estimate that the solar eclipse will cover a lot of ground and has the potential to be viewed by millions of people. For several months, optical safety experts have been sounding the alarm about the upcoming eclipse, warning eyecare providers and their patients to take steps to avoid significant eye damage.