Skeletons, Spellcasting, ‘Stranger Things’ and Spending: A Look at 2022’s Halloween Trends

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 30, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—October has arrived, and for many people that can only mean one thing: Halloween season is in full swing. There are just 30 days until the sweetest and spookiest day of the year, and, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are taking full advantage of the witching season. The NRF reported that Halloween spending is back to pre-pandemic levels this year, with Halloween sales up to $10.6 billion in 2022, up from $10.1 billion in 2021. Consumers are planning to spend $100 on average for Halloween candy, décor, cards and costumes; the NRF said that this amount is on par with last year’s record of $103 and is the second highest in the survey’s history.

Amid a Renewed Sense of Normalcy, the Industry Gathers as Vision Expo West Returns to Las Vegas

By Mary Kane
Monday, September 26, 2022 12:00 AM LAS VEGAS—It was a wrap for Vision Expo West 2022 in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 17, as the four-day event concluded at The Venetian Convention Center & Expo. The Conference and Exhibiton, brought thousands of members of the optical industry together from Sept. 14-17 for four days of trailblazing trends, education and plenty of networking opportunities. “It was amazing to see the full scope of the vision care industry come together in Las Vegas last week, both on and off the Show Floor,” said Fran Pennella, vice president, Vision Expo, at RX, co-organizer of Vision Expo.

When Creating Solutions for Color Blindness, EnChroma Colors Outside the Lines

By Andrew Karp
Friday, September 16, 2022 8:30 AM When Erik Ritchie took over in early 2021 as CEO of EnChroma, he told me that he saw a huge opportunity to grow the company’s share of the market for color blindness eyewear, as well grow the market overall. “Just in the U.S. alone there are 13 million people who suffer from color blindness, and that market has traditionally been underserved,” he said in a VMAIL interview. “One of my goals is to make sure we get the word out and raise awareness of not only the issue, but the solutions to that issue, and that we do that both in the U.S. and globally.”

Optical Gets Behind Sports Eye Safety Month, With an Emphasis on Proper Eye Protection

By Mary Kane
Friday, September 9, 2022 8:30 AM With Labor Day in the rear view mirror, the back-to-school season is upon us, which means kids’ after school sports activities are in full swing. Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer nonprofit eye health organization, has declared September as Sports Eye Safety Month to help educate the public on the importance of wearing the proper eye protection while playing sports. Annual data from Prevent Blindness shows that there were more than 26,000 sports-related eye injuries treated in the U.S. last year. The new data also showed that the category of “non-powder guns, darts, arrows and slingshots” had the overall highest rate of eye injuries for the previous year.

Looking West Toward Las Vegas

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, September 2, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—If you’re anything like the VMAIL team, you’re probably reading this story while thinking about Vision Expo West. We’re just under two weeks away from this year’s show, and things are kicking into full gear now that we’re down to the wire. Let’s be honest: free time is scarce at any Vision Expo—it’s easy to lose track of time in those big, engaging show halls, to spend hours catching up at dinner with industry friends you haven’t seen in a while. But if you do have some free time, or if you’ve scheduled an extra day or two in Nevada, Las Vegas is a city worth exploring. 

As College Football Kicks Off, Weekend Checks in With Dawgs, Tigers and Fighting Irish

By Mark Tosh
Friday, August 26, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—After the longest offseason in major sports, college football is back this weekend with a handful of games. Nebraska and Northwestern open the season in, of all places, Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Aer Lingus College Football Series. Some fans, especially those in West Virginia and parts of western Pennsylvania, would say the season doesn’t really start until Thursday, when the Mountaineers of Morgantown, W.Va., visit Pittsburgh for another edition of the Backyard Brawl. (Watch out for this Pitt team in ’22, we hear from one of our field reporters.) There are plenty of other contenders as the season opens, including the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs.

Keeping Time With Stu Gleich: Horologist, Bootleg Music Collector and Optical Sales Pro

By Andrew Karp
Friday, August 19, 2022 8:30 AM What makes Stu Gleich tick? This seems like a reasonable question to ask about a dedicated horologist—someone who studies and often buys, sells and collects wristwatches and other timepieces. So, I decided to find out more about the man and what motivates him in his personal and professional pursuits. Here’s what I learned. Although Gleich makes his living in optical sales, horology is a consuming interest. However, he approaches both with a similar attitude. For Gleich, the search for that special watch, along with the transactions that are part of the experience, is not just about the thrill of the hunt and the pleasure of owning a beautiful object. It’s also about the relationships he forms along the way.

Myopia Awareness Campaign Urges Families to Take a ‘Screen Staycation’

By Mary Kane
Friday, August 12, 2022 8:30 AM All summer long, the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) has been joining forces with children’s optometrist Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford in a myopia awareness campaign known as a Screen Staycation. Did you know that just 76 extra minutes outside a day can reduce the risk of myopia by 50 percent? That’s why Dr. Nate and GMAC are encouraging families to spend more time outdoors this summer and take a Screen Staycation—a challenge to go 24 hours without any screens. To help families get started with their outdoor activities, GMAC has been offering Screen Staycation kits which include, a Frisbee, a kite, sunscreen, and of course, sunglasses. Weekend caught up with Dr. Nate to talk about how the campaign is going and what’s on the horizon for families dealing with myopia.

Keeping Our Children’s Eyes Safe and Healthy This Back-to-School Season

By Mary Kane
Friday, August 5, 2022 8:30 AM With only a few weeks left in the month of August, summer will be winding down soon which means parents and kids alike are gearing up for the back-to-school season, or as some parents like to call it, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For the national non-profit Prevent Blindness, August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, which fits nicely into the organization’s theme—2022 is the “Year of Children’s Vision.” Without early detection and treatment, uncorrected vision disorders can impair child development, interfere with learning, and even lead to permanent vision loss.

Cutting the Wires: Mojo Vision Completes First On-Eye Demo of Augmented Reality Smart Contact Lens

By Mark Tosh
Friday, July 29, 2022 8:30 AM SARATOGA, Calif.—Earlier this summer, Mojo Vision chief executive officer Drew Perkins hit a milestone that was not widely noticed. Perkins became the first person to wear the company’s smart contact lens, a “feature complete prototype lens,” during an internal test. The on-eye demo was significant because it “showed the contact lens can remain functional, without any wiring to the device, while being worn,” reports about the demo noted. In his own words, here’s what Perkins had to say: “Wearing the lens was inspiring. Seeing the future literally put me at a loss for words.” There’s much more to the story—and the road to commercial viability—that Perkins and others detailed following the successful test a few weeks ago. Here, VMAIL Weekend will summarize some of the reactions to this milestone event and provide a little more background on the Mojo Lens.

Retinal Exam Could Predict Heart Attack Risk, Study Says

By Andrew Karp
Friday, July 22, 2022 8:30 AM A retinal exam may be able to predict a person’s risk of heart attack, when combined with other information, according to a recent study. Researchers found that the pattern of blood vessels in the retina could help identify those who are likely to experience heart problems, according to The Guardian. In a recent article posted on WebMD, writer Carolyn Crist reported that the researchers used data from UK Biobank, which contains medical and lifestyle records for 500,000 people, to calculate a measure known as fractal dimension. The research team then studied people in the database who had experienced a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, after retinal images had been collected, Crist said.

As Inflation Rises, Back to School Season Kicks Off

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, July 15, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—Inflation has been at the forefront of most everyone’s minds recently, as prices of goods and necessities rise across all industries. But even with rising prices, there are some non-negotiables: most timely, back to school shopping. This week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that one third of consumers “said they are cutting back in other spending areas to cover the cost of items for the upcoming school year,” and that most families are expecting to spend more than usual this year, due to continuously rising prices.

How the Pandemic Has Affected Our Vision

By Mary Kane
Friday, July 8, 2022 8:30 AM For many of us, technology has become more of a necessity than a luxury, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While our various electronic devices do help connect us and has allowed many people to work remotely, excessive screen time can also lead to problems like eye strain. Because of this, MyVision.org was curious to see if the pandemic has led to more eye issues over the last two years. The organization surveyed more than 1,000 people who wear glasses and/or contacts to get feedback on their eye health and eye habits throughout the past few years. Based on the survey results, it turns out that many people are having vision problems, but are putting off going to the eye doctor.

Tips From a Nike Co-Founder, McKinsey Partner and Happiness Expert Among the Highlights of Weekend’s Summer Reading List

By Mark Tosh
Thursday, June 30, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, one might think it’s too late to get together a summer reading list. Nonsense. There’s still plenty of summer left, and this weekend is as good as any to narrow down and finally identify a couple of books to read before Labor Day arrives in a flash 10 weekends from now. (You know you’ll thank yourself for the self-improvement effort come September.) So we asked a distinguished panel of industry readers to offer a few suggestions from their lists. What follows is a buffet of books certain to whet anyone’s appetite.

June 27: National Sunglasses Day Is Almost Here

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Friday, June 24, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—We’re just a few days away from National Sunglasses Day 2022, and the excitement is building across the industry. National Sunglasses Day falls on June 27 each year, but preparations for the day have started early for many. Independent eyecare professionals are among those reminding their patients about National Sunglasses Day: how they can get involved, why sunglasses are so important, and any promotions or deals they have running for the holiday. We take a look at how indies are getting ready to celebrate one of our industry’s favorite holidays.