Some Easy Reading for a Saturday Morning


Every week, the VMail Weekend editors step beyond their usual roles as news reporters and bring you the Today’s Read, a mix of interesting and sometimes off-beat features that span the far corners of the vision world. Our aim is to inform and entertain by giving our readers a light, sometimes fun, sometimes unusual read to go with your Saturday morning Joe. So today, we present a compilation of some of our most favorite Today’s Reads. Truth be told, since we are currently in Las Vegas covering Vision Expo West with not a whole lot of down time, this was a stress free choice for a feature, which we hope you will enjoy.


Late August and early September is an exciting time for many New Yorkers because of tennis and the U.S Open held every year in Flushing Queens. This piece, written by VM’s Senior Editor Mark Tosh, chronicles one of the greats of tennis, Billie Jean King. Earlier this year, she teamed up with representatives from Pearle Vision and the global non-profit OneSight to deliver eye exams and glasses to students at Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary—a school where Billie Jean King is a “namesake” of the first-grade classroom as part of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative…

Billie Jean King: A Champion of Vision Care on and off the Court

She’s a winner and an authentic all-around champion. Is there a better way to describe Billie Jean King? Well, add vision care advocate to the long list of King’s achievements over a long and legendary career, both on and off the tennis court. King is recognized for her 39 Grand Slam titles (16 in doubles), including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon, and she undoubtedly is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. But she is perhaps best known for the match in 1973 when 90 million people worldwide watched King soundly defeat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes,” 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Many believe that no other sporting event has played a more significant role in raising recognition for women athletes. Today, no stranger to speaking up on the issues she feels strongly about, King is taking another strong stand in support of eye exams and appropriate eyewear, for all ages but especially children. Read More 


This next piece was written by our Associate Editor Gwendolyn Plummer. Gwen joined Vision Monday just about a year ago and was introduced to the optical industry with a trial by fire trip to Las Vegas to help us cover Vision Expo West 2018. Today, she is an integral part of the VM team. Here is her take on the importance of UV protection…

April Showers Bring an Important Reminder About UV Protection

I recently returned from a week-long vacation to Ireland. When our flight landed in Dublin, I stood up and gathered my things, ready to disembark. I put on my jacket, wrapped up my scarf, and slid my sunglasses onto my face—only for the friendly Irishman seated behind me to laugh and say, “Ah, you won’t be needing those here! It’s always overcast.” While my momentary airplane friend might’ve had a point about the Irish weather, he was wrong about one thing—as many of us know, our eyes benefit from UV protection all the time, not just on hot, sunny, summer days. Exposure to UV rays, even for a short period of time, can damage our eyes, and long-term exposure can lead to cataract, macular degeneration, growths on the eye, and eye and skin cancer. Those harmful UV rays don’t disappear just because the sun is hiding behind a cloud. Read More 


Having Andy Karp as our Lens and Technology Editor comes in pretty handy sometimes. This feature on night vision could only have been conceived and written by Andy. Let’s just say that when it comes to technology, Andy’s brain is wired a bit differently than the rest of us. And here at VM, we are thankful that, at times, his mind goes to different places. Who knew that “Certain snakes have night vision too—the pit viper combines their sight with pits near their nostrils that detect heat to hunt at night.” Andy did, of course…

Turning Nighttime into Sight Time

I live in a wooded area. There are no streetlights nearby, and after the sun sets it can get pitch black, especially on moonless nights. Sometimes I take the garbage out before going to bed. The garbage can is in a locked bin that sits in a remote corner of the driveway where the houselights don’t reach. Feeling my way in the darkness, I hear the night sounds in the woods. A mockingbird’s song. A rustle in the bushes. Could it be a raccoon? A fox? Even a bear? That’s when I wish I had night vision. Both humans and mammals depend upon visible light to see. But many nocturnal animals, including raccoons and opossums have unusually large eyes to help them see better in the night, helping them sneak up on sleeping or unsuspecting prey. Carnivorous animals such as red foxes use good night vision for hunting as well. Although humans lack the ability to see in the dark, they can compensate for it with the help of technology. Read More 


This Today’s Read was written last November by our former intern Andrew Arata. Andrew recently graduated from college and is hopefully gainfully employed by now. He was a huge help to the VM staff while he was here and we miss his enthusiasm and willingness to take on any task, large or small. Here he profiles Two Blind Brothers, a non-profit clothing site, founded by Bradford and Bryan Manning. A very inspiring story indeed…

Two Blind Brothers Launch a Viral ‘Trust’ Campaign, Encouraging Visitors to ‘Shop Blind’

The holiday season tends to get tangled with sales and gift-giving rather than giving thanks for what we have that others may not—such as our sight. Two Blind Brothers, a non-profit clothing site, founded by Bradford and Bryan Manning, donates 100 percent of their profits toward research to cure eye disease. The two are generating sales and widening an awareness and fan base recognition this season with their unique and creative take on sharing messages that underscore the experience of visual impairment and blindness while raising money to help 11 million people with vision loss. Read More 


This feature was written by our guest contributor Ted Gioia who penned a series of articles for Today’s Read in 2019 centered around the Optical Heritage Museum in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Ted has a real knack for delving into the history of the optical industry, writing about everything from how eye exams evolved for people driving cars to how eyewear companies played a surprising role in the space race. His series of articles for VMail Weekend was aptly named Deja View. On the 50th anniversary, of the Apollo 11’s mission to the moon, Ted took us back to that moon landing and as always, gave us the optical perspective on the historic achievement.

When Optical Went to the Moon

Fifty years ago, the Apollo 11 mission brought the first astronauts to the Moon—and it’s surprising how many optical innovations were involved in that historic expedition. In fact, the whole space race relied on ongoing support from some of the leading eyewear companies in the world. This anniversary is now being celebrated by the Optical Heritage Museum in Southbridge, Massachusetts. The Museum draws on the archives of American Optical, now part of Carl Zeiss Vision, and houses one of the largest collection of vintage vision care materials in the world. “We have items from American Optical’s involvement in the Apollo mission,” explains museum director and founder Dick Whitney, “but many other artifacts and images have been preserved by NASA and the Smithsonian.” Read More 


I got the idea for this Today’s Read feature after watching a “60 Minutes” segment titled the Plastic Plague, which offered a sobering view of just how much microplastics end up polluting our oceans and killing off marine life. According to the AOA, many patients are unaware that there is an environmentally friend way to dispose of their worn contact lenses. The organization cited a 2018 Arizona State University study which found “as many as 1 in 5 contact lens wearers dispose of their lenses down the sink or toilet, contributing an estimated 6 to 10 metric tons of plastic lenses to U.S. wastewater each year.” Researching and writing this story was, if you’ll pardon the pun, an eye opening experience. The reaction and traction of this story was a pleasant surprise to me, but then again, I suspect the sustainability and the health of our planet is uppermost in many of our readers’ minds.

How to Dispose of Your Contacts and Still Stay Friendly to the Environment

I’ve been a contact lens wearer for over 40 years. I started out wearing contacts that lasted several months and eventually graduated to daily disposable lenses, attracted by their comfort and no fuss maintenance. But looking back, I cringe to think of how many lenses and blister packs I’ve thrown away over the years. Every morning, after inserting my contacts, I put the blister packs in recycling and at night I throw my lenses in the garbage (NOT down the sink or toilet). According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), I am one of 45 million people in the U.S. who wear contact lenses. But after researching this feature, I have to ask myself—is there something more I could be doing when it comes to disposing of those contact lenses, which in a short time turn into hard, breakable bubbles of plastic once they leave my eyes and hit the garbage can. In a word, the answer is yes. Read More 


With Expo nearly in our rear view mirror, before you know it the holidays will soon be upon us. From Halloween to New Year’s, as fall melts into winter, time always seems to be racing by us. So to round out the Today’s Read highlights, we’ve reached back into our archives for a staff favorite to help us all get through the holiday season. Here the Jobson staff shares some of their favorite seasonal drinks, complete with recipes. And most of our concoctions are, in the words of James Bond, “shaken, not stirred.”

One Holiday Spirit—Shaken Not Stirred

NEW YORK—Ah, the holidays. They’re a time of cheer, joy and good tidings. At least, they’re supposed to be. But we all know that the holidays are often filled with last-minute shopping at packed stores, catching flights at crowded airports and quite possibly a little too much family time. But don’t worry—we’ve come to save the day by sharing a few of our favorite seasonal drinks to help get us all through the holidays. They’re sure to keep you very merry this season. So, whether you like it shaken or stirred, we can all raise a glass to getting in the holiday spirit. Read More