Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Esther's glasses collection

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

The Olympics may be over, but the Olympic flame never really goes out. Get a jump on Tokyo and keep the Olympic spirit alive by wearing a pair of these sporty—and patriotic—glasses. Be an athlete or just look like one; either way you’ll be medal-worthy.

The beach volleyball court was the place to be in Rio, which is where Spain's Elsa Baquerizo was spotted wearing these match-winning frames from Under Armour.

photo credit: AP


Ryan Lochte might not want to call any more attention to himself by wearing these, but Under Armour also sent eyewear to Rio in team colors for the athletes, including their new multi-sport style UA Rival ($139.99) in USA red, white and blue.



Incorporating the colors of the German flag, and sporting the Olympic rings on the temple, Woodone’s cool special-edition collectibles were distributed to all German athletes upon their return from Rio. Maybe you’ll find them on eBay?



Costa’s USA Limited Edition Collection features seven frames in various red, white and blue color combos. Ranging in price from $149 to $249, models Blackfin and Anaa are shown here. And every pair of Costa sunglasses is assembled by hand in Florida, making them extra patriotic



Seen on athletes like beach volleyball bronze medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, Oakley’s limited edition Rio 2016 collection features both performance and lifestyle. Shown here is the Team USA Jawbreaker, equipped with Oakley Prizm lenses, a technology that allows wearers to see details earlier, faster and deeper, and the Team USA Frogskins, for the couch athlete looking for protection from too much high-definition Bob Costas.



Bring the spirit of the Rio games back-to-school and work in Nomad model Rio. ($179) Its vibrant temple color and design will remind you of Carnival and late nights spent samba dancing or, more likely, waiting for the tape-delayed women’s gymnastics to come on.


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One of the pleasures of summer is sitting in an air-conditioned movie theater, eating popcorn and watching a movie you might not admit to seeing during any other time of the year. If the summer blockbuster features specs, even better!


Oh, Sadness. Part of the appeal of the breakout character from last summer’s Pixar hit was her big, round glasses. They both enhanced her ability to see the world (warts and all) and allowed viewers to see the depth and compassion in her eyes.

photo credit: www.indiewire.com


Ed Helms’ normcore frames and Bradley Cooper’s bro aviators are spot-on, but the baby steals the show.

photo credit: fandango.com


We have not seen the new Independence Day: Resurgence, but Jeff Goldblum is a charter member of the summer blockbuster bespectacled hall-of-fame. His glasses always signal that he is a sensible, smart fellow who will help save the day. See also: Jurassic Park.

photo credit: www.cineplex.com

photo credit: collider.com

7. UP

One of the many things Pixar does well is getting details right, and Carl’s square grumpy- old-man glasses capture both his curmudgeonliness and his vulnerability.

photo credit: www.rogerebert.com


Pre-Harry, pop culture heroes wore glasses only as their alter egos, not when they were out fighting evil. But Harry Potter changed all that; he made wearing glasses cool—and powerful—for an entire generation of kids.

photo credit: screenrant.com


The. Aviator.

photo credit: Paramount Pictures


This summer marks the 25th anniversary of Terminator 2, a critical and commercial success also known for its catchphrases and cult sunglasses. Linda Hamilton’s character, Sarah Connor, wears Matsuda model 2809, which was re-released last year, and Arnold Schwarzenegger wears the Persol Ratti 58230, which sadly has not been back. Yet.

photo credit: www.theterminatorfans.com


photo credit: www.denofgeek.com


Between Top Gun and Risky Business, Tom Cruise—and his iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses—influenced just about every 80s teen’s sun (and under) wear choices.

photo credit: likeafilmstar.com


“If you’re seeing things running through your head…” states the movie’s theme song, and in both movies—the original and this summer’s remake—eyewear is integral to seeing and fighting ghosts. In the original, Harold Ramis sported his trademark nerdy specs, and the Ecto Goggles were a key part of the Ghostbuster uniform. During our viewing of the current remake, we were reminded of the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine’s boss invites her to a screening of The English Patient: “Elaine, I hope you’re watching the clothes, because I can't take my eyes off the passion.” Well, we couldn’t take our eyes off the eyewear, especially Kate McKinnon’s steampunk-inspired specs and Chris Hemsworth’s lensless frames.

photo credit: gizmodo.com


photo credit: themoviemylife.com


Not only did the four-eyed Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider see that they were going to need a bigger boat, but they were also the only guys able to see what they were actually up against. Lesson? Always listen to the guy wearing glasses! Also: don’t swim alone.

photo credit: Universal/Kobal Collection


Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Esther's glasses collection

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. The device that tortures patients

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Muscle man pumps up his vision

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. When lenses tell you they are dirty

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Don't skimp on what you pay for performance glasses

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

I have a cold. Glasses give me a headache. So today, I got fed up and decided enough is enough and I'm going to get used to contacts or bust! I put on daily MFs and went about my day. My husband threatened to secretly record me and post the running commentary...

I'll just tell you about the day instead...

Hour 1: I feel like there are worms in my eyes.

Hour 2: I can read! Woohoo! If only there weren't worms in my eyes ...

Hour 3: Hey! If my right eye felt like my right eye, I could actually get to hour 4!

Hour 4: Removed lenses, replaced with new pair.


Hour 6: Let me over-refract myself to see if I can make it better ... Plano/Plano 20/blurry 20/blurry. Damn it! Why does everything have halos and shadows?!!!

Hour 7: Well, at least I don't have my usual sinus-glasses-headache and I guess halos and shadows are better than fingerprints and smudges.

Hour 8: Cannot wait to rip the worms out of my eyes!!!

Hour 9: HEY!!! My feet don't hurt! I'm wearing three-inch heels all day and my feet don't hurt?! Oh, duh! BECAUSE I'M DISTRACTED BY THE SQUIRMING WORMS IN MY EYEBALLS!

Time to walk to dinner after work. Wow, all the street signs look like a drunk person painted them. I wonder how many higher order aberrations these stupid lenses induce?

Hour 10: Yay!!! I can read the menu without handing it to the person seated three tables away or asking batman to use his floodlight to illuminate the room! Added bonus: I can tell I'm having dinner with my husband and not some generic gray man.

Hour 10.5: Gin Lizzie with my grilled salmon and quinoa salad ... WOW!!! These contacts are really comfy! (Alcohol makes everything better.)

The 11th hour: I can post crap on Facebook without glasses!!!!!!!! And I think the post is relatively typo-free!!!

Will now wash hands and extract squirming worms from eyeballs.

And you think my patients are nuts?!!

Dr. Viola Kanevsky lives and works in New York City. Her practice focuses on specialty and pediatric contact lenses. A graduate of the SUNY College of Optometry, she enjoys helping children at home and on medical missions in Peru, Mexico and Guatemala with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. What poor frame selection can mean for you

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Optometric graffiti

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Do you know how to say 'no'? I used to be terrible at this, and I'd always wind up overcommitted, whether at work or as a volunteer.

I've gotten a lot better at picking and choosing when I say "Yes," and I've had some help from books, as well as my own trial-and-error. No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life by Jana Kemp gave me a nudge in this worthy direction 10 years ago, and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown gave me a booster shot in 2014. (I did a mini-review of the latter volume for INVISION's epic Year of Reading Seriously feature last year.)

Carl Richards likes Essentialism, too, and he wrote about it today in The New York Times, in a story headlined Saying No, So You Can Say Yes When It Matters. And that's the point: Of course you don't want to decline every request and every opportunity. But knowing when to say "Yes" and when to pass takes diplomacy, practice and skill. As you get better at this, you learn to treat your time and energy like the finite gifts they are.

As I've become an ever-more disciplined essentialist, I've come to believe in the power of the "Hell, Yeah." When I get a request for my time or talent, or when I think of something new I might want to try, I seriously consider whether I want to answer "Yes" or "Hell, Yeah!" Because when you look at things that way, most of the things that evoke a mere "Yes" probably ought to get a "No, thank you."

But when you can say "Hell, Yeah" (or some variation on that, depending on your taste in oaths) to an opportunity or an idea, you know you're really on to something exciting and worthwhile that will make a difference in your life -- and probably in the lives of the people who are counting on you, too: your family, employees, customers and colleagues.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

It’s a rare occasion when I receive a handwritten letter or card in the mail. I’d estimate I get fewer than 10 each year, mostly from family members and close friends around holidays and birthdays. I particularly appreciate the ones from my grandparents, who still send me Halloween greeting cards with cartoonish lettering and ultra-cheesy punchlines that are clearly intended for children. The front of my last card read: “I have this haunting feeling that I’ve wished you Happy Halloween before.” The inside read: “Déjà Boo.” My grandmother then wrote a short note, signing her and my grandfather’s names to it. I kept the card because I’m a sucker for a good pun, and also because throwing away my grandmother’s delicate script would have felt like a criminal thing to do.

But every blue moon, I get a handwritten note that I wasn’t expecting because a holiday was around the corner. I don’t value one handwritten expression over another based on whether I was expecting it or not; the level of sincerity is the only thing that matters. But still, the unexpected ones produce a certain warming effect that the anticipated ones don’t.

I recently received an unexpected thank-you card from the small music studio at which I’ve been taking piano lessons for the past year. After I read the card, I plum forgot that it had been that long. (By my playing, you’d never have been able to tell.) But the music studio was keeping track, and so they sent me this card in recognition of my one-year anniversary.

The message is pretty simple, as you can see. And though it was awfully kind of the studio to call what I had been making “music,” the words themselves weren’t what I appreciated most. I appreciated that the studio thought enough of my patronage to acknowledge it with what’s considered an unconventional expression of gratitude in the year 2016. I had received physical mail from the studio before; it was usually the latest newsletter it sends to students. That’s what I expected when I pulled the envelope from my mailbox. But opening it revealed a pleasant surprise – one that compelled me to keep it in the same pile as my grandparents’ cheesy Halloween greeting cards.

Sincere, handwritten expressions of gratitude are a lost art in today’s increasingly digital and impersonal world. That’s nothing you didn’t already know. I only shared this anecdote as a reminder of how a personal touch can go a long way toward building customer loyalty. The next time you’re looking for a way to set your business apart from a competitor, remember that the ink still has yet to fade from the oldest page in the customer-service playbook.



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Spend enough time on Facebook , and you’ll grow numb to much of what makes it Facebook. Cat memes, unsolicited political rants, your aunt’s recipe for quiche Lorraine, that Buzzfeed article about “The 12 Most Outrageous Balloon Animals You’ve Ever Seen” which has been shared by a different friend every day for the last week. And don’t forget the ads. When you get right down to it, Facebook can feel like a sea of sameness. Which is why it’s more important than ever for businesses that rely on the social medium to swim against the current.

In the 10-plus years of Facebook’s existence, social media marketers have established a few best practices for businesses. Research them and you’ll find a few common threads, including my personal pet peeve: Broadcasting. As someone with nearly a decade’s worth of experience in social marketing, few Facebook behaviors are more disappointing to me than seeing a local small business ambush me with a flowery sales pitch or some puffery about their brand. In their haste to make a buck or inflate their rep, they’ve completely missed the point of Facebook – that it’s supposed to be social, not a conduit for e-commerce. And this mistake apparently happens often. According to Business News Daily, the No. 1 gaffe that businesses make on Facebook is neglecting to interact and engage with their audience.

If you’re doing the marketing for your eyecare practice or eyewear boutique, then “recognize that people go to Facebook to make a connection or feel like part of a community,” as marketing strategist Andy Smith tells American Express OPEN Forum. By consistently interacting and engaging with those who follow your page, you’ll build loyalty among your customers and possibly make converts out of the ones who aren’t. That’s not to say you should never announce a new product or include a link to the order form of your website, but do it too often, and you’ll wade into the sea of news feed sameness. Folks will just instinctively ignore you like they do the Buzzfeed article that just won’t die. Or worse yet, they’ll just the cord altogether and unlike your page, at which point you’ll probably never win them back.

Here’s a great example of one ECP who understands how to connect with its Facebook audience.

Lynn Valley Optometry, a full-service practice located in British Columbia, Canada, has one of the more robust Facebook pages that I’ve seen in the industry thanks to a strategy that encourages interaction and engagement. Case in point, LVO held a Halloween costume contest for its youth patients, inviting them into the store to have their photo taken, which was then posted in a photo album on the page. The patient whose costume received the most likes would be awarded a Zoomer Boomer Robot Dinosaur. (Google it. It’s pretty cool.) The adorable princess shown here in the bottom right corner was the lucky winner with 98 likes, plus a handful of comments and shares.

Then about three weeks before Christmas, LVO announced a “Christmas Tree Decoration Contest” that awarded candy gift baskets to those who correctly answered eye health-related trivia questions. If multiple people answered correctly, a winner was determined via random.org and a screenshot was posted. Brilliant. It looked like this:

Both of these contests are examples of how to draw attention to your business without broadcasting your products and services to whomever’s within your blast radius. Take a gander at the rest of the practice’s timeline, and you’ll notice that LVO does post about sales and products, but they’re infrequent and often come between other posts that are educational or interactive. LVO also keeps regular contact with its audience, posting at least once each week. The result is a page with a solid following (1,268 likes at the time of this writing) compared to its industry peers, and one that fosters a sense of community that extends beyond the walls of the practice.


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On the plus side, little Zoe Drake will have dual American-Irish citizenship. Still, her parents want to bring her home to Tennessee as soon as possible, and friends are pitching into help.

Update, Jan. 19: An anonymous donor has come forward to help fly Zoe home.

Zoe's story began last October when optometrist Dr. Jennifer Drake and her husband Gavin (the optical manager at her practice) were flying home after business in Scotland and a brief vacation in Paris. Although only 25 weeks pregnant, Jennifer started having contractions on the plane. The pilot made an emergency landing and Zoe Ireland Drake was born minutes after her mom arrived at Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

INVISION contributor Carol Gilhawley alerted me to the Drakes' story last fall. I did a Google search today to see if they'd arrived home in Tennessee. That's when I learned via this report from NewsChannel5 in Nashville that not only are the Drakes still in Ireland, their insurance company denied their claim for a medical flight home for the baby. (The reason is she's getting good care in Ireland, where Jennifer, Gavin and their 3-year-old son are staying at a charitable house in Dublin designed to help parents who've had premature babies. The little boy arrived in November after being cared for by grandparents). As Chris Conte from the Nashville station reported on New Year's Eve:

"I could come home but I’d be leaving her here," Jenny says about the decision she's still not ready to make. Complicating the situation even further is Jenny's optometry practice in Murfreesboro, Drake Eyecare and Eyewear. For three months the office has been operating without Jenny, relying on the kindness of other doctors volunteering their time to see patients in order to stay afloat.

That's a tough situation for any small business. Meanwhile, friends of the family have set up a fundraising page to help defray the cost of the $67,000 medical flight. Read more about the Drakes here. And here's hoping the Drakes are able to make it home as soon as they get the help they need -- or when little Zoe is healthy enough to fly, which could be a few months from now.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. The never-ending eye exam

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Stephanie Handler on glaucoma

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with glaucoma, a serious eye disease, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. I made an appointment with San Francisco General Hospital’s ophthalmology clinic immediately when I had noticed a few days prior that the vision in my left eye had begun to blur.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Wanted: a few U.S. eyecare and eyewear businesses that would like to see themselves in INVISION next year. A new year is upon us, and if your resolutions include seeing your business in our magazine in 2016, here are some possibilities for you to consider.

Join the Brain Squad. This is the express route! If you're the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare practice or retail optical shop and regularly complete our monthly survey, we can practically guarantee that you'll see your name and business in INVISION in 2016. You also get exclusive data available only to Brain Squad members and a cool T-shirt. So join now.

Cover photos. No kidding! We always need strong photography from frame companies for our front cover as well as for featured placement inside the magazine. We like head-and-shoulders photos of people looking right at the camera wearing cool eyeglasses, with a minimum size of 350 dpi at 9 by 12 inches. (It's OK to send low-res versions first to see what we think.) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send us a link to your images via Dropbox. In general, boy- and girl-next-door models will catch our eye faster than glamour shots, and a plain background is best. Be sure to let us know which frame company you represent, and give us some info on the frames, including the US MSRP. Frames must be available via U.S. optical shops; we don't cover eyewear that is mostly sold online.

Smooth Sellers. This is our column featuring top-performing opticians from around the U.S. A good high-res photo of you in your optical department is a must. If you're interested, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include where you work and your contact info. Also for opticians, our new Style Bar feature is your chance to show your frame-styling savvy. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. three to five sharply focused photos (at least 500KB in size) and your comments on why the frames work, and we’ll use the best in a future issue.

Benchmarks. This department celebrates eyecare offices and optical shops that set a high bar in one important area. Topics for 2016 include best bathrooms, use of customer testimonials, kids' play areas, blogs, window displays and print ads. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. we ought to include you in one of these articles. Be sure to include photos!

Eye Pro Gear. Here's where we spotlight cool products of all kinds that make eyecare pros' lives easier or more fun, whether it's a new piece of essential office gear, an eye-themed decorative item or something to tell the world what you do. Send a description of your item and a high-res photo (350 dpi at 4 by 6 inches) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Best of the Best. Is your eyecare practice or optical shop doing something unusual (or unusually successful or cool) that might merit coverage in this feature? If so, we want to know about it. Have a look at past stories and if you think your business belongs among these innovative pros, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. If you're not sure you have "enough" of a story, let us know anyway. What you're doing may be a good fit for our Tip Sheet or an upcoming feature story.

Business Anniversaries. Is your eyecare practice or optical shop celebrating a milestone anniversary? We'd like to hear about it. Let us know the month and year your business opened; a few reasons you've been successful; and a mentor or vendor or two who've helped you along the way. Include a photo of a few key staff members, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Buying Guide and Better Vision. These are our departments where we feature items and services that help ECPs run their businesses, as well as products that help ECPs help people get their best vision. In 2016, we'll be looking at shopping bags, display props, lighting fixtures, kids' eyewear retainers, website designers, security tags and digital marketing specialists (for Buying Guide) and glasses for golfers, dry-eye products, A/R coatings, winter sports lenses, low-vision aids and healthy lash products (for Better Vision). If you have a product or service that might fit, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include a high-res photo.

New Eyewear. If you make eyewear that is available to and through U.S. optical shops and eyecare practices, we will consider your frames for coverage in our print magazine and online at invisionmag.com. Send descriptions and photos of your new releases to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Include the name or number of the frame model, its U.S retail price, materials, colors and any story behind the frame. For 2016, we plan special topical features on reading glasses, aviators, celebrity eyewear and sunwear, kids' eyewear, sports eyewear, cat's eyes, luxury eyewear, wayfarer styles and best low-cost frames, but we're happy to hear about all your latest releases.

Whether you are an eye doctor or optician, or someone who makes products to serve them, we look forward to hearing from you and sharing your stories (and photos!) in 2016.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Rudolph says optometric elf is weird

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Season's greetings! Santa may still be packing up his sleigh, but here at INVISION, we're all thinking about 2016 -- and before long, we'll be inviting U.S. vision care businesses to enter our annual America's Finest Optical Retailers competition. You'll see full details on our website early in the new year, but basically, any U.S. eyecare or eyewear business with six or fewer locations can enter, as long as you haven't already been featured in America's Finest.

For now, I'd like to share a not-so-top-secret clue on how you can be sure your entry gets noticed: Send us awesome photos. Every year, we pass over entries because the photos were either blurry, badly lit, too small (more on that below) or all of the above.

Blurry and badly lit are self-explanatory, but the "too small" description stumps many people. Simply put: A photo that looks perfect on your website or Facebook page will not necessarily look good in the pages of our glossy magazine. There are all sorts of technical explanations for this, but here's the easiest way to know your photo will look good in print: It's sharply focused, and it's at least 500KB in size. (And really, 1MB or bigger is better.)

This guideline actually goes for any images you send to INVISION, whether for the contest; to show us a cool window display or photos from your trunk show; or to promote a new product available to eyecare pros. Want to know how big your photo is? Email it to yourself; you'll see the file size with the attachment.

Of course, there are all sorts of reasons to have good photos of your business, and it's not hard to find someone who can do the job right for you. Smartshoot.com and the Professional Photographers of America offer searchable lists of pros near you. If money is tight, ask about a barter for one of your sweet frames, or see if a student from a nearby college can help.

You're in the vision business, after all, so it's time to look sharp.

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This season of thanks and goodwill have me thinking about just how important it is to say thank you to your customers. Acknowledging your thanks that your patients chose you, when they could have chosen any other eyecare professional, reinforces that they made the right decision. It builds trust, loyalty and goodwill and they will certainly remember it when it’s time for their next eye exam.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

It's a balmy 35 in Fargo as I write this, but of course it'll be freeeezing there again before too long. That's one reason I get such a kick out of the Doctors & Staff page from McCulley Optix Gallery, where each team member shares a favorite frozen yogurt flavor and toppings, as well as how they like to spend a rainy day.

At INVISION, we've written before about how your About Us page is among the most important on your website. A fun About Us page with photos and quirky questions humanizes your staff and differentiates you from other vision care businesses. People feel like they know you even before their first visit. And people like doing business with people and companies with whom they've forged a real, human connection.

By the way, I found out about McCulley Optix Gallery from Jenna Gilbertson, who -- according to the About Us page -- is a Seattle girl at heart (yay, Jenna!) and favors green apple salted carmel fro-yo with Heath carmel sauce. Jenna is also one of the newest members of INVISION's Brain Squad, which gave me the chance to check out her links to McCulley Optix Gallery's website. And the Brain Squad is the easiest way for you to share what's cool and different about your optical business, too, so if you are the owner or a top manager of a U.S. optical store or eyecare practice and you're not already a member, please join us now.

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Samuel E. Johnson of the Society to Advance Opticianry

Yes, a new day is dawning in vision care. A day when ophthalmic opticians are the gatekeepers to a patient’s final prescription. A fully credentialed optician will no longer be considered just an optical sales associate, a number writer and a lens grinder.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Before we rush headlong into the season of Meaningful Use task completion and flex-account deadlines (on the job) and holiday preparations and parties (in the rest of your life), let's pause a moment to give thanks. It's been a great year, hasn't it?

Our November-December issue, online now and coming your way soon if you're a subscriber, has a roundup of optical good deeds as its Big Story. But that article just hints at all the good works going on in our industry. We just got a press release from Ginter Eyecare Center of Lubbock, TX, which is taking part in its community's U Can Share Food Drive. "Our participation in the South Plains Food Bank's annual drive is a way for us to ensure that we do our part to help alleviate hunger in our neighborhoods," Dr. Jewel Ginter says. "Our annual drive helps to fill over 5,000 Christmas boxes with a week's worth of food for a family of four. It also provides food well into the New Year for struggling Lubbock area families." (You're sending out news releases about your holiday helping efforts, too, right?)

We also heard from Brain Squad member Dr. Rick McGuirt of 20/20 Vision Clinic in Lake Charles, LA, who is the community coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in a five-parish area of southwest Louisiana. "I meet with other business and community groups to encourage participation with this charity," he says. "I also made my office a pickup and drop-off point for the gift boxes that go to children all over the world -- over 10 million last year."

Of course, it's good to be "good for nothing," expecting no reward in return. But more and more, people want to do business with businesses that work to make a better community and world -- so your charitable activities can help boost your bottom line, too. At Ginter Eyecare, they're offering a 50 percent discount on a new frame and standard lenses to anyone who brings in 24 cans of food by Nov. 30. And at 20/20 Vision Clinic, McGuirt reports that Operation Christmas Child "is a widely recognized charity that generates a lot of buzz and activity for me and my office," adding that Facebook posts (with photos!) help spread the word. "Community outreach is still a very effective means of giving back and taking your message outside the office," he adds.

I couldn't agree more, and I'd love to hear more stories of your vision care business's charitable projects. Please post them in the comments below. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Zombies with vision problems

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

As I write this, INVISION's Facebook page has 999 likes. We're this close to a thousand, and that's pretty cool. By the time you read this, we'll probably be there.

I've been on Facebook almost a decade now — since January 2007, I think — and I've rarely seen an industry use the pioneering social network quite as well as vision care pros do. We've found quite a few story sources, ideas (and our ever-popular Eye Spy items) in Facebook's various optical groups, ranging from our Sanity Files profile of ODs on Facebook founder Dr. Alan Glazier to the tireless organizing of Robert Bell for Project Homeless Connect, featured in our new issue. Facebook's bustling optical world also includes niches for luxury eyewear fans, opticians, independent labs, marketing pros, ECPs in various regions and much more. Even as other social networks rise in prominence, Facebook remains a key online meeting place for our industry -- and an important place for your business to be, too, even if you don't "do" Facebook as an individual. So thanks for a thousand likes — and we'll see you over there soon.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Free sample eye exams

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Michael Block of Block Business Group

Here are 10 things I learned at Vision Expo West 2015.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Halloween is almost here. Here are a few opportunities for media and community outreach and goodwill this fright season.

In our current issue, we have a Benchmarks article on contact lens promotions. One of them was this blog post by Dr. Rupa Wong of Honolulu Eye Clinic on the dangers of cosmetic contact lenses. She notes that they CAN be used safely, but it's best to get them from an optical pro. This is a message you can take to your local media, too.

Stuck for some glasses-friendly costume ideas ... or tips to share with your customers, maybe on social media ... or even a fun idea for group dress-up? Check out WestGroupe's suggestions.

Finally, we love this story about Dr. David Talley, a Memphis, TN, eye doc who absolutely loves Halloween.

Do you do anything special to celebrate Halloween at your vision care business? Tell us in the comments below. Have a photo to share? Great! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and maybe we'll share it in the magazine and/or via social media.

Have a fun and safe Halloween.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

One of these days, we'll get Seth Godin to write an "If I Owned ..." guest column for us on what he'd do if he opened an eyewear shop. After all, he was wearing colorful glasses before people dared to do so, and I know he'd have a fascinating take on what he'd do with an optical business. (Pssst, Seth: If you're ever stuck for a blog post topic ... )

But he's a busy guy, so it's worth subscribing to his daily emails since his blog posts are written for entrepreneurs (like you, dear INVISION readers) who know what they're doing isn't for everyone. Here's a snip of today's, about how The Little Kitchen, an indie restaurant in Nebraska, is packing in people who prize local flavor and are willing to pay a little extra for it:

When they first opened, people wanted to know why everything wasn't $5. (You can get a large dinner for two for $30 here). Instead of dumbing down the menu and averaging down on quality, they went the other way. There might be other restaurants in Nebraska that serve homemade dukkah on their salads and homemade sourdough bread with their sandwiches, but I don't know of any. And I think homemade watermelon rind pickles are scarce even in New York.

It helps that the rent is (really) cheap on the big city rent scale. It helps that the two people behind the restaurant live upstairs and are willing to put their hearts into it. Now, the place is jammed most days for lunch, and dinner is almost as busy. Now, it's an 'of course', not a crazy scheme. It's a restaurant for people like us.

Read more here. Also: Here's an interview on "The Art of Noticing, Then Creating" and the connection economy that Seth did with radio host Krista Tippett for her show On Being a little while back.

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It's not every day eyewear gets a slot on prime time TV, but that'll happen this Sunday night on the E! network series House of DVF.

The industry tie has an added dimension: The episode was actually shot last spring at Vision Expo East. Diane von Furstenberg -- who started designing her eyewear line for Marchon in 2010 -- met six aspiring fashionistas at the Javits Center and tasked the “House of DVF” competitors with selling her DVF Eyewear collection to high-end accounts. So tune in and see a bit of VEE in "The Tables Turn" episode this Sunday (Oct. 4) at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

I'm mourning the death and celebrating the life of Yogi Berra as much as a writer as a baseball fan.

As Nate Scott of USA Today wrote, "Berra’s contributions to MLB history are incalculable, but his legacy might be even better remembered for what he contributed to American language. A sportswriters’ favorite, Berra had countless expressions and turns of phrase that were memorable because most of them didn’t make any sense. (At the same time, every one had some truth to it.)"

And several of Yogi's most-famous sayings are perfect for the small business owner's life, too:

"You can observe a lot by just watching." (When was the last time you just stopped for a few minutes to see what's really happening in your business?)

"You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there." (Yep. Gotta plan.)

The late, great Yogi Berra
Many of Yogi Berra's famous quotes will hit a home run with small business owners.
"Never answer an anonymous letter." (Who knows what this means? But I like to think Yogi was saying it's best not to waste your time on people who criticize you. Whether you're slammed via online reviews or in petty gossip, resist the urge to respond to every slight. Life's too short.)

"You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go." (Translation, I think: Sometimes you get better results by not overthinking things. I need to remember this one. Yogi also said, "How can you think and hit at the same time?")

And finally, perhaps the most famous Yogi-ism ever: "It ain’t over till it’s over." But as Yogi proved in life and now in death, if you live your life right, you'll leave some sort of legacy. In Yogi's case, we'll be quoting him forever (and smiling when we do it).

So thanks for everything, Yogi. It still ain't over.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Courtney Dryer of 4 Eyes Optometry

From the runways of Paris to an electric neighborhood car, every industry has embraced 3D printing.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

California is burning -- and firefighters need your help.

As of this morning, the Valley Fire in Lake County, CA, had burned nearly 70,000 acres since starting Sep. 12. Scott Balestreri, who owns Bad Ass Optical Lab in Oakland, CA, has put out the word that eye wash for the firefighters is in short supply, and he is working with one of his lab's accounts near the Northern California fires to get eye wash -- the most requested item in the firefighters' medical tent -- where it's needed.

"If you have extra bottles of eye wash, saline, or general use eye lubricants, please forward them to Bad Ass Optical, and we will get them to where they are needed badly. In some cases, we can deliver these same day," he says.

The address is Bad Ass Optical Lab, 1724 Mandela Parkway #4, Oakland, CA 94607.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Every month in our INVISION Brain Squad survey, we ask you what's on your mind. And for the past few months, we've heard many of you say that the impending ICD-10 adoption is giving you the jitters. One ECP confessed to losing sleep over it; another said it's basically dominating the fall to-do list.

That's why we asked Steve Baker of Eyefinity to write a guest column for our September issue (online now) sharing a few things ECPs can do to prepare for the change. It's always smart to break a big project into small steps, and Steve's advice will help you do that. For example, he writes, "With nearly five times as many codes, ICD-10 is far more complex than ICD-9. Fortunately, most eyecare professionals use a small set of codes most of the time — so you can focus on gaining confidence with ICD-10 versions of the diagnosis codes that you use most, then learn some of the lesser-used codes later."

If you're an avid INVISION reader, you know we try not to get too wonky on any issue, especially issues that are covered much more in depth in other industry magazines. And when we do tackle a complex, angst-laden topic, we try to keep things simple ... and to let you know, "You've Got This."

If you have another topic you'd like to see us address in print or here online -- or if you feel like you have some useful info to impart to your fellow ECPs on any relevant topic -- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We welcome guest columns and blog posts of a few hundred words. We can't reply to every email, but we read them all -- and we always enjoy hearing from you. (And if you're an owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare practice or optical shop and you want to join our Brain Squad, you can do that here.)

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If you've wondered how to get a mention of your eyewear or eyecare product into INVISION, keep reading. We are super eager to hear about new frames, eyewear accessories, diagnostic equipment ... you name it. If independent U.S. vision care businesses need to hear what you're up to, we want to help you spread the news.

All you need to do is send us some high-res photos and some basic information. (Think a paragraph or two. We'll ask for more if we need it.) Photos should be sharply focused. For new eyewear releases, we mostly want to see single frames, but if you have a photo of someone you think would look great on the INVISION cover, by all means, send it along. We're also always eager for submissions that would work well in our Eye Pro Gear department. Remember that all eyewear we feature must be available to (and through!) U.S. indie bricks-and-mortar vision care businesses.

We can't guarantee we'll be able to use every submission we get, but we can guarantee we won't use it if you don't send it along. So This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll get it in the mix for possible use in an upcoming issue or online at invisionmag.com.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Three Stooges at an optometrist's office

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Pretty much everyone who wears contact lenses is somehow doing it wrong. That's the headline from a report just out from the Centers for Disease Control. This is alarming news. It's also an opportunity for independent eyecare businesses to talk about safer, smarter contact lens use.

In a news release issued today, the CDC reported, "Almost all of the 41 million estimated contact lens wearers in the United States may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections," and one-third of those in the national survey say they'd gone to a doctor for help with painful eyes.

The problem is that many people visit an eye doctor for a prescription, then they disappear and do all kinds of crazy stuff like buying contacts online for as cheap as they can find them, then wearing them too long; sleeping in their contacts; topping off solution; and so on. If they're walking with their Rx and buying contacts from a big-box retailer or online vendor, the potential for abuse is much higher.

This is also the time of year when college students -- who are major contact lens users -- go back to school, eager to save on something after paying for books and tuition. Of course, everyone loves a bargain. But these are eyes we're talking about. Saving money on a six-pack of beer may be a good idea. But pinching pennies on contact lenses? (Or falling asleep in your contacts after drinking that beer?) Not so much.

Aug. 24-28 is the second annual Contact Lens Week. So if you're an independent eyecare professional, do your community a favor: Call up a local reporter today and offer to talk about the CDC report and how people can be safer with their contact lenses.

Written by Published in Sweating the Details

I spoke with Brennan Scanlon, Referral Institute franchise owner and an executive director of Business Network International (BNI), this week, and he told me that too many retailers are waiting in their businesses for their advertising to bring customers in instead of going out and building relationships. And it makes sense: Why not put some elbow grease into growing your customer base?

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Last week, Buzzfeed asked its readers to write a letter to themselves in five years. I have a long history of doing stuff like this. When my family had a New Year's Eve party with friends in 1999, I asked everyone -- ranging in age at that point from 5 to 75 -- to write a letter (on paper) to themselves in 10 years.The next day, after we'd all survived the big Y2K scare, I saved the letters and returned them to their authors in December 2009. And several times, as I've pondered big personal or professional decisions, I've used FutureMe to write myself a letter that the site will email me a few months or a year or so down the road. It's always a fascinating exercise.

Give it a try. Buzzfeed had people focus on embarrassing things to stop doing and funny things they'll want to remember, but you can also use a letter-to-yourself to imagine where you want your eyecare or eyewear business to be a year from now, or maybe five years from now, in 2020. Write a note to yourself; seal it for safekeeping; and set yourself a reminder to look at it. Or use FutureMe to send your letter to an email address you know you'll still have. If you like, you can even This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we may contact you about it in the future to hear how things went. (Be sure to put "My letter to the future" and a future date in the subject line, and include your name and contact info with the letter so we can follow up with you.)

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Sometimes, it's the little touches that go the farthest in establishing your identity as the ultimate eyecare pro. One tiny touch that's a fun way to build your professional personality is using eye-themed songs as your telephone ringtones. (Or include links to these songs in your customer bulletins.)

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Reading actively, reading voluminously, reading until your eyes ache is one of the most important and inspirational investments you can make in your business. Your goal in your reading should always be to expand your sights beyond the perimeter of the eyecare business and incorporate the best and freshest ideas from outside the business. Of course, not all reading is useful and there are tons of terrible business books out there — books that laboriously "discover" only what is already obvious, books that darken instead of illuminate, books that depress instead of inspire. Here are a few of those titles.

WRITER'S NOTE: This is a humor column. These books are fictional. And, if they existed, they would be absolutely horrible. Which means that, if anybody on your staff shows even the slightest interest in purchasing any of them, you have our enthusiastic permission to tease them without mercy for the rest of their lives.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

In the wake of news that Essilor intends to buy Vision Source (see the joint announcement here), independent eyecare professionals — especially the nearly 4,000 members of the fast-growing Vision Source alliance — are asking, “What does this mean for my practice and my patients?”

We posed that question on a conference call announcing the acquisition, and Vision Source founder Dr. Glenn Ellisor said it’ll be “business as usual” in the near future as the companies study ways to add value through the new partnership. Vision Source has been making big pushes lately both into collaborations with primary care networks and into omnichannel retail experiences through such technology as the FittingBox virtual try-on tool.

Executives from both companies affirmed a commitment to — and continued autonomy for — independent ECPs, with Dr. Howard Purcell of Essilor calling the alliance “a 1 +1 = 3 opportunity.” Purcell also shared an email address (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for Vision Source members to offer feedback and ask questions. Vision Source exec Bryan Pinciaro says people can also call his company's member support center at (888) 558-2020 and ask their member services manager for more information. And here's a video of Vision Source execs talking about the deal.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

You've probably already seen this video, but just in case you were on vacation (as I was), don't miss this wonderful real-time view of a little girl seeing well -- and really seeing her parents -- for the first time.

Piper's mom, Jessica Sinclair, posted this video in June, but it went seriously viral two weeks ago. The Facebook post has had 40 million views and more than a half a million shares as I write this, and it's been replayed everywhere from The Today Show to CNN.

Of course, a clip like this -- which also aired on the local news stations near the girl's family -- is a publicity bonanza for an eyecare practice. Here's a blog post from Piper's eye doc, Dr. Josiah Young of Opticare Vision Center, where he notes how free eye exams are available for children ages 6 to 12 months via the InfantSEE program. As people call to book back-to-school appointments, don't forget to ask whether any younger members of the family need an exam, too. Here's a post from EyeCarePro on more ways Young and his practice are capitalizing on the publicity.

Picked up her glasses. Went out to eat and put them on her. Her reaction :) melts my heart

Posted by Jessica Sinclair on Saturday, June 6, 2015
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Yes, we know the calendar says July, but you know back-to-school season is definitely here. We hope your appointment calendars are packed with families coming in for exams and new eyewear before the school year starts.

It’s not too late to plan some smart marketing. Our latest Benchmarks article features examples of back-to-school promotions, and it takes a broad view of that term: events like a book drive and 5K race can be effective ways to generate back-to-school business, and check out the number of shares Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford got for a back-to-school social media post he made last July 21.

Looking for some tips for your email blasts or social media posts? The folks at WestGroupe, makers of Superflex eyewear for kids, have an infographic with some handy tips for parents. (Examples: Have a back-up pair. Let your child have a say in choosing their frames.)

Another idea: Encourage people to use their flex-dollars for back-to-school eyewear needs. People have access to their full flex account balance all year, so this might be the perfect time for families to tap those dollars, especially when other expenses (clothing, books, tuition and fees, etc.) can make budgets extra tight.

If you have another example of effective back-to-school promotions of any kind, tell us in the comments below.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Katie Lauver of Vision Source

Knowing your patients’ lifestyles is a key part of helping them have the perfect optical experience. Having a questionnaire that assesses your patients’ everyday life is important, because the answers can help you help them make the right decision when choosing frame and lens designs.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how more than any other season, summertime is movie time.

It's a time for romance, too, especially for the young. Here at INVISION, we're big fans of what Black Optical of Oklahoma does with its short films. In pictures and music, its summer video conveys the languid, lovely longing of a summertime crush that may or may not last. But Black's crack creative team is having fun with shorter videos this season, too. Check out its series of 13 super-short "summer nights" videos that pose the eternal question, "What do you want to do tonight?" And notice how, whatever the length of the film clip, cool frames smolder in the summer heat.

Black Optical Summer 15 from Black Optical on Vimeo.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Daniel Feldman of dba designs & communication

Most of us spend a great deal of time and money making sure the inside of our stores and practices look their best. We know that no matter how great our services and products are, if they aren’t presented in an open and pleasing manner, we will lose business to the shop that does it right.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

I've been to some crazy sporting events in my life, but never anything quite like the Optometry Student Bowl held in Seattle last week.

Have a look at what it was like outside the venue before the doors opened and it turned into a ballroom blitz. Pandemonium continued to reign inside as the Seattle Seahawks' drum line introduced each of 23 contestants who would vie Jeopardy-style to buzz in with the correct answers to tough questions on their optometry knowledge. In the end, Nicole Rist of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry prevailed over Sarah Gliniecki of the Michigan College of Optometry to win $1,000 and a glittery trophy for her school.

And if that wasn't enough, we also were attempting to break a Guinness World Record for "Most People Wearing Sunglasses in the Dark." Here's a clip of the drum line counting us down toward the end of the 5-minute record-breaking attempt.

Of course, I was impressed by the students' knowledge and performance under pressure. But it was also delightful to see how the American Optometric Association welcomed hundreds of ODs-to-be from the American Optometric Student Association as full partners in Optometry's Meeting. The AOA knows students are the profession's future, and the students bring high-wattage enthusiasm to the event.

Read more about the 2015 Optometry Student Bowl, including the winning question.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

It's time to meet the Class of 2015. The winners of INVISION's America's Finest Optical Retailers are now online, and I know you'll enjoy reading their stories and learn something from all of them.

As I've written in the July-August issue, our Top 10 businesses show there are many ways to be fine. These award-winning eyecare and eyewear entrepreneurs are earning raves — from us and from their customers — in myriad ways. They're from big cities, the suburbs and small towns. Some of the businesses are owned by eye doctors, others by opticians, and one was launched to fill an unmet need its owners saw in their local marketplace. The common thread is that each is creating an excellent and memorable vision care experience that's uniquely their own.

Speaking of eye doctors -- along with paraoptometric staff and optometry students -- many of you will be in Seattle for Optometry's Meeting this week. Be sure to stop by the INVISION booth (1014) to say hello. I'll be there off and on all week, and for sure from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, June 26, during the Taste of Seattle. (Our booth is near one of the concession areas. Follow your nose to the salmon puffs or gourmet mac 'n' cheese.) Also watch for updates from the meeting all week on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Published in Sweating the Details

There were a few things my parents promised me I would appreciate only when I grew up – truffles, Wagnerian opera, poetry, conceptual art, old art, like the Mona Lisa, and gardening.

Apart from poetry, they were pretty much wrong on everything.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Summertime is movie time. On a hot summer evening, there's nothing like settling in at the air-conditioned picture show for a few hours of dinosaurs, superheroes, space travel or witty repartee.

Of course, ever since I got involved with INVISION, I can't even watch a movie without wondering what glasses the actors are wearing. (Seriously. The glasses are sometimes the best thing IN a movie.) What I want to know is who places eyewear in films. Is that a job? If you have it, let me know because I want to interview you.

While searching for information on this topic, I found a post with one man's opinion about the all-time Top 10 product placements in films and TV. One eyewear brand has two mentions in the Top 10. I'm guessing you know what it is. The films are from the 1980s, and the brand still ranks high on our Hot Sellers list every month in 2015. Check it out.

While we're on the topic, here's an infographic with a more far-ranging look at some inspired eyewear choices from the movies. What are some of your favorites, from among these or elsewhere?

If you're looking for good material for your window displays, online posts or even a party or trunk show theme, you can find it at the movies.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Optometrist Dr. Scott Lee works for Atlantis Eyecare in Newport Beach. In his spare time, he plays the guitar, watches ice hockey, swing dances, and spends time with his wife and two children and draws his own hilarious eyecare-themed cartoons. Buy a book of his work, Sight Gags, here from Amazon. Cartoon with presbyopic man who needs long arms to read

Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.

Written by Published in Sweating the Details

It’s hard to get excited about consistency. Oscar Wilde disparaged it as the “hallmark of the unimaginative.” Aldous Huxley called it “contrary to life.” The only completely consistent people, he said “are the dead.” To his very short list he probably should have added the successful, for without consistency, without discipline, without daily application, not much happens.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Eyecare is one of the most flexible careers around. That's a major theme of our June issue, which is online now.

In our monthly America's Finest feature, we have the story of an optometrist who had already started one practice in Chicago but who, after glimpsing a more laid-back lifestyle in Oregon, launched a second one there -- but not before he took a year off to camp, hike and consider possible Portland locations.

We also have an article about six optometrists who’ve chosen to practice part time. One is just getting started; another is easing into retirement; all wanted more time for family, friends and hobbies. And our "Big Story" is on how many eye docs and opticians are inspired by independent business people from other fields.

These stories are fitting fare for June, since summer can be a time to shake things up a bit. We hope you'll see this season as one of renewal -- and that goes for your subscription, too. INVISION is free to eyecare pros in the United States, but every year, you need to reconfirm that you still want to have our smart, business-building advice delivered to your mailbox.

So if you haven’t filled out one of our subscription cards for a year or so, it’s time to renew. And if you haven't previously signed up for the print edition, what are you waiting for? Either way, sign up online now, and you won't miss an issue. Do it soon so you'll be sure to receive the July/August issue, which will feature our America's Finest Class of 2015 -- 10 vision care businesses that are among the nation's most innovative and inspirational.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

You're an average American on a tight budget. You find a pair of wonderful glasses at your local optical store — then you hear that they cost more than $400, plus lenses. That’s when you decide to go online at get the glasses at half price.

I know you hear stories like this one from blogger Nicole Dieker every day. But you also know what she doesn’t yet know: that it matters what kind of lenses go into those glasses. It also matters that the frame fits well once it arrives with those lenses.

Some people would figure that getting the best lenses and a precise fit might be worth the extra money it costs to work in person with a good optician. Some people might even feel bad about using the optician’s time and expertise and then buying online.

Then again, a good optician wouldn’t tell a customer that every pair she tries on looks wonderful. Nor would she wait for her to try on endless pairs; working with the doctor's Rx and recommendations, she’d size up the person’s features, ask a few pointed questions, and pick out a handful of frames that are perfect.

Eyecare professionals save people time and aggravation. They get people in the right glasses with the best lenses. Does it cost a little more? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. This is your vision we’re talking about.

It’s not enough to offer the best products, especially when people can get them online for less. You need to create customer experiences that will help people understand that it matters where they go for their eyecare and eyewear — because it really does.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs

Michael Block of Block Business Group

Memorial Day Weekend is here, the unofficial start of summer. But it's not too late for spring cleaning.

In fact, it’s always a good time to think about sprucing up your business. Often, we are so busy on a day-to-day basis working with patients, doing paperwork and spending time with sales reps that we don’t have a chance to take an objective look at where we welcome patients and customers.

Written by Published in Guest Blogs
Cartoon with presbyopic man who needs long arms to read Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.
Written by Published in Sweating the Details

A study by a business school in the U.K. suggests that marketing, customer service and even sales techniques tailored to the time of day may increase a retailer’s bottom line.

Written by Published in Editor's Blog

Springtime is party season, with ample reasons for celebration: Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, weddings and more. It's also a great season for eyecare and eyewear businesses to hold events. In fact, our Big Story for May features cool party ideas.

Many events deserve to be annual ones; Great Glasses Play Day, held the first weekend in May, comes to mind. But an email from Greg McKeown, the author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, reminds me that not every event needs to happen every year.

It's OK to put an expiration date on activities of ay kinds, he writes. "Traditions have an important role in building relationships and memories. However, not every new activity has to become a tradition. The next time you have a successful event, enjoy it, make the memory, and move on."

If you do anything that succeeds, from a trunk show-wine tasting to a team offsite retreat, you may want to do the exact same thing next year. But if any of your recurrent events or special projects have run their course after a few years, and especially if they're causing your team more stress than rewards, it's OK to give those activities a rest.

Here's more from Greg on combatting what he calls "the Busyness Bubble."

Written by Published in Sweating the Details

Back in my newspaper reporting days, I had the opportunity to spend a good bit of time at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, not staying there — I was on a journalist’s salary, of course — but tagging around behind the scenes, finding out why this particular Ritz-Carlton made it to the list of world’s 10 best hotels time and time again.

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I’ve just finished The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. Among author Jon Gordon’s rules: You’re the driver of your bus; fuel your ride with positive energy; love your passengers; drive with purpose; and enjoy the ride.

As I read the book, news broke this week that Dan Price, founder of Gravity Payments, announced he will boost the salary of everyone on his 120-person staff to at least $70,000 over the next three years. Gravity is located in Seattle, where the minimum wage is gradually rising to $15. But Price knew that in a city where housing costs have gone up faster this decade than in any other major U.S. metro, $15 an hour is far from a living wage.

So Price — whose company specializes in credit-card processing and loyalty programs for small independent businesses — will cut his own salary of nearly $1 million to $70,000 and use up to 80 percent of his company’s profits to fund the wage increases for his colleagues.

As Price told Entrepreneur magazine in this video last year (a few months before they named him Entrepreneur of the Year and put him on the January 2015 cover), ”One of the things I love about my job is the opportunity to work with such amazing people. Every person that works here is a key decision maker, and that’s a culture we’ve maintained from the beginning.”

Back to The Energy Bus: Jon Gordon talks about making every person on your team a CEO: chief energy officer. By investing in his people, who currently average $48,000 a year, Dan Price is about to have 120 CEOs on his team. He’s also striking a blow against the staggering pay gaps we see in the U.S.

Not every small business is going to be able to follow Price’s lead, of course. But paying people a good wage — and taking one that’s in line with what the rest of your team makes — is an excellent way to show your team that you value them … and to get everyone moving the bus in the same direction toward success.

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Catch optometry-themed guest cartoons from Scott Lee online each month at INVISIONMAG.COM.
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April 21. That’s the date Google’s mobile-friendliness update will roll out. This means that Google will start using mobile-friendly compliance as a ranking factor in smartphone search. For any OD out there who doesn’t have a mobile friendly website, now is the time to act or risk the consequences.

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Feel like you wear a lot of hats in your business? Well, here's one you might not have even known you needed to occasionally doff: organizational ombudsman. This is someone who mediates disputes in the workplace and to whom employees can talk about workplace issues confidentially. Having one on staff is part of an effort to avoid whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or — on a level more relatable to independent retailers — nasty things like discrimination lawsuits or disputes between employees.

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Every once in a while, you'll read a story of extraordinary customer service that netted immeasurable goodwill among customers and people like me, who’d never heard of the place.

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A SWIMMING POOL installer in Virginia found himself in a bind after the crash in 2008: No one was buying pools, his company’s income stream dried up (sorry, couldn’t help myself), and he needed to cut expenses. So, he looked at the $250,000 a year he was spending on traditional marketing and turned to the Internet ... to begin answering questions.

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It's almost "last call" for our 2015 America's Finest Optical Retailers competition. INVISION is on a mission to find and celebrate the most creative and innovative vision care businesses in the U.S., and we're seeing some great ones! And we figure that with the streamlined entry form, it takes about 20 minutes to enter, so you can get it done by the April 1 deadline.

Here are the details and the entry form.

The best thing about the America's Finest contest is it puts you on our radar for future coverage in INVISION, whether or not your business is chosen as one of the 10 finalists that will be featured in our July-August issue. (There are cool trophies and suitable-for-framing certificates up for grabs, too.) But even if you don't make the Top 10, we may well be in touch over the next year to feature your business in INVISION.

We know nearly every independent optical business is doing something worth writing about -- something that sets your shop far apart from the big boxes and online eyewear vendors. Here's your chance to let us know what it is. I look forward to your entry!

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Optical people are congregating in New York for several days of networking, learning, shopping and partying at Vision Expo East. It's almost here!

INVISION is in Booth 3383. Actually, most of us will be out and about Friday through Sunday, meeting other exhibitors and ECPs from all over. But I'll be at the booth during these times: Friday 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Saturday 3-4 p.m.; and Sunday 9:30-10:30 a.m. Stop by if you want to say hello -- or flag me down if you see me elsewhere during the weekend.

I'm especially eager to meet our Brain Squad members and other readers and thank you for getting INVISION off to a great start over the past year-and-a-half. And if you're not yet in the Brain Squad, stop by the booth to hear how you can join us and get a cool limited-edition Eye Geek T-shirt plus TONS of business intelligence by signing up and completing our monthly surveys.

Have a good Expo. Learn a lot ... buy lots of cool frames and gear ... and stay warm!

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A RECENT BOOK suggests what you are touching could affect the way you negotiate — and more important — the way your customer negotiates or is willing to part ways with her money.

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In an 2014 interview with public radio’s Marketplace, President Obama was asked to describe his job in five words or less.

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Have you entered our America's Finest Optical Retailers competition yet? The deadline is drawing near -- April 1. And of course, there's a little trade show happening in New York City between now and then, so you may want to check this off your pre-show to-do list.

Not that it takes much time: We've streamlined the entry form. (You can upload your photos with the entry or email them to us; see details on the entry form.) And this is the single best way to get your business on our radar for future coverage in INVISION. We'lll honor 10 finalists in our July-August issue this year, but we'll also draw on the entrants' pool for monthly America's Finest features, as well as mentions in other INVISION articles.

Check it out now. We hope to see your entry -- and feature your business in INVISION soon!

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The Vision Expo East invitations and news releases are flowing in. Here's one of the latter that caught my eye, inviting VEE attendees to stop at the Tura booth:

"Bring your creative mood and enjoy some time designing a frame with one of our designers. Each frame entered has a chance to be a part of our Tura 2016 collection."

We have a story in the works on opticians who also design eyewear, so I know there are more than a few of you out there. I look forward to maybe seeing Tura launch a frame next year that was designed by an INVISION reader. Tura will be in booth #4608.

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We're able to showcase about two dozen frames in each issue of INVISION. But we now have an expanded Frames in Focus section on our website -- and those frames also turn up in the new INVISION Bulletin we send each weekday.

So if you are looking for new styles for your optical faster than you'll see them in print, be sure to sign up for our bulletin, which also features optical-world news briefs, a useful Tip of the Day for your eyecare business, and lots of INVISION stories (some before they appear in print).

And if you're a frame company, be sure to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of your latest and greatest releases so we can get them into the mix, in print or online. Let us know a release date, if it's not OK to use immediately.

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Like many of you, I'm looking forward to Vision Expo East -- though I am very glad it isn't happening this week in New York City, with another big blizzard bearing down. (Here's hoping we can order up that same good weather we enjoyed last March for this year's show.)

In-person conferences offer fantastic opportunities to see and touch new products, connect with friends from throughout the industry and get a whole lot of high-quality education. (Speaking of which, INVISION looks forward to sponsoring the Crowd-Sourced Learning track at VEE in March.)

These days, though, it's easier than ever to learn and network without leaving your office. The next edition of Seeing is Believing -- Optometry's Virtual Conference is set this week, running from noon to 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 28-29). Scan the list of sessions and you'll see many of the same speakers you know from Vision Expo. Their presentations will be available to registrants in real time, but also for 90 days afterward. (I'm glad to know that since, for example, I have another appointment scheduled when Dr. Renee Jacobs is scheduled to present "Increase Capture Rate and Multiple Pair Sales" at 6 p.m. Wednesday.)

ECPs often use in-person conferences for team-building and training. You can do the same with a virtual conference, with more flexibility and less travel expense. So if you have to miss Vision Expo this spring, or if traffic is slow in your office this week due to Snowmageddon, or even if you simply can't ever get to hear everyone you want to hear at VEE (or you want to be sure your entire staff can hear an excellent speaker), Seeing is Believing might be a good use of your time. Registration will remain open through both days of the conference. See more here.

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I've just finished proofing the pages for our upcoming INVISION cover story for February, "The Year of Reading Seriously," and I have two thoughts:

Number 1: I have some reading to do myself! David Squires, our editorial director, pulled most of this amazing package together, and he must already hold a record for most business books consumed in a lifetime (and he's read many that didn't make this list). There are dozens of titles on the list I haven't yet read, but I definitely want to. I know our readers will, too.

Number 2: The challenge we issue in this feature is that eyecare pros will spend some dedicated time in 2015 delving into classic and recent business books. (We list 52 of them, in case you have the time, desire and mental bandwidth to read one every single week -- but we totally understand if you can only get to a fraction of that number.) The goal, as David writes in the intro, is to "create a vast mental library of business-changing ideas for your future." Well, I'm thinking about how we might extend this invitation further and make this list even more useful to you.

Maybe we'll post a monthly thread here and/or on our Facebook page where you can share what you've been reading and how you're implementing the ideas in your business. Maybe you'll write us a letter-to-the-editor with your favorite pearls of wisdom.

Or perhaps you can use the YRS book list as an excuse to launch a team-building book-club at your business. Say you all agree to read a book that seems especially relevant to your vision care business, then you go out for lunch or happy hour to talk about it. (Of course, you can do this once a month with the latest issue of INVISION, too. If you do, send us a photo of you and your team at your "magazine club.")

Anyway, I'm sure once you see the story, you'll have ideas of your own on how to use it. Watch our website for your first look later this month!

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One really fun aspect of my job is opening each new edition of INVISION. Of course, I know how the stories turned out — but it’s the first time I see the ads. Without both — editorial features and ads — we wouldn’t have a magazine.

So I’d like to thank all our advertisers and give a special shoutout today to Shamir, which just won a “Davey Award” from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (recognizing the small-agency “Davids” of the ad world) for its “I Am …” campaign, which ran opposite my editor’s note all year in 2014.

One of Shamir's advertisements from the award-winning "I Am" campaign.

At INVISION, we often talk about how important it is to tell stories to help your patients and customers see themselves in the brands you carry. That’s exactly what Shamir did in these ads. Each featured a portrait of someone telling why the lenses worked so well for their individual lifestyle — career, hobbies, passions of all sorts — and the ending question “When I walk into your practice today, will I get a mediocre solution or one that works with me?”

We’re thankful for everyone who found INVISION in our first year — and especially to those who have invested in our success, and that of the more than 30,000 eyecare professionals who read us. Together, we are dedicated to helping independent ECPs have an ever better year in 2015.


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Happy 2015! I'm incredibly excited about the stories we're getting set to bring you this year. And as always, they will be heavily crowd-sourced by you: the independent American eyecare professional.

Here are some of the topics we're working on for 2015: Party Time (the best in trunk shows and other special events); Part-Time Optometrists (people who make a conscious decision to work less than full time, for whatever reason); How to Open a Second Location; and 50 Awesome Things About Eyecare. You can have a full look at what we plan for the year in our media kit (see the editorial calendar on pages 6-7), bearing in mind that we're now working on stories for March and beyond.

The best way to contribute to our stories -- and get access to a ton of business intelligence from other savvy ECPs -- is to join our Brain Squad and fill out the monthly surveys. You can also email me if you see a story on which you have special personal insights or knowledge.

2015 is just two days old, but we're energized by what we started last year. If you own an independent eyecare business in the U.S., we look forward to hearing from you.

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Something really cool happened a few weeks ago when we were busy with our latest deadline ... so it's taken us a while to tell the world about it.

Every year, FOLIO: Magazine gives out the Eddie and Ozzie Awards, which are rather like the Oscars for magazines. In our very first year -- in fact, for just our third issue, which appeared in March-April -- INVISION was honored with a gold medal for the best design among new business-to-business magazines.

You can read more about it here. But I want to give credit where it's due, to Victor Marlu Cantal, our design editor. With plenty of creative inspiration from David Squires (our group editorial director) and production savvy from Ralf Kircher (our group executive editor), Victor and his team generate graphic genius page after page. Many of you tell us INVISION is the most informative, fun, best-designed industry magazine you've ever seen -- and that's largely because of their work.

So here's a hearty round of huzzahs to my colleagues for this recognition of a job very well done. My writers and I thank you for making our work look so good -- and for giving our readers, America's eyecare professionals, a magazine they've so quickly come to love.

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Thanksgiving is over, but the entire holiday season is a good one to practice an “attitude of gratitude.”

Think about how little time it would take to jot short personal notes to people who’ve helped you this year, either through big sales or small kindnesses. Can you do two or three each day in December?

Writing on LinkedIn last week, Laszlo Bock of Google quoted happiness expert Shawn Achor. “Happiness can be a choice. But it’s a choice that we can influence through our organizations,” Achor says. “And when we do so, it becomes the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy.”

Achor recommends we take two minutes each day to express gratitude. Write down three new things for which you’re grateful, or spend two minutes each day praising or thanking a person you know. Commit to doing that every day for 21 days. By then, gratitude will be a habit, and you’ll realize what great connections you have — and how blessed you are.

Sounds like a good way to celebrate the holidays and get ready for another good year.

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I've become a big fan of The Story of Telling, a marketing blog by Bernadette Jiwa. Here's what she had to say today:

What matters in world where.…we can tell a device to order the shopping, place our coffee order without speaking, have a conversation involving thumbs and zero eye contact and before we know it, get to our destination in a driverless car? What’s scarce today will be even more scarce tomorrow. And that’s our opportunity.

As Jiwa writes, there's real value in human connection in our low-touch world. Sure, people can likely get eyewear somewhere cheaper than your shop -- but it'll probably be a cheap experience overall.

Think about the business you want to have -- and the company you want to keep. Chances are, your current and would-be customers value their dwindling opportunities for real connection, so give it to them.

Here's another recent post I really liked from Jiwa, What Does Your Marketing Do?

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visual storytelling for optical dispensaries by courtney dryer

First impressions matter everywhere, including in your optical dispensary. Research shows that women are more attentive to visual storytelling -- and women make most buying decisions.

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What if you could work toward an MBA at the same time you go to optometry school? A joint program between the SUNY College of Optometry and Empire State College makes that possible.

The 18-credit certificate in optometry business management is designed to help ODs who want to get an advanced business education to complement their clinical training. According to the news release from its launch, "While dozens of medical, dental and other professional clinical educational institutions in the United States have introduced joint clinical/business education programs over the last decade, this partnership between SUNY College of Optometry and SUNY Empire State College would create the first such joint program to be offered by a school of optometry in the United States."

Learn more here. And if business school isn't in your plans right now, you can still look to INVISION for intelligence from people who run some of the smartest vision care businesses in the US.

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Election season will soon be over. Yessssss! But here's one statistic we can all applaud regardless of politics: Turnout for eye exams is up a robust 4.5 percent since the start of the Think About Your Eyes campaign 16 months ago.

Through extensive national advertising, Think About Your Eyes is encouraging Americans to do just that: consider the eyes that most of us take for granted. For example, one campaign poster shows how a baby born today will probably see her dentist 160 times but get just 16 eye exams in her lifetime. That's a message that makes people think ... and act. The Vision Council reported a few days ago that more than a million people have visited the website. They also say the site has generated an additional 5.2 million annual eye exams and the diagnosis of more than 525,000 previously undiagnosed eye diseases.

Yes, you have to pay to play in most campaigns, and this one is no exception. There's an eye doctor search function on the site, and you need to join to be listed (and be a premium member to get your hands on cool marketing schwag like the cute baby poster noted above). But with The Vision Council estimating that 96 percent of adults ages 25 to 49 will see Think About Your Eyes messages this year -- and a growing number of big and mid-sized industry players adding their financial support; Alcon is the latest -- this is probably at least worth a look as you plan your marketing budget for 2015. Check out this page for more info.

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You have a lot on your plate without worrying about public relations. But with a little help, you can learn to see where your eyecare business could wiggle its way on to local newshounds' radar.

For example, there's a solar eclipse today. I didn't hear about it until I woke up this morning. But if I were doing PR for a local eye doc, I'd gather some tips for her to talk about safe eclipse viewing and see whether a local radio or TV crew wanted a short interview for their midday news.

Of course, it'd be better to have a day or more to plan for such an opportunity. But given the rapid news cycles we live in today, even a last-minute pitch like this could pan out. News organizations love local sources to bring stories closer to home.

So if you're reading this now and someone at your practice has a few spare minutes between appointments, give this a try ... and send me a link to your story if it works out. If not, mark your calendar for the next solar eclipse.

Post-eclipse-script: The main point here is to help you think like a publicist -- or a reporter, editor or broadcast news producer -- about events for which you could serve as an expert source. November is Diabetes Awareness Month. FSA dollars expire in December. And so on. Our Calendar column in every issue of INVISION can help you identify ideas, too, and this article has more tips on how to approach your local media.

Finally, remember that in this era of social media, your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc. are all media, as well -- and posting relevant, timely info in those places can help you get noticed by professional newsmongers. 

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October 9 is World Sight Day. What is your business doing to mark the occasion?

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Online marketing is an important strategy to grow your business, but offline marketing tactics can boost the effectiveness of your online marketing and vice versa. Speaking to groups is a powerful tool for getting your community to know you as their eyecare professional. Here are five marketing tips to get you on your way:

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Greetings from Vision Expo West! INVISION will be in booth 19124 when the show gets rolling tomorrow. Please drop by, pick up a copy of our new issue (complete with your hands-on guide to making the most of every trade show), and meet our team. 

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In each issue of INVISION,  we feature a Smooth Seller -- someone who has mastered the art of eyewear retailing. Each of our past two interviewees for the column said almost exactly the same thing.

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optical dispensary for new graduates courtney dryer

I opened my business cold in 2013, less than two years after I graduated from optometry school. I designed my practice knowing that most of my profits will come from my optical dispensary, so I had three things in mind -- identity, personality and functionality. These are areas for you to consider, too, whether you’re launching a new business or have one that needs better focus.

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Is your appointment   book jam-packed with back-to-school business? If not, it’s time to contact your local TV station, newspaper columnist or radio talk show host to suggest a story on the importance of student eye exams.

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Oh, Beck.  


Warby Parker sent me an e-mail about your new "collaboration." Last fall, you teamed with the mostly-online eyewear purveyor on a limited-edition eyeglass model (the Carmichael, complete with an on-trend keyhole bridge and cool color names like root beer) and a concert to bring your then-sheet-music-only Song Reader tunes to life with an all-star line up at L.A.’s Disney Concert Hall. 

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I know it’s still summer, but the back-to-school season is right around the corner. New schools, new teachers and new challenges await every student. 

This can be a time of opportunity for eyecare professionals, too. As you help children in your area gain better vision, you can also develop a rapport with parents who may need your services now or later.

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Our readers  are declaring their love for INVISION -- and now industry experts are, too. INVISION’s very first issue -- our September/October 2013 prototype -- won a Top 25 “Best Single Issue” award in the 2014 Tabbie Awards contest sponsored by the Trade, Association and Business Publications International (TABPI). 

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It’s summer vacation season, but there’s a dark side to fun in the sun: coming back to waaaaay too many emails.


A friend recently mentioned on Facebook that she had 609 emails to read after a four-day pleasure trip, “and did I mention that two of those days were weekend days?” she asked. “Depression setting in.” 

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Happy Fourth of July! This month, INVISION shares its first America’s Finest Optical Retailers issue, and it truly is a celebration of independence: 10 successful and innovative eyecare businesses that are winning with excellent selection, superior customer service and plenty of individual style.

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You’re an independent eyecare professional and you’ve seen a few issues of INVISION. By now you may be thinking: “Hey, I’d love to see my business mentioned in that magazine. It’s a really cool magazine, and we’re doing some cool things to bring in new people and keep our current patients and eyewear customers happy.”

Well, it’s no big secret. We have mind-reading superpowers! We know exactly when you’ve launched a cool pop-up sunwear shop near your local college campus, or when your sponsorship of a soccer league team brings in a dozen new families for eye exams.

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It’s National Small Business Week, and INVISION wants to salute eyecare practices and optical retailers on this annual occasion -- and every week, for that matter.

I still remember a really good ad campaign that ran about 20 years ago. US Bank took out two-page spreads in newspapers and magazines. Stunning photos showed people pursuing adventure sports of one kind or another: rock climbing, windsurfing, bungee jumping and so on. The tag line on each ad was the same -- something along the lines of “Yeah, but does he have the guts to run his own business?”

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How many pairs of sunglasses have you lost in your life? BGR.com reports on Tzukuri, a new line of handmade Japanese sunwear that incorporates Apple’s tiny iBeacon chip so your phone can alert you if you leave your sunglasses behind. Read more here.

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As a newcomer to the eyewear and eyecare field, my first Vision Expo East felt like a combination of boot camp and candy store. At continuing education programs, I learned about making the most of vision care plans from Jay Binkowitz, savvy merchandising from Corinne McCormack and trendspotting with David Friedfeld. I met dozens of people, from dynamic new Luxottica president Holly Rush to INVISION columnists Rebecca Johnson and Daniel Feldman to indie eyewear designers Patrizia Shelabarger (Patty Paillette) and Steven Faust (Eye Respect).

Some of the most fun encounters came with ECPs who already know and enjoy INVISION. Sandy Aradi Miller of Central Eyes in Jupiter, FL, recognized me from my photo in the magazine and introduced herself. I interviewed her on the spot for a story on the future of the vision care industry. I also enjoyed meeting ODs on Facebook founder Alan Glazier and Louis J L Fullagar of the Luxury Eyewear Forum in person and hearing Bad Habits, “the official eye docs of rock,” at B.B.King’s Blues Club. And of course I saw a LOT of wonderful new eyewear styles at dozens of exhibits.

Our May-June issue -- and other future issues of INVISION -- will be packed with stuff we learned at Vision Expo East: insights on the future of the industry, marketing tips, new products to boost your business, and services to help you attract and retain more patients and customers. I’m already looking forward to Vision Expo West in September, and I know I will meet many more people and get dozens more ideas there. But don’t feel you have to wait for the trade shows: I welcome your ideas and suggestions all year. Email me anytime at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. … connect with us on Facebook and Twitter … and join our Brain Squad of ECPs. We look forward to hearing from you!

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I’m heading to my first Vision Expo this week -- and while I’m there, I hope to meet many ECPs who will share their insights on the future of the vision care business.

Yes, it’s hard to forecast the future, especially amid a time of such sweeping (and sometimes frustrating) change. But it's fun, too. Try and picture your business 10 years from now: What innovations, inventions and societal trends have made being an eye doc or optician more interesting than ever?

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I’ve always loved the Oscars telecast. This year, as INVISION editor, I had a new reason to watch: the eyewear.

Samuel Jackson drew rave reviews on Facebook’s Luxury Eyewear Forum for his cobalt and pewter Karlheinz frames by Barton Perreira, donned -- appropriately enough -- as he helped present the Oscar for costume design. Barton Perreira noted the choice on its Facebook page and Twitter feed, and at least one retailer jumped at the chance to promote the style on social media, too.

Risi Optique of Frisco, TX, shared Barton Perreira’s video clip on its page, writing, “What an Oscars last night! Here is Samuel L. Jackson wearing Barton Perreira Karlheinz. Stop by to place your order!” The store in the North Dallas suburb also posted a photo of John Ridley wearing Mykita’s Martin frames as he accepted the award for Best Adapted Screenplay (for 12 Years a Slave), adding, “Luckily we have this in stock for you to try on.”

Speaking of Best Costume Design, the Oscar went to Catherine Martin for her work in The Great Gatsby. Clodagh Norton of eyestylist.com passed along word that Roth’s website noted how Elizabeth Debicki -- playing Jordan Baker in the film -- wore a vintage round Christian Roth tortoise frame in the film.

Funnyman Jim Carrey got one of the night’s biggest laughs when said Hollywood “has relied upon a special kind of magic to conjure movie heroes of all shapes and sizes from genies, ogres and talking toys to flying elephants and dancing penguins. Of course, this magic I’m referring to is LSD.” As the audience laughed, Carrey looked perplexed before pulling a pair of glasses from his suit pocket. “I might be reading that wrong,” he deadpanned as he slipped on the specs and squinted toward the teleprompter. “It’s animation … I was way off! Sometimes when you watch this stuff, it’s like … anyway … ” See Carrey cut up here … and check out more Oscar eyewear highlights at the Eyecessorize blog.

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Eyecare’s future looks strong. Want proof? There’s been plenty in the news lately.

As we reported in an Orbit brief, optometry students worldwide raised $71,720 -- a big jump over 2012 -- in the 2013 World Sight Day Challenge, which raises money to provide eyecare and eyewear for people in need worldwide. “World Sight Day is optometry’s holiday – a day for people to celebrate something they hold close to their hearts. I’ve always thought the best (and only) way to do that is by giving back,” said Micaela Ann Crowley, part of the Nova Southeastern University team that collected $12,097 for the cause.