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AAOF Announces 2019 VSP Global Scholarship Recipients

Nearly $200,000 was awarded to several top performing fourth-year optometry students.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ORLANDO, FL – The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global announced the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $200,000 was awarded to several top performing fourth-year optometry students in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, as well as four additional international students from Australia.

This year, in honor of the 3rd World Congress of Optometry held in conjunction with the Academy meeting in Orlando, Florida, VSP Global added an Australian Practice Excellence Scholarship, open to students from four institutions: Deakin University, Flinders University, Queensland University of Technology School of Vision Science and the University of New South Wales.

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“The Practice Excellence Scholarship is another example of our commitment to optometry’s next generation, and we are honored to extend this recognition to optometry students in Australia, a country in which we have a strong optometrist network,” said Gordon Jennings, OD and VSP Global Board Chairman.

Two students from each school or college of optometry as well as one student from each Australian institution were selected by nomination from their individual institutions to receive the scholarship. Since 2010, VSP Global has provided more than $2.4 million in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students.

The scholarships are funded through VSP’s Global Charitable Fund and are administered through the AAOF. Scholarship recipients were selected based on key criteria including the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, and their clinical and academic performance.

“We are very grateful for the continued partnership we have with VSP,” said Pete Kollbaum, OD, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. “Through VSP’s continued support of this partnership they are demonstrating their commitment to advance optometry, the Academy, and, most importantly, the clinical care patients are able to receive. We are very grateful for their foresight in supporting these very deserving future leaders and their dedication to support the future of optometry.”

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Each scholarship included a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry’s 98th annual meeting, Academy 2019 Orlando, which was held on October 23-27 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The recipients were recognized at a special reception sponsored by VSP Global.

The 2019 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:
  • Illinois College of Optometry
    Lauren Kunkel, Aaron Motacek
  • Indiana University School of Optometry
    Mary Marte, Kalyn Wendholt
  • Inter American University of Puerto School of Optometry
    Samantha Chan, Travis Lipscomb
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
    Taylor Hall, Danielle Zapata
  • Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
    Steven Gibbs, Ankur Patel
  • Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
    Jennifer Dryden, Liza Stremick
  • New England College of Optometry
    Alexa Caruso, Chelsey Kritzer
  • Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
    Sahab Astani, William Colton Cheek
  • Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
    Phoebe Pan, Kaitlin Brown
  • The Ohio State University College of Optometry
    Alex Lamorgese, Adell Walters
  • Pacific University College of Optometry
    Liandra Jung, Ashley Stone
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
    Andrew Muckin, Emile Seitz
  • Rosenberg School of Optometry
    Patrick Clark, Kelly Tran
  • Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
    Alyssa Pack, Emiko Vasquez
  • Southern College of Optometry
    Katelyn McGee, Trevor Shealy
  • State University of New York College of Optometry
    Abigail Cash, Alicia Jones
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
    Mason Childers, Mohammed Haque
  • University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
    Stephanie Tran, Rebecca Stapornkul
  • University of Houston College of Optometry
    Ashley Nguyen, Megan Wagner
  • University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
    Kristen Lantz, Jacob Webster
  • University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry
    Kelly Deering, Abigail Smith
  • University of Montreal School of Optometry
    Antoine Aidans van der Poel, Lara Tchakmakian
  • University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science
    Komal Patel, Angela Zhang
  • Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry
    Kenny Huynh, Aiko Seffinger
Australian Practice Excellence Scholarships
  • Deakin University
    Emily Banks
  • Flinders University
    Dylan Bentley
  • Queensland University of Technology School of Optometry and Vision Science
    Derek Shiu Him Lay
  • University of New South Wales
    Ivy Kol

For more information, visit https://www.aaopt.org/home/aaof.

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Safilo Supports Customers With a Virtual Education Series

The program is for offices that are closed or on limited schedules due to COVID-19.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Safilo Group, a worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of eyewear, kicks off a new virtual education platform this week, offering a series of educational webinars for its customers on various topics to enrich their optical practices while offices are closed or operating on limited schedules due to COVID-19.

Running the full weeks of March 23 and March 30, one new course topic will be taught daily between two and four times each day – with four sessions daily this week and repeated two times daily next week – to accommodate participants in different time zones. The lectures are led by Robin Brush, a Safilo Key Accounts Manager and an ABOC-certified optician with 25 years of optical industry experience. The courses, taught live, are being offered in English and will soon be translated to other languages in the coming weeks to make available to international customers. The courses are also being recorded to make available later for those who missed them. ABO credits are not being issued for any of the online lectures.

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To attend these virtual classes, North American customers can either contact their sales representatives or sign up directly by visiting the home pages of Safilo’s b2b websites: www.myafilo.com (USA) or www.mysafilocanada.com (Canada). Internationally, Safilo customers can contact their sales rep for sign-up details. The WebEx course topics include: Advanced Eyewear Technology; A Visual Guide to Merchandising, J.O.B.S. Program: Joint Opportunity to Believe in Staying; Multiples Mindset and Optical 411 (full course descriptions can be found on the next page).

To promote the courses, a customer eblast was sent out last Friday to Safilo North America customers which contained the WebEx links needed for course sign-up. Members of Safilo’s North American sales force are also informing customers directly. The courses are additionally being promoted daily on Safilo Group’s global Facebook page.

“During these trying times, we wanted to continue showing our gratitude and support to our customers’ practices by offering courses to enrich their education portfolio. We’ve worked diligently to create a free virtual education platform that will allow anyone within one of our customer’s practices to access the courses, even if their offices are closed temporarily,” said Steve Wright, Safilo North America’s president and chief commercial officer. “The classes were developed initially, with Safilo North America customers in mind, while many are at home this week and practicing social distancing. However, we decided to make the courses available internationally as believe this program can be beneficial to all Safilo customers around the globe,” added Wright.

Course descriptions:

1. Advanced Eyewear Technology:
Learn the anatomy and proper names for eyewear. Details and fitting examples of why different nose pads, bridges, temples and frame fronts are used to make eyewear. Learn about the different materials that eyewear is made from and why different materials are used and benefits to the patients.

2. A Visual Guide to Merchandising:
Define visual merchandising as related to optical; learn how to apply visual merchandising to your optical for brand story telling; learn how the Pantone color of the year influences our world of retail and understanding merchandising secrets and customer behaviors.

3. J.O.B.S. Program: Joint Opportunity to Believe in Staying:
In this course, you will learn how to involve the entire office staff in the process of making the sale. Each department will have defined responsibilities that educate and layer the selling process for the patient. You will also learn the art of seamless transition from patient to retail customer. Interpreting the prescription for lens and frame sales. Multiple pair sales will be your new normal and understanding and defusing sales objections will not be a problem.

4. Multiples Mindset:
Selling multiple pairs is a mindset! How can you expect an optician to sell multiple pairs or sell luxury if they’ve never experienced that personally? In this course, we will dive into the mindset of the optician getting to the bottom of why they don’t sell multiples. Also, we’ll be learning techniques to use as their managers to promote a multiples environment and culture.

5. Optical 411:
In this course, you will understand the importance of being a good steward of the numbers in your optical. Frame return rate and frame turn ratio, why are they critical to the profitability of your business? Inventory management and how to analyze the data. Discover the two best methods for ordering frames to achieve the profitable numbers. Six easy steps to efficient sales rep appointments and tracking your orders and returns.

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Prevent Blindness Declares April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month to Educate Public on Ways to Save Sight

Women have a higher prevalence of many of the major vision problems.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CHICAGO — Because women have higher rates of eye diseases and eye conditions than men, Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health organization, has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. The group provides free information to the public on various eye health topics, including vision issues, possible changes in vision during pregnancy, cosmetic safety and more.

Women have a higher prevalence of many of the major vision problems, including:

  • AMD
  • Cataract
  • Dry Eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Refractive Error

The National Eye Institute states that 26 percent more women aged 12 and older have uncorrected visual impairment due to refractive error compared with men aged 12 and older. And, 14 percent more women aged 40 and older have refractive errors compared with men aged 40 and older. Additionally, women are also more likely to have autoimmune conditions, which often come with visual side effects.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, for women, fluctuating hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the eye’s oil glands, which can lead to dryness. Estrogen can also make the cornea less stiff with more elasticity, which can affect how light travels into the eye. The dryness and the change in refraction can cause blurry vision and can also make wearing contact lenses difficult.

Pregnancy brings an increase in hormones that may cause changes in vision. Women with pre-existing eye conditions, like glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, need to alert their eye doctor that they are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant).

Lastly, women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions and are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse, and aging parents. It is important to remind women to make their own vision and eye health a priority to prevent unnecessary vision loss in the future.

Prevent Blindness recommends steps that should be taken to protect vision and eye health, including:

  • Get regular eye exams
  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors
  • Learn of any family history of eye disease
  • Use cosmetics safely
  • Use contact lenses safely

OCuSOFT Inc., a privately-held eye and skin care company dedicated to innovation in eyelid hygiene and ocular health, is partnering once again with Prevent Blindness in support of April’s Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month.

“Today, obviously there are significant challenges in maintaining overall health,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We want to remind women of all ages that there are many ways to protect the gift of sight today so that it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

For more information on women’s eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases and eye protection, please visit here or call (800) 331-2020. Prevent Blindness offers a free listing of financial assistance services in English and Spanish here.

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ClearVision Optical Remains Committed to Caring for Customers During COVID-19

It remains available 24/7 online.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ClearVision Optical remains committed to helping the company’s national family of customers and partners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Customer Service team at CVO is operational and will continue to process orders and assist customers by phone (1-800-645-3733) or via email ([email protected]). ClearVision remains available 24/7 online at www.cvoptical.com or via the company’s newly launched Catalog App, which is downloadable from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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ClearVision’s team of national sales consultants is keeping in contact with customers, and will remain available to meet with customers via digital means. The company is currently utilizing Zoom to check in on all accounts and provide assistance to customers while they navigate this challenging time.

The company has also focused on delivering helpful and educational messages to their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including tips from CVO’s Master Optician, regarding best practices for cleaning eyewear, as many patients are electing to wear glasses rather than contacts during this time.

ClearVision is also engaging with internal employees, customers, and the eyecare community, by inviting all groups to participate in the nationwide #ChaseTheRainbow social movement. The inspirational movement invites participants to draw or paint rainbows, and then display their artwork in the windows of their home, so that members of their community can stay connected spotting other rainbows while walking around their neighborhood.

ClearVision created a printable graphic, with glasses forming the shape of a rainbow, which you can download, print and color here.

To stay updated with the latest COVID-19 news from ClearVision, please follow CVO on Facebook.

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