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Acquisition of 700-Store Visionworks Chain Completed

Visionworks operates in nearly 40 states.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Global announced that it has completed the acquisition of San Antonio, TX-based Visionworks.

“With the close of this acquisition, we can provide more value to our clients and members and respond to their expectations for a substantial, consistent, and sustainable retail eye care experience, underscored by the professional care of VSP network doctors,” said Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “The addition of Visionworks marks a major milestone in VSP Global’s 65-year history, supporting our mission of helping people see and keeping us well-positioned to better compete and grow membership in a changing marketplace.”

Pete Bridgman, president of Visionworks, will report to Guyette effective immediately. Visionworks will continue to operate independently while VSP Global assesses business integration opportunities in the months ahead.

With more than 700 stores in nearly 40 states, the acquisition marks the largest network investment by VSP Global.

Plans for the acquisition were announced in June. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Dark Chocolate May Not Help Eyesight After All, Study Finds

The new findings conflict with earlier research.

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A new study conflicts with earlier research that suggested that flavanol-rich dark chocolate helps with vision.

In the new study, German researchers selected 22 healthy participants to consume either 20 grams of dark chocolate (400 milligrams of flavanols) or 7.5 grams of milk chocolate, the American Optometric Association reports.

They evaluated the participants’ visual function and retinal perfusion two hours later.

The researchers found “no differences in the effect of dark vs. milk chocolate on subjective visual acuity or contrast sensitivity, no change in retinal vessel density and no difference in arterial pressure as measured by OCT angiography,” according to AOA.

The findings counter those of a 2018 study that showed a small improvement in visual function following consumption of 72% cacao dark chocolate. (That study did note that the effect was probably of little clinical relevance.)

The new research consisted of a small double-blind, randomized clinical crossover trial. It was published online on Sept. 26 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The researchers say additional trials with larger sample sizes may help rule out or in possible long-term benefits of dark chocolate.

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Optical Retailer to Add 25 Stores, Expand Into 4 New States

It’s entering the Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming markets.

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DALLAS –Dallas-based optical retailer Eyemart Express announced that it plans to have 25 new locations operating by the end up 2019.

The company currently owns and operates 206 stores in 38 states, according to a press release. It’s expanding into four additional states: Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

“The drive behind our aggressive growth strategy is to make prescription eyewear accessible and convenient for more communities,” said Michael Bender, Eyemart Express CEO. “Seeing clearly should not be a burden or an excessive expense for any family. We work hard to make all our locations an affordable one-stop shop for all eyewear needs.”

Eyemart Express carries more than 2,000 frames for prescription glasses and sunglasses, ranging from exclusive private label brands to well-known brands such as Converse, Longchamp, Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban and Nike. Stores also feature onsite labs so 90 percent of glasses can be ordered and received on the same day.

“Eyemart Express’ growth helps entire communities as well. Job creation is an important factor in determining new store locations — we examine where Eyemart Express can make the biggest contribution to local economies with career opportunities,” said Bender.

More than 300 jobs will be created for hourly wage earners as a result of the optical retailer’s expansion.

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Warby Parker Rolls Out 5 Extended Sizes

They range from ‘extra narrow’ to ‘extra wide.’

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Eyewear  retailer Warby Parker is launching an “extended sizes” collection to help more consumers benefit from its products.

It features “five proportional sizes, ranging from ‘extra narrow’ to ‘extra wide’ and even including low bridge options,” the Observer reports.

Twenty-seven styles are available in seven best-selling frames.

To leverage augmented reality, the company utilized Apple’s ARKit and TrueDepth camera to create software that evaluates proper fit, according to the Observer.

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Warby Parker co-founder Dave Gilboa was quoted saying, “We started getting feedback from our customers saying, ‘I love these styles, but you don’t have anything that fits me’ or ‘you only offer one frame that fits me.’”

Chain Store Age reports that Warby Parker spent two years developing the new sizes.

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