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The Big survey

ECPs Share COVID-19’s Life Lessons

It’s been a tough year, but there have been many blessings to be found.




man wearing mask

ONE OF THE best parts of our annual Big Survey are the unexpected treasures it uncovers. When we asked more than 270 eyecare business owners and managers about how COVID-19 affected their businesses in 2020, we expected a fair about of laments, what came as a pleasant surprise was all the ways the challenges of the past several months revealed all the good that came a result of one of the most tumultuous years in recent history. Read on for a collection of their most significant lessons learned and the small blessings that were still to be found.

“One thing COVID-19 has taught me is that …”

  • Life is unpredictable and very precious.
  • We are not in control.
  • I’m a pretty good cook.
  • How important family and friends are to my personal wellbeing.
  • Medicine is not apolitical and like all things can fall victim to the political winds.
  • Most people do not understand the severity of healthcare issues.
  • Overall, people are resilient and social.
  • People are sheep.
  • The average person is stupid, and that no one cares about “science-minded” people until something like this happens.
  • We can adapt to just about anything!
  • People are weirder than I thought.
  • I can really set my own schedule and people comply
  • My business is just that—mine—and nobody else gives a damn if I succeed or fail.
  • You can be more efficient and profitable if you step back and take the time to analyze your processes, procedures, your numbers, what works and what doesn’t.
  • You should be financially prepared for anything—no matter how unlikely it seems.

“As awful as this past year has been, have there been any silver linings to COVID-19 for you? Can you name a positive in your business or personal life that has happened as a result of the pandemic?”

  • Working by appointment, having full control and not letting people run amok.
  • Due to lack of sales we had time to work on R&D and came up with a way to do single lens shields in prescription. I’ve been chipping away at it for about 20 years and finally figured it out.
  • We have started to sell Plano Blue Light inhibiting glasses to many, many people, and Fog Stopper is an amazing product.
  • We thought seeing more patients meant more revenue. We created a new strategy in our optical department, schedule styling sessions and now create more revenue per patient seeing less people.
  • Not seeing frame reps as often forced us to use current inventory more and sell what’s in the store.
  • It has propelled me to consider retiring.
  • I’m spending one hour per patient, which enables me to educate them, reassure them, and answer further questions they may have.
  • My little optical team has solidified together more so than ever. We have each other’s back completely.
  • Patients have been anxious to talk and share giving us more personal information, possibly due to a lack of socializing very much. People want to be listened to and know someone cares about them.
  • Personally, my stress levels are much lower this year than last year, thanks to the long break in the spring (during shut down), our business’s easy bounce-back, and all the extra time I’ve had this year to tackle systems and processes. I keep feeling guilty that 2020 has been a great year for my own stress levels when so many in the country have been hit so hard.
  • I realized I like working less … so I am.
  • Large family chat group bound us together — until recent political differences started causing some strife.
  • My cat loves all the one-on-one attention.
  • I get to spend more time than normal with the greatest dog of all time.
  • Not having to wear make-up.
  • We have had the best summer ever. Backyard firepit, outdoor pizza kitchen and an enormous garden. I am thrilled to have the extra downtime after working six days a week for the last eight years so I don’t begrudge the loss of income. We’ll bounce back eventually.
  • I have revisited art and music and discovered I could be a pretty darned good ukulele player (Move over Jack Johnson!) and instrument builder…
  • Spent more time with my wife and really learned how much I love her and like to spend time with her.
  • I have learned to give myself more self-love with meditation, exercise and treating myself to things I like and want.

For the full story, and even more on how ECPs fared during a weird, weird year, visit

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at


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