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Eyewear Retailers Lose Over $26B Due to Poor-Fitting Frames, Study Finds

Fuel3D released new study results.

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A new report by Fuel3D, a provider of 3D capture and measurement solutions, reveals that poor-fitting eyewear costs ECPs and eyewear retailers more than $26 billion a year.

Fuel3D’s study, which looks at the importance of fit on buyer experience in the UK and US, shows that more than one in four adults (28%) struggle to find eyewear that fits and as a result more than half (55%) end up leaving eyewear stores empty-handed. In addition, the study suggests that nearly half of eyewear purchases are returned or have to be adjusted due to poor fit, resulting in further financial loss.

Fuel3D’s “Delivering a Fitted Experience in Eyewear” report is based on an independent online survey of 4,536 adults in the UK and US who wear glasses or eyewear. It’s the largest study of its kind to look at the relationship between fit and buyer experience through the lens of the consumer, according to Fuel3D.

George Thaw, CEO of Fuel3D, said: “Buying eyewear should be easy and fun yet people struggle to find the right fit and don’t enjoy the experience. The eyewear industry is treating every face as the same size and shape, resulting in ill-fitting eyewear which is costing retailers, opticians and brands lost customers and sales. It’s time for a more personalised approach.”

Despite eyewear’s increasing prominence in fashion, when buying glasses or sunglasses, fit is the most important factor. Forty-four percent of respondents said they prioritize fit, while 33% prioritize price and 23% prioritize style.

Fit impacts brand choice and how people shop. The study shows that more than a third (37%) of people always seek out the same styles or brand, yet 88% would happily try something different if they could find the right fit. Two-thirds of people would purchase eyewear more often if they were shown designs that actually fit their face, and 78% would buy their eyewear online instead if they could be guaranteed the perfect fit.

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Customers are faced with a bewildering choice of frames, both online and in-store, making it hard to find the perfect fit and style, Fuel3D noted. As a result, one in three adults (33%) don’t like visiting the optician or shopping for eyewear and one in five (20%) don’t like having to try on different frames, highlighting the need to improve the customer experience.

Fuel3D has developed FitsYou, a 3D capture and fitting platform that uses AR and AI to help ECPs and retailers  provide a personalized service through best-fit recommendations and fully customized eyewear, in-store and online.

Reflecting today’s “selfie-culture” the study shows that 77% of people are comfortable with the concept of a personal 3D facial scan to deliver a more accurate and better fitting experience.

Karl Turley, chief marketing officer of Fuel3D, said: “People are crying out for a better fit and a better buying experience. FitsYou delivers perfectly measured 3D fitting, personalises the selection of glasses, guarantees the perfect fit, encourages customer loyalty and gives opticians and retailers a compelling competitive advantage in a retail landscape where the new size is custom.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Vision Biotech Firm Changes Name

The company focuses on gene therapy.

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Ophthotech Corp., a biotech company focused on diseases of the eye, announced that it is changing its name to IVERIC bio Inc.

The change is part of a “transition strategy to focus on discovering and developing novel gene therapy solutions to treat orphan inherited retinal diseases with unmet medical needs,” the company said in a press release.

The firm will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the new ticker symbol “ISEE.” Its new corporate website at www.ivericbio.com.

“We are excited about our re-branding and corporate name change reflecting our transition to a gene therapy focused company developing treatments for patients with orphan inherited retinal diseases,” stated Glenn P. Sblendorio, CEO and president of IVERIC bio. “We are executing a strategy that leverages our retinal expertise and provides a clear path forward with multiple orphan IRD gene therapy programs.

“We believe this is an important time for the Company as we advance our diversified pipeline of scientifically compelling gene therapy programs and explore new gene therapy opportunities for the treatment of orphan IRDs and generate value for our shareholders.”

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Dr. Kourous A. Rezaei, chief medical officer of IVERIC bio,  said: “We believe that gene therapy is the ideal solution to treat patients with orphan inherited retinal diseases for which there are no treatment options available.

“Our goal is to partner with physicians to address this significant unmet medical need, prevent vision loss and transform the lives of our patients. We look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Our clinical therapeutic programs continue to remain on track, with clinical data expected by the end of 2019 and 2020 for these programs. If data are positive for these programs, we may seek partnership opportunities for future clincal development.”

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Eyewear Company Settles with VSP, Gets Reinstated in Network

VSP removed Aspex from its provider list in 2010.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Global and Aspex Eyewear Inc. announced that Aspex has agreed to pay a financial settlement to VSP Global.

Aspex Eyewear will be reinstated as an in-network frame provider under VSP’s vision care insurance policies.

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Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The settlement arises from several lawsuits filed by Aspex Eyewear against VSP and Marchon Eyewear, according to a joint statement from VSP and Aspex.

“While court rulings over several years have resulted in favorable decisions for VSP Global, we are nevertheless pleased with this agreement and the opportunity for our respective organizations to move forward,” said Thomas A. Fessler, chief legal counsel and general counsel of VSP Global.

Thierry Ifergan, executive vice president of Aspex Eyewear, said: “Aspex is happy to be reinstated as an in-network frame provider. We are excited to offer Aspex’s top fashion and innovative technologies to VSP’s members through their extensive network of eye care professionals.”

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The Sacramento Business Journal has reported that VSP decided “to remove Aspex from its in-network provider list in 2010 after the Canadian eyewear company sued two VSP subsidiaries for patent infringement.”

Aspex then filed suit alleging “breach of contract, antitrust violations and unfair business practices” by VSP in connection with that decision, according to the Business Journal.

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Optometry College Inaugurates President

He is the 13th person to serve in the role.

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New England College of Optometry has inaugurated Dr. Howard B. Purcell as its president.

Purcell is the 13th president in the college’s 125 year history, according to a press release from the institution. He is a graduate of the program, continuing the legacy of his father, Saul Purcell, who graduated in 1954.

New England College of Optometry inaugurated Dr. Howard B. Purcell as its 13th president. Source: New England College of Optometry

The ceremony took place at the Edward Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston in a recreation of the U.S. Senate chamber. It was attended by over 200 people, including the president’s family, friends and former and current colleagues, student leaders, industry leaders and community representatives. Distinguished delegates included representatives from four optometry schools – Dr. Kevin Alexander (Marshall B. Ketchum University), Dr. Morris Berman (MCPHS), Dr. Mark Colip (Illinois College of Optometry) and Dr. David Heath (State University of New York College of Optometry).

Pano Yeracaris, MD, chairman of the board, said Purcell’s “enthusiasm, energy and commitment is matched by his vision and effectiveness as a leader.”

Cynthia P. Macdonald, great granddaughter of NECO founder August Klein, noted all the hats that Purcell must now wear.

“I know that each one of those hats will be woven from threads of knowledge and competence, care and compassion, diversity and inclusivity, respect and integrity,” Macdonald said. “These are the shining threads that together create the tapestry of the many generations of NECO family. The Klein Family Legacy is now entrusted to your care, Dr. Purcell, and I have no doubt it will be well tended.”

Purcell stepped into the role on July 1, 2018. Over the past nine months, he “has become indelibly connected to the NECO community,” according to the release.

Student Council President Monica Luo, class of 2020, described his immediate immersion into NECO.

“For an institution that feels so strongly about the creation and nurturing of meaningful bonds and relationships, President Purcell is the perfect fit,” Luo said. “In just his first few months, he made every effort to be present everywhere and to speak to everyone. … For every individual, he is open to listening and providing support. He is always present and always receptive.”

Purcell outlined his strategic priorities for the college to help “prepare today’s optometrists for tomorrow’s optometry.” His vision includes diversifying revenue; nurturing diversity, equity and inclusion; expanding continuing education and specialized degree programs; collaborating with industry; and finding ways to “best support and prepare our students for whatever changes may arise,” according to the release.

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