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Your Thoughts: How You’re Feeling 6 Months into 2020

BRAIN SQUAD: Our survey panel of ECPs share their thoughts on their fellow man, attending industry events in 2020, and the things that have brought them joy.

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DO YOU OR DON’T YOU?

Do you think due the global health environment you would attend a large-scale industry event in 2020?

Yes: 34%

  • Just make sure CDC guidelines are in place. — Sherry Morgan, Logan Eye Care, Lake Mary, FL
  • If there is no resurgence of COVID in the fall, I would like to attend Vision Expo West. — Sonja Franklin, OD, Modern Eyes, Austin, TX
  • No conditions needed. — Miguel Rodriguez, Fava & Maria Eye Associates, Lebanon, PA

ONE QUICK QUESTION

The first half of 2020 has not been good for anyone it seems, and lately it has been a particularly dire news cycle. Has your outlook on your fellow man changed in light of the current environment?

I’ve always thought people are fundamentally good, that has not changed. — 72%


I never had much faith in my fellow humans. — 6%


I’ve always thought humanity was doomed and the current times are evidence of that. — 6%

  • Social distancing and masks. — Rob Goedken, Fuerste Optical, Dubuque, IA
  • Masks, give everyone a hand sanitizer, some spacing between chairs. — Erika Tydor, OD, Shoreline Eyecare, Shoreline, WA
  • I am comfortable with any conditions, except if there are no bathrooms or liquor. I think there are a lot of different viewpoints and I am willing to follow whatever rules whoever is in charge has in place. I am comfortable continuing my own very good hygiene and being able to recover from illness with my own immune system. Others may not have an immune system that allows recovery which is why I am open to whatever is best for others. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • I would go now if I could drive. I would go later in the year to one that required a flight if we aren’t in the midst of a “second wave.” — Sarah Jerome, OD, Look + See Eye Care, Minneapolis, MN
  • I think masks would make me comfortable. Probably no trying on frames, my favorite activity. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • Social distance regulations and also I hope things will open up even more. — Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
  • No conditions. I would rather have everything back to normal. Tired of it and I’m not afraid. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • Proper precautions and increased disinfection, it would also depend on where it is. — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • Return to sanity. — Alexander Saper, Great Glasses, Houston, TX
  • Honestly, I would attend with no restrictions. I understand that everyone is on different levels with this pandemic but I think it’s time to move forward. — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • I’m all for being with people again. Really hoping VEW doesn’t get cancelled. — Josh Bladh, Dr. Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • I’m good with normal. — Ivy Elaine Frederick, OD, New Castle, PA
  • Fall or later. — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • I would consider attending, depending on location with limited number of attendees. It would be important to have adequate space, outdoor events and plenty of hand sanitizers and hand washing stations. — Pam Housley, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
  • I would attend immediately, as I am confident I am doing what I can to protect and others; and I think event organizers would not open if they were not ready to do things right. — Pablo E. Mercado, Optima Eye Care, Alpharetta, GA
  • As long as basic sanitation is taken care of and things can be spaced out I would be fine to attend. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • With people wearing masks and cleaning areas we are meeting; but depends if the pandemic is contained. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • Appropriate precautions and an overall improvement in viral spread come later in the year. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. .Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • Proper social distancing and masks. — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • None. Live your life or don’t. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • I’m ready to go anywhere. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • Make sure people are safe and spread out. — Vittorio Mena, OD, Optical Academy, Little Ferry, NJ
  • I would expect all facilities to be well cleaned multiple times throughout the event. — Selena Jachens, Urban Eyecare & Eyewear, West Des Moines, IA
  • No conditions. I want to go. Alcohol kills the virus, right?!? — Jade Kowalick, Ryczek Eye, St Petersburg , FL

No: 66%

  • Not until I am confident that the global health info I’m hearing is convincing enough that I can make a more informed decision. — Billy Isgett, Eyecare of Florence, Florence, SC
  • A year after the COVID-19 is under control or eliminated. — Texas Smith, OD, Dr. Texas Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • No major travel or events until 2021 at least. Why chance it? There’s just too many unknowns regarding the future to make plans. — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown, NY
  • Next year. — Richard Frankel, OD, Atlantic Cape Eyecare, Wildwood, NJ
  • I’m not sure. Just taking my “this feels okay/comfortable” day by day. — Jessika Arena, The Eye Center, Asheville, NC
  • Maybe next spring. — Judy Scheuerell, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • Not yet. Given the weekly (or daily!) changes with COVID, from secondary spikes in cases to changes in what qualifies as risky behavior. I am confident that 2021 will be a better year, and will go to big industry events then. For 2020, in my eyes, it is better to be safe than sorry. — Maury Kessler, OD, Eyecare Plus Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Vision Expo East in March 2021. — Diana Canto-Sims, OD, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • I might attend, if there was one and they announced protection protocols/procedures etc. But honestly I don’t see any actually being held in light of the current situation. — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • I would be more comfortable attending one after we have a vaccine or a suitable treatment rather than getting hooked up to a ventilator for two to three weeks and dying. That said, I don’t think I am personally at risk, but others are, and I don’t think it’s worth it. We can get creative with a virtual Marathon-event. — Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care, Hackensack, NJ
  • Two years to see what happens to the “canaries in the coal mine.” — Michael Davis, OD, Opti-Care, Eldersburg, MD
  • None. — Chris Clark, Advanced Eye Care Optical Shoppe, Panama City, FL
  • I might feel more comfortable waiting until 2021 than any time this year. — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
  • I was planning to go to Expo West this year but don’t think I will. >I am sure many precautions will be taken, but I’m not sure it would be as fun as usual. — Elizabeth Knaus, A to Z Eye Care, Arcata, CA
  • No. I would wait for safety as well as finances of my business to be healthy. — Elle Tatum, Elle’s Island Spectacle, Bainbridge Island, WAMy answer has nothing to do with COVID but rather that there are way too many industry events. — Alissa Irons, OD, BLINK, Albuquerque, NM
  • Seems prudent to wait until 2021 to attend a big national meeting, although I really missed attending VEE this year. — Kenneth D, Boltz, OD, Dublin, OH
  • Whenever things look more predictable. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • After there’s a reliable vaccine for COVID-19. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • When the risk is minimal, that is when I will feel comfortable. — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • I would attend something if masks were not required. — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan KS
  • I think once a vaccination comes out, or our COVID numbers drop significantly, then perhaps. — Star Taylor, Richens Eye Center, St George, UT
  • I probably wasn’t planning on attending one anyway, but I am not ready to travel yet. — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • I can’t say when I would feel comfortable yet, but not for at least a couple of months, when we see more of a decrease in positive tests. — Joyce Paton, Village Eye Care, Raleigh, NC
  • Not until we have a viable vaccine for COVID-19. — Christian Robertson, Midwest Eye Care, Omaha, NE
  • Spring 2021. I feel like we will have an increase in COVID again in fall and winter and want to get past that. — Amber Fritsch, OD, Precision Eye Care, Mt. Juliet, TN
  • After a vaccine has been made. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA

 

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BUZZ SESSIONS

QUESTIOn: What has been your greatest source of comfort or joy during these trying times? We want to know any other person, place or thing that you’ve been able to count on to lift your spirits when things seemed bleak. —

  • I’ve done nothing but hang out with my husband, ride my motorcycle, and garden for the last three months. Having hobbies and a cool spouse has kept me fairly sane, it could have been a lot worse. — Sherry Berry, Eye Against Eye, Aston, PA
  • Listening to Smooth (contemporary) Jazz. Music for the soul! Check out my Spotify playlist: Smooth Jazz Vision. — Maury Kessler, OD, Eyecare Plus Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
  • I just finished EDUCATED by Tara Westover. It was great timing for this book as we could all use some motivation and positivity. Her life was always challenging her in insurmountable ways yet she always rose above. If she got where she is today then each person who reads it can certainly be inspired to fight the fight and get where you want in life. — Carissa Dunphy, Monroe Vision Clinic, Monroe, WA
  • Putting together jigsaw puzzles. — Vittorio Mena, OD, Optical Academy, Little Ferry, NJ
  • Music has always gotten me through the good and bad, so that has not changed. I have my Pandora on shuffle for an interesting mix of genres and we took everything (top/doors) off the Jeep to do some summer cruisin’. Enjoy the little things during these times. I also finished my 200 hour yoga teacher training, and while it was disappointing to move to an online format, it was a good time to be enrolled with more downtime! — Selena Jachens, Urban Eyecare & Eyewear, West Des Moines, IA
  • A lot of mediating and home schooling. — Diana Canto-Sims, OD, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • Reading BECOMING by Michelle Obama. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Recording a still untitled podcast and bee keeping. It’s the perfect social distancing hobby. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • Binge watching WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, CONSTANTINE, and FATHER TED, and drawing. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • A Facebook Group called Quarantine Karaoke has kept me quite entertained! — Jade Kowalick, Ryczek Eye , St Petersburg , FL
  • LORD OF THE RINGS and my baby son. — Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
  • YouTube and online professional forums. — Michael Davis, OD, Opti-Care, Eldersburg, MD
  • Reading 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen Covey. — Sandip Chander, Primary Eye Care Associates, Burr Ridge, IL
  • Family, work and home. — Chris Clark, Advanced Eye Care Optical Shoppe, Panama City, FL
  • Spending time at home in isolation with my family and watching reruns of FRIENDS can always make me forget the bad in the world. — Karen Pailthorpe, University Optometrists, Kingston, RI
  • For whatever reason, I started making French Onion Soup, pretty much continuously. All the chopping and glazing is very therapeutic for me. Then there’s all that great cheese … and eating it! I’d never made it before but found a fun and funny chef on YouTube that I now follow, “The French Guy. ” I’ve been watching GOOD WITCH on Netflix. It’s been fun, pretty, no stress entertainment. I mean, if they’re just a bunch of witches, what could go wrong? — Elle Tatum, Elle’s Island Spectacle, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • My grandkids always lift my spirits. So sweet and innocent. They help you remember the “good” in this world. — Denise Robertson, Washington State University Vision Clinic, Pullman, WA
  • Added to my Native American Indian pottery collection. Went for drives in the mountains and deserts to look at the beauty the Lord has given us and to get away from all the negative and hate. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • Mindfulness practice. Spending more time with the family has been a definite bonus. — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • Besides closing my business for 33 business days, my Audible app and daily four mile walks, kept me in shape and from going crazy. — Alissa Irons, OD, BLINK, Albuquerque, NM
  • I watched all the STAR WARS movies (even the three crappy ones), listened to a bunch of audio books (Stephen King and Barbara Kingsolver), watched the TIGER KING (although I hate to admit it), exercised a lot, did a piece from an adult (not porn) coloring book (which took FOREVER) and, last but not least, drove my wife crazy. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • My faith in God, the only one who can provide the peace and hope that we so desperately need. — Kenneth D. Boltz, OD, Dublin, OH
  • My greatest source of comfort is the personal interaction I am continuing to get with my customers. They all have a story. — Todd Lapointe, VIP EYES, Portland, ME
  • My super-positive and very friendly orange cat! Two days ago he walked me to work in the morning, and then returned at 4:30pm to escort me home. Our last departing patients were very confused to find him complaining, “it’s time to leave!” at the front door as they tried to exit. I wouldn’t say it was “uplifting” but watching Ken Burns’ THE VIETNAM WAR during our stay-at-home orders did feel helpful. The chaos of 2020 almost feels like a repeat of 1968. The whole series was a good reminder that civilization has always had hiccups. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • Reading, bird watching in my backyard, talking to my bestie and keeping in touch with my team. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • My family, lots of songs, have been reading SENSIBLE SHOES by Sharon Garlough Brown with my Faithbuilders group and meeting with them once a week via Zoom. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • Sherwin Williams has been a constant companion. I’ve painted many rooms bright and cheery at home. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • I’m actually surprised with myself how I spent my time off or partially off from my business. It was great to wake up anytime in the morning, then sit on my patio and read magazines, be with my family and it really was a nice time to be with yourself. I did read WOMAN’S DAY magazine on angels it was very inspiring. It helped me to just go with the flow of life. — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • I worked on my office and my home to improve the things I never had time for. >I now have a tan from reading journals outdoors and I caught up on my Maintenance of Certification (MOC) with the American Board of Optometry. I took Transcript Quality (TQ) tests for the Florida board and I did not gain any weight! — Robert M Easton Jr, OD, Oakland Park, FL
  • BROOKLYN 99 on TV, 80s’/90s’ RomComs and The Rock on social media. — Sherry Morgan, Logan Eye Care, Lake Mary, FL
  • My cocker spaniel. — Alexander Saper, Great Glasses, Houston, TX
  • Podcast, learning something new or hearing stories from around the world. — Christian Robertson, Midwest Eye Care, Omaha, NE
  • Walking! Talking with God. — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • My wife and I really connected with neighbors, which were normally on “drive by hi” basis. — Will Taylor, Eye 2 Eye Contact, Northville, MI
  • Gary Vee has always been a source of inspiration for me as far as content goes, but recently (over the past year or so) he’s pushed happiness and empathy for our fellow human beings. — Josh Bladh, Dr Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • We have a group of six that has gathered at our house every Friday during the Stay at Home Order. We make lunch, often with a theme; we’ve done Hawaiian, Italian, Mexican, etc. We usually have something on the grill or smoker and of course cocktails, wine and beer! It gives us something to look forward to and a break from the monotony of staying home. Plus, we’re all safe and free of the virus. — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the RUSH OF WINGS series by Kristen Heitzmann. The characters are so well developed that I have found my “Mr. Dreamy. ” This would make an awesome movie but I can’t think of any actor worthy of the role. — Pam Housley, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
  • I got married on March 21, right as we both were laid off. We had a seven week “honeymoon” and through the craziness of downsizing, moving, wondering if I’d be able to go back to work, selling my house and getting rid of the contents in it while trying not to contract COVID-19. I had a few break downs. My husband was my rock and was there to talk me off the ledge more than once! He is my “spirit lifter!” — Kim Hilgers, Monson Eyecare Center, Owatonna, MN
  • Live streams of my fave musicians, The National Reserve, St. Paul & the Broken Bones and thank the heavens for Leslie Jordan’s Instagram! — Brandy Walker, LeStanne Professional Opticians, Atlanta, GA
  • Bathing Trolls figurines, reading kids’ books, and scooter-riding with my daughter. — Andrew Romeril, OD, Torrey Highlands Optometry, San Diego, CA
  • Spending times with my family, and reading about historical figures and events. — Pablo E. Mercado, Optima Eye Care, Alpharetta, GA
  • I’ve had significantly more time to continue improving on making frames. After attending a workshop by Kevin Count with three others earlier this year I thought it would be 6-12 months before I was ready to sell frames in my own store but with the extra time to work on the craft. >I’ve already sold two bespoke frames since we’ve reopened! — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • Carl Barks. — Richard Frankel, OD, Atlantic Cape Eyecare, Wildwood, NJ
  • My wife (do I score any extra points for stating this?) Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • My dog. — Steve Geis, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • My Christian faith and my family. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • listening to Luke Combs cover other people’s music and do it damn well! Especially, FAST CAR. — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan KS
  • Reading the ALGEBRA OF HAPPINESS and BAD BLOOD about the Theranos debacle. I think Miss Elizabeth Holmes is going to do some hard time after her trial in July. Just sayin’. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • Music, positive and upbeat, and staying away from the news! — Star Taylor, Richens Eye Center, St. George, UT
  • Riding my motorcycle and woodworking. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • Prayer, my family and nature. — Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • I have an eight month old who is pretty great, and him laughing and being so unaffected by the world is so hopeful.  Also, Instagram Stories in general are my distraction! — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • Sewing to help cancer patients. — Joyce Paton, Village Eye Care, Raleigh, NC
  • I have been reading cozy mysteries. They are easy to read and interesting without any jarring content. — Angie Patteson, OD, Sunset Eye Care, Johnson City, TN
  • Actually being able to spend more time with my family, taking walks and playing games. — Harry Roth, eyeQ Opticians, Millburn, NJ
  • I’ve been binge watching ONE TREE HILL and SWEET MAGNOLIAS. I’ve also started reading Hilarie Burton Morgan’s new book, THE RURAL DIARIES: LOVE, LIVESTOCK, AND BIG LIFE LESSONS DOWN ON THE MISCHIEF FARM. — Deanna Phillips, Clemmons Family Eye Care, Clemmons, NC
  • Honestly finding some time to be quiet and recharge has been the best thing. Usually, I try to walk for about an hour each day and listen to books on tape. Sometimes they are fiction, sometimes they are business-related or personal development-related. I just need that time to escape for a bit. — Amber Fritsch, OD, Precision Eye Care, Mt. Juliet, TN
  • My cats are an endless source of joy, comfort and silliness. I also got a weighted blanket that really seems to help me slow down when I get too anxious. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • I’ve enjoyed spending so much time with my wife. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • Leslie Jordan on Instagram has been a pure joy. I’ve been “hunker downing” with him as he shares little fun bits of his life. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Private hobbies and repairs and helping construction of my friends. — Ken Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • Greatest joy has been a change of pace and time with family. Normally our two adult children are living away, but came home for the duration of the Stay-at-Home mandates. We have spent quality time enjoying each other while cooking/baking/BBQ, family game nights, enjoying the patio and pool. Also, time to check-in with extended family, friends and colleagues has been treasured. — Verbelee Nielsen-Swanson, Oxford Eyes, Orlando, FL
  • My cockapoo, Poppy and bernadoodle, Dizzy. One is a princess and the other is silly. They helped me not worry so much. — Allen D. Hoek, OD, Ripon, CA
  • My employees, Matt and Cassie, they have never stopped believing, creating, improvising, praying, planning, and showing up ready to help others! — Billy Isgett, Eyecare of Florence, Florence, SC
  • A pair of chickadee birds have made a nest in our yard. It’s been fun watching the baby chickadees grow from hatching to their fledging day. Learned a lot, and I made a video of their entire transition! — Erika Tydor, OD, Shoreline Eyecare, Shoreline WA
  • Catching up on digitizing film and pictures for animation. — Kenneth Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • I always look to GREY’S ANATOMY, THE OFFICE, THAT ‘70s SHOW and FRIENDS because they have good messages and I think that humor can get people through a lot of situations that they choose to see in a negative light. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • My husband and I threw our HOA rules to the wind and put an above ground pool in our backyard. Sunning, reading, hearing my daughter giggle, splash, and play with a reggae Spotify mix on, it’s pure joy. No masks, no plywood, no political rhetoric. In those moments, nothing else in the world is happening, it’s all joy. — Jessika Arena, The Eye Center, Asheville NC
  • Friday afternoon virtual Happy Hour with my siblings! — Judy Scheuerell, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • Learning new music on my ukulele (always makes me happy), going to my Zen place as I work on a Bob Ross-themed cross stitch. — Sarah Jerome, OD, Look + See Eye Care, Minneapolis MN
  • Being able to go for a quite walk. With the world moving a little slower nature’s beauty shines. — Nicole Leonard, Custom Eye Care, San Antonio TX
  • Gardening and minimizing. (Do I really need 72 work dresses?) And I got eight chicks, which are now really fun chickens. Such personalities they have! — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.Sara

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

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