Scientific research gathered by Florida State University with more than 100 scientists reveals that true expertise is mainly the product of years of intense practice and coaching, and that ordinary practice is not enough. To reach expert levels, you need to constantly push yourself beyond your abilities and comfort levels.

This report stated that what truly distinguished ordinary from extraordinary was that those who are experts continually analyzed what they did wrong, adjusted their techniques, and worked arduously to correct their errors.

Did You Learn Style in Optical School?

When it comes to style expertise, I can share that when I graduated as a Registered Optician in 1989 that no one taught me how to style eyewear. This skill was not part of the opticianry curriculum. I did learn how to select the best frames for a high myope and how to adjust the temples and nose pads, but nothing about fashion and style. I still cringe when I remember selling small frames to men with big heads because they required a high minus prescription. The frame looked ridiculous and was far from fashionable. At that time, I was only using my optical science skill set and not taking into consideration balance and proportion, let only anything that resembled style.

The longer I worked as an Optician, the more disillusioned I became with my career choice. I was bored selling the same frames every day and felt like I was not doing impactful work. I began to look at other careers as a way out of the optical industry.

Always passionate about fashion, I began to study Image Consulting and became fascinated with the profession. Image Consultants are experts in marketing and fashion. They style clients to improve their appearance and help them to achieve personal and business goals. I was intrigued with the process and willing to put in the time and study to learn more so I could make a move to a new profession.

Is Fashion Art or Science?

Fashion design is definitely art. It takes a creative person to design clothing that other people want to wear, but as I studied Image Consulting more, I learned that there is a science to dressing body types and personalities. Now I was hooked!

When I made the conscious decision to come back to optical it was only if I could learn to be an Expert Stylist and bring my love of image branding and fashion to my daily work. With the combination of image consulting training and solid optical experience, I now had the hands-on experience to create and develop the 5 Spec Style personalities.

Having this structure, allowed me the freedom to stop assuming anything about the people that I was fitting with eyewear and gave me a scientific approach to fashion and style that I was able to systematically implement and repeat with every client.

Spec Style Personality
The science of Spec Style personality is the combination of analyzing the body types, the clothing styles that complement the body types, hair styles, personal complexion and facial features.

Breaking down an individual’s personal style with science and practice allows us to be unbiased as we analyze and assess our
clients to better help them select eyewear. You are then not simply selling glasses; you are selling style expertise.

You can learn how to assess someone’s Spec Style just by looking at them. Seriously!

Top 5 Things to Assess Your Client’s Style and be the Expert Eyewear Stylist:

1. The design lines in their clothing: straight or curved?
2. The fabrics they are wearing: textured or smooth?
3. The colours in their Wardrobe: deep, light, bright, muted?
4. Hair Style: straight or curly?
5. Facial features: curved or angled?

Once you have assessed these personal details, select eyewear that mirrors or mimics the same. For example, if your client is wearing a tweed jacket that appears textured, select eyewear that has texture in design or material. If they have smooth, sleek straight hair, select eyewear in shiny plastic or metal with straight edges.

Moving away from what you intuitively default to in conversation is not easy, but it is necessary to learn new techniques. With
intentional and deliberate practice, you will confidently be able to refer to what you are specifically seeing with each individual
instead of falling into the trap of repeating the same vocabulary. Your clients will have confidence in your expertise, and they will buy from you.

1 Harvard Business Review, July- August 2007, The Making of An Expert


Wendy Buchanan, Eyewear Image Expert is a Registered Optician, Image Consultant and Educator.  She is the creative force behind the Be Spectacular Eyewear Styling System® for Eye Care Professionals.  Wendy helps eye care practices to systematically reinvent their eyewear dispensaries to create an exceptional buying experience and increase profits.

Connect with Wendy on Instagram


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Train Your Team to Sell by Applying the Art of Styling

The Psychology of Fashion
Fashion psychology is commonly defined as the study of the impact of clothing choices on the way in which we perceive and judge others. Clothing does not always define a person, but it can be an expression of one’s personal style and be a strong indication of how they would like to be perceived.

Clothing style also provides you with an abundance of visual clues that help lead the initial sales conversation with your patients and build your credibility as the expert stylist.

As you work to discover your patient’s style, assess their current style. How would you describe what you see in their current style?

  • Formal
  • Casual
  • Edgy
  • Professional
  • Flirty
  • Unique
  • Young
  • Mature
  • Powerful

Then ask how they would like to feel in their new eyewear? Once you identify the feelings your patients/clients want, the easier it will be to curate a collection of styles that are exciting for them.

It’s More Than Trends
Eyewear is an expressive fashion accessory that is part of your patient’s identity, and the art of styling eyewear is more than just knowing the trends. I discourage selling by trends and prefer to explain how styling can be achieved through the assessment of one’s personality traits and finding frames in shapes, materials and colours that best complement that style.

There are many psychological factors that will motivate your clients to be fashionable. It could include the desire to conform, the desire to express personal creativity or a desire for uniqueness. Fashion eyewear is one of the most powerful accessories that can create one’s identity to achieve a desired self-image. Clients will move towards what they desire more than what they need.

The Economics of Fashion Eyewear
Over the last two years, Canadians have shifted their spending and are buying more eyeglasses. At the end of 2021, it was estimated that Canadians spent over $3 billion on eyewear and the market is expected to show a growth of 7.3% this year.

The online eyewear industry is constantly finding more ways to instill confidence in the consumers by providing do-it-yourself
guides on “how-to” choose eyewear.

If your frame inventory is readily available at the shop down the street or online, the desire for that product decreases when they are in your optical gallery.

Alternatively, when you stock interesting and diverse frames, you differentiate your business and essentially neutralize a big chunk of your competition. The motivation to buy from you is now more attractive and perhaps urgent as you are changing the impression of style by presenting multi pairs that all give them a different vibe. The combination of unique eyewear presented by trained style experts is a winning combination for your business.

Originality Always Wins
When I started my mobile eyewear boutique in 1997, I had no brick and mortar, lots of time and no money to advertise. I attended networking events, became a guest speaker for groups and when I attracted a new client, I created the most unique eyewear buying experience I possibly could. Twenty-five years later, even with access to so many free social media platforms, word of mouth marketing is still my best form of advertising.

My Tips to Maximize your Magnetic Referral Potential:
• Provide value with an eyewear styling session and expert advice.
• Provoke emotion and find out how your client wants to feel in their new eyewear.
• Be passionate and objective about the products you sell to your clients even though your style may not be their style.
• Project your personal image in your favourite clothing style and accessorize with eyewear for instant credibility.
• Curate a boutique collection of eyewear that is distinct to inspire your patients to stay and want to buy more than one pair.

Your passion for fashion will be magnetic when you give it your unique twist and consciously and consistently implement a styling sales strategy in your optical gallery. The more you repeat your process, the better you will be.

It will be the extraordinary experience you create that will trigger a conversation. It is the unexpected or unusual that will motivate customers to share the word about your optical gallery and your team.


Wendy Buchanan, Eyewear Image Expert is a Registered Optician, Image Consultant and Educator.  She is the creative force behind the Be Spectacular Eyewear Styling System® for Eye Care Professionals.  Wendy helps eye care practices to systematically reinvent their eyewear dispensaries to create an exceptional buying experience and increase profits.

Connect with Wendy on Instagram


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Increase Capture Rate with an Intentional Frame Board
You spend time attracting patients, providing the best eye care, building relationships but without an attractive eyewear selection, your patients walk down the street and spend their money.

Your patients are checking out your eyewear collections as soon as they arrive for their eye exam and deciding if they like anything they see, and if they like what they see, they will stay and buy. If not – goodbye!

If your frame board all looks the same and if it looks the same as it did the last time they were in your office, chances are at least 50% of people are going to walk out with prescription in hand.

Shopping Journey
You can be intentional and guide the shopping journey for your patients. You have the advantage that many patients come to you for their eye exam with the intention of purchasing their eyewear. If at first glance they don’t see a frame that pops off your board that they simply must try on, they are already consciously forming their “no buy escape plan”.

They may have even formulated an “escape plan” before their appointment.

Creating uniqueness in your frame board with innovative and diverse collections that are visually exciting will encourage a greater percentage of your patients to purchase from you.

Do They Want to Buy?
This question is powerful. Are you trying to “sell” the same eyewear styles to all your patients or is your eyewear collection diverse enough to inspire most people to want to buy?

Often the frame board reflects the optometrist’s style or the optical manager’s personal style depending on who is doing the buying. Buyers like to buy (and sell) what they like. But, is this the best approach?

If all your patients like the same eyewear style that you or your frame buyer likes, then this strategy will work. The problem with this approach is that at least half of your patients are immediately eliminated as potential buyers. Ouch!

Discovering your patient’s Eyewear Style can be achieved with a client-focused discussion, specific questions, and the power of observation. This leads to an engaging and interesting conversation that resonates. They feel like, “hey, you get me!” This is like emotional oxygen and people are motivated to buy. And guess what? They will be happy to spend their money.

Having a diverse frame board is the magic to increasing your revenue per patient and levels up your selection to create an exceptional buying experience for your patients.

Diversify Your Purchases!
In the average practice, 80% of frame sales come from 20% of the frame board. It is important to analyze your frame board sales at least every six months to note what is jumping off the board, what is creating excitement and what is passed over time and again.

Create uniqueness in your choice of eyewear and then display it beautifully. Presentation is a key component and helps your patients resonate emotionally with the product.

Avoid purchasing new product that looks similar to the frames you already have in your inventory and choose to invest in a line that is noticeably different. If most of your board is black and tortoiseshell, consider adding an eyewear collection that includes brightly coloured frames. If a large percentage of your frames are traditional shapes, add eyewear styles that are more fashion forward.

Profitable Shelf Appeal!
If you are thinking, “these styles will never sell”, my advice is GIVE IT A TRY. Style your team in flattering eyewear and they will do the marketing for you.

An intentional and intriguing frame board that is noticeably distinct will help you differentiate your office from any near competitors. You can design your identity and get known as the “go-to” optometry clinic in your area for those who want beautiful eyewear and an exceptional buying experience.

Your optical gallery can be the most profitable centre in your practice. Curating an attractive frame board that captures attention and has “shelf appeal” can boost your capture rate with patients who love to buy.


Wendy Buchanan, Eyewear Image Expert is a Registered Optician, Image Consultant and Educator.  She is the creative force behind the Be Spectacular Eyewear Styling System® for Eye Care Professionals.  Wendy helps eye care practices to systematically reinvent their eyewear dispensaries to create an exceptional buying experience and increase profits.

Connect with Wendy on Instagram


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Luxottica Group has moved forward to acquire the majority shares (90.9%) of Milan-based accessory supplier FEDON thus  taking another step forward in EssilorLuxottica’s vertical integration strategy.

While not considerably known or active in Canada, FEDON is a major player in the global eyewear cases and packaging market.

Sources indicate that the move, while not large in the total scope of EssilorLuxottica’s business, does secure their supply chain for eyewear accessories amidst growing luxury competitors, LVMH and KERING and overall consolidation in the frames sector.

The move also provides volume that can be leverages to scale-up for automation and cost reduction.

The company cites, “cutting-edge technologies and dedicated innovations (to) better fit the eyewear and spectacles with the cases and packaging to ensure maximum protection and integrity of the product.”

According to thier statement, EssilorLuxottica will also leverage the acquisition to pursue its sustainability strategy, investing in the recyclability and circularity of the packaging materials produced by the Company.

It is expected that the transaction will close by the end of June 2022.

Click HERE for the full press release.


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International eyewear shows like Vision Expo are flush with beautiful independent designer frames that whet the appetite of many Canadian eyewear fashionistas. However, not all ECP’s have the opportunity to attend major international buying shows and the reality is that a large number of distinctive eyewear collections remain inaccessible to Canadian ECP’s.

 Optik Magazine recently investigated the reasons behind this and identified 5 key reasons, that the Canadian market lags behind USA and Canada in accessibility to independent designer frames.

  1. International Suppliers Don’t “Get” Canada
    Many international suppliers don’t understand the geographic reality of Canada: huge distances and low population density. They make minimum quantity purchases unrealistically high. The high minimum order quantities are often required to offset the high absolute cost of shipments. Distribution costs within Canada are among the highest in the world due to Canada’s geographic reality. This burden gets pushed onto the ECP and, ultimately, the eyewear purchaser and provides a practical limitation to market penetration.
  2. Order Surprises and After-sales Service are Problems
    Correcting an order error, such as wrong colour or frame size, is problematic. Servicing a broken frame part can be a headache leaving angst and distrust for the consumer and the client. It can take several weeks to get parts from a foreign supplier or implement a make-good for an incorrect order. These problems put barriers in place for Canadian ECP’s and complicates the relationship with the foreign supplier.
  3. Expansion Through National Agents is Slow 
    Even when a foreign supplier gains a beachhead in the Canadian market through distribution in a few accounts, the costs to expand coverage across the country is high. Niche products may rely on sales agents that have limited resources and reach.  It means that a fantastic product, which might otherwise be a great fit for a differentiated dispensary is difficult to find and remains undiscovered.
  4. Frame Suppliers Want Direct Control 
    Some of the independent boutique collections place a high value on direct communications with the retailer. For some companies, the relationship that is forged between the eye care professional and a Canadian distributor or agent is simply not intense enough. The communication chain can be erratic and may be harmful to the image of the foreign supplier. Companies may prefer to work directly with ECP’s to better understand the market. Still, their approach is often to focus on high density markets such as the GTA and Montreal leaving much of the country outside of their focus area.
  5. Following the Money Can be Difficult 
    Vendors accustomed to working in their home environments, in either Europe or USA, find obstacles in dealing with foreign exchange and payment methods. These are real operational difficulties in servicing Canada from a foreign base. While these problems could be solved by working with one of the several Canadian distributors, doing so comes at the cost of losing control and lower margins.

Notwithstanding the barriers, Canadian ECP’s that persevere through the obstacles will be rewarded by the addition of outstanding distinctive eyewear collections that enhance the appeal of their gallery.  Independent frame suppliers that find their path to the Canadian market are rewarded with growth opportunities in a market that values distinctiveness and differentiation.

Read Optik Magazine article: “Frame Designers Faced with Complex Canadian Market”, in February-March 2020 issue.

VuePoint Staff


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In business, we talk about “revenue” centres in a business. These are distinct areas of the business that generate sales.  In a full scope primary care optometry clinic, we generally recognize eye exam services and eyeglasses sales as the two main revenue centres. From these two centres, we expect 50-60% of the revenue of the business will be generated by eyeglass sales and 30% by eye exam services. The remaining 10-20% of the revenue is generated by a mix of diagnostic testing, contact lens and miscellaneous product sales.

Given that, it follows that 50% of your focus on the business should be on managing the optical. As with any business, the first step in operating a successful optical is determining an intentional strategy. Are you the lowest cost provider? Are you offering unique products that can’t be found everywhere? It is imperative that you answer the question of how are you setting yourself apart from the competition.

Once you have determined what your strategy is, you need to clearly articulate it to your staff and to your patients. Just like consumers understand why they would patronage a second hand store versus a high end boutique, it should be just as clear to your patients what shopping experience they can expect in your optical.

With your strategy clearly defined, the next step is to make sure all of your processes and procedures in the optical support it. If you want to be the “go to” optical for unique product then you are planning to visit the Vision Expos to do the majority of your purchasing. If you want to offer good product at great prices, then you need to carefully evaluate your frame and lens costs to ensure you are getting the best discounts possible. If you want to offer convenience, you should set up direct insurance billing and shipping directly to the patient’s home.

Whatever your strategy, the frame inventory needs to be managed daily. Someone needs to be tracking what lines are doing well, if the optical is staying on budget, entering new product into inventory and paying attention to inventory control to prevent theft. This part of the business is bringing in 50% of the revenue – and to do that well and to stay ahead of the pack, it needs to be micro-managed.

Quarterly and annually, you should be evaluating the frame turn of your inventory as well. In general, each line should be turning 2-3x per year. If you have a high volume practice, you will have lots of data to make purchasing decisions with from your EMR. If you are following a boutique strategy and purchasing in bulk and then selling off, evaluating the turn will be a more manual process.

One last word of advice; be intentional with your frame strategy and resist the temptation to offer what everyone else is. The clearer your strategy, the clearer the value proposition is to the patient, the more successful your business will be.


is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at


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Despite the fact that most of your clients own numerous pairs of gloves and shoes, several hats or caps and many other accessories that serve to improve their comfort and enhance their appearance, getting them to buy a second pair of glasses is often a real challenge. And yet, glasses serve a dual function as a medical/well-being necessity and a fashion accessory. Both functions provide excellent starting points for selling multiple pairs of glasses.

Why do some wearers own more than one pair of prescription glasses? A survey of about 10,000 Americans conducted by Vision Council[1] has some answers. For 39.3% of respondents, it is important to have an extra pair of glasses as a back-up. 36.9% of people gave convenience as the reason: a different pair of glasses in different locations (home and office). The third reason given was functionality; 34.2% of multiple pair eyewear owners have different pairs for different activities. This reason was popular among men over the age of 45.  Finally, a handful of people stated fashion as their reason (to complement their wardrobe). A more recent survey conducted by VuePoint IDS also found that the “fashion accessory” aspect was one of the least popular arguments used by Canadian eye care professionals to encourage the sale of multiple pairs.

VuePoint research indicates, that Function trumps Fashion, when it comes to advocating a second pair sale.

Over the last few years, pollsters have not seen any major swings in the intentions of wearers. It is therefore up to eye care professionals and the industry as a whole to educate the client to associate visual comfort with wearing a different pair of glasses for different activities.

The Power of Advice

Of course, clients have access to information everywhere, namely on the Web. Are they well informed? Not necessarily, but they are willing to listen to advice. One of the main influences on consumers when choosing their glasses is the recommendation of their eye care professional. It is well known that advice provided in the examination room is golden. That’s the first key to success, according to a recent poll by VisionWatch,[2] followed by appearance and affordability.

Considering that only 20% of patients[3] own a second pair of glasses, the potential is enormous. Manufacturers are doubling their efforts to help you give the best advice, to increase sales and to encourage people to purchase multiple pairs of glasses.

In our December survey, 60% of our readers stated that they need more training to perfect the technique of selling multiple pairs. On top of reducing the cost of lenses, that’s what ZEISS proposes with its marketing material and training to encourage the sale of multiple pairs. At the same time, ZEISS has launched a DriveSafe ad campaign targeting consumers. The lenses are designed to provide the best vision while driving in all conditions. Compelling safety arguments are likely to positively influence clients and convince them to purchase a second pair of glasses.

Oakley has also launched its prescription sun lenses with Prizm technology to enhance vision for people who enjoy outdoor recreation activities. These lenses facilitate outdoor activities such as golf, baseball, hiking and cycling. Essilor recently introduced a line of lenses for connected people. The Eyezen lens won the Silmo d’or 2015 award and is designed for most patients who are worried about the effects of blue light from digital devices.

Room for Education

“Did you know that 25% of consumers are willing to invest in a second pair of glasses when they are told it’s the best visual solution? Informing the client about available products is educating them, advising them, and guiding them to make an immediate or future purchase. Various concrete actions can be implemented to create opportunities to recommend a second pair,” says Arnaud Reichenbach of Essilor’s client service department.

Reichenbach believes that you can spend a great deal of time and money developing new strategies to attract clients, but often the potential is already in your office. With the right tools, you can take advantage of that potential. Initiating the discussion in the examination room, keeping the message consistent, knowing your offer well, and identifying the advantages and benefits for consumers are all marketing elements that will help you sway them. Ask questions that give you an idea of your clients’ individual needs. The questionnaire will provide valuable information to help you make the sale. Using open-ended questions to identify needs and closed-ended questions to confirm them creates an opportunity to reinforce the validity of purchasing multiple pairs.

“Everyone can benefit from owning multiple pairs, each tailored to a specific visual need: Crizal® No-Glare lenses, Xperio® sun lenses, Essilor® Junior lenses, Transitions® lenses, Essilor® EyezenTM lenses, Varilux® DigitimeTM specialized lenses, protective eyewear for sports, lenses that filter blue light such as Crizal® PrevenciaTM, not to mention current promotional programs such as Perfect Pair or Multi-Pair PlusTM. Of course, you need to automatically tell consumers about these products,” concludes Arnaud Reichenbach.

Encourage Trying Different Lenses

Consumers may think that, due to the fact that they darken when exposed to sunlight, photochromic lenses are a substitute for sunglasses, reducing the possibility of selling multiple pairs of glasses. “This is not the case,” says Isabelle Tremblay-Dawson, marketing director at Transitions Optical. “According to our research, 33% of Canadians, independent of whether or not they wear Transitions lenses, buy a second pair of glasses. This shows that proposing Transitions lenses does not hinder the sale of a second pair of glasses and reinforces the main advantage of photochromic lenses as a first pair, which is to generate higher profits on the first pair of glasses, while leaving the door open to the sale of a second pair.”

But the Transitions study also shows that 38% of Canadians do not wear or stopped wearing (32%) Transitions lenses because they prefer sunglasses. This means that they were not informed of the differences between Transitions lenses and sunglasses.

There are numerous opportunities to promote the sale of a second pair of glasses during a patient’s visit. While discussing the patient’s visual needs, the optometrist can mention the advantages of Transitions lenses and talk about the additional benefits of polarized sunglasses for when the patient spends time in bright sun or in conditions where the sunlight is bouncing off surfaces such as water or snow.

“At the end of the consultation in the examination room, the optician should join the conversation. The optometrist can summarize the discussion with the patient about multiple pairs, thus opening the door for the optician to continue providing the patient with information about available products,” says Isabelle Tremblay-Dawson.

Incentives and Promotions

Stephanie Gingras, marketing and promotions specialist, points out that “when an eye care professional orders two Rx for the same patient with the same prescription, the ECP receives a 60% discount on the standard price listed for the second pair of lesser value. For independent offices, we offer a program that allows the ECP to easily offer a second pair.”

In addition, since April 2015, Hoya has developed an iPad app––HVC Viewer––which allows patients to experience the lenses before they wear them. In a few seconds, the patient can see the benefits of lenses and comes away with a highly motivating and personalized experience. This is a wonderful way to stay ahead of the game!

Lens design is another advantage when it comes to promoting multiple pairs. In particular, lenses designed with iD FreeForm Design Technology are progressive lenses supported by the Integrated Double Surface Design that provide a wider field of vision. Another example is the Array free-form progressive lens, which features variable length corridors for better adaptability and acuity, even when the wearer is in motion.

The Reading Corner

Most of the time, people in their forties start having a hard time reading restaurant menus or their smart phones.

Presbyopia affects 1.7 billion people worldwide today, and that number is expected to soar to 2.1 billion by 2020. A U.S. study showed that nearly half of young presbyopic patients avoid wearing reading glasses for fear of appearing old.[4]

These clients are therefore likely to be open to purchasing multiple pairs of glasses for reasons associated with appearance. Reading glasses aren’t what they used to be and manufacturers know how to design styles that are original and attractive. This is the case with Read Loop, a unique French company with a collection of about 60 extremely stylish and very colourful frames… Attractive to young (and not so young) presbyopic patients! ThinOptics recently introduced a line of ultra-lightweight, thin frames that can easily fit in your suit or jacket pocket, and its universal case can even be attached to the back of a smartphone.

Finally, a new study has confirmed that of the 77% of Canadians that require a prescription to see, 10% of them use reading glasses that they change every year or so. Over 3.4 million pairs were sold in the last year![5] This market, along with single vision sunglasses and protective eyewear, are key markets for starting a conversation about multiple pairs.

Some Keys for Multiple Pair Success: 

  • Understand the needs of each patient
  • Start the conversation about multiple pairs of glasses in the examination room
  • Sell the second pair before the first
  • Discuss eyewear designed for outdoor activities before indoor glasses
  • Talk about safety and visual advantages
  • Transfer information to the optician to ensure consistency in your message
  • Improve training in selling multiple frames for your sales team
  • Use available marketing tools to prominently display promotions
  • Identify frames that are part of a promotion to reduce the time it takes to select a second frame
  • Offer payment options, if any
  • Update the client’s file for the next visit. This will help you remember the last discussion you had, validate any changes in the client’s visual needs and adjust your recommendations accordingly.

Source: Inspired by our VuePointIDS survey, by Arnaud Reichenbach of Essilor and by the Review of Optometric Business (several articles by Mark Wright, O.D., FCOVD, and Carole Burns, O.D., FCOVD).






[5] Study published by VuePoint IDS together with VisionWatch and VisionWatch Canada.


Isabelle is a longtime observer and chronicler of the optical industry and the Editor-in-Chief of OPTIK Magazine and Tmag Optical Trends, VuePoint Publications.


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