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The Optical Industry and COVID-19

Jessie Strype, Optik Magazine contributor, discusses how the COVID pandemic affected businesses. Like many other professions, opticians were left wondering how to move forward.

After the initial blow of stores closing and jobs put on hold (or lost completely), came the days of interpreting what exactly “essential service” meant and how we were able to apply it to our industry. As the days and weeks progressed, live webinars and group forums offered insight as to how our colleagues were adjusting and innovating, it was still evident that the theme was confusion about what lay ahead, and discussions of practice that left many uncomfortable.

Such a large part of our core as licensed opticians is the battle against big online chains. We have strived to create the “experience” for our patients and educate on the advantages and benefits of buying eyewear in-store with a professional. We spend time cultivating lasting relationships with our patients. We love to share design features on a frame from a collection that we have painstakingly curated over time. A child-like happiness accompanies the feeling of a perfect dispense and our patients appreciate the extra time we spend with them.

We want ultimate control to ensure fit, measurements, and final adjustments. When COVID-19 appeared, many offices were left to dispense glasses without some of the characteristics that separate the figurative wheat from the chaff. Glasses were being left on front porches, sent in the mail, or handed through car windows with the promise of a proper fitting when “things return to normal.”

Not only did we see huge changes in our dispensing lives, but also with regards to communication and continuing education. Inside Optics was held virtually, with huge attendance. A generous amount of time was spent talking about the challenges of COVID-19 while navigating the trials and tribulations of technology.

Find out how some industry professionals feel about the shift to technology and PPE and safe practices.

The full article by Jessie Strype is available in the June-July Issue of Optik Magazine.

Click here to read the full article.

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