Moves with Eyes in the Title - Smart Vision Labs

"Eye" Love Movies!

“Eye” Love Movies!

Do you ever feel that there are eyes all around you? Are they watching you or are you watching them? If an eye blinks in the forest and no one is around, is that called an invisible blink? Does someone have to see your eyes so your eyes can see?

 

If you happen to be a Hollywood producer, these questions make perfect sense. And they may even be the idea behind yet another movie named after the eye. Did you know that many film titles have the word “eye” in them? Let’s take a look.

Kinds of Eyes

Movies have been made about all kinds of eyes.

starry_eyes_2014_film_poster

Starry Eyes is a horror film about a young woman suffering from trichotillomania, or hair pulling. She desperately wants to become a famous actress so she makes a deal with the devil. You probably don’t even need to have your eyes open to know how this turns out. In fact, you may want to shut your eyes if you don’t like gore.

snakeeyesposter-1

Snake Eyes is a thriller that didn’t have much luck at the box office even with Nicolas Cage in the starring role. The plot has some of the usual characteristics of this genre, like a murder conspiracy, a shady police detective, and a casino, but the action didn’t widen the eyes of moviegoers in shock.

 

 

angel_eyes_ver1

Angel Eyes literally soared above these movies with a better plot, memorable music score, and outstanding acting. It’s about a mysterious man who develops a relationship with a female police officer. Each of them has trauma from their past that they deal with together. Moviegoers definitely had a tear or two coming from their own eyes.

Location of Eyes

If you thought movies only dealt with eyes that are set in the head, then you are wrong. According to Hollywood, eyes can be in the sky or in the hills.

eye_in_the_sky_2015_film_poster Eye in the Sky is a thriller about drone warfare. Realistic enough to be scary, this film had people widening their eyes in fear.

The Hills Have Eyes is at the other end of reality. This is a horror movie about murderous mutants. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye open in case you see a pack of them coming at you.

Whose Eyes?

Movie titles have featured eyes by a stranger and a mother. And these films are eye-opening, as in shocking. You may want to hold off on eating popcorn.

91xea44p0kl-_sy445_ The Eyes of My MotherThe Eyes of My Mother is not for the faint of heart. It’s considered arthouse horror and is not a my-mother’s-eyes-love-me kind of movie.

Eyes of a Stranger is a slasher film that may make moviegoers hesitate about leaving their seats to go to the bathroom.

 

 

So What’s the Deal with Movies and Eyes?

If this was a mathematical equation, the answer would be movies plus eyes equals an audience. But there is more to it than that. Merely watching a movie doesn’t make it great; moviegoers have to use more than the physical aspects of their eyes.

Our eyes take in light through the pupils, which passes through the lens, and focuses on the retina. This travels as an electrical impulse to the brain through the optic nerve which forms the image in our brain.

All of that happens on a physical level when you watch a movie, but your eyes need to express something. Like fear or surprise or sadness with a tear trickling down your cheek.

So, if a movie has “eyes” in the title, it may give you an eye-opening, eye-shuddering, or eye-can’t-believe-it experience. Or you might just shut your eyes and wait for the lights to come back on in the theater.

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AR and VR for buying glasses - Smart Vision Labs

The Optician's Guide to AR and VR

Both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies offer promising ways to raise the bar of quality customer experience. Each of these has unique potential applications and limitations and it is up to creative companies to decide which kind of interaction to offer.

Understanding the differences in these technologies is essential to applying them effectively. AR brings a virtual item into the real world and VR inputs you into the virtual world. Each has pros and cons, yet both can be beneficial when the technology’s strength aligns with a company’s goals.

The benefit of AR is that nearly everyone has access to a smartphone – probably the most straightforward way to interact with this technology. The downside is that AR also requires some kind of proprietary app or device. This requires relying on the customer to bother seeking it out which has proven unlikely.

VR basically reverses the pros and cons of AR. A single VR headset can interact with many different applications, effectively creating a single portal. However, the customer has to first have that VR headset.

Although their benefits and limitations are virtually opposite one another, in reality, they are used for rather different purposes. Which one is better depends more on the company’s specific use rather than the technology itself.

They are alike in that both offer ways for more personalized, higher quality customer experience. Supplementing real-life experiences with virtual information blurs the line between shopping in a brick-and-mortar store or visiting their website. VR and AR also bridge the gap in shopping experience for a business that operates entirely online.

AR Technology

Augmented reality brings digital elements into the real world. It supplements reality with computer-generated graphics, sounds, data, or other elements. AR is primarily a real-life experience as the virtual item uses the technology as a portal to enter our world.

AR can be implemented in any device that has the required hardware, such as a smartphone, or in a stand-alone technology, like smart glasses. The versatility and accessibility of AR tech is perhaps its greatest benefit.

Smartphones and similar computing tech (such as tablets and video game consoles) are able to utilize AR through a camera and a positioning sensor, such as a GPS or accelerometer. This allows the device to register its position or scan a code to allow the digital data to overlay itself in the real world where the person can interact with it.

Smart glasses are another technology where AR might showcase its potential. Applications for augmented reality glasses aren’t limited at this point. There are companies creating glasses to interact with 3D models of items and others which seek to display biofeedback, such as heart rate, right from the lens. And although smart glasses do require an additional investment from the consumer, they are also far more practical for real-world use. Despite the many articles capitalizing on the sometimes silly appearance of smart glasses, even at this early stage, they are much smaller and even streamlined when compared with the options for virtual reality users.

AR and VR in optical stores - Smart Vision Labs (source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens)
Microsoft HoloLens (source: Microsoft)

VR Technology

AR brings the digital world to you but virtual reality puts you into a created digital space. Using a VR headset transports you into whatever virtual scenario you decided to enter.

VR uses a headset and software to project the illusion that you are somewhere other than your living room. Exactly how the different models operate vary but all use the same basic hardware and software interactions. You put on the hardware (the VR headset) which runs off of a technology platform such as PC, smartphone, or video game console. The image enters the headset through a HDMI cable (in the case of the PC or console platforms) or from connecting the smartphone directly to the headset. Interacting with the virtual world can be done through the device tracking your body movements, your voice, or buttons on a controller or the headset itself.

Virtual reality can create such a convincing illusion by the proximity of the screen to your eyes. When you think of VR headset, what comes to mind is likely an HMD, a head mounted display. Because the screen is attached to your head and the device tracks your position, moving about in the real world will alter the view you have in the virtual one. Look up in real life, you’ll be looking at the sky in the digital world.

AR and VR guide for optical stores - Smart Vision Labs
Video Games in Virtual Reality (source: FluidCastVR)

The Consumer Experience Buying Glasses

Previously, there was only one way to have that question answered: bring someone with you to the optical store. Now, with the technologies of virtual reality and augmented reality, consumers can get an honest answer without even trying on the glasses.

VR and AR provide a highly personalized buying experience. While retailers have long known the benefits of placing the product in the consumer’s hands, these applications take that one step farther. Trying on frames can become like a private screening with the consumer, the tech, and the frames. The walls that usually exist in any selling situation, namely, the brick and mortar store, the time factor, and the presence of employees and other people, dissolve with VR and AR.

The consumer has the power to see their purchase, not only up close and personal but within their own reality that is not contingent on anyone else’s. These applications have the potential to forever change the eyeglasses buying experience.

Not only does the consumer have the power to put their possible purchase in their own hands, they have the power to do this anywhere and anytime. Yes, they will know conclusively whether the glasses look good on them. But even more importantly, they will be able to easily view all options simply by scrolling through a menu.

In a very effective way, these applications put the consumer and the product together like never before. The entire idea behind VR and AR is to blur the physical lines of reality and invite people to enter a world that seems as real as the one they can touch.

This technology has put into practice the overriding principle of the entire buying experience. Consumers purchase what they like, what they want, and what they can afford. And where do they get the answers to these questions? In their minds.

VR and AR have not only accepted the idea that the mind is the arena for making decisions; these applications have made this real. In an amazingly profound way, consumers can get a clearer understanding of what they should buy when they step into the reality construct. The data to make a decision is still there, yet the consumer doesn’t have to go anywhere in real-time to get it.

By answering the question, “How do these glasses look on me?” VR and AR have opened up another dimension in which choices can be seen more clearly. The retail experience just got more real.

The Optician’s Advantage

Opticians are utilizing the applications of virtual reality and augmented reality in ways that expand from selling to setting up. Opening a store is a huge financial investment which encompasses a lot of overlapping details and decisions. Wouldn’t it be great to see the final result before making a commitment?

Grab a virtual reality headset and see for yourself. VR and AR are able to take future business owners for a tour of their store before the key even turns in the lock. These applications can literally set up the entire store, from everything to light fixtures to shelving, and then populate it with stock. This visual awareness allows for clearer concepts of the use of space, the flow of traffic, and the placing of strategic displays.

By having an almost-working model of the store, opticians can effectively plan and use the available space. With a flick through the menu, the store can be rearranged. Business owners have long recognized the power of atmosphere in the buying experience. The most successful stores have a balance of ease and excitement. The consumer needs to reach out and touch the product but also wants a strong motivation to make a purchase.

Personalized shopping is at the top of business owners’ lists since everyone wants to feel like their purchase is important. This isn’t just narcissism; it’s a fact of retail. Whenever there is an exchange of dollars for a product, the consumer wants reassurance that the deal was at least equal. But to make it even better, tilt the purchase in favor of the customer by offering something else like an added bonus. Another aspect of personalized shopping is a decrease in returns. Listening to the consumer and reacting to their objections in-store lowers the probability of their dissatisfaction at home.

Through the use of this technology, optical store owners can literally visualize the entire process from walking through the doors to getting the receipt from the cash register. VR and AR can let them plan the buying experience and try out options and ideas.

In some ways, this is almost reminiscent of those video games where a player can create a village or farm. All of the details can be worked out without the physical presence of time, money, or construction. Only after the owner is completely happy will the actual reality of the store be set up.

VR and AR take the guesswork out of starting an optical store by showing owners what things will really look like.

AR and VR for buying glasses - Smart Vision Labs
Source: Factor-Tech

Looking into the Future with AR and VR

Although these technologies appear to be from the future, they currently exist and are making an impact in the retail world. Both consumers and opticians are seeing the potential of these applications as well as the benefits. VR and AR glasses and headsets are waiting for creative minds to apply their unique way to interact with the virtual world to solve existing problems and start new trends.

By creating a highly personalized shopping experience everyone wins; the role of the consumer is elevated and the business models enjoy less financial risk. While some people may think AR and VR are like a game, there is some truth to that. A virtual or augmented shopping experience can be played out in a type of parallel universe, but the reality is always present. The strategies used and the principles put into action have an actual counterpoint in reality.

Consumers, innovators, and established businesses all stand to benefit from using forward-thinking technologies like AR and VR. The junction of tech and real life is blurring, whether the idea is creating new products, updating existing ones, or just making life more convenient. VR and AR allow companies and consumers to take creative risks.

AR and VR make reality even easier to deal with.

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Eye Proverbs

The Wisdom of the Eyes

Of course you’ve heard of wisdom teeth, but do you know about the wisdom in your eyes? Apparently philosophers in various cultures did because there are a lot of proverbs written about the eyes.

Let’s take a look and see what these wise sayings really mean.

“Onions, smoke, and women bring tears to your eyes.” – Danish Proverb

Certain things literally bring tears to our eyes, like onions. They are a great ingredient in many meals but, let’s be honest, cutting them is a nuisance. Our eyes burn, the tears fall, and you may wonder if it’s easier to just toss some onion powder in the food rather than torture your eyes.

There is a physical reason for the irritation onions cause. When they are sliced, onions produce a gaseous chemical known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. This wafts up in the air where it comes into contact with the moisture in your eyes. The ciliary nerve is triggered, you feel a burning sensation, and tears are produced.

Although knowing why you cry around onions is nice, it’s a better thing to know how to stop it. A couple tips are to refrigerate the onions prior to slicing them; this slows down the reaction rate of the chemical that is released. Another alternative is to run water over the onions since the syn-propanethial-S-oxide is water soluble and this will eliminate its presence.

“Eyes that see do not grow old.” – Nicaraguan Proverb

We all worry about growing old since it seems that certain body parts may not work as well with age. Usually around the age of 40, people notice that they cannot see clearly at close distances. This is a normal part of aging since the lenses in the eyes become less flexible. This makes it harder to focus on near objects. Other eye issues more common with age include glaucoma, cataracts, decreased peripheral vision, and trouble driving at night.

But there is an excellent way to keep your eyes as healthy as possible as you age. The answer is with regular vision exams. All of these eye conditions can be addressed; many times all you may need are prescription glasses. Getting old doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see well. It only means that your eyes need to be examined more frequently, especially if you are having any problems.

“Not all are asleep who have their eyes shut.”  Italian Proverb

No one should sleep with their eyes open unless they just watched a Stephen King movie. Your eyes need sleep just like your body does. Many people suffer from chronic eye fatigue which means your eyes may just feel tired all the time.

During sleep, the eyes are renewed through some basic ‘housekeeping’ processes. Old cells are sloughed off, making way for new cells. The tear ducts replenish themselves. All of these things add to the immunity of our eyes and keep them as healthy as possible. For optimal benefits, our eyes need at least seven hours of sleep to restore the nutrients they need.

Throughout time, across continents, and in every language, the eyes have been the subject of proverbs and much speculation. There has been an air of mystery associated with the eyes but also an air of certainty: the eyes need regular vision exams for optimal health.

That might not be a proverb but it sure makes sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Upstarts and Startups in Eyewear Fashion

Upstarts and Startups in Eyewear Fashion

The eyewear industry is getting a whole new look. It also features a new vocabulary with words and phrases like disruptors, trendsetters, revolutionary, and cult online brands. Established industry leaders are now shoulder to shoulder with indie designers, entrepreneurial manufacturers, and intrapreneurs.

What’s the takeaway? A whole new way to create, distribute, and buy eyewear that is cost-effective and convenient.

By dictionary definition, trendsetters lead the way in fashion or ideas. By industry definition, they are among the key players in the eyewear industry’s disruption.

Enter the Trendsetters

No matter where you look, the landscape of the eyewear industry is changing. Whether the term used is upstarts, disruptors, or innovative thinkers, the result is the same: this industry has moved from a two-player game (established manufacturers and distributors) to a multi-level playing field. Everyone, including a Kickstarter campaign and a global luxury brand seeking to rewire their business DNA, has a stake in the movement.

But the real winners are the consumers. Go figure.

Figure is the right word to use since numbers are at the foundation of this movement. The global eyewear market is poised for a huge burst with industry experts predicting it will reach $140 billion by 2020. In a pre-disruption time, this would have seen the industry expand with comfortable tweaks that would inevitably bring the dollars back to the side of the established players.

They saw that same prediction and realized the dollars can be distributed differently, toward creating unique designs, using new materials, and establishing an atmosphere of freedom. The ‘win-win’ scenario they developed set everyone in the industry free to bring the best eyewear to the most people. Consumers applaud this since they also receive a share of the profits through cost-effective buying options, convenience, and having their voices heard.

The trendsetters not only entered; they sat, listened, and acted.

Anyone who disrupts an industry has a plan that is bigger than the present model. Yet, the path to disruption can take several forms. Some upstarts establish startups to have a clean slate. Others may work within an established company to reinforce their position in a new and significant way.

Kering Eyewear is an example of the latter. At first glance, they look like a startup but they are backed by Kering Group, which includes brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. So what does it look like when a luxury goods giant finances the framework for an eyewear business?

No one will need glasses to see the benefits this union provides. Kering Eyewear is best described as a mixed-model. They have taken back control of design and product development, as well as marketing and distribution. They are no longer locked into agreements with certain manufacturers but can deal with a range of specialist makers.

This leads to a high level of consumer satisfaction by providing high quality at realistic prices. Kering Eyewear’s business model includes responding faster to market needs and making the most of new opportunities.

Kering Eyewear focuses on a future which brings much welcomed reforms to this industry. Using their financial backing to support their new mindset lets them take the challenge of change and turn it into a huge opportunity.

What’s the Takeaway?

The message of the eyewear industry’s disruption is that the time for change is now. But what’s most impressive about this movement is that it comes with convictions.

There are several factors in place that have never been together before. The first is the prediction (more like a fact-to-be) of the market growing exponentially. Yet, the consumer base that will fuel that growth is of a new breed.

Made up largely of millennials, these consumers bring more to the table than their credit cards. They bring a vision. No, that is not a pun for eyewear; millennials live for ideas and concepts and beliefs. They embrace life and art and need to connect to products in more than a physical way. Trendsetters are listening and responding.

There is no business as usual for the current consumers; they want to know how and why a product was made. They want to know the materials used, the venues of distribution, and all the available choices. They will either accept a company’s philosophy or reject it. The latter is not only a sale lost, it’s the voice of a customer who is socially connected and not afraid to share their thoughts on any company.

Industry disruptors have established ways to address core concerns. By remaining flexible and leveraging their autonomy, they are quicker to respond to market needs, can adapt to new opportunities, and keep promises to consumers.

Yet, this market demands more than a great product. The takeaway needs to connect to consumers in a significant way.

That’s exactly what Tom Steward and Michael Charley did. Their 2012 Kickstarter campaign for a line of quality, affordable sunglasses led to a $2 million-dollar business; Sunski. Their premise was simple and their strategy for implementing it was brilliant.

The duo recognized that quality sunglasses are either incredibly expensive, in which case people are afraid to actually wear them and risk breaking them, or else the glasses are so cheap they need to be replaced at warp speed.

They created sunglasses for real-life use, but the actual product is only half of the story. Every lens is polarized on Sunski sunglasses and comes with UVA/B/400 protection. The styles are unisex (a big selling feature!) and the polycarbonate frames have a lifetime warranty. If the frames break (doesn’t matter how) consumers can send them back for free repair or replacement. For the lenses, they offer a very cheap replacement kit. If we stop right there, everyone can agree that is an unusual way of doing business.

But Sunski is not only about sunglasses. They have a real interest in the environment. They had previously been donating 1 percent of their earnings to various environmental groups. But on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, they gave 100 percent of their online sales to One Percent for the Plant. This was to show solidarity with the outdoor industry and to inspire their supporters to stand up for the environment by taking action in their community.

Besides making a contribution to the world around them, they generated a customer base that applauded their actions and pledged loyalty to them.

The takeaway is never a give-away, rather, it’s something for the consumer to embrace and wear. And ‘wearing’ is not only putting on a pair of sunglasses. Today’s consumer connects to the companies they support because they decided that the company deserves their support.

Kreativity?

There can’t be trendsetters without creativity. These industry disruptors recognize the impact creativity brings to a movement. While a new business model is being established, the creative element softens the edges, adds color, and generates excitement.

And sometimes creativity starts with a K.

Krewe opened its French Quarter flagship store in New Orleans on the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In a perfectly balanced approach, the company mixes the old with the new. This melding of atmosphere, people, places, and ideas is at the heart of this eyewear leader. Their fans and loyal consumers are part of their ‘krewe’ (pronounced crew) which is a New Orleans term to signify the diverse group of people that celebrate together at the Carnival season each year.

krewe-tinyhouse5

How does this relate to eyewear? Founder, Stirling Barrett, is a New Orleans native and artist with a background in photography. He recognized how photography and eyewear deal with perspective and lenses and translated that into the creation of unique frames.

The frame that literally set this company in full view of the world is the St. Louis one. It was inspired by the wrought iron fences and balconies that define the architecture of New Orleans. The frame is made of acetate and metal which gives it a distinctive and unique vibe. It was Barrett’s idea to create a brand around this city’s style and he has since fashioned other frames around specific locations.

Beyoncé was the company’s first famous fan, and now the Krewe includes Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, and Kendall Jenner to name a few. A very active social media presence contributes to the buzz and connects consumers and celebrities alike. ‘Krewe’ has become more than a word for a diverse group coming together; it has come to represent the goal of celebrating individual style, regardless of location, affluence, or influence.

No matter how you spell creativity, when it’s used to its best advantage, it generates an unparalleled excitement that consumers notice every time.

screen-shot-2017-04-14-at-4-57-05-pm

Another Kickstarter Story

Is it time for another Kickstarter story? The very fact that Kickstarter is associated with eyewear industry disruptors is significant.

The entire purpose of Kickstarter is to bring creative projects to life. This global community offers direct support via their real-time funding platform. Legacy Eyewear wanted to offer handmade, polarized sunglasses made of wood. Kickstarter got the company in consumers’ minds and the glasses in their hands.

As with any trendsetting, it started as an idea. Pete Duncan’s father dealt with cabinetry and custom wood projects. Pete learned to appreciate the process of woodworking, and learned the variety of character in each type of wood. He was able to take a project from raw material to finished product but soon realized that there was an initial step he wanted to venture in. That step was designing.

Pete wanted a company that would handcraft wood eyewear that was affordable, beautiful and rugged. Legacy Eyewear came into existence in 2016. These sunglasses are made by a small team of expert craftsmen. Every pair is made with quality as the first requirement.

Polarized and shatterproof lenses are made with dual scratch resistant coatings and 100% UVA/UVB protection. Double-hinged frames offer flexibility as well as comfort. And these sunglasses even float!

Yet, the philosophy behind Legacy Eyewear is more than just great sunglasses. The wood represents what the company stands for. All of it is American-sourced while other eyewear companies procure the wood from China. Pete wanted to do more than just talk about bringing jobs back to America; he wanted to actually make it happen.

With each pair of glasses Legacy Eyewear makes, the company reinforces their beliefs that handcrafted, made-in-America, offers more benefits than mass-produced, made overseas. For this company and this business owner, the way to disrupt the industry is to live out your ideals. Give consumers the best product in the best way without sacrificing quality or integrity.

And guess what? This is exactly what the disruption is all about. Consumers want more than a product; they want a company they can trust.

Eyewear Landscape is Forever Changing

Trendsetters are changing the eyewear industry and that’s good news. While we speak of revolutionary ideas, innovations, and disruptions, changes are literally taking place before our eyes. Call them what you will but they are improving all aspects of this business.

People with ideas about how to create better eyeglasses are finding ways to make and market them. Consumers are looking for a new breed of eyewear business, ones that look beyond the profit line to what may be considered the ‘purpose line’, those larger issues that everyone on the planet has.

Buying and selling eyewear is more about connections than ever. Connecting to the consumer through quality products, American manufacturers, social media, and grassroots campaigns are several ways to do this.

Consumer confidence extends beyond the product to the persons who are the company. Eyewear has become more like “I care” and if the consumer doesn’t care, the products won’t sell. Yet, buying and selling aren’t the only results of this disruption. The main event is the understanding that when businesses listen to people, everyone (even everyone on the whole planet) can benefit.


Should you fire your eye doctor? - Smart Vision Labs

You Really Should Have Your Eyes Examined!

Did you ever see a unicorn? Or maybe pink elephants? How about a fireworks display in the middle of your living room?

If you said, “Yes” to any of these, you are not alone. People have reported seeing these things, but…well…they may not actually have been there. But that’s okay. There is a way to ‘see’ things a bit clearer. Hold on.You Should Have Your Eyes Examined

There Goes a Unicorn!

Unicorns are happy creatures even though they have that (seemingly annoying) horn right in the middle of their head. On the bright side, those horns were magical and were believed to counteract poison and purify water. There have been numerous unicorn sightings over the centuries and many cultures recognize this creature as being very real.

But if you have seen a unicorn lately, the best advice may be to have your eyes examined.

You may not have actually seen a unicorn; maybe it was a deer with only one antler? A vision exam may reveal that you have trouble focusing on distant objects. Like a deer.

This condition is called nearsightedness and happens when the light that enters the eye focuses in front of the retina instead of on its surface. This creates a blurry image for distant objects.

But there is a fix to this. Prescription glasses or contacts can bend the light to the right focal point and eliminate the blurriness. This may also stop you from seeing a deer with one antler and calling it a unicorn.

Aren’t Pink Elephants Pretty?

You Should Have Your Eyes Examined!This one is a bit tricky since elephants are not pink. Okay, a super rare albino elephant might be pinkish but it would also be super rare for you to see one. The best advice may be for you to have your eyes examined.

This vision problem is seeing the wrong color. This is a fairly common condition among men with about 1 in 12 being affected by it. For women, that number is lower. Only 1 in 200 has trouble discerning the correct color of an object. This is often an inherited trait, and there is no cure for it. Affected people learn ways to cope with decisions concerning color.

It’s caused when the photoreceptors in the retina (which are called rods and cones) do not respond properly to the wavelengths of light that enable people to distinguish color.

If you are color blind, it’s best to not mention the pink elephants. (But they are kind of cute, aren’t they?)

Fireworks in the Living Room?

Have you ever seen a display of flashing lights even though it wasn’t the 4th of July? This happens and is more common with age. But the best advice may be for you to have your eyes examined.

The eye is filled with clear gel called vitreous and it may pull away or rub against the retina. Since the retina is highly light-sensitive, this causes the light entering the eye to be improperly ‘seen.’ Flashes of light are the result and a vision exam is definitely in order.

Even though unicorns, pink elephants, and flashes of light may be interesting to see, it might be best to investigate them a little further.

You really should have your eyes examined!

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How to Attract Millennials to Your Optical Store - Smart Vision Labs

How to Attract Millennials to Your Optical Store

Millennials and Optical Retail

Millennials and Optical Retail - Smart Vision Labs
Source: http://whymillennialsmatter.com/

Millennials are more than a buzzword heard on the news. They’re the largest generation since their parents’ and the very first to grow up with digital devices. This combination means products must reach this group and that the old ways of doing so are less effective.

The generally-agreed upon definition for a millennial is a person who was part of the 18 to 34 age demographic in 2015. However, the media has attached their own traits to this group. Self-centered, technology-obsessed, or entitled are common complaints about millennials.

Because of the sheer size of this group, the eyecare industry needs to reach them. However, these negative connotations have resulted in millennials distancing themselves from the term. Despite how true it may be, eyewear created for millennials cannot use that word in their advertising strategy because it seems disconnected and condescending. Several surveys concluded that only around one third of millennials identify with the term. What is the best method to appeal to this group then?

By reaching out and responding to their ideals in a positive way.

This group assigns high priority to expressing individuality. They are the most likely generation to investigate and factor in the ethics of a company. And never experiencing life without a computer nearby means eyecare marketing needs to adapt to the ways millennials communicate, network, and share information online.

To reach out to this group, a company needs to be aware of these issues. In the pre-Internet era, a company’s ethics were a non-factor, unless they did something notable enough to reach the traditional media outlets. Today, stories about any action a company takes, good or bad, can be shared around the world with a tap a smartphone screen. A millennial’s decision to support or boycott a product can be decided in a split second as they read through posts and shared stories on their social media account.

Their individualism also results in support of indie brands. They purchase a unique product as well as the satisfaction of supporting a business which might be operated by only a single person. A millennial’s questioning of the status quo means they are more likely to seek out and support one-of-a-kind, socially conscious and environmentally-friendly businesses or startups.

But what do they look for when shopping for eyewear?

What Do Millennials Want in Eyewear?

What Do Millennials Want in Eyewear? - Smart Vision Labs

Millennials want choice and change, which is exactly what the eyecare industry disruptors are bringing. Transparency in the eyecare business no longer refers to just the see-through quality of lenses; this is a movement to invite the consumer to have more power and a voice that is heard.

Millennials want to be included in the buying experience. The millennial market is expected to grow within the next five years and industry experts are positioning themselves to reach this consumer base effectively.

In eyewear, millennials want style, color and the ‘cool’ factor. While quality and price are also on their list, millennials view eyewear as a way to stand out and make an impression; cost is a consideration but not a deal-breaker. To this generation, eyewear is a necessary accessory. Whether the glasses are used to correct refractive errors or are worn to protect against UV rays, millennials want to stylishly combine form and function.

This generation is also visually-oriented. They view color, shapes, and designs as ways to express their individuality in whatever event they attend. When selecting eyewear, they like choices whether in-person or online. Choosing is a big part of the buying experience for them and eyecare professionals would do well to keep that in mind.

Millennials want change in the eye care industry as well. At the forefront is customer service. This is a generation that connects and communicates. In-person, they want a knowledgeable sales staff that listens and knows the latest trends. Online, they want to be able to open a chat or join a forum to express their views or ask a question. Social media is the voice of millennials and insightful marketers will speak this language.

An excellent example of a company that has embraced all of these concepts is DITA Eyewear. This company was established in Los Angeles in 1995 with one mission: to create unique, innovative, and finely crafted eyewear. This company has not only heard the voice of the millennial consumer, they are actively giving that voice expression through designing eyewear that connects and communicates with them on their own terms.

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                    DITA Journey Sunglasses

Where Do Millennials Shop?

In line with their individualism, millennials don’t accept the status quo the eyecare industry has set. They question the “why” of the entire system, from how they get the prescription to the moment they put those new glasses on. The goals of eyecare industry disruptors tend to align with the ideals of millennials which has resulted in the creation and flourishing of the online eyewear market.

Disruptors seek to create transparency so the consumer can see how the industry was operating and how much more efficient it could be which aids the ethics research millennials do. Use of technology, from smartphone vision tests to 3D printed frames, shows this generation that the company is current and interested in achieving ideals rather than relying on old methods. Businesses who create frames from recycled material or ones who seek to improve the availability of glasses in developing countries allows millennials to support philanthropic causes and gives reason to spread the word about the company.

Indie companies are making huge changes in the eyewear industry. This would not have been possible before the technology, desire for change, and millennials to share their ideals and support their businesses.

Millennials and Eye Care

When it comes to vision exams, millennials want convenience. They have fully embraced technology and understand its usefulness. They are also confident in using digital devices and are among the first demographic to try out new technology. When vision care providers understand this mindset, they are better able to address the concerns of this group of consumers.

Convenience comes in the form of being able to schedule vision exams at times beneficial to them, or not having to schedule an appointment at all. The last idea may seem a bit radical since traditional exams require going through a gate-keeper to set up an appointment, and then sitting in a waiting room wondering why your time for the exam has been delayed.

Smart Vision Labs has a simple and very effective solution. They offer a 5-minute Smart Vision Exam that doesn’t even require an appointment. When a millennial shows up at one of the participating vision care providers, the exam can begin.

There is a paperwork part of the vision test, in which consumers are asked basic information and general questions about their overall health. Specific questions about any eye problems or concerns will also be asked. Wavefront technology scans the person’s eyes, photos of the eyes will be taken, and all of the data will be sent to a licensed ophthalmologist to review. If a prescription is needed, it will be sent via email to the person within 24 hours.

Convenient? Yes. Millennials also appreciate the use of technology to store their vision care results and make their prescriptions accessible. Smart Vision Labs offers consumers a password-protected portal in which to view and download their prescription. And that prescription, as well as the vision exam results, will be accessible whenever they log in.

Millennials know the power of technology to offer a convenient approach to eye care. This consumer group will shun traditional and outdated business models in favor of more tech-savvy ones. When they want a vision exam, they will look for convenience (on their terms) and digital devices to streamline the process.

The future of vision care providers needs to include the very real expectations of millennials. Convenience is possible because of technology, yet there is a certain boldness that requires those in the eyecare industry to put it to use. When dealing with eye care and vision exams, there shouldn’t be a ‘let’s-see-if-the-market-is-ready’ approach; providers who are truly committed to eye health will use every means possible to encourage people to get regular vision exams.

Marketing and Millennials

Marketing and Millennials - Smart Vision Labs

Millennials’ impact on the eyecare industry is only just beginning. Besides being poised as the next generation of consumers, millennials are unique in several ways. There is an increase in myopia in this age group which will create a direct correlation to their involvement with all things pertaining to eyecare. Research is being conducted to determine the cause of this growing trend, and there is a popular theory that not only offers an explanation but may help define this generation.

The ‘near work’ hypothesis suggests that this age group has strained their eyes through reading and using smartphones and other digital devices. Another correlation appears to be between the increased education level of millennials and myopia.

These apparent causes for the frequency of myopia also define this group. They are very interested and comfortable with technology and place a high value on education. Millennials bring these traits to the opticians and optical stores and will shop according to where their beliefs are best implemented.

When purchasing prescription glasses or sunglasses, millennials look for frames that will create the image they want to project. This is a generation that loves all things unique, indie retailers, customized frames, and colors. Their view of glasses is balanced by the idea that they are not just an accessory. Form and function play a key role in their choice of eyewear.

And millennials are the group that will research how their prescription glasses and frames are made. They love to be part of the process through educating themselves. They ask questions and expect answers. They especially like to share their opinions on social media or forums.

Millennials are more than just a group of consumers; they are people who love connecting and expressing themselves. This can translate into sales for the linear-thinking marketers but for those in the eyecare industry who want to make a real impression, this is something to listen to. Give the millennials a voice and invite them to be part of the changes that are happening in this industry. Think of them less of a consumer and more of a partner.

Millennials know what they want, where to get it, and why it’s the best for them. And they love to share these thoughts with others. Opticians and optical stores should never overlook the impact of this generation.

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