Optical Retail Success 162


Tasty nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your life and optical retail business/career.


I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
—Og Mandino


Masking The Issue

A study published in August of last year in JAMA compared the lowly surgical (or medical) mask, which costs used to cost about a dime, to a less commonly used respirator called an N95, which costs used to cost around $1. The study reported "no significant difference in the effectiveness" of medical masks vs. N95 respirators for prevention of influenza or other viral respiratory illness. 

"This study showed there is no difference in incidence of viral respiratory transmission among health care workers wearing the two types of protection," said Dr. Trish Perl, Chief of UT Southwestern's Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine and the report's senior author. "This finding is important from a public policy standpoint because it informs about what should be recommended and what kind of protective apparel should be kept available for outbreaks."

Also, see:

Accumulated evidence does not indicate superiority of N95 respirators over surgical masks. 

Keep in mind there is a difference between surgical masks and cloth masks. Cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks, however a 2008 study indicated that, at least in terms of influenza, something is better than nothing. 

If you are interested in making your own, here's a 1-page PDF facemask pattern. 

If you do use a cloth mask, make sure you either dispose of it or wash it with ample detergent after each use otherwise your risk of respiratory infection may actually increase. 


Weathering The Storm 

I know some opticals are struggling to adapt while many others have made the decision or have been forced to shutter their doors for the time being. Laramy-K is getting by with a skeleton crew and here’s how Chuck Cooley at Classic Optical in Ithaca, NY is handling the situation. 

Also, here is some advice from Brett Cates via the Luxury Eyewear Forum:

I’ve been revising a few ideas for the independent luxury eyewear shops that I wanted to share. I’m an eyewear rep but have been a paid optician on and off for 18 years.

  1. Invest in a Barbicide based cleaning system. I am in talks (no joke) with the Barbicide company to create a new product called Opticide ® that will completely remove all viruses and leave luxury eyewear spotless.
  2. Now is the time to grow your social media. Instagram, Facebook, and your website’s blog. Everyone is online, give them the tools to discover you.
  3. Partner with 5 local charities that you believe in and donate 1% of your future sales to them for the rest of the year. The employees and network will give back when things chill out.
  4. Use this time to remodel your shop with surfaces that are easier to keep clean and get organized. Digitize your client files, paint the walls, tear down your frame boards and invest in flat file cabinet drawers. Also create a great space to fit and dispense glasses. Clean like you’ve never before.
  5. Create a e-commerce page on your website. Get a light box and good camera setup and take high resolution photos of your entire inventory.

What are some of your ideas? How are you making due?



Warby Parker and other online optical retailers (not to mention telemedicine) are likely to see a boost as a result of all this sheltering-in-place.

I can’t think of a better time to buckle down and figure out how you are going to up your game and deliver a customer experience that will make your brick and mortar a must-see in the new post-corona world. 



Slovenia-based creative director Jure Tovrljan reimagined some of the world’s most iconic logos for the new age of social distancing.


Old Order

Just for fun: Retro meets retro-er. The 1980’s New Order classic Blue Monday covered by Orkestra Obsolete using instruments from the 1930’s.


Music For The Eyes

Inspirational photos of music and encouragement from balconies around the world


Stay Healthy: Exercise

The specific kind of exercise you need to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Exercise your mind: OpticianWorks Video of the Week

How to decipher those doctors’ notes on an eyeglass lens prescription.


Until next time, hang in there!


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Much love,