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Dollars & Sense


Here’s an idea you can take to the bank…literally.   Stop waiting for your doctor customers to send you business. Go out and get your own.

I was talking to a lab owner last week that happens to live in a state that has a significant hunting/shooting sports population.   I asked questions around the local hunting clubs or sports equipment providers. Who calls on them from your lab? Has anyone from your lab ever gone out and done a demonstration with them on all the cool stuff you can do with lenses?

Golfers, hunters, fishing enthusiasts, boaters; every one of those groups spend millions of dollars a year in performance enhancement technology to give them an edge in their sport.   Ironically, none of the other products work unless you can see optimally in the right conditions.

For example, there is a need for hunters and shooters to manage the sun during the day and enhance their vision in low light situations. Have you ever tinted a photochromic lens with yellow? In the early mornings and late afternoons as the light fades, so does the photochromic leaving the perfect yellow tint for enhanced low light vision. Golfers enjoy a brown tint to their photochromic.   You get the idea.   You can do the same analysis where you live to determine your focus.  

Here’s the cool part. Call directly on your local businesses and set up a demonstration for their customers. You don’t need any Rx’s or doctors involved to establish yourself as the expert in optical technology. You just need to show up, give a great demonstration and have a ton of business cards.  

Instead of waiting for the business to come to you, go out and demonstrate the new and creative ways we can enhance their performance in the sport of their choice.

Good selling!

Michael Karlsrud is the owner and CEO of k-Calls, a tele-services company that serves the optical industry with its two divisions; Telecare and Business-to-Business. or



Lab Notes

Nextreme Wholesale Lab Program

The Nextreme Performance Mirror System with eight mirror formulas from Nexus Vision features NuPolar technology by Younger Optics. The Wholesale Lab Program allows labs to offer their customers a wide range of mirror options with a one or two day turnaround. These new mirror colors will be used to coat top quality polycarbonate, polarized gray or brown blanks from Younger Optics in 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 base. These semi-finished blanks are stocked at Nexus in depth so they are quickly accessible for production of: digital SV, round seg and many progressive designs. Nexus also offers a variety of marketing tools for your customers including a mirror kit, dispensing mat and inserts, signs, posters, ECP coupons for mirror coatings and job stuffers. Call 866-492-6499 for more information.

George Lee, Rite-Style Optical Co-founder, Dies at 91

George Lee, co-founder of the independent wholesale laboratory Rite-Style Optical died May 22 at The Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Bellevue, Neb. He was 91 years-old and lived in Omaha and Phoenix, Ariz.

Lee was born Dec. 9, 1922. At age 18 he was hired by Barnett & Ramel Optical in Kansas City, Mo., initially working in the lab’s surface room and then in the finish department.  After briefly relocating to Dallas with Barnett & Ramel, he returned to Kansas City and become manager of the company’s Omaha branch in 1946. In 1948, Lee and a fellow Barnett & Ramel employee, Harold Thompson, co-founded Rite-Style Optical (RSO) in Omaha. At the time, prism values were calculated with a lead pencil and slide rule and all lenses were made from glass.

Lee served as president and board member for several optical organizations and helped organize programs that offered employment to special needs men and women and to WWII veterans who lacked job skills. Donations in his honor can be made to The Madonna Foundation for the benefit of the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Bellevue, Neb., 5401 South St., Lincoln, Neb., 68506;  St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 925 South 84th St., Omaha, Neb., 68124; or Shrine Crippled Children's Transportation Fund c/o Tangier Shrine Center, 2823 South 84th St., Omaha, Neb., 68124.

Seiko Agrees to License ‘470 to IOT

Seiko Optical Products of America has agreed to license the ‘470 patent to Indizen Optical Technologies (IOT). Seiko stated that after a re-examination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in favor of Seiko Epson that they wanted to collaborate with IOT to address any concerns by their customers.    

Seiko Epson was issued patent 6,019,470 on Feb. 1, 2000. It is the first and principal patent for free-form progressive lenses and encompasses the manufacturing of back-surface progressive lenses. Aki Sukegawa, president of Seiko Optical Products of America, states, “We are pleased to partner with IOT to license this broad and fundamental patent that covers both product designs and manufacturing methods for back-surface progressive lenses.”

As of today, all IOT customers that are producing products which use this patent will now be covered.

The Vision Council Increases Outreach to Elected Officials

In addition to the previously announced meeting held with Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA 52nd District), members of The Vision Council Leadership also met separately with Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15th District) as a part of The Vision Council’s efforts to educate elected officials that represent its member companies and have jurisdiction over key federal and state issues of concern to the optical industry.

Congressman Swalwell toured the California Accessories facility in Hayward, CA, alongside the company’s president and CEO, and vice chair of The Vision Council’s Sunglass and Reader Division, Fredric Grethel.   Previously, Congressman Peters toured the Shamir Insight facility in San Diego, CA, alongside Shamir Insight’s CEO and chairman of The Vision Council Board of Directors, Raanan Naftalovich. Both meetings included an overview of the optical manufacturing industry, meetings with each organization’s senior executives, and discussions regarding the challenges facing the optical industry

The Vision Council aims to establish an open dialogue with Members of Congress about the economic benefits its member companies bring to their Congressional districts. The meeting comes as a follow-up from meetings held in December between The Vision Council leadership and Members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

California has been the focus of an increasing amount of time and resources from The Vision Council over the last year, including recent meetings with the Office of California Governor Jerry Brown regarding California Proposition 65, and the prevention of its unintended consequences for the optical manufacturing industry.

New Report Educates Consumers on a Lifetime of UV Exposure

Many Americans are unaware of the vision damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, according to The Vision Council's 2014 Sun Protection Survey. With the release of a new report, Picture This: A Lifetime of UV Eye Protection, The Vision Council is expanding its overall UV protection campaign and working to educate consumers on the long and short-term eye benefits provided by the frequent use of UV-protective sunglasses - a habit that less than half of Americans (46%) are practicing.

In addition to providing region-specific data, the report details UV-related vision risks for children and adults of all ages. The Vision Council is working to inform consumers that, without UV-protective eyewear, individuals of all ages can suffer immediate issues such as swollen or red eyes, hypersensitivity to light and photokeratitis (commonly known as sunburn of the eye).

New this year, The Vision Council has pitched the story regionally to cities with the top UV indexes, with select eye care providers in 10 media markets conducting interviews and sharing a local perspective on eye health and UV protection as spokespeople of The Vision Council.

If you would like further information, please contact Erin Hildreth, Marketing and Communications Manager, Consumer Products, at (703) 740-1099 or [email protected]



Focus On...

Global Source Rx, Inc.

By Judith Lee

Independent labs are facing challenges from all fronts, and so are independent Eye Care Practitioners. To David Jochim, it makes good business sense to transform those challenges into a strategy called Global Source-Rx (GS-Rx).

Our lab was built on the premise of leveraging high-quality product to level the playing field for ECPs,” said Jochim, who is CEO of the Scottsdale, Ariz. facility that just opened in January 2014. “We globally source product from Asia as well as North America, to deliver the highest quality at the most competitive price point.”

GS-Rx aggressively prices high-quality frame and lens combinations to provide ECPs with the eyewear required to maintain patients and drive profits.

From the lab’s point of view, the strategy is already working. GS-Rx is completing 80 to 100 jobs per day, with additional sales of finished single vision product. GS-Rx jobs consist of frame and lens combinations, uncut lenses, edged-to-customer-frame jobs, and VSP orders.

Jochim said the GS-Rx team understands that in today’s ever-changing environment, they have to play with the big boys: “We are a VSP laboratory, Unity® Allied lab, and Zeiss distributor.”

Jochim was a shareholder in a Midwestern lab network, and moved on to become Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Sales for a large optical company.

“In these roles I gained a broader understanding of the global supply chain and costs. I really wanted to bring costs down to a point similar to larger integrated retail operators,” Jochim said.

GS-Rx’s plan was more than four years in the making. Jochim originally wanted to do it within the company for which he was working. When that didn’t happen, he moved forward with a key group of investors and talented optical professionals.

“It has not been easy, but the reception has been strong in the industry. From my viewpoint, there is a critical need for our products and services to complement what ECPs are currently doing. We help them capture more patients that may have been leaving to chain retail or online sales, and we also lower the ECP’s cost of goods considerably,” Jochim said.

At this point, Jochim is most proud of the GS-Rx team. He expects this team to be able to help the ECP in a way that is “unique, disruptive, and impactful .” In five years, as the optical industry continues to consolidate, Jochim sees GS-Rx occupying a pivotal niche.

“Our plan is to partner with independent ECP’s throughout the U.S. We do not want to just sell product… we want to provide marketing and product solutions that will have a positive impact on patient volume and profits at the ECP level,” Jochim noted. “We will continue to evolve, have fun, and hopefully reach our goal of a 1,000 JPD facility.”   



LabTalk Spotlight

Greening Your Optical Lab

By Julie Bos

Environmental sustainability: It’s on every lab’s mind, and for good reason. Today’s optical shops know that eco-friendly practices can have a powerful impact not only on the planet, but also on their productivity and in turn, their profitability.

But delve a little deeper and you’ll soon discover something else. While most labs are interested and willing to move their sustainability forward, many are also stumped on exactly what to do next.

Fortunately, The Vision Council recognized this challenge and has taken a bold step to help resolve it. During a recent conversation with Michael C. Vitale, lens division liaison, we’ve learned about a new initiative from The Vision Council that can help labs take their sustainability efforts to the next level. Here are excerpts of the conversation.


If businesses would take steps to become more sustainable, their bottom line would improve and so would the environment. It goes beyond “going green” to also cover our impact and responsibility to the communities where we work and live. The majority of labs that we’ve spoken to are concerned about ways they can become more environmentally friendly and in the process reduce their operating expenses.


Many labs have already implemented sustainability projects, such as recycling paper and cardboard products, reducing water consumption by utilizing filtration systems for the machinery, changing their lighting and even attempting to go paperless.

However, one key challenge is a shortage of ideas on how to become more sustainable. Another issue is always the initial cost. Implementing sustainability projects does not necessarily give an immediate return on investment, but the long-term gains are definitely there.

To find out more about sustainable practices for labs and how The Vision Council can help read the entire article at — the newly redesigned LabTalk Web site.



Make What You Say, Pay!

Monologues Are For Comedians--Not Presenters

In the world of comedy, when a joke flops, they say the comedian “died” on stage. In the world of business, when a presentation flops, the presenter can be said to have “died” as well, in the meeting, if not on a stage. The comic can make fun of himself and recover. The presenter may never be able to recover. What is the best way to avoid such an embarrassing (and costly} death?   "ABE"  Always Be Engaging  

The answer is to master the ability to stay constantly engaged with your listeners, whether in-person or online.   Then you will be as responsive as possible to their needs at every point in your argument. That ability to stay “in sync” with your audience is both a skill and an art. There are at least ten ways to engage with listeners. Here are three of them.

•Set engagement expectations upfront for a discussion, not a performance.   After you state your agenda, add in words to the effect, “Since I want to make the best use of your time, we can discuss the elements of the recommendation as we go through each of them.”

•Follow through on that expectation After each block of information   Invite their thoughts, reactions, input, or perceived   application of what you are describing to their situation.

•Let them choose   In many of your presentations, you often offer or explain a list of options, e.g. investment opportunities, advertising formats, special events, data scenarios, etc. Instead of you selecting the order in which you talk about these, ask your listeners to scan the list quickly and choose the one they would like to hear about first.   Then, you know you are talking about what they are really interested in. If you are smart, you will also open a discussion as to why they chose that item and likely learn lots more that can further align you with their goals.

What is more boring than watching grass grow. paint dry or a comedian die on stage? Watching someone do a 15 or 30 minute   presentation monologue.   If that is you or your team, it is time to get off automatic pilot, examine why this is happening, and correct it ASAP.

Words Matter: Make What You Say Pay! ©2012 Anne Miller, author, “metaphorically Selling”

New Products

Extended Material Options from Essilor

The Essilor 360° lens design gives patients superior vision – including more vivid colors and crisper details – providing wearers with better vision for any activity. Now these lenses are available in a wider variety of materials.   Essilor Digital Single Vision lenses are now available in TREXA Clear and Transitions Signature VII, Airwear Polycarbonate Transitions Vantage and Airwear Polycarbonate Transitions XTRActive. With these additional material and light adaptive offerings, eye care professionals can now satisfy a wider array of patients’ needs with Essilor 360° single vision digital lenses. For more information on Essilor 360° lenses, including Essilor 360°, Essilor FIT, Essilor Azio, and Essilor Eyecode, please visit

Choose Your Attitude

Now there are three choices when it comes to Freeform sun designs – Shamir Attitude III – Fashion, Shamir Attitude III – Sport, and Shamir Attitude III SV (single vision), all designed to provide patients with the perfect visual solution to satisfy all their sunwear needs. The new line of Attitude III lenses utilizes Shamir’s EyePoint Technology III, which provides an improved viewing experience for all patients regardless of lens power or frame choice.   For more information contact Shamir at 877-514-8330.

ZEISS Launches PureCoat PLUS AR

PureCoat PLUS, Zeiss’s newest reflective coating, builds on the success of the company’s original PureCoat AR with improved hydrophobic performance and durability.   ZEISS PureCoat PLUS is one of the clearest AR coatings available, with residual reflectance below one percent.   It is also up to 50 percent more scratch-resistant than many available AR coatings, helping the lenses retain their clarity and their like-new appearance.   For more information visit the Zeiss Website at

Shamir Introduces New Bifocal Freeform Lens

Shamir Duo is an innovative new lens that offers surface continuity, eliminating the visible line associated with flat-top bifocals, while providing patients with improved optics. With Shamir Duo, a natural, distortion free path is maintained as the eye moves from one vision zone to another. Processed with Freeform equipment, the Shamir Duo lends itself to a variety of materials, tints and coatings and is available in a wide selection of indexes and treatments such as high-index, photochromic and polarized lenses.   For more information contact Shamir at 877-514-8330.

KODAK Unique HD Progressive Lenses

The new KODAK Unique HD Progressive Lens from Signet Armorlite offers all the features of KODAK Unique Lenses as well as an added level of individual patient customization. The ‘High-Definition’ (HD) in KODAK Unique HD Progressive Lenses uses point-of-wear measurements that allow the prescription to be highly-customized to the patient’s unique visual needs, resulting in an enhanced wearing experience.

To customize the prescription, KODAK Unique HD Lens requires four additional measurements: pantoscopic angle, wrap angle, back vertex distance and reading distance. Eye care practices can capture these measurements using the KODAK Lens IDS (Intelligent Dispensing Software). Default measurements are also available. For more information visit the Signet Armorlite Website at


Send us news about your lab's new products, services, special events, tech advances or personnel changes.

Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor
[email protected]

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