A few of
my favorite things…
They’re small in size but have had a big impact… especially with the queen of the small screen, Oprah Winfrey. When the talk show diva recently aired her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” episode, MicroVision’s Tube Readers, distributed by Rem Eyewear, was on the list. Oprah has 22 pairs of the reading glasses, which are so compact they fit inside a pen and other small cases.

During the segment, she rummaged through the drawers of her desk and seemed to have a Tube Reader in every nook and cranny. “Speaking of favorite things,” Oprah told her audience. “I have one, two, three… I have 22 of these. These really are my favorite things. I really like these a lot… These are the coolest little reading glasses around. No longer do you have to look like a nerd in reading glasses. They come in this skinny little case just like this, okay, the size of a mascara wand. Look at that. They’re available in 15 different colors. Aren’t they cute?” Now who would argue with Oprah?      —Jackie Micucci

As a swimmer, Harry Linden couldn’t keep his head above water. Actually, he didn’t want to. Like most athletes, Linden, who swam competitively in college, was obsessed with time. He wanted to know how fast he was swimming and whether he had improved upon his previous time in the water. Only problem was he was tired of stopping his workout to look at his wristwatch.

Enter what he calls “heads-up” technology. Linden, a mechanical engineer and former head of R&D for Bristol-Myers Squibb, developed a battery-powered LCD he could attach to his swimming goggles. The device offered many of the same functions as a high-end sports watch—including stopwatch and lap-counting—and meant he no longer had to take his eyes out of the water to get the information he wanted. He could see it via a miniature LCD resembling the face of a digital wristwatch (only smaller) mounted in the lenses of his goggles. “It was so well received from other athletes I knew [I was asked] to come up with something for eyewear,” recalls Linden.

And Time Window was born. According to Linden, who patented the concept in 1990 and left Bristol-Myers to form his own company—InfoEye—in 1999, the original Time Window produced a virtual display directly through the lens on the swimming goggle. It is still sold to swimming/sport retailers.

Today, Linden’s company is working with fiber optics to create a system that essentially transmits the image formerly confined to the LCD directly onto the lens surface of goggles or eyewear. The image is transparent so as not to interfere with wearers’ vision. Like their predecessor Time Window, these products—which have been designed for other sports, including running, cycling and motorsports (Linden is developing a “heads-up” product for motorcycle helmets with BMW)—can be applied easily to goggles, helmets or standard eyewear. The company also has an eyewear-mounted heart-rate monitor, with sensors placed in the nosepads, in the works. All of these products can be used with both plano and prescription eyewear. In fact, Linden is open to working with independent vision care professionals to distribute his products (visit
www.infoeyetech. com for information).

“My experience with medical devices made me familiar with fiber optics imaging,” Linden says. “So I took the information module away from in front of the face, placed it to the side of the head and brought the image to the eye. The advantage of the fiber optic system is the reduced amount of hardware around the eye along with substantial savings in weight. This made the not-so-cool-looking Time Window more cosmetically appealing for sports and fashion eyewear.” Sporty, indeed. —Brian P. Dunleavy

Black Jack. Ozzy offspring 1. Jack Osbourne goes for old school chic with a modern twist thanks to his Oliver Peoples Zuko frame… Miami rhapsody. Sàfilo shades made an appearance on an episode of “C.S.I.: Miami.” 2. Emily Procter who plays “Calleigh Duquesne” in Ralph style 994/s and 3. Rory Cochrane who plays “Tim Speedle” in YSL style 2010/s… Livin’ on a prayer. Bon Jovi’s 4. Richie Sambora in Donna Karan beta titanium style 9709S from Marchon… Hey, Mr. DJ. Superstar deejay 5. Paul Oakenfold recently appeared on the cover of Urb magazine in a pair of Oliver Peoples PS-803 shades… Show of shows. 6. Jay Leno, who recently celebrated his 10th anniversary as host of “The Tonight Show,” in cK wrap around sun style 2038 from Marchon… Sunny days. 7. KC, late of KC and the Sunshine Band, in Nautica sunwear, style 1188 from Marchon… Goodfella. 8. Ray Liotta, currently starring in the movie “Narc,” wears the Nautica Tahoe in color 030 from Marchon… Next stop Wonderland. 9. Val Kilmer in YSL style 2024/s from Sàfilo. The actor picked the frames on the set of his soon-to-be-released movie “Wonderland”… Duo tones. Singer 10. Usher wears the Diesel Auresy while girlfriend Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas of TLC wears Ralph style RA7515s (both from Sàfilo). The couple was at the debut of Usher’s new DVD “Usher Live: Evolution 8701”… Soap net. 11. Erin Hershey Presley who plays Alison Barrington on the soap “Port Charles” sports the Christian Dior Tiger from Sàfilo at ABC’s Super Soap Weekend at MGM Studios in Orlando, Fla… Undercover angel. 12. Lucy Liu wears Fendi style 555 in color palladium from Marchon. The actress will hit the big screen in June in the “Charlie’s Angels” sequel “Full Throttle”… Charming. 13. Alyssa Milano looks bewitching in a pair of Ralph Lauren shades style 878S from Sàfilo on the set of the WB series “Charmed”… No fear. “Fear Factor” host 14. Joe Rogan does the twist with a pair of Flexons from Marchon style 422… The empire’s new shades. 15. John Leguizamo in Burberry style 8927S from Sàfilo at the New York screening of his new film “Empire.”  —JM

Cheers From Vera. This one feels like a great wedding toast from Vera Wang. Couteur Designs, a division of the Kenmark Group is introducing a Vera Wang Incentive Program for customers featuring a variety of well-themed gifts. This tempting celebration of Vera Wang and Vera Wang Luxe frames requires a minimum eyewear purchase. Items include Vera Wang’s new signature fragrance, soaps and lotions from Unilever Prestige, and a spectacular assortment of colored martini glasses, a decanter, double shot glass, vase and crystal bowl from Vera Wang’s new Waterford Wedgewood collection. For additional info concerning purchase requirements contact Couteur Designs at (800) 627-2898.
Good Stuff. What we mean is Rem has come up with a clever combo promo to tie in Lauren Hutton’s Eyewear with her Good Stuff cosmetics collection.Lauren Hutton’s Good Stuff line was created when she returned to modeling at age 46. She began experimenting with different makeup for her own use. When she perfected her formula to take it public.
Today Lauren Hutton's Good Stuff is one of the fastest growing cosmetic lines in the market. Rem is offering these cosmetic products in a multi-tiered retailer offering of frame packages. Items in the different levels include lipsticks, a cosmetic bag, brush set, face disc cosmetic kit and, at the highest level, a leather cosmetic bag. Give Rem a ring at (800) 504-3950 for full package details.
Branded. There’s something wacky going on over at Moja Design. They seem to be involved in some sort of covert spy operation and now they’ve gone ahead and included 20/20 in this espionage involving something called Boom by Atom. They sent us this file on this dude named Bertram Brand. He’s carrying some kind of briefcase and, apparently, Moja is trying to find out what’s in this case.

We’re not supposed to be telling anybody anything about this. I guess they don’t realize that the original deep throat from Watergate days works at 20/20. Next month we intend to review this cool CD called “What’s In The Case?” Moja sent along with the Brand file. Confused? Call Moja at (888) 5760-MOJA.  —JSS

Safety First
Optometrists in Anderson, S.C. are taking a “if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em” approach to safety eyewear. Rather than competing for contracts with the area’s major employers—including Owens Corning, White Consolidated and Vanguard Industries, among others—a group of 10 optometrists in the city formed a co-op for safety eyewear services.

“It’s a smoother way of handling the business,” explains Vaughn Parfitt, OD, an Anderson-based practitioner and the de facto leader of the co-op formed in 1992. “Before, one of my patients might get their prescription from me, but then they’d have to go to another optometrist to get their glasses for work. It led to a lot of confusion.”

Under the co-op program, safety eyewear services are easier for both the doctor and the employer. If their company is enrolled in the program, a patient need only obtain a form from their employee benefits administrator to visit the co-op doctor of their choice. With more than 4,000 patients enrolled in the co-op safety program, however, finding a lab to process all of these orders—and coordinate the paperwork—was vital. The co-op has used New South Laboratories (
www.newsouthlab.com) in nearby Greenville, S.C. since its inception.

“There is simply no way we could handle this program without New South,” Dr. Parfitt says. “There are other labs in the area, but they were willing to go the extra mile.”

Founded in 1991 by long-time lab professionals Mike Stephens and Jack Hart, New South processes more than 400 jobs a day for customer dispensers throughout the southeastern U.S. Nearly 20 percent of its daily output is safety eyewear. The lab helps independent dispensers set up their own safety contracts (like the Anderson co-op) and also holds several contracts of its own. In all, it provides safety eyewear for companies such as BASF, BF Goodrich and the Atlanta branch of the U.S. Post Office.

Historically, conventional wisdom within the industry held that safety services generated customer traffic: If you provide the services to a client and you do a good job, they’ll come to you for their dress eyewear needs and send family and friends to you as well. While this remains true to some degree—despite the recent downturn in the safety market—Stephens says these days some of his clients have looked to safety to maintain patient traffic in slow times.
“June and December are traditionally slow months,” he says. “I have one client who does all his safety work then—he’ll only see safety patients June or December. It means he’ll still be getting a decent amount of work in those months. Safety isn’t a huge money-maker, but it can still be a great way to build business. That’s what we try to tell our customers.” —BPD

A Visible Solution
This past holiday season Betacom Corp. teamed up with the Barnes & Noble flagship store on Fifth Avenue and 18th Street in New York, to help customers with diminished vision easily browse books and other reading materials. Betacom’s VisAble IMAGE—a user-friendly, technologically advanced and ergonomically designed video reading device—was available at the store. The VisAble IMAGE enables the user to maintain an optimal eye-to-screen distance, regardless of the material being read. Other benefits include text magnification from 3 times to 40 times; a unique letter stretch (horizontal and vertical) to increase legibility; a fully adjustable, 17-inch flat panel display; color select increases contrast through various background and text color combinations; and plug-and-use technology. More information is available at www.betacom.com

“Barnes & Noble takes great pride in providing our customers with the best in books and the best in customer service,” says Carla Oliver, community relations director of Barnes & Noble’s 18th Street store. “We are delighted that we can now extend our service to those affected by diminished vision. We all have a love of reading and to be able to provide a way to continue to read, even when our eyes try to complicate matters, is a very positive thing.”

“Barnes & Noble is joining with Betacom to spread awareness to the 17 million individuals who have eye conditions,” says Brian McCarthy, president of Betacom. “Studies show only six to 10 percent of these individuals are actually getting any rehabilitation devices. We hope that through the participation of Barnes & Noble more of those who have vision loss will realize that help is available to them.” —JM

Real Men II
In 20/20’s Real Men In Great Glasses feature in the October 2002 issue we portrayed car guru (and rock ’n roller) Eddie Salmaggi in Tag Heuer Reflex 3002 from Logo. So it was no real surprise when we noticed our favorite Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve sporting the exact same style in an interview in Autosport, motor racing’s top magazine. These rockin’ speedsters certainly agree that when you’re in Tag… you’re it.  —JJS

Reflection Will Be Televised… — Essilor of America has launched a TV campaign to support Crizal, its top brand of anti-reflective (A-R) lenses. The TV campaign, the company’s first in support of an A-R product, kicked off last month. The humorous spot—entitled “Talking Eyeballs”—will run through the end of December on cable TV nationwide, and on network TV in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Tampa-St. Pete, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Portland, Ore., markets. The campaign is expected to reach 103 million consumers.

Present and Accounted For — Transitions Optical has launched a new promotional/incentive program called “Present & Earn Every Day.” Designed to reward labs and patients, as well as dispensers, the promotion began February 1. Any dispenser can join once they’ve completed a special training program. Nearly 100 prizes will be awarded monthly, with quarterly grand prizes. For more information contact your Transitions Solutions Team representative or account manager, or your Star Laboratory representative; call Transitions Customer Service at (800) 848-1506; or visit

Looking into the Sun(Sensors)? — Corning has created a new point-of-purchase kit for its SunSensors lenses designed to provide dispensers with a helpful package of display and presentation materials when discussing plastic photochromic lenses with their patients. The SunSensors lens merchandising kit includes a colorful new dispensing mat, plexiglass counter display with consumer brochures, static cling window decal and SunSensors lens samples in both true gray and warm brown. To order your free SunSensors POP kit call (800) 821-2020 or log on to www.corning.com/ophthalmic and request item number OPP-6142.

Crowned Jeweler
Efva Attling’s career has come full circle. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Attling studied silversmithing when she was 16. “Although I loved the work, at that point I lacked the necessary patience for the job and I wanted to see the world,” she notes.

A year later, she was discovered by Eileen Ford of the famous modeling agency bearing her name. She began a 12-year modeling career, working in Paris, London, Milan and New York. Then, inspired by her jazz-musician father, Attling joined a group of musicians in Milan and began writing music and lyrics. In 1981, she returned to Sweden, formed a band called The X Models and wrote a hit ballad, “Two of Us,” now a Swedish pop classic. In addition to her music career, Attling designed clothes for Levi’s and H&M, a Swedish-based department store chain and worked at a variety of magazines as fashion editor.

It was while working in publishing that she became inspired to return to her first love, silversmithing. “One of the employees told me she had to leave at five o’ clock to attend silversmith school. I hadn’t thought about it in 27 years, but suddenly I realized I wanted to work with metal,” says Attling. “Maybe I needed all those years of gathering life experiences—including having two children—to learn the patience metal demands. But actually designing jewelry is much like writing songs. It’s another way to express myself and connect with and touch people.” In the six years Attling has been designing jewelry, she has become recognized internationally and has a client base that includes Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Britney Spears. In 2002, she opened a jewelry shop in London.
And in September 2002, her first eyewear collection designed for Skaga, the Scandinavian eyewear company founded in 1948, debuted at Vision Expo West this past September, followed by its European debut at Silmo in October.

“I see a natural connection between jewelry and eyeglasses,” notes Attling. In fact, all of her acetate frames feature her signature sterling silver accents. One style is made completely of sterling silver and another incorporates the ring links from one of her necklaces. “My eyewear is for those who want to show who they are,” the designer says. “I don’t want to do minimalist eyewear. I want glasses that are noticed—that are reminiscent of glamorous Hollywood styling.” Indeed Attling’s eyewear sports such names as G.G., Gina, Grace, Ray and Rita. Humor is also important in her designs. “My favorite TV program is ‘Six Feet Under,’ so I designed an eyeglass case that resembles a coffin,” Attling says. “I see my eyewear as both classic and bold. With my frames, you can chose who you want to be.” —Gloria Nicola