Through My Lens

There’s No Business
Like Optical Show Business

Seen any good shows lately? If not, you may not have far to look. Some of the best entertainment in the optical industry may be heading to your town soon.

I’m talking about the traveling seminars that have become popular lately with eyecare professionals and their staffs. Usually produced by a lens manufacturer, often in conjunction with a local wholesale laboratory, these special events combine optical education and a sales message wrapped in an entertaining format.

Several lens manufacturers currently are crisscrossing the country with these shows. This spring, Essilor of America is continuing its 10-city “Peace, Love and A-R” seminar series, which features professional actors  in a 1960s-style program. SOLA is presenting “The Arctic Blue Breakthrough,” featuring Jeff Hopkins, SOLA’s communications manager, and Rollie Stenson, sales manager. It follows on the heels of last season’s SOLA show, “Mr. Nifty’s Optical Revue.”

The next time an optical show rolls into town, grab a ticket. It’s the best info-tainment value around.

Traditionalists used to the lecture-style format of most optical seminars might wonder how much education actually goes on at these events. However, reports from the field indicate that these road shows are attracting excellent reviews from audiences. The companies producing them have managed the difficult balancing act of presenting information about new lens products—which can be pretty dry and technical—with a little humor and levity. And in most cases they’re doing it with few if any special effects, relying instead on old-fashioned talent to get their points across.

It’s a smart approach. Today’s lens products are more sophisticated than ever. Also, the range of lens designs, materials and treatments is constantly expanding. To fully understand the features and benefits of these advanced products requires more time and effort on the part of doctors and dispensers. Plus, it takes more skill and knowledge to dispense these lenses effectively. So why shouldn’t lens makers make it as easy as possible for practitioners to access and absorb the information they need to do their jobs?

The next time an optical show rolls into town, grab a ticket. It’s the best “info-tainment” bargain around.

Now if they only had a special Tony award for “Best Actor in an Optical Seminar.”
—Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology