Life is beautiful. Sàfilo partnered with the Solstice Sunglass store chain for the pre-Emmy celebrity “Cabana Beauty Buffet” at the famous Chateau Marmount Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Will & Grace” star 1. Debra Messing knows how to lead the glamorous life in a pair of Ralph Lauren suns style 879s. Also at the event, 2. Michelle Clunie of Showtime’s “Queer as Folk” in Gucci 1443s and 3. Freddy Rodriguez of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” in Burberry 8927s… Valor. Two of the leads in CBS’ “The Agency” were spotted wearing the Valorium sunglass from Serengeti on recent episodes. 4. Paige Turco (who plays Terri Lowell) in vermilion and 5. Jason O’Mara (A.B. Stiles) in sandstone… Safe passage. “Six Feet Under” star 6. Michael C. Hall was outfitted with the Burberry 8928s sunglasses from Sàfilo at Macy’s & American Express Passport 2002 20th Anniversary gala fashion show. Sàfilo was a proud sponsor of the annual HIV/AIDS charity event… Making a scene. 7. Adam Rodriguez, who plays Eric Delko on “C.S.I. Miami” looks arresting in the Pharmium from Bollé… Adapting. 8. Meryl Streep wears Donna Karan style 8808, color 315 from Marchon. The Academy Award winning actress can currently be seen in two films, “Adaptation” and “The Hours”… In the red. 9. Jakob Dylan, son of legendary folk singer, Bob Dylan, and front man of the band the Wallflowers, wears Calvin Klein Suns style 179, color 523 from Marchon. The Wallflowers recently released their fourth album “Red Letter Days”… Head to toe. Singer 10. Lenny Kravitz was top to bottom in Yves Saint Laurent including his sunglasses, YSL 2013s from Sàfilo at the GQ Man of the Year awards… Heart attack. Actor (and J.Lo love interest) 11. Ben Affleck wears Chrome Hearts Red in shiny silver from Optical Shop of Aspen while Bon Jovi guitarist 12. Richie Sambora sports Chrome Hearts Dragpipe 2 frame… Bonding. The latest installment in Hollywood’s James Bond franchise, “Die Another Day,” has the film’s stars donning some stylish looks from Luxottica. 007 himself, 13. Pierce Brosnan, wears Persol PE 2672-S, which were specially crafted by Persol to link the brand characteristics of the eyewear with those of the Bond character. 14. Halle Berry wears Vogue VO 3334-S and newcomer 15. Rosamund Pike sports Ray-Ban 4018… Dead zone. 16. Ja Rule sports Oliver Peoples’ Jato in silver with the OPX Photochromic Chrome Graphite Lens at the Los Angeles Premiere of the movie “Half Past Dead”… Double agent. “Alias” star 17. Jennifer Garner in the Diesel Jumby from Sàfilo.              —Jackie Micucci 

well done Rockwell
The pose is an optical classic and that pout on the patient certainly seems just as familiar. Nearly 50 years ago a young boy by the name of Steve Nesko posed for Norman Rockwell at the Harvey & Lewis shop in Hartford, Conn. Our picture, as created by the same shop and Lawrence Eyewear to commemorate the launch of the Norman Rockwell Eyewear collection, is a recreation with the now 59-year-old Nesko. Nesko originally received 10 bucks for his modeling. This time he and his wife got fitted with new Rockwell Eyewear. The image-homage continues in that Joe DeSanzo, who watched Rockwell paint the original is the ECP fitting Nesko for his new glasses in the photo. Store owner Jim Lewis still has the original Rockwell note thanking all for use of the store. The original painting appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1956. Our other snap includes Lawrence president Larry Ruffino and vp Michael Mandelbaum “point-of-selling” the new collection. —JJS

A Sunny Dilemma
The secret shopper mission was simple. In town for the recent OLA, 20/20 decided to play the part of a traveling salesman in Indianapolis desperately in need of some sunclips. Downtown Eye Care is located smack in the center of town and just a block from the convention center.

Greeting me as soon as I entered the store, optician Lori Ashley quickly directed me to a revolving display of Just-Match-It polarized clips from Unique Optical when I explained my sun dilemma. The assortment included a perfect match for my Calvin Klein silver metal P3s AND my spare pair of the same style in gold.

Expressing possible interest in something that could be used as a separate sunglass that might also cover my eyeglasses Lori directed me to a display of Cocoons by Live Eyewear. She let me do the fitting while carefully explaining the benefits of this sort of sun protection cover up. When I complimented the potential ease of fitting the Cocoons over my own glasses while driving, Lori asked if I’d had any experience with magnetic clips. Feigning ignorance (an easy stretch for me) I asked for a demonstration of such a product, reinforcing the fact that I wasn’t interested in getting into an Rx situation. Lori proceeded to give me a total rundown on the benefits of magnetic clips fitting me with an assortment of EasyClip styles from Aspex. When I told her that purchase would have to wait until I was back in New York City she volunteered to find me a source for EasyClips in my hometown. By this point owner/optometrist J. L. Frank had joined the discussion offering even further assistance on the subject of polarized sun protection.   —James J. Spina

Moja Working — MOJA president and director of sales Jamil Myrie went full fashion-focused into MOJA DESIGN's Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway Promotion. Myrie
visited MOJA accounts dressed as a Pilgrim to promote their Thanksgiving Giveaway.  Every time an account ordered 12 or more frames in November, MOJA donated a Thanksgiving turkey to a disadvantaged family in the dispenser’s name. Visit mojadesign.com or call (888) 576-MOJA for progress on these pilgrim.able treatment options, including photodynamic therapy and is available in both English and Spanish. For more information visit:

Get OveRx It — Knowing that retailers often need to give consumers take-home info Live Eyewear has a neat brochure containing information on the benefits of polarization, the features of Cocoons and the various choices available in the Cocoons sunwear collection.
On the back panel there is a place for the retailer to include their identification. All authorized Cocoons retailers receive the brochures free of charge as part of the Cocoons POP package. The standard complimentary Cocoons Point-of-purchase for authorized retailers includes Cocoons posters, dealer decals and consumer brochures. In addition there is a new 16-piece display with interchangeable graphics. The display is provided when a new account is opened with 25-plus pairs of Cocoons, or for current dealers a reorder of 12-plus pairs. The display graphics depict the features and benefits of Cocoons and illustrate that they are an OveRx sunglass. The footprint of the display is a mere 15 inches by 10 inches. The display can be purchased for $85. Interested? Call (800) 834-2563.

Race Day — Hawkins Optical of Topeka, Kan. has selected the second group of winners in the Sans Pareil NASCAR Eyewear Promotion. The winners, announced by Kevin Bargman, president of Hawkins are Tonya Askew (pictured) from the office of Grant, McKinney & Simmonds and Sara Lewis from Winfield Family Optometry. Each received two tickets to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Series, Grand National Division races at the Kansas City Speedway.

I’d Like To Thank The Academy — The Academy of Ophthalmology’s “Understanding Age-Related Macular Degeneration” video continues to excel in media competitions. The film recently won a Gold Award in the 2002 National Mature Media Awards, which honors excellence in materials aimed at an elderly audience. The film also placed first at the 2001 “Freddies,” medicine's version of the Oscars. “Understanding AMD” shows a series of patients with varying forms of AMD. It discusses treatment options, including photodynamic therapy and is available in both English and Spanish. For more information visit: www.aao.org/store.

connecting kids

Doctors Vision Center and Tennessee Vision Associates—optometric chains with more than 80 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia—hosted a free vision screening and vision education program in September as part of a back-to-school initiative. The event was held in conjunction with the practices’ vendor partners Charmant and Essilor. Free vision screenings were offered to school-aged children, who were then eligible to win a backpack filled with back-to-school supplies. Winners of the backpacks were automatically registered to win a complete Dell computer system, won by third-grader Samantha Miller of Lexington, N.C. (seated in photo). Joining Samantha are Pam Watford, Becky Church, Robin Hamm, Cindy Lanier, Sandy Tysinger, Wendy Langley, Tina Williams and Tom McWhorter, OD, of Doctors Vision Center.

Move over Victoria’s Secret. The new ad campaign for Fendi eyewear could steam up any camera or eyeglass lens. Featuring photographs of model Rie Rasmussen  by the kings of passion pics—Mert Alas and Markus Piggot—the images flirt between a tone of sepia and sensual color. The steamy shots appearing in Elle, Vogue, Interview and W will also be used in a variety of merchandising and marketing materials.

Evans as Advocate
Linda Evans has always been an outspoken advocate for women’s causes. Continually inspiring many “to be the best they can be.” She prides herself on the fact that her Sans Pareil eyewear reflects that philosophy–to inspire and design new and original looks while at the same time, keeping in touch with what women really want. And now all of that energy has Evans strongly participating in the launch of the Global Peace Initiative of Women.

Evans recently joined more than 500 women from 75 countries to participate in the launching of this initiative. Women leaders in business, religion and government gathered in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the role women can play in developing specific peace building activities in regions of conflict and tension such as the Middle East, the Balkans, Rwanda, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Philippines. The goal is to build an unprecedented global network of women leaders who can have an impact in creating a future free of violence, poverty, hatred and fear in which all people, including women and children, can live to their fullest potential. —JJS

Another Alternative
Laser vision correction isn’t the only eyewear solution the three Os need to watch out for in the near future. Dallas-based Presby Corp. is currently in U.S. FDA Phase II clinical trials for approval of its presbyopia solution called the Schleral Expansion Band (SEB). Preliminary international studies also indicate the SEB may also relieve ocular hypertension and primary open-angle glaucoma.

According to Ronald A. Schachar, MD, PhD—Presby’s founder, chairman, president and CEO as well as the developer of the SEB technology—as people get older the natural crystalline lens of the eye grows in size, decreasing the space around it. With the insertion of the SEB, he says, surgeons can “expand the schlera so the underlying cilliary muscle works physiologically as it did when the patient was younger,” before the onset of presbyopia.

As Dr. Schachar explains it, SEB insertion can be completed on an outpatient basis—using topical or local anesthesia—and it can take as little as 15 to 20 minutes. Surgeons begin the process by making four tiny incisions in the oblique quadrants of the patients’ eye, posterior to the limbus (basically, in the “white” of the eye), forming what Dr. Schachar describes as “little belt loops.” The SEB, which is made of polymethylmethacrylate, or PMMA (the same material used in hard contact lenses and intra-ocular lenses), is then inserted into position into the loops.

“The procedure is completely safe,” says Dr. Schachar, who began working on the theory of schleral expansion more than 30 years ago, when he was still in private practice. “Surgeons don’t operate on any of the eye’s optical areas and patients can’t see or feel the implants.”

Though he has not yet worked with presbyopic patients using the SEB, Toronto ophthalmologist Aaron Rifkind has treated patients with ocular hypertension and glaucoma using the SEB. Out of 24 patients only five, the MD says, still require some form of medication to control their intraocular pressure. The rest have experienced reduction in ocular pressure (at a median level of 7mmHg) over the nine-month duration of the study. Side effects seem minimal (only a few patients report red or irritated eyes). Dr. Rifkind expects Canadian officials to approve the device sometime this year.

Though FDA approval in the U.S. may be still three years away, Presby has recently signed an agreement with Ciba Vision to manufacture, market and distribute the technology. “We see ourselves competing head on with bifocal contacts and multifocal spectacle lenses,” he notes. “Of course, not everyone will opt to have the surgical procedure, but there are no other treatments that physically reverse presbyopia on the market now.” —BPD

What’s Old is New

For Raymond Ascher it’s been a vintage year. At this past Vision Expo West, hordes of dispensers and vendors alike were digging for eyewear treasure making his booth one of the jumpingest joints in Las Vegas. Ascher, along with partners Herbert Kurzenberger and David Ulrich, have been purveyors of the best specs of years gone by, mostly selling their wares at European trade shows such as MIDO and by word-of-mouth in the States.

“We had primarily sold in Europe,” explains Ascher. “Before we only sold to boutiques or private collectors. But at Expo we sold to ODs and small little guys. A good percentage of our sales are to designers. We get so many designers buying [vintage] frames to copy them, which is fine—it’s flattery.” So what decade is the most popular? “Anywhere from turn of the century to the ’80s—We’re going the full gamut. We just brought back original Puccis from Europe; they’re so great I don’t even know if I want to sell them,” he jokes. He notes the hardest to find are ’20s metal frames. “I’ve almost stopped selling them. I have so few I try not to push them.” However, he did recently unearth 2,000 Windsor saddle bridge frames with cable temples from the turn of the century. “They were still wrapped in bundles.”

The frames Ascher and his partners sell are all unused. He adds the quality of the older eyewear is superior to much of what’s in the market today. “The quality is nicer,” he says. “In the old days they used 8mm thick plastic. They had built-in nose pads not laminated nose pads. We have 50-year-old eyewear with stones that are still in place—they’re not glued. In those days they actually drilled and then heated them in there.”

How Ascher is able to have such a cache of vintage frames—he estimates conservatively that he and Kurzenberger have about four million—begins with his family’s optical pedigree. “My family started in the business in 1930,” he explains. “We were wholesalers. We imported frames all the way back in the ’40s. We also exported lenses in Europe at that time because they didn’t have factories. In the ’50s, we had distributorships in France, Italy and England.” In addition, the Aschers at one time had 39 retail stores; now there are two: Phoenix Optical in Berkley, Calif. and Spectacle Shoppe in San Francisco both run by family members.

“We had hundreds of thousands of pieces,” says Ascher. “We’d keep frames around for spare parts. Back then people wore the same frames for 10, 15 years. They expected you to be able to fix them when they came in… can you imagine coming into a store with a 15-year-old suit and expecting them to fix it? As a result, we accumulated many frames.”

Ascher realized there was great potential in vintage when customers began coming into his dispensary years ago with their grandparents’ old frames wanting to have their prescription lenses put in.

Long-time friend Kurzenberger, who resides in Munich, Germany, began collecting vintage eyewear back in the ’60s. “He took over a place in New York,” explains Ascher. “He also had a warehouse in Germany.”

David Ulrich came on board almost 15 years ago when he approached Ascher about selling vintage eyewear at his dispensary, The Spectacle Shoppe in New Brighton, Minn. “I said, ‘No problem I’ll set you up,’” notes Ascher. Ulrich carries 10,000 pieces in his store.

As Ascher says nothing beats true vintage eyewear. “There will always be a market for this merchandise.”  —JM

Polar Power — KBCo. has several new marketing initiatives for 2003. In addition to developing an interactive display for demonstrating polarized technology at retail, the company has launched “Get a Pair for Glare,” which rewards dispensers who are part of the company's “Frequent Seller” program for sales of KBCo. polarized lenses. With each sale, dispensers registered in the program will receive a game card. Each month, KBCo. will hold a drawing to randomly select 40 $100 winners. Cash rewards are also available for every 15, 50 and 100 pairs sold. Last year, a similar program conducted by KBCo. awarded more than $125,000 in cash. For information, call (800) 722-8776.

What A Gas — Nassau Vision Group (NVG) Labs are offering a unique “gas card” promotion through the end of this month. Billed as “The Look You Want, The Performance You Need, The Fuel to Get You There,” NVG Lab customers can earn a $10 ExxonMobil gas card for every
two pair of single-vision or flat-top—or every pair of progressives—in Corning SunSensors photochromics they sell. Visit

A Critical Film — The Low Vision Council has developed an educational video for visually impaired patients—”There’s Hope for You.” It offers information on the causes of low vision, the devices available today and how they help the visually impaired. “There’s Hope for You” showcases success stories featuring interviews of patients and practitioners. The video offers a toll-free referral number for information on low vision practitioners nationwide. It can also be customized with the contact information of an individual eyecare practice. For information call (760) 862-9040.

Distance Learning — Corning has developed a new education and training seminar to assist eyecare professionals in understanding today's photo-chromic options. Entitled “Color Your World,”the ABO-approved course is presented by Corning SunSensors lens manufacturers and representatives of Corning Connection wholesale labs, usually in conjunction with a professional educational event. ABO credit is also available via the Internet or in printed form through Optical Training Institute at www.opticaltraining.com, or by calling (949) 551-5455. “Color Your World” addresses technical improvements, performance characteristics and lens features and benefits of today's photochromic technology. Of particular interest to participants are detailed overviews of the market potential for photochromics, consumer trends and product applications. For information visit: www.corning.com/ophthalmic.

Shopping Right — So far, nearly 200 eyecare professionals have received rewards in Transitions' “Present Every Day” Mystery Shopper Program, which began October 1. According to the company, mystery shoppers continue to visit or telephone eyecare professionals across the U.S. to observe their recommendations of Transitions and reward them on-the-spot for outstanding presentations of the product as an everyday lens option by doing the following: having Transitions in-store signage and demonstration tools visible and accessible; asking patients, “Have you heard about Transitions Lenses?”; discussing the benefits of Transitions Lenses; communicating the company's key marketing messages; demonstrating how Transitions Lenses work; making a personal recommendation; wearing Transitions Lenses and making Transitions Lenses part of their telephone on-hold message. Dispensers meeting this criteria can win cash vouchers on the spot. For more information on the Mystery Shopper Program, call Transitions Customer Service at (800) 848-1506 or visit transitions.com.

Thin Is In — Essilor has announced the winners of its “Win with Thin” promotion, conducted in partnership with eyecare network (and Essilor partner) www.visionweb. com. Cheryl Ziegler, OD, owner of Advanced Eye Care in Plymouth, Wis., won the grand prize—a Phillips 42-inch flat-screen TV. The promotion enabled ECPs to increase their chances of winning a prize with each purchase of Crizal-coated Varilux Panamic and single-vision Thin & Lite 1.67 or Nikon Performance Package Thin Plastic 1.67. Participants entered to win through a simulated auto racing game on Vision Web.

Fisher of Dreams
His legacy includes the creation of the Indy 500 Speedway, the development of the Lincoln Highway and the founding of Miami Beach as America’s prime fantasy resort area. But Carl Fisher nearly had all his visionary dreams stymied by poor vision. Jerry M. Fisher tells the sight story in “The Pacesetter,” his biography of Carl G. Fisher.

In 1905, “Carl had managed to race successfully even though his vision had been progressively worsening. He sought help, even in Europe. The solution, ironically was found right in Indianapolis. One day he ran into Bill Holtz, a local policeman who was wearing a bandage over his eye because of an injury suffered in a fight.
When Carl told Holtz about his own vision problem Holtz advised him to consult a local eye doctor. Carl took the advice and was fitted with his first pair of glasses at the age of 31.  The horn-rimmed spectacles became a Fisher trademark. The improvement in his vision brought back memories of being called stupid when the real problem had been that he couldn’t see the blackboard. Whenever Carl learned that anyone—especially children—had poor vision, he would send them to specialists at his own expense.”  —JJS

Global Vision
It was a mission to give the gift of sight. Donna Vernier, Transitions Optical’s Midwest account manager and a licensed optician, went to Casablanca, Morocco with the Illinois chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) to bring vision care to thousands of people with no such access. A team of doctors and opticians helped approximately 2,400 people including children and many elderly who had never before had a vision exam. They set up their exam area in Bensmick, one of the poorest areas of Casablanca.

“We fit 2,200 people with eyewear,” says Vernier, who has been involved with VOSH since she first moved to Chicago in 1987. “We brought back 200 prescriptions for children.”

The team treated patients with scarred corneas, exophthalmoses, aniraida, retinitis pigmentosa and rare congenital diseases. “We encountered a lot of extreme prescriptions—high minuses—and a lot of children with cataracts at a young age,” says Vernier. “We fit glasses for one 13-year-old girl who had no legs or arms—she had a rare disease called Grebe syndrome. She had a prescription of –13.00. We saw a lot of extreme cases.”

An international organization that relies on the volunteer services of optical professionals, VOSH is always in need of product. Manufacturers can donate their discontinued product by contacting
www.vosh.org or calling (877) VOSHERS. “We are also always in dire need of opticians too,” notes Vernier. “On this mission we had 13 doctors and only three opticians. So my fingers were worn.”

While in Morocco, the VOSH volunteers received shows of gratitude from the governor of Bensmick, Princess Lamia Solh (who is the president of the country’s organization for the blind) and U.S. Ambassador Margaret Tutwiler. But the gratitude Vernier gets from the patients is twofold. “They are so incredibly positive and happy,” she says. “They thank us with hugs and kisses.” —JM

OLA 2003
Nearly 1,600 optical industry executives, lab owners and lab staff members gathered in the motor sports capitol of the U.S.—Indianapolis—November 21 through 23 for the 52nd annual Optical Laboratories Association meeting. Getting into gear for 2003, several lens and lens processing equipment manufacturers debuted major innovations (for more information, see the L&T New Products section). In addition, the OLA announced its “Optical Pioneer Visionaries” for 2002. Recognized this year were Joseph Bruneni, Vision Consultants; Philip Eichelberger, Walman Optical; Corrine Hood, Katz & Klein; Gordon Keane, Digital Vision; Norman MacLeod, Sr., McLeod Optical; and Charles Pendrell, Sierra Optical. In closing, the organization presented its annual Awards of Excellence. Winners this year included:
* Best in Dress Frames: Zyloware for Via Spiga Gabetti
* Best in Safety Frames: Titmus for TR302S
* Best in Sports Frames: Hilco for Rx Sports Series—Zoomer/Sniper
* Best in Sunglasses: Rodenstock for Porsche Design P1001
* Best in Children’s Frames: Nouveau for Nickelodeon Sponge Bob Squarepants Waterlogged
* Best in Lens Materials: Hoya and Younger (PPG) for Phoenix/Trilogy (Trivex)
* Best in Lens Designs: Younger for Image “It Fits” PALs
* Best in Lens Treatments: Transitions for Next Generation
* Best in Marketing: Younger for Clear Choices
* Best in Surfacing Equipment: Loh for Vpro Generating Center
* Best in Lens Treatment Equipment: BPI for Turbo Tinter 4
* Best in Finishing Equipment: Salem Vision Group for CNC Opti-Drill
* Best in Processing Tools and Materials: OptiSource for All Off Marking
Ink Remover
* Best in Accessory Products: E-Z Pack for Rimless Tri-Pack
* Best Exhibitor: Loh
The OLA also honored Essilor’s Dr. Bernard Maitenaz with its Directors’ Choice Award for his work in developing the progressive lens.—Brian P. Dunleavy

1. Kodak Moment: Signet Armorlite’s Ed DeRosa and Ralph Woythaler of 21st Century Optics huddle up with some old-time gridiron greats at the NCAA Hall of Fame and Museum. Signet hosted several labs at a party to commemorate the launch of its Kodak Precise progressive. 2. Get online: Bob Gustin (right) accepts the award for Best Lab Web Site from LabTalk’s Christie Walker. 3. Gold Standard: (left to right) Keith Rodgers and Jonathan Schwartz of Omni Optical accept the Gold Award from Kimberly Hutton and John Young of COLTS Laboratories for excellence in lens processing/operations. 4. Top of the line: VM’s Andy Karp with representatives from the Top 25 wholesale labs in 2002.
5-7. Floored: On the show floor, CobraVision’s Drew Eichelberger (5) explains the NexGen casting system’s capabilities with Corning SunSensors photochromics; BPI’s Tim Rivett (6) shows off the company’s new UV spectometer; and lab executives (7) check out the new Dimetrix lensmeter/blocker at the Gerber Coburn booth 8. And the winners are: Dave Cole, Transitions; Mike Daley (on behalf of Dr. Bernard Maitenaz), Essilor; David Rips, Younger; Kurt Atchison and John Fried, Loh; Abe Merdinger, E-Z Pack; Dennis Pardum, Nouveau; Bob Nahmias, Hilco; Darryl Squicciarini, OptiSource; Dick Masters, Titmus; and Jamie Shyer, Zyloware accept awards from the OLA during the President’s Dinner. Absent from photo are Tim Rivett and J.R. Blackwood of BPI; Bob Long of Salem Vision Group and Jim Cox of Rodenstock.