In the wake of the recent tragic shooting in Tucson, there are renewed efforts by both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to inject a measure of civility into the national political process. Although it appears that a lone, lunatic gunman is responsible for the massacre, the incident has nonetheless prompted politicians from both major parties to “reach across the aisle” to one another in the hopes of reducing the polarized attitudes that so often poison the dialogue among us and paralyze our progress on key issues.

In my December 2010 column, I proposed that eyecare practitioners try to reduce the effects of optical “polarization” by not basing their product choices solely on political grounds. I encouraged readers to evaluate products or programs on their individual merits, rather than only using the litmus test of the vendor’s corporate affiliations. That idea has elicited both praise and criticism from readers. You can read some of their responses on our blog,

One reader, an executive at a major optical corporation, suggested that the corporate optical world and the independent eyecare sector could begin “reaching across the aisle” by embracing the “Think About Your Eyes” campaign. As he pointed out, Luxottica, Essilor and VSP have taken an important first step in this collaborative approach to growing the entire optical category, chains and independent ECPs alike, while raising consumer awareness of the importance of eye health. Initial results from pilot markets have been positive, and the Foundation for Eye Health Awareness is working to bring in additional sponsors throughout the industry to expand “Think About Your Eyes” into a national program.

This is a great opportunity to make a positive contribution to a genuinely non-partisan cause. To find out how you can help, visit and click on the ECP resources tab.

—Andrew Karp