No matter what the 20/20 or L&T topic these days I can’t help but feel an urge to scream the fact that eyewear (the frames AND the lenses) has so totally arrived as a first-class, truly fine citizen.

It is everywhere. And it commands with leadership in terms of technology, trends, lifestyle, branding and a high-profile identity factor on legions of eyewear aficionados.

And by aficionados I mean consumers. Patients. That army of millions looking to you, the eyecare pro, for care, product and service when it comes to perching glasses on their faces. These informed masses see eyewear everywhere. They see it in magazine ads. They see it in movies. On TV. On the red carpet at awards shows. Political candidates. The pundits commenting on those candidates.

They (those consumers... those patients) know about the hot brands, the amazing recent strides in lens tech, the materials the frames and the lenses are made of (ok... ok... they may call it plastic rather than zyl... but it IS plastic) They are increasingly savvy when it comes to AR coatings, progressives, luxury pricing as it relates to class and quality, great features for children, hot sport sunwear, metals that “flex” and eyewear that fits both their needs AND their faces.

In this issue alone 20/20 confronts the rapidly changing (and super-charged) scenarios of frame materials and multicultural fit while L&T keeps pace with the world of digital lens surfacing. Just digital surfacing alone takes a first-class leadership stance that nearly makes high-def TV seem dated and dusty.

The point is that eyewear stands head-held-high above a virtual myriad of products and issues in the EYES of the consumer. So it irks me when any pro or associate in the optical arena meekly moves to follow rather than lead. Optical is Toptical. The consumer knows it. We need to bask in our own brilliance.

You are a first class citizen. Act like one. It feels great.   

James J. Spina