I first heard the famous feminist slogan “The personal is political” back in the 1970s. At the time, the idea that one’s personal actions had political consequences was a bold notion.

Unlike most artifacts of ’70s culture, this one still retains some of its appeal. In fact, this idea has not only endured, it has entered the mainstream, albeit with a somewhat different spin. In today’s consumer-driven culture, we support the products and services that embody our beliefs and ideals. The popularity of cause-related marketing underscores the power of the personal, even if it is not always connected to the political.

The optical business has also taken on a more personal dimension these days, as anyone who has dispensed a pair of digitally-designed and manufactured progressive or single vision lenses lately can attest. Utilizing the full optical potential of these lenses requires taking a patient’s personal measurements, namely vertex distance, pantoscopic tilt and face form (or having a lab supply default measurements).

Personalized eyewear is perfect for consumers who want products that reflect their individual tastes and preferences, and that’s good news for ECPs and optical retailers. As Barry Santini asserts in his cover story, “If you have doubts about the potential for profits in personalized eyewear, you need not look any further than the success of the authentic Rx programs of companies like Maui Jim, Oakley, Kaenon, Ray-Ban, Rudy Project and others. They’re running two and three shifts a day to keep up with consumer demand.”

So here’s a new mantra for doctors and dispensers: The personal is profitable. That might sound like heresy to someone who came of age in the ’70s, but it’s really not such a stretch.

While you’re in a ’70s frame of mind, check out a few of those ’70s retro frames in this issue’s GenEYE feature.

—Andrew Karp