The shutdowns of eyecare practices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have been widely reported and their damaging effects well documented. Less well known is the fact that many eyecare practices would be even worse off if their wholesale labs hadn’t helped them and their patients make it through these tough times.
That’s what happened at Bloom Family Eye Surgeons, a small family office in Dayton, Ohio. As the manager, Roberta Thompson tells me, “When COVID-19 hit, we were completely turned upside down. For safety concerns, we went from a staff of 28 to a staff of five. We had no way to fabricate lenses during this time, however, the need was still there. Patients still needed to see. I knew that if our small business was so severely impacted by this pandemic, that all small businesses had to be in the same position we were,” Thompson continues. “I had met Ronald Cooke of R&D Optical a few months before COVID-19, so I called him and asked if they would be willing to help us. I explained our position and without hesitation, he offered to help us in any way they could. It was kind of a ‘we are in this together’ feeling,” Thompson recalls. “They edged and fabricated any orders I sent them, usually the day they received them, and they sent back out the next day.”
Now the practice is back to normal staffing, and Thompson said she’ll continue to be loyal to R&D Optical. “Because of their customer service, their willingness to help us without hesitation, their overall communication and the feeling they give off as a small honest business, they have forever earned our business,” she says.
This is an example of a lab-ECP partnership at its best, but it’s not unusual. I’ve heard similar stories from other practices. It reminds us that the services and support that a good lab can provide is one of the vital forces that keeps this industry running, no matter how tough things get. I’d like to think that relationships like this that transcend the transactional realm can help keep us together as Americans during the bitterly divisive times we’re living through.
• Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology