COVID-19 Implications



The global outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus has disrupted the lives of millions including individuals and businesses in the vision industry. The following information has been collected to help members through these unprecedented times.

For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the evolving pandemic, click here.

Guidance for Eyecare Providers and Optical Retailers

The Vision Council worked closely with a taskforce of vision care industry leaders to launch, a digital platform designed to help eyecare providers navigate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses. The website is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource to help eyecare providers navigate the complex journey from shutdown back to ‘new normal’ business conditions with practical insights and a collection of best practices, protocols, tools and tips for reopening a practice and maintaining its health until conditions improve.

Resources available on include interactive cashflow calculators, guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) process, downloadable patient marketing materials and tips on acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE).  The website is updated on a weekly basis with timely trends and data.  Users should register on the website to receive updates as new content is posted.

The Vision Council's Sanitization Operating Assumptions

At the request of members as well as the industry at large, The Vision Council has created a compilation of information regarding best sanitization methods for products and packages to help as members prepare to reopen to serve their customers and patients.

U.S. Legislative Response to COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, U.S. lawmakers have worked to provide emergency relief for individuals, families and businesses. The Vision Council has created a general analysis outlining all phases of the U.S. legislative response to COVID-19.

Additionally, on April 28, 2020, The Vision Council sent this letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell, Schumer and McCarthy on behalf of members to request various levels of support for the optical industry in the fourth stimulus package. The letter includes specific calls for support surrounding personal protective equipment (PPE), the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 testing and liability protection.

Shipping & Manufacturing

Members should continue to expect delays in shipping as well as production and should contact their manufacturers, suppliers and freight forwarders to determine the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their individual businesses. All freight modes continue to be impacted by the pandemic, particularly air freight due to dramatically rising rates caused by reduced capacity brought on by airlines' grounding flights. Courier services, such as FedEx, UPS and DHL, continue to experience route suspensions and other delays. Bottlenecks at ocean ports is also growing, as importers delay picking up cargo intended for still-closed retailers.

Travel Restrictions

The CDC regularly issues updates regarding international and domestic travel. The latest recommendations can be found here.

Optical Market Research

The Vision Council's market research team continues to track the evolving eyewear and eyecare behavior of American consumers as well as members and eyecare providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The latest reports are shared with members through email updates as well as through exclusive webinars hosted by the research team.  A weekly Market Insights member email also captures recent salient data and distills recent trends for members.

The most recent COVID-19-related reports can be found in the Research Download Center here.

Ongoing projects include:

  • COVID-19 Optical Impact Study: Launched in February 2020 as part of The Vision Council’s monthly VisionWatch consumer survey, the study is designed to measure respondents’ level of concern over exposure to COVID-19 and tracks trends related to their interactions with eyecare providers, eye exam intent and eyewear purchases. 
  • COVID-19 Eyecare Provider Study:  Through a weekly survey fielded to eyecare providers, the study explores the impact of tightening restrictions, evolving consumer sentiment and government guidance related to COVID-19 and is aimed at gaining a broad understanding of how the market is reacting to the pandemic.

Industry Events

Due to COVID-19 related restrictions and precautions, The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions, co-owners of Vision Expo, cancelled both Vision Expo East and Vision Expo West in 2020.  The Vision Council remains committed to serving the industry and is working closely with Reed Exhibitions to plan Vision Expo East 2021, set to take place March 18-21 in New York City.

To meet the industry’s urgent need and desire to continue conducting business, Vision Expo has launched a comprehensive series of virtual programming to bring the optical community together in between in-person events under the umbrella of Vision Connects.  These virtual offerings are designed to help the eyewear and eyecare community source content, build industry knowledge and facilitate connections.  

Virtual offerings include:

  • Virtual EYE2EYE Series: A series of virtual panels and interactive conversations inspired by Vision Expo’s EYE2EYE Educational Series
  • InFocus Video Series: A series of four-minute video interviews with some of Vision Expo’s top industry attendees and OPTImum program buyers
  • Virtual Career Zone: On September 22, Vision Expo will host the Virtual Career Zone, a virtual panel and networking event designed to connect young professionals and students with prominent optical companies. 

Additionally, to deliver even greater value to the industry and further develop fresh and innovative virtual offerings, Vision Expo is also planning to launch a robust 365-digital platform dedicated to bringing the optical community together and allowing business to continue and flourish.  The platform will include CE education, allow for direct appointment setting, virtual product showcases, service and product sourcing, and much more. The announcement on Vision Expo’s new virtual platform, its specific offerings and partners will be shared in the coming months. 

For more information, please contact Mitch Barkley, Vice President of Trade Shows and Meetings at The Vision Council at



The information in The Vision Council's COVID -19 Implications update is derived from selected government and public sources. The Vision Council believes that the information comes from reliable sources, but does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness, which may be subject to change without notice.