New scenarios in recovery for ophthalmic lenses

Eran Harduff, General Manager Shamir Rx Italia, talks to WMIDO about current prospects and problems for the ophthalmic lens market.

Tell us how Phase2 went for your company and how you approached Phase 3.

Obviously, May was a month with many problems but the number of orders increased every week so we opted to gradually rehire our collaborators.

However, requests during June were very reassuring and even surpassed those of the same period in 2019.

I believe that, all in all, the ophthalmic industry is lucky: the sector appears to have recovered. Undoubtedly, the chains have suffered more given that many optical centres are located in shopping centres which were closed at weekends (the busiest times), whereas independent opticians have recovered.

Lens manufacturers still have problems because the disinfecting procedures slow down production and make it more expensive.

Have you changed production or focused on certain products?

We launched the “Shamir Anti Fog” coating, the only permanent one on lenses. We designed it for anyone who has to use a mask at work, who wears glasses when practicing sport or simply for anyone who wears glasses habitually. In effect we were one of the forerunners: we had planned to launch it at MIDO!

During the pandemic we donated these lenses to people in the frontline in hospitals in Rome and Bergamo, and some of our optician partners contributed to the project by combining them with frames.

There’s a point to be made regarding Covid-19: this phenomenon will be with us in the future and requests for this type of product will not decrease, quite the opposite!

Our products for supporting optical centres during this emergency also include an end consumer data collection tool that does not require physical contact with the customer: Spark Mi Up. We have had many requests worldwide and we are creating a new model that will be released in October.

How will the lens and instrument market change?

My biggest fear is that there will be a downtrend in the market: when faced with difficulties some competitors apply offers that have no commercial logic, that go against the good of the industry. The market has to adapt to the new economy with intelligence because the future will go in this direction.

How has communication changed with the pandemic?

We are aware that with the closure of the fairs, online communication has become popular with any product category. This momentum is important and we should regard it as an integral part of the new sales methods and not totally exclude it.

Let’s take a leap forward in time and talk about MIDO 2021: what will you present?

I think there is a lot of concern about how fairs will be held, but everyone is hoping that they can start again as soon as possible. There are several new ideas we want to launch at MIDO and they focus on our values: high-end products and vision well-being.

I hope for ourselves and our parent company that MIDO will take place; it is an important meeting place. MIDO is a leader and that’s why we must support it.