The Vision Council’s annual Executive Summit is underway today as industry leaders gather for the latest in economic trends and business strategies.

The event, taking place January 24–26 at the Hotel Del in Coronado, California, has drawn high-level executives from across the optical industry including optical retailers who were on-hand this morning to celebrate the launch of the organization’s new Optical Retail Division.

“The relevance of retail’s role in the optical industry cannot be understated,” said Mike Hundert, CEO of De Rigo Rem and Chairman of The Vision Council’s Board of Directors. “As the industry has evolved, so has the relationship between retail and wholesale. The Optical Retail Division will enable The Vision Council and its members to stay at the forefront of how consumers experience and purchase optical products, and further our ability to empower better lives through better vision.”

The 2018 Executive Summit has 35+ retail representatives from 16 different optical retailers in attendance, many of whom are existing members of The Vision Council through operating divisions such as the Lab Division.

These companies, who have become the founding Optical Retail Division members, are able to maintain membership under each applicable division.

Many of these representatives attended an inaugural Optical Retail Division meeting earlier today, where they learned more about The Vision Council’s current programs and discussed potential future programs for the Division. The organization will continue to engage with these and other key leaders in optical retail in the development of programs and services, and is in the process of recruiting an Optical Retail Division Liaison to further these relationships and best meet the needs of the newly announced Division.

Yesterday’s events included The Vision Council’s inaugural ‘State of the Industry’ address, with updates on the issues of highest priority to the industry today.

Senior Technical Director Michael Vitale brought attendees up to speed on The Vision Council’s ongoing dialogue with OEHHA regarding a Safe Use Determination (SUD) for BpA as well as the status for both ANSI and ISO standards, followed by a Government Regulations update from Regulatory Affairs Counsel Rick Van Arnam, covering the latest California Prop 65 issues including changes to Prop 65 Labeling and Language requirements, as well as FDA Unique Device Identifier (UDI) compliance updates and recent issues affecting optical labs.

Senior Director of Industry Research Services, Steve Kodey, provided a U.S. Optical Market overview with the latest VisionWatch market research data that indicates the market is expected to grow by 1.8% in 2018. Kodey examined how usage, managed vision care, and other factors were impacting recent and future optical markets, and demonstrated how improving economic conditions, the growth of online sales and rising future intent have grown certain segments of the industry – OTC readers and contact lenses – more than others. Attendees also learned that niche markets – including sports sunglasses and free form lenses – are growing faster than overall optical, and were given tips for taking advantage of the changing optical environment to maximize sales and future growth.

Each member of The Vision Council’s officers was confirmed for a second one-year term today during the summit’s Business Meeting portion, including Mike Hundert, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of De Rigo Rem as Chairman of the Board, Ken Bradley of Eschenbach Optik as Vice Chairman, Robert Liener of A&A Optical as the Secretary/Treasurer, and Marty Bassett of Walman Optical as Immediate Past Chairman.

Confirmed for a second two-year term as directors at large were Ray Khalil of Lafont USA, Don Oakley of VSP Optics Group, and Catherine Rauscher or Transitions. Rebecca Geifer of MODO Eyewear was confirmed for an initial two-year term as director at large. The complete roster for the 2018 Board of Directors can be found online at

“The continued growth of our industry is dependent upon the personal growth and development of the executives who are moving the industry forward. It is an honor that our industry’s leaders trust The Vision Council, year after year, to provide the catalyst for that growth,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. “I’m incredibly proud of the team of experts we have at our organization, including those presenting today’s State of the Industry, who are sought after by so many in the industry. With these resources, and the guidance of the optical leaders who make up our esteemed Board of Directors, I’m excited for what’s to come as we continue to strengthen our programs, our industry, and the next generation of industry leaders.”

For more information about The Vision Council’s Optical Retail Division, visit

For questions about the new division, or information on becoming a member, contact Greg Chavez, The Vision Council’s Executive Vice President of Operations & Membership, at or 703.740.1399.