November 18, 2020 in Pambianco’s newsletter. read news of an agreement between the Franco Sordelli company (which specializes in designing and making eyewear) and M-Dis Distribuzione media (the leading player in the national distribution of publishing products owned by De Agostini, Rcs Media Group and Hearst) that will bring a new line of pre-assembled products with these features to Italy’s 15,000 newsstands:
“Available with graded lenses up to +3 diopters, but also with neutral lenses designed for those who spend many hours on PCs, tablets and smartphones as a preventive tool, Moscacieca is intended for a mature audience to correct early signs of presbyopia but also, in the case of the neutral lens, for the growing audience of young students forced into distance education or simply e-gamer enthusiasts: a medically certified device that gives immediate relief to the presbyopic eye and is capable of preventing future damage caused by bright screens.”
I will not tell you my first reaction to this news, but I offer a “logical” analysis of this news that has matured from day to day.
“Graduated lenses up to +3 diopters” so far nothing new: these are our beloved premounted lenses. Those who are everywhere. Those who have slipped into the optical industry for commercial logic and various distractions. Those accepted by the category a few years ago with a “but what’s the big deal? It’s a throwaway, it’s going to leave its own time….” Those who have taken the business to pharmacies and all the businesses that sell them and emptied not only the drawer of opticians, but also deprived the profession of the responsibility of ensuring correct close-up glasses the right amount. Those often prescribed in prescriptions that groom tolerance to the limits.
Those that the end customer in the supermarket checkout line finds in the rack next to the candy and tries repeatedly by aiming for the highest addition number (so he doesn’t think about it anymore).
“Neutral lenses designed for those who spend many hours on PCs, tablets and smartphones as a prevention tool.” Here we start with the novelty: premounted equipped with lenses (graded or neutral) with blue light filter.
That’s like saying years of studies lavished in all forms by distinguished experts in scientific journals, taken up by vision specialists-from ophthalmologists on down-and translated into technology by ophthalmic companies (none excluded), countless hours of refresher courses, the light spectrometer plumbed in every single wavelength, webinairs and training on the best performing products. All of this, suddenly, in the midst of the worst planetary moment in decades, is condensed into a “prevention tool” and entrusted to the newsagent (with all due respect to the category). It certainly seems that on the desks of those who seek solutions on how to get out of this crisis “interesting” data have arrived (even if not pertaining to their own sector, which is instead the circulation of specialized press and EDITORIAL products) and that on these tables, improvised sacrificial altars, has risen the “growing audience of young students forced into distance education.” and of course the bewildered “mature audience” grappling with “early signs of presbyopia.” as if the pandemic had driven the entire category of opticians to extinction.
“A certified medical device that provides immediate relief to the presbyopic eye and is capable of preventing future damage caused by light shields.”
…Shall we comment?
Why is this news almost 15 days old and is passing in general silence announced only by reporting the M-Dis press release?
Where did everyone go?
Where is the medical community?
Where are the pharmacists who are used to talking about “immediate relief”?
Where are the ophthalmic companies investing in the latest technologies?
Where are the medical device certifiers in the optical industry?
Where are the opticians of all kinds and degrees?
I would like to say that the news is over here. No, it doesn’t.
There is much more and it is perhaps the most painful part.
An article by Mauro Barzagna appears in the Corriere dell’Umbria last Thursday, Nov. 26, which speaks of “a strategic field choice all the more so when put in relation to the need to move beyond the crisis.”
The strategic choice is based on the fact that newsagents will be able to offer products such as “Italian design glasses.” The reporter nicely highlights the strategy illustrated by Andrea Liso, CEO of M-Dis, who is well aware that “glasses are often already found at newsstands, but they are often of dubious origin, while with this product we can now also ‘attack’ those who do not want to give up quality, leaving the newsagent with more significant margins.”
“Quality” is brought to the sacrificial altar by Franco Sordelli’s company, the one about which the curious end user can read on the institutional website “since 1921 craftsmanship made in Italy.” The glasses will be called “Moscacieca,” and frankly I think they could not find a better name to sum up all the “goodness” of the operation.
I confess that there were few hooks to grab onto when I first read this news: because you are stunned and dazed with every word, your head spins, and your already unstable balance leaves you. A thousand will be very valid reasons for the choices made by the actors in this initiative. Probably nothing will be able to undermine this process that is already underway and that with each passing day gets an endorsement in the indifference of everyone in a form of silence-assent that kills more than any war.
The sense of freedom that pervades me in the moment when I can make my thoughts flow with words does not balance the despondency. But I know that despite everything tomorrow I and many opticians like me will continue to welcome our customers and spend the words to tell them about the quality we offer and the professionalism of our craft. We will continue to talk about glasses, the real ones, and not the result of commercial operations disguised as “necessary needs,” those for which a new term would need to be coined to identify them. We will talk about how they must respond to very precise technical parameters and the visual needs of one’s eyes, which are as unique as each component of our body is unique. We will continue to talk about the beauty of a frame and the beauty that comes through the right lenses according to our professional judgment. We will continue with our way of working by carrying on an over 100-year legacy that our category proudly embraces every day.
We will continue to do our work because we know that there are things that are not for sale.
For everything else there is a newsstand.