The Vision Council has evolved greatly over the years, expanding and improving its services to help grow the optical industry.
The Optical Industry Association (OMA), was formed to help to promote a business environment to stimulate growth and influence the eye care industry. Comprised of manufacturers of ophthalmic frames, lenses, cases and optical machinery, OMA sought to create opportunities to grow the industry and provided forums, technical standards, statistical information, advocacy services, education, communication products and management support services. OMA members benefited from many types of reports and statistical information.
This article, written in 1980, provides more background about the OMA.
Members of the OMA set up the Vision Industry Council of America (VICA) to grow the ophthalmic market for the entire industry, including suppliers, manufacturers, practitioners and optical laboratories. The International Vision Expo shows were created as a centerpiece to showcase products and bring suppliers and their customers together.
In 1985, VICA took over the Better Vision Institute (BVI). The BVI was founded in 1929 and had a reputation as an advocate of vision care. The BVI brings together representatives from the fields of ophthalmology, opticianry and optometry and advised VICA in developing programs and materials, ensuring that the vision messages were accurate.
The VICA and OMA Board of Directors determined that the best way for the supply side of the optical industry to meet the challenges of the 21st century was to join forces and combine resources. The vision of the new organization, the Vision Council of America, was to be the recognized leader in improving and expanding eye care and eyewear products and services in North America.
The first VCA Board of Directors was composed of members from the OMA and VICA boards at the time of the merger. This transition board operated in accordance with procedures set forth in the proposed VCA bylaws for a period of approximately one year. At the end of the transition period new directors were elected.
The Low Vision Council voted in 2004 to join VCA. The Low Vision Division was added, expanding VCA’s umbrella to include this segment of the optical industry. In addition, Polycarbonate Lens Council also became a part of VCA in 2004.
In 2005, the Anti-Reflective Council also elected to join VCA. A standing committee was developed to address the issues of the AR companies in the membership.
Based on strategic direction set by the VCA board of directors and membership, the Vision Council of America launched its new brand – The Vision Council – to the vision industry. The new brand represents The Vision Council as the leading voice for enhancing life through better vision.
The re-branding process resulted in the development of a new core identity for The Vision Council, as well as new visual component of the brand. While the look of The Vision Council changed, the organization’s core services remain the same.
Additionally, the Sunglass Association of America voted to become a part of The Vision Council and the Sunglass and Reader Division of the organization was created.
In 2011, the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) and The Vision Council announced their joint affiliation, naming OLA the new Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council and combining the activities of both associations to benefit their respective members. The Optical Lab Division will represent one of six operating divisions within The Vision Council that provide guidance, education programs, marketing materials, research and advocacy outreach to address common interests among members.
The European Sunglass Association (ESA) merged with The Vision Council in 2012, officially forming the European Sunglass Committee. This merger enabled The Vision Council to better address European issues and more effectively represent European-based member companies.
The California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA) officially merged into The Vision Council's Optical Lab Division (formally the Optical Laboratories Association) in May 2013. Founded in 1957, the California Optical Laboratories Association represents full-service optical laboratories from California and other Western states.