Transitions Optical's 2003 education initiative is the largest in the company's history. Transitions considers education leadership integral to industry leadership. Launching a comprehensive education initiative helps fulfill Transitions' continuing commitment to support optical industry partners.

A director of global education was named in 2002 to help drive this key global initiative, which builds on Transitions' legacy of education leadership through events like Transitions Academy and other educational offerings to channel partners. Transitions' broad definition of education encompasses every value-added program, event, research initiative and marketing program the company can bring to the industry to help eyecare practices better meet patient needs and grow their businesses.

Transitions Optical is building on the company's traditional base of product and business-building education, and is expanding offerings to focus on eye health. The company will build an educational component into virtually every program or tool offered, and will tailor offerings to meet the unique needs of each audience. Transitions is also stepping up education outreach to consumers in 2003 via consumer advertising and outreach focusing on eye health issues.

Director of Global Education

Transitions created the director of global education position to spearhead the company's education initiatives. With education one of the most valuable initiatives Transitions uses to support partners, creation of a full-time position focused on education will help ensure that resources and best practices from around the globe can be harnessed and, in combination with ongoing feedback, will keep Transitions' educational offerings meaningful and relevant. The director has established a global strategy for education, and is instrumental to the educational program in the North American market.

Transitions Education Faculty

Transitions has assembled a group of respected, insightful ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians to provide counsel and guidance on the company's vital educational initiatives.

The Transitions Education Faculty will serve as an important resource to provide meaningful and relevant input and insight into the education strategy, working closely with the director of global education. The group will provide counsel to ensure that the focus of educational offerings is consistent with eyecare professional priorities and needs, and will review and provide input on the specific content of the education plan. It will help guide curriculum development and provide insights about trends, industry issues and opportunities.

The group may also assist in the development of Transitions' educational content via seminars and other forums, along with supporting Transitions' communication of education messages via speaking engagements, bylined articles, media roundtables, etc.

Transitions Partners in Education Modules

The Transitions Partners in Education curriculum was developed to help eyecare professionals focus on healthy vision and provide excellent eye health information to patients, and to help practices grow their businesses with Transitions&reg Lenses. The curriculum was created to meet the specific educational needs of the North American market. The new Transitions Education Faculty assisted in curriculum development and review. In addition, best practices from Transitions' operations around the globe were identified from a worldwide education audit and were used in the development of the North American curriculum.

New for 2003 is a business owner module that addresses the business-building benefits of ongoing training for the practice's staff in today's competitive and complex business environment. Business owners are encouraged to contact their Solutions Team representative or Transitions STAR laboratory professional to schedule this session prior to conducting the modules for employees.

The modules cover a range of topics from offering healthy vision for patients to strategies for helping businesses grow, including:
o a clinical focus on the need to protect the eyes from UV light and the implications for everyday eyewear,
o the four "must have" lens features and benefits for everyday eyewear,
o an easy-to-use, systematic method to help eyecare professionals provide the best eyewear solutions for their patients,
o as well as tools to help eyecare professionals market their practices.

The modules may be run in sequence or customized as appropriate to meet the needs of an eyecare professional¡¦s location. A brochure summarizing key points of each module presented is provided for each participant. A remote training option is available to eyecare professional locations if an in-person presenter is not available.

There are also two ABO-approved seminars planned for 2003 that should be available in the spring. They include an extended version of the module regarding the need to protect from UV light and a customer service course. There is recognition for course completion.

Transitions Academy

Now in its seventh year, Transitions Academy is an ever-growing, international event and is widely recognized as the leading educational forum for optical laboratories and industry partners in the Americas. Record-breaking attendance of more than 850 optical industry professionals from the United States, Canada and Latin America is expected for Transitions Academy '03. Fourteen North American trade journalists and representatives from the Latin American trade media will also be in attendance.

Transitions continues to evolve the curriculum at Transitions Academy to stay on the leading edge of industry trends and needs. In 2003, there are educational tracks for senior executives, sales personnel and customer service representatives. To ensure the curriculum is always relevant and fresh, the planning process for one year begins with feedback from attendees on the past year¡¦s offerings.

Renowned independent training firms Dale Carnegie and Development Dimensions International worked closely with Transitions and optical industry partners to identify topics and target and refine curriculum for the 2003 program.

During Transitions Academy, Transitions will recognize the 2002 U.S. Lab of the Year and a first-ever Canadian Lab of the Year.

Clinical Research

Transitions incorporates clinical research findings and implications into educational efforts, and provides continued support of clinical research and educational forums to help keep eyecare professionals abreast of the latest clinical findings pertinent to photochromic lenses.

For example, in an NYU Grand Rounds Special Presentation in February 2002, topics in what was to become the 'Light, Sight and Photochromics' monograph were explored with a group of ophthalmologists and medical students. The monograph, launched during the American Academy of Opthalmology last November, provides a single source for information on the latest clinical research related to vision-related quality of life (VRQOL). VRQOL is a way of defining a patient¡¦s overall visual experience that considers visual acuity, but also visual comfort and long-term vision protection. The monograph explores the relationship between light and sight, the damaging affects of UV, how to protect the eyes from UV, and lens options and their advantages and disadvantages.

Transitions will soon announce details about continuing education credits related to the monograph for optometrists.

A recent clinical study funded by an independent grant from Transitions Optical (CLAO Journal, July 2002) compared Transitions' newest 1.50 technology (released in January 2002) versus regular, clear lenses. The study found that four out of five patients preferred Transitions Lenses over regular clear lenses. Results showed that patients experienced a significant improvement in visual comfort and satisfaction with Transitions Lenses over regular, clear lenses outdoors, and had equivalent experiences with both types of lenses indoors. Transitions Lenses scored significantly better than regular, clear lenses in:
o Reducing eye strain (tearing and burning)
o Overall lens satisfaction
o Reducing pain and loss of visual performance due to glare
o Adjusting from indoor lighting to outdoor lighting
o Adapting to different lighting conditions
o Ease of performing outdoor activities

Transitions Optical believes in clinical research as a valuable tool to help eyecare professionals make the best decisions for the eye health and eyewear of their patients. With this conviction, Transitions is continuing the company's commitment to clinical research in 2003.

Transitions Solutions Team

The Transitions Solutions Team is constantly working with eyecare practices to bring the latest product information and training resources to them. The team provides group training through the Transitions Partners in Education program. One-on-one consultations with Solutions Team representatives on patient education and business-building strategies are always just a phone call away.

Global Web Site

Transitions' Web site, www.transitions.com, is an immediate resource for channel partners. Trade content covers Transitions products, training programs and other resources available through the company. Consumers can view information on healthy vision topics, including UV protection, and learn about photochromic lenses.

Consumer Advertising

Transitions' 2003 advertising was designed to help increase awareness of important eye health issues. It contains messaging about how lenses with everyday convenience and UV protection, like Transitions Lenses, will be the norm in the future and educates consumers about why they should embrace these lenses today. The ads educate that Transitions is a higher-performing clear lens and open the door for the consumer to ask their eyecare professional for more information. The campaign was tested with both eyecare professionals and consumers and the messaging was validated with both audiences.

Consumer Outreach

Transitions Optical is reaching out to U.S. consumers via a 2003 initiative designed to help educate them about eye health issues. Independent research shows low consumer awareness of the dangers of UV to the eyes, and Transitions is working to help fill the void. The campaign will focus on automatic protection, long term eye health and photochromic performance. Transitions will utilize eye health experts to help educate consumer audiences. The outreach initiative will encourage consumers to discuss eye health and UV protection with their eyecare professional. Media outlets targeted include television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Point-of-Sale Materials/Demonstration Tools

Transitions Optical continues to add to the company's offering of point-of-sale materials and demonstration tools to help eyecare professionals more easily bring awareness to patients of important eye health issues and demonstrate how Transitions Lenses perform.

The tools are designed to aid eyecare professionals in explaining to patients the importance of UV protection and to demonstrate how Transitions Lenses can provide everyday convenience of 100 percent automatic UVA and UVB protection and comfort in all light conditions. The tools have a call to action encouraging patients to ask their eyecare professional to provide more information and for a product demonstration.

An all-new, in-office educational video for 2003 was produced in response to numerous requests by eyecare professionals and industry partners. It educates patients on the dangers of UV radiation and the need for UV protection for the eyes as part of an everyday protection regimen. It also explains what Transitions Lenses are and how a photochromic lens can address patients' needs for everyday, automatic UV protection.

Other point-of-sale tools available from Transitions include a patient brochure, a dispensing mat, poster, display wheel/brochure holder, UV light demonstration kit, and a Use & Care Guide. Transitions' new online marketing tool enables eyecare professionals to cost-effectively create high-quality materials to help educate patients about products and eye health.