Walnut Creek, CA (PRWEB) February 24, 2004 -
Â OcuSource.com, LLC announced the launch of ocusource.com and ocutrade.com, two of a series of interconnected websites for the vision impairment industry. Designed to respond to the needs of consumers, resellers, agencies, and manufacturers, the sites provide utilities currently unavailable to the vision impairment industry. OcuSource.comÂs mission is to enhance awareness and access to blindness and low vision technology worldwide.
According to a joint report from the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America, there are over 119 million Âbaby boomersÂ in the US alone who are at risk for some form of vision impairment. The most common causes of vision loss include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma. Unfortunately, the trends show that the number of visually impaired individuals should double in less than three decades as the boomers age. OcuSourceÂs goal is to appeal to the boomer segment of the market that embraces technology and the internet at a much higher level than the previous generation.
OcuSource was founded by Dr. Lou Lipschultz, who has been providing low vision care to those who suffer from macular degeneration and other vision disorders for nearly 20 years. Lipschultz left his optometry practice in 2000 to assume the CEO position with Pulse Data International, the North American subsidiary of a New Zealand manufacturer of blindness and low vision products. ÂAs a practitioner, it was difficult to keep track of the attributes of the various products,Â states Lipschultz. ÂAs an executive in the industry, I saw an entirely different set of challenges. The manufacturers, resellers, agencies, and organizations that assist the visually impaired need some way to get in touch with end users who require products,Â states Lipschultz. It was this need that initiated the business plan for OcuSource. Dr. Lipschultz resigned his position with Pulse Data in the fall of 2003 and assembled a team of developers to create the OcuSource websites: OcuSource.com, OcuTrade.com, OcuBid.com, and OcuTrack.com.
ÂThe blindness and low vision industry needs several resources to help it advance to the next level,Â states Dr. Lipschultz, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area and still returns every month to his Chicago area eye practice to provide clinical low vision care. ÂFor example, in the video magnification arena, there are more than a dozen manufacturers, each producing multiple devices with similar characteristics. ItÂs nearly impossible for a consumer to compare the characteristics of each device to make an informed decision. OcuSource resolves this difficulty,Â states Lipschultz.
The most powerful utility created by OcuSource is the Product Analyzer Tool or ÂPAT,Â a search engine which is present on each of the websites. Users can enter desired features to eliminate the products that do not meet their specifications, and then compare those that do so that they may select the product that best fits their needs. Users may then request information or a demonstration visit from the manufacturerÂs representative. Users will also be able to buy directly from the manufacturer. ÂEstablishing a sales mechanism on a national or worldwide level was particularly challenging,Â states Lipschultz. ÂOur solution was to create consumer access to a vast array of products, facilitate the purchase, and then transfer the transaction to the manufacturer, who in turn forwards the sale on to the local reseller to install and provide the much needed support to the end user. This structure avoids potential concerns resellers and manufacturers might have due to territorial arrangements.Â
Other key resources available on the OcuSource websites:
Â ÂPATÂ a search engine which allows users to explore products by features or specifications
Â Auctions for buying or selling used products
Â ÂResource FinderÂ Â a search utility for eye doctors, organizations, agencies, and support groups
Â Searchable news archive
Â Statistics on vision impairment and blindness
Â Eye disease information pages and simulations
Â Short surveys to obtain visitorsÂ opinions on living with vision impairment
Â An online Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ)
There is a great demand for used products, caused in part by the fixed incomes of the senior market. OcuTrade.com is a fully-enabled auction site, filled with all the capabilities of the big competitors. The advantage of OcuTrade.com over other auction websites is that it is specific to the vision impairment industry. With auction and classified ads, OcuTrade.com allows consumers and resellers to buy and sell all forms of low vision or blindness products.
ÂThe business model of OcuSource is one that responds to the needs of the visually impaired consumer while providing manufacturers an additional marketing alternative. WeÂre trying to make it easier for the consumer to identify and locate adaptive devicesÂ states Lipschultz. ÂConsumers have better access and manufacturers will gain with enhanced business.Â
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