Lawrence & Mayo- India’s Iconic Eye care Specialist

Lawrence & Mayo- India’s Iconic Eye care Specialist

Lawrence & Mayo, Mumbai
Lawrence & Mayo, Mumbai
Vision/Eye problems are caused due to various conditions. Some are as follows:

Presbyopia, Cataracts, Diabetes, Macular degeneration, Eye Infection, Inflammation, Injury,
Floaters, Night Blindness, Retinal detachment, Optic Neuritis, Stroke, Migraine Headaches.

All these above mentioned problems if not treated in the initial stages or ignored, may lead to blindness.

Added to these, what causes eye/vision problems occurring to most, irrespective of age, is Computer Vision Syndrome.(CVS )

CVS doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, but it can be a major cause of discomfort, fatigue, and loss of productivity. The American Optometric Association defines CVS as an eye and vision-related problem due to working for long hours on the computer gazing at the computer screen.

Some common symptoms typically fall into three categories: vision problems, eye problems, and general discomfort.

According to Better Health Channel, a health channel funded by State government of Victoria, the illuminated computer screen can also cause eye fatigue. Use of laptops has caused more pains, strains and injuries to eyes.

Eye care has evolved from age-related vision disorders to cosmetic concerns. Spectacles are nowadays considered as personality enhancers and a fashion accessory.
Eyewear as a sector in India is fast growing. Ever growing presence of high end products, changing lifestyles, opting for foreign branded sunglasses, lenses and frames have attributed to lot of branded optical companies and leading corporate houses setting up eyewear companies and shops having developed into an industry itself.
However, among various eyewear companies in India, the name that strikes first is the more than a century old Lawrence & Mayo.

The Optical and Instruments business of Lawrence and Mayo, traces its roots to two London based Jewish families, that of Lawrence and Mayo who by tradition were jewelers and watchmakers.

The two families set up operations all over the world.  First in London, then in Calcutta, Bombay, Karachi, Rangoon (Burma), Colombo and then in Cairo, Spain, Portugal, and Singapore. Its reputation as a chain of high-grade opticians and makers of the best quality survey, scientific and meteorological instruments was well known.

Lawrence & Mayo, London
Lawrence & Mayo, London

Lawrence and Mayo set up its establishment in India in 1877 by opening its showrooms in Calcutta and Bombay. Later in 1938, under Indian Companies Act of 1913, L & M was incorporated as a private limited company under the leadership of a Britisher named L H Aliston.

During this period, there was an Indian by name I C Mendonca working with the company, who was instrumental in expansion of the company’s activities by setting up an optical workshop and showrooms in Karachi and Lahore. He returned to Calcutta before the partition and continued with the operations of the company.

I C Mendonca
I C Mendonca

In 1959, I C Mendonca took charge as Managing Director of L&M and laid the foundation for the future role in India. In 1967, he bought over the entire shares of the company turned Lawrence and Mayo as a fully Indian company and the journey continued. Today, his sons and grandchildren are involved in the running of the establishment dividing the responsibilities among themselves and taking the vision and mission of the founders to further heights.Today, his sons and grandchildren are involved in the running of the establishment dividing the responsibilities among themselves and taking the vision and mission of the founders to further heights.

From left to right: Mr M Mendonça, Mr R H Mendonça & Mr J Mendonça
From left to right:
Mr M Mendonça, Mr R H Mendonça &
Mr J Mendonça

His eldest son R H Mendonca is the Chairman & Managing Director, and other two sons J Mendonca and M Mendonca are assigned as Technical Director and Finance Director respectively.

These elders are supported by their respective children by running the day to day affairs of the company.

Lawrence & Mayo is also actively involved in educational field promoting Optometry – an academic course (degree and diploma) which has least awareness due to lack of institutes and colleges involved in this subject. Vivek Mendonca, the grandson of I C Mendonca who is also the marketing Director of Lawrence & Mayo is also the President of ASCO-India (Association of schools and colleges of Optometry in India) which is formed to promote Optometry as an academic course.

The 3rd Generation Management team. From Left to Right: Menaka Mendonca (Process & IT), Amitava Mendonca (Marketing & Operations Head for South - East) Vivek Nandodkar (Sales, Technical n Purchase), Michelle Nandodkar (Finance, Purchase - Opticals, Human Resources), Vivek Mendonsa (Marketing - North, West & Karnataka), Suzanne Poncha (Professional Services) Bachelor of Optometry ,City University, United Kingdom ,England, Rajiv Nandodkar (4th Generation) (Digital & On- Line Marketing, In-store Marketing), Geetanjali D'Souza (Finance, Human Resources - South East)
The 3rd Generation Management team.
From Left to Right: Menaka Mendonca (Process & IT), Amitava Mendonca (Marketing & Operations Head for South – East) Vivek Nandodkar (Sales, Technical n Purchase), Michelle Nandodkar (Finance, Purchase – Opticals, Human Resources), Vivek Mendonsa (Marketing – North, West & Karnataka), Suzanne Poncha (Professional Services) Bachelor of Optometry ,City University, United Kingdom ,England, Rajiv Nandodkar (4th Generation) (Digital & On- Line Marketing, In-store Marketing), Geetanjali D’Souza (Finance, Human Resources – South East)

LSW LifeScienceWorld gathered more information on Lawrence & Mayo from Vivek Mendonsa, Marketing Director and grandson of I C Mendonca

Vivek Mendonca
Vivek Mendonca

LSW:  Is it appropriate to say that Lawrence & Mayo is India’s pioneering and leading optical branded store with more than 90 branches throughout India?
Vivek Mendonsa: Yes, it will be appropriate as we are a Store Brand having more than 450 Brands with us and our Private Label of Frames, Sunglasses, and LM Watches & LM Pens.

LSW:  Do you have your own manufacturing unit for optical glasses and lenses?
VM:  We have our own Processing Unit where we process raw glass blanks and plastic (CR-39 Blanks) into Spectacle Lenses .We also have 15 Edging & Fitting units across the Country.

LSW: Fiber and plastic lenses are widely manufactured and marketed. How good are these compared to the traditional optical glasses?
VM:  Glass is the first material made out of boric silicate (found in sand), there has been several experiments with resins (plastics) and after Columbia Resin failed 38 times, finally producing it for the 39th time, it has become the industry norm. Glass is Conventional and can break. It is heavier and thicker.
CR- 39 (Plastic) is Lighter, Thick, doesn’t easily break, can shatter, and develop scratches with rough use Polycarbonate is Lighter, Flatter, most expensive out of the three, shatter proof, has in- built UV Protection.
Today Lenses come with Dirt Resistance, Water Repelling Properties, and Thumb Impression Resistance.

LSW: Spectacles or lenses are better worn after proper eye test. Trendy frames are being introduced and contact lenses are sought after as a fashion accessory. Your views.
VM:  Spectacles have become a style statement; people wear them even if they don’t have power .The Hindi movies have made them popular; there is not a single movie being released without the Hero, Heroine, Actor & Actress donning Spectacle Frames and Sunglasses.
Contact Lenses are gaining popularity with science & technology with higher water content up to 66 % of water as our body is made up of water .Thinner lenses ,made such that the eye ,the most sensitive organ will not treat it as a foreign body .The Best Brands like Alcon ,Bausch & Lomb & Johnson & Johnson are available .

LSW: Some information on the spectacle frame market.
VM:  Every 2 weeks a new model Frame is launched under an existing Brand, be it a new Color, two tone colors, new material, fashion & style keeps coming in and going out, trimmings to appear & disappear.
We have NIFT –National Institute of Fashion & Technology & NID – National Institute of Design. Though we are manufacturing lot of Frames in India, particularly in Gujarat, we need strong Indian Brands which are exported.
We have Safilo & Luxottica, the World’s largest Giants in India.
There are many European handmade Frames & Brands that are slowly trying to come to India & Asian market.

LSW:   Are contact lenses having an edge over spectacles?
VM:  Contact Lenses are worn by those who prefer to express themselves in only Contact Lenses, they switch between Contact Lenses and Spectacle Frames .These could be teachers, news readers, actors & actresses, Trainers, Showmen & Show women.

LSW:  Normally, it was a practice getting eyes checked by an ophthalmologist.  Now every other optical shop carries out eye test and suggests lenses.  Is this a right way?
VM:  Ophthalmologist is Surgeon and trained to do Operations for the internal parts of the Eye .They are MMBS, MS- Master of Surgery .Eye-Test and Vision Screening is not their primary task.
Most Senior Ophthalmologist has 3-6 Optometrists working under them to do all the work –up until they are ready to meet the Ophthalmologist.
At Lawrence & Mayo we have our 10 Point Precision Eye –Test (PET), which is executed by Lawrence & Mayo’s Qualified, Trained & Experienced Optometrist.

LSW:  When it comes to reading glasses, there are ready-to-use glasses available in specific optical power.  Are these advisable?
VM: Ready Readers are available at various purchase points like outside Railway Stations ,Footpath, stationary shops .The Quality of these could be suspect as ‘cheap ,never means Quality’ . They come in steps of 0.25 Diapers.
We produce our own L&M Ready Readers in our workshops and factories.

LSW:   How different is Lawrence & Mayo from others?
VM: There are 35,000 Optical Stores in India, from A Grade to G Grade .Selling all kinds of products, sourced from all over India & abroad, known & unknown Brands .Or their own Brands.
We source and use only the A Grade material in our company to produce the finest lenses and Spectacle Frames, Sunglasses and Contact Lenses.
India’s standing on the manufacturing front with regards to optical glasses and lenses.
India had one glass manufacturing unit in Durgapur, which has been shut for long time, Government of India must focus on Policy & Decision making. Running of factories, providing services must be in the Private Sectors Hands.

LSW:  On the current status of eyewear market and Lawrence & Mayo’s share in the branded store segment and growth plans.
VM:    Lawrence & Mayo has 95 Stores in 38 Cities of India; we would definitely be having a high percentage of market share in the premium eye wear & sun wear market.

LSW:  You are a pioneer in scientific and industrial instrumentation as well. Some information on your product range and the core industry/sector you are catering to.
VM:We have a strong Engineering, Scientific, Vacuum, Vocational Range of products with over 1,500 Engineering Products, 85 Different types of Microscopes. Thirty Nine engineers to install commission and give back up and after sales support. We have 15 International partnerships in this sphere.

LSW:  Microscopes are another area of your activity. Some inputs.
VM:  Microscopes are used in pathology ,dental ,bio-technology ,teaching ,metallurgy etc .We have a dedicated team and each year we are doing thousands of commissioning of Microscopes in all Research Labs across the Country .

LSW:   As part of expansion, Lawrence & Mayo is also into accessories, dealing in pens and watches. Are you into distributorship of leading global brands or any specific marketing deal whereby you are selling under LM brand?
VM:  Lawrence & Mayo has defined itself in Healthcare, Optics & Optoelectronics, Measurement of Distance, Air, Water, Temperature, Measurement of Time (Watches & Clocks) all L&M Brands, Environment Products – dealing with agriculture and Green Houses.
This could be abbreviated to the word ‘HOME’

LSW: What is the impact of laser surgery which has now become a fad on the conventional correction of eye sight with spectacles and contact lenses?
VM:Laser Refraction has been around for last 30 years .Every 3-5 years it comes up with better technology. There is a growing audience opting for it. The cost factor is Rs. 20,000/- (Twenty thousand) per Eye up to Rs. 40,000/- (Forty thousand per Eye) depending on the Doctor & Patients’ paying capacity.
After the age of 40, people are tend to get a small prescription & return to reading glasses.
India being a price sensitive market, few cities are seeing a surge but it is not a mass exodus. With reading and lifestyle habits, constantly on the phone –watching texting (sms) has added to huge numbers of people with Eye problems.

LSW:   L&M’s future plans.
VM:  Lawrence & Mayo will continue to grow from strength to strength, at some stages consolidating in certain markets and spheres, in others growing and expanding .It is strong & robust company with a HUGE Brand Equity.
Whatever Lawrence & Mayo does, it does it with style, passion, finesse, Quality and in an Ethical Manner.

Lawrence & Mayo – Chronology
~ 1877
Queen Victoria proclaimed herself as the Empress of India at the Delhi Durbar. A few hundred miles away, another entity was staking its claim to a different dimension of power. An entity that would strive to give India vision and precision, this entity was Lawrence & Mayo (L&M), a two-divisional company that focused on Ophthalmic Optics and Scientific Instrumentation. It made its debut with showrooms in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Bombay (now Mumbai). Another interesting that took place – world’s very first Cricket Test was played between England and Australia marking the beginning of the Ashes Rivalry.
~ 1892
His Excellency General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts Baronet, Commander in Chief in India appoints Lawrence & Mayo as His Excellency’s Ophthalmic Opticians on the 1st day of March1892
~ 1905
The Industrial & Agricultural Exhibition of the Indian National Congress awards a Gold Medal to Lawrence & Mayo for its Meteorological Instruments.
~ 1906
In May 1906, L&M received a letter from the Prince and Princess of Wales, informing of the receipt of glare protectors.
~ 1923

Her Royal Highness Queen-Empress wearing an AMULET Glare protectors made by Lawrence & Mayo, at the 1923 Wimbledon
Her Royal Highness Queen-Empress wearing an AMULET Glare protectors made by Lawrence & Mayo, at the 1923 Wimbledon
~ 1938
L&M was incorporated under the Indian Companies Act 1913, as a private limited company
~ 1959
I C Mendonca takes over as Managing Director of Lawrence & Mayo and laid a solid foundation for its future growth in India.
~ 1967
I C Mendonca took over the complete organization by purchasing the shares. and Lawrence & Mayo becomes a fully Indian company.
Unbelievable but True

An Indian Crow and his Nest.—The following singular act of systematic theft, carried on by a crow, is literally true. Messrs. Lawrence and Mayo, opticians, have a place of business in Rampart Row, Bombay, and rooms also in Forbes Street, where pebbles and the frames for spectacles are manufactured. The assistant in charge of the latter found out quite recently that a large number of gold, silver, and steel spectacle frames had very mysteriously disappeared. The men employed were at first suspected; orders were given that no one but the manager should have access to the room. The thefts, however, continued day by day; the manager could find out nothing. One Thursday, however, whilst attending to his work, he was startled by hearing the flapping of a bird’s wings at the window, and saw a large crow, which, when it had picked up a frame in its beak, flew away in the direction of the building occupied by Messrs Greaves, Cotton & Co. The bird was observed to carry the frame which it had stolen on to the roof of their building; and permission having been obtained from the occupiers of the premises to go over the roof, the assistant found that the thieving bird had constructed thereon for itself a cosy and comfortable nest, composed of the missing frames. The design of this gold and silver structure was so ingenious, and presented such a beautiful appearance, being so deftly and carefully woven together, that it was decided to keep it intact for a time, and before the materials were unwoven and separated, Messrs. Lawrence and Mayo had a photograph of the nest taken. There were altogether eighty-four frames, of the aggregate value of about 500 rupees (£50), which had been stolen by the bird, and were it not for the fact that it was discovered in time, the poor workmen of the establishment would, no doubt, have got into trouble.

Source: The Selborne Magazine and “Nature Notes” – Volume 7 – 1896


Some of the distinguished customers of Lawrence & Mayo

L&M’s legion of distinguished customers included the Queen-Empress Victoria, who was provided with a pair of stylish Amulet glare protectors. A few other illustrious customers L&M is proud to have catered to were Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Mothilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and JRD Tata.

Old Ad clippings

67 & 69, Chancery Lane, London, 16, Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 16, Mount Street, Madras, Forbes Street, Bombay

LifeScienceWorldLawrence & Mayo -Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay – 1892