Douglas C. Hepper, chairman and CEO of its parent company, BMC Industries, says he is ?beginning to see the end of the tunnel.? In the 2nd quarter ended June 30, the group's net loss declined to $2,302,000 from $7,451,000 in the year-ago period, despite a 15 percent decline in consolidated turnover to $67.2 million. Debt was reduced, and at the end of July the company said it was in discussion with its lenders to reschedule its short-term debt.

The group has divested various activities to concentrate on its core mask operations and on polycarbonate lenses. Last May, BMC closed its Azusa polycarbonate manufacturing plant in California, moving production to Minnesota and Indonesia, and the related measures caused an exceptional $2,216,000 loss in the quarter.

As a result, the group's optical product operations, represented mainly by Vision-Ease, ended up with a negative operating margin of 1.7 percent on 14 percent lower sales of $29.8 million, as compared to a positive margin of 6.9 percent in the year-ago period. However, Tegra-coated polycarbonate lenses raised sales by 16 percent and photochromic polycarbonate lenses were up 9 percent.