1. the way something may appear to or be perceived by the public
consider the optics of a situation
Optics is a field of study on how light travels and is received. In a business or political context ‘the optics’ refers to how something looks or appears to the public or to others. “The optics of this move by the party infer a change in approach to the issue.” This is more of a formal expression you will not usually hear in social contexts.