Vision Expo East Hits New High with Innovative Media and Technology

By Evra Taylor

Vision industry moguls, aficionados and visionaries met at New York’s Javits Center from March 14 to 17 for International Vision Expo East (VEE).

This year’s exhibition showed that it was young at heart, with the addition of new programming aimed at exposing optometry students to real life experiences, such as product sourcing and engaging with vendors during the purchase process.

Additional educational programming included the continuation of the Mentor Program launched in 2012 in which students teamed up with ODs to gain valuable real-life insights and guidance.

VEE hosted two fashion eyewear areas; the French Loft and the NEW Boutiques. Both presented a fresh take on eyewear trends, designs and collections for spring.

In other exciting show news, VEE’s Eyewear & Accessories Pavilion housed the newly created Vision Monday Eye2 Zone, a technology-focused booth designed to introduce leading-edge technologies and eyewear capabilities. The Pavilion gave seven major brands the opportunity to showcase some of today’s most intriguing products, which were unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show and other high-tech events.

Among these, for sports enthusiasts, Sportiiiis 4iiii app features voice prompts that give performance feedback to help target and track goals during physical activity. Carl Zeiss, a decades-long institution on the optical landscape, displayed cinemizer® OLED multimedia video glasses that create a theatre-like atmosphere by projecting a 40-inch image onto the eyeglasses.

“International Vision Expo has seen a strong pattern of growth over the past few years, and the idea behind the Eye2 Zone was to introduce a new segment to attendees that would educate them, and thereby the consumer, on the exciting possibilities technology holds for our industry’s products and services,” said Andrew Karp, editor of Vision Monday’s Eye2 newsletter and curator of the Eye2 Zone.

In keeping with the popularity of real-time media, Chief Dream Officer Gary Gerber, OD, of The Power Practice and host of “The Power Hour”, brought his talent to VEE by broadcasting live from the event, and discussing what can be done to reduce the preponderance of private practices closing their doors.

Just a day after VEE wrapped up, the Optometric Center of New York, the philanthropic arm of the SUNY College of Optometry, staged its 10th Annual “Eyes on New York” gala to honour John Carrier, president and CEO of Essilor of America, and Jim Murphy, vice-president and general manager of US Vision Care at Alcon Laboratories.

In related announcements, Think About Your Eyes, a non-profit organization under the aegis of The Vision Council, with support from the American Optometric Association (AOA), will be launching a public awareness initiative in the U.S., underscoring the importance of overall vision health in the second half of 2013. The program is meant to raise awareness among consumers of the need for annual eye exams.

To meet the changing needs of both the optical trade and consumers, this year’s Vision Expo East was practical, hands-on and contemporary in its approach, a harbinger of good things to come from one of the world’s premier trade events in the optometric sector.