“We returned to in-person shows in 2021 with Vision Expo East in Orlando, Fla., and then continued the momentum with Vision Expo West 2021 in Las Vegas in September,” Fran Pennella, Vice President, Vision Expo at RX, co-owner of Vision Expo, said. “Vision Expo East 2022 was very special. It was thrilling to bring the vision care community back to New York.”
According to Mitch Barkley, Vice President of Trade Shows and Events at The Vision Council, also co-owner of Vision Expo, education, was a major part of the trade show strategy to attract attendees, including 167 courses on offer. The program included nine clinical tracks with more than 100 hours of clinical education delivered by the foremost experts in the field of optometry.
“It was exciting to be back in New York and to return to a degree of normalcy in terms of how we gather,” Barkley said. “There was a lot of positive energy and excitement as attendees and exhibitors reconnected with their peers, conducted business and forged new relationships.”
The returning education program and exhibit hall experience, which was created by OptiCon@Vision Expo for opticians, contact lens practitioners and ophthalmic allied professionals on the trade show floor, did much to generate buzz among the event attendees and exhibitors. “Throughout the weekend, we hosted an incredible line-up of speakers and panels at The Bridge, Vision Expo’s main stage destination,” Barkley said. The Bridge also housed the Innovation Stage, showcasing products and services revolutionizing the optometry industry.
The Bridge offered the EYE2EYE Series, an educational series of panel discussions presenting topics that ranged from fashion trend forecasts to the Metaverse and cryptocurrency. “The Vision team is extremely forward thinking in their content and decided to launch two sessions dedicated to the future of the Metaverse. These conversations were based around the potential changes and opportunities for the Vision community,” Kate Youngstrom, Vice President of Brand & Content Marketing, RX USA, said.
In an effort to accommodate members of the optometry community from around the globe, Vision Expo+, a free digital event extension of the Vision Expo experience, was available for a week after the trade show ended. The virtual event experience featured online showrooms from Vision Expo East’s exhibitors and recorded Vision Expo East content. Vision Expo+ was delivered through ShopVISION, a global sourcing platform. Panel discussions that took place at The Bridge are also available to view in an on-demand format on the ShopVISION platform. “ShopVISION extends our sourcing offerings and provides a modern and global way to conduct business year-round and on-demand,” Pennella said.
Making its debut at the trade show was NOW by Vision Expo, a new eyewear trends showcase, spotlighting curated selections of eyewear from more than 80 exhibiting companies. The intent of the program is to expand beyond eyewear at future shows to also showcase products, technology and equipment, according to Barkley.