Vision Expo East for optometry students is something special. Typically we see a big showing of east coast schools, but this year we saw students come from as far as Berkeley! It is special because of the energy in the air and the amount of networking and information exchange that is happening. It is an event to see what is possible and what is probable in optometry. Also, optometry isn’t’ like other medical professions – we are smaller and we are truly a family of practitioners. Therefore it affords the chance to meet up with old friends and shake hands with the optometry celebrities that you may only read about in textbooks. I always preach to students “get involved in optometry in ways other than just seeing patients” and I believe that Vision Expo is the medium to achieve that. There is not a single company or association there that is not willing to utilize the help of an optometry student. But hey, how are you going to take advantage of that if you don’t sign up and attend?
Below is a re-cap of vision expo from the eyes of the OptometryStudents.com Core Leadership Team. They have shared a short blurb about their experience and attached several Instagram photos taken throughout the show by various students. Enjoy mi amigos and amigas!
Vision Expo East was pretty epic this year. Actually, it was completely mind blowing to see how far eye care has come since my first vision expo as a pre-optometry student 5 years ago. I always have an awesome time at Vision Expo because I get to see friends, make connections with doctors and industry, and of course load up on free samples of artificial tears. This year was special because Vision Expo threw a party which was sponsored by OptometryStudents.com. We gave away a few free drink tickets per person and Luxottica also proivded discount sunglasses for the party attendees. Afterwards we will an after party at Latitude club and I got to meet a ton of new students from different schools. It is awesome to see how similar we all are regardless of which school we attend. Both the party and the night out afterward was something I will never forget. Yes, Vision Expo East was really amazing this year. – Founder OptometryStudents.com – Matt Geller SUNY 2013
Models working the neon-lit runway in the latest fashion eyewear as music pumps in the background, with celeb MC Carson Kressley providing his unique opinion, patrons snapping pictures and sipping cocktails watching the show. Optometry students from around the world in business casual attire, strolling around checking out cutting-edge exam room technology, or meeting new faces and laughing about commonalities we all share. A group crowded around a makeshift bar on the Expo room floor, sipping green beer from plastic cups at the end of a long Saturday as the Expo winds down. OD’s, professors, industry professionals and optometry students, all a bit worn down but excited for the night of partying ahead of them. These are just a few memories from our awesome experience this year at Vision Expo East! It’s easy to get wrapped up inside the lecture halls, libraries, and clinics of our schools, and to forget what else is out there. Even as many of us volunteer and stay involved in activities outside our schools and around our respective cities, events like Vision Expo or Optometry’s Meeting are fantastic opportunities to get away and remind ourselves of the expansiveness of the profession as a whole, as well as the small, united community that it can be. So get out there, network, be involved in your profession, meet new people, party, and make some great memories – and pack your sunglasses and Advil for Optometry’s Meeting in San Diego this summer! – Director of Organized Optometry – Ben Emer ICO 2016
Vision Expo East is by far my favorite trade show. I was mesmerized by the cutting-edge machinery, including the OCT, auto-phoropter, the fundus autofluorescence, awed by the colorful and unique frames exhibited at the Galleria and the Eyewear floor, and impressed by the presentations in my Contact Lens CE courses. But the most valuable part of Vision Expo East was the networking. While I had many scintillating conversations with pharmaceutical, frame, contact lens, and optical sales reps, it was the students that left the greatest impression, starting with the OS Core Leadership Team. Maybe it was the fact that our flights landed in Manhattan at the crack of dawn and we stood at the OS booth from 9am to 6pm, or that we had to muster all our strength to not fall asleep in a CE class that day, no matter how fascinating the topic. Maybe it was the large Italian dinner we scarfed down at Tony’s DiNapoli, or debating whether or not to ask for a photo with Dennis Rodman at our hotel bar. Maybe it was the three free vodka-cranberries I had at Bowlmor Lanes, or dancing the night away at the after-party at Latitude Lounge. At some point during the weekend, we all clicked despite never having met before, and I felt that I’ve known these folks for years. In addition the fellow optometry students I met at the OS booth were more than inspiring. Students from SUNY, NECO, PCO, SCO, ICO, IAUPR, MCPHS, and many other schools expressed so much excitement and passion for optometry (Shout out to those who participated in our Social Media Contest!). Vision Expo allowed me to reconnect with a few friends from my UCLA days and make new friends from schools I’m not as familiar with. The crux of it all was the OS party at Bowlmor Lanes, where we all showed that optometry students really know how to party. We, as students, get so bogged down by exams and practicals that we often forget the world of optometry is colorful and innovative. Like I said, Vision Expo East is my favorite trade show. But then again, I haven’t been to Optometry’s Meeting yet. – Director of Clinical Optometry, Rebecca Lee Berkeley College of Optometry 2016
Vision expo was like a mall for anything optometry related. Three fully stocked showroom floors filled with people from every aspect of the industry. Fashion shows, raffles, and gift giveaways were done almost every hour. I even got lucky enough and won a mini iPad just for logging into the Vision Expo app on my phone! I got to meet Russel Simmons and tried to talk to some Italian and French vendors. I was able to network with several doctors and entrepreneurs, I attended classes and meetings, and to top it all off I got to party with my team and meet a lot of different students from all over the country! Memories were definitely made at Vision Expo East! – Chief of Private Practice Optometry, Jeannine Gutierrez; IAUPR 2015
As a student attending Vision Expo you have the chance to see the latest frames, lenses, medical technology and learn about every aspect of the field of optometry under one roof. How you want to spend this experience is completely up to you. In my trip to Vision Expo I was able to network with optometrists from all over the country, and hear their stories about how they gained success in the field. I also learned about various resources available to new practitioners such as Vision West allowing them to stay competitive in private practice. While networking with optometrists, business professionals, and sales reps was great, when I look back to Vision Expo what I remember the fondest was the instant connection that was formed with the students that I met. Optometry is a smaller field compared to the other medical professions, so when there are large events where all of the optometry schools are represented it feels like a giant reunion. At Vision Expo I bumped into some of my old friends who I met at various vision screenings as well as members of my pre-optometry club that I was a part of in undergrad. At the student party at Bowlmor I got to catch up with my old friends and it felt like nothing had changed within the months that I had last seen them. Additionally, I got to make new friends with students from all over the country. By the end of the event we were no longer students from our respective schools, but a unified group of friends sharing the experiences of exploring New York City, dancing the night away, and enjoying a late night slice of pizza to conclude our long day at the Vision Expo. – Chief of 2nd Year Optometry Students Jennifer Diamond, PCO 2015
Community, recognition, and passion were what made Vision Expo East memorable for me. “Community” because the conference felt more like a family reunion rather than an introduction. It was the first time most of the Core Leadership Team had ever met each other in person. We came from all over the country with different interests and goals but it still felt like we had known each other for years. When we met other students, we forged relationships and built connections instantly. It felt amazing to make friends everywhere I turned. “Recognition” because students, clinicians, and industry alike all knew who we were. They appreciated our work, acknowledged our brand, and could point us out in a crowd. Up until that point, I never really knew the extent to which my contributions to OptometryStudents.com influenced others. I had no idea that so many people were reading and that they even knew my name! “Passion” because that was the reason why we were in NYC in the first place. Everyone who was passionate about what they were doing came together to share that passion with each other. It was both nerdy and exciting at the same time. Way too many eye jokes were made over the weekend but I did learn one thing: eye people definitely know how to have fun and I am fortunate to be considered one amongst you! – Director of Creative Content, Adrienne Chan, ICO 2016
My first Vision Expo East experience and puh-LEASE don’t let it be my last! One of the most astounding parts of VEE is seeing how many optometrists wanted to and enjoyed helping students at the conference. I was privileged to join a round table-formatted class where many prominent AOA Trustees and Executive Board members took time from their busy schedules to offer endless amounts of advice and guidance to each student present. They, along with every other optometrist I met at VEE, did so with enthusiasm. The excitement was obviously contagious, as every optometrist, optometry student, and paraoptometric entity I met shared the same passion for the profession as I do. I was able to reconnect with friends and meet so many new ones at the conference and at our student party Saturday night. No one got much rest during the weekend, but no one wanted it – we were having too much fun! It’s conferences like VEE that remind me how fast our profession is advancing technologically and how important it is to meet new people from all over the world … people who could potentially change your professional life! – Director of Optometry School Relations, Hunter Chapman, SCO 2016
Imagine the biggest trends in eyeglasses, optometry equipment, and the practice of optometry and multiply it by 1000. It was a great experience to go behind the scenes of all things optical related. What really caught my attention as a student was all the things that can be open to an individual looking into a professional avenue in the optical world. This event showcased the latest and greatest in fashion eyewear, instrumentation, and lens technology to offer to all consumers of any optometric practice under one roof. Companies of all types go all out in the hopes to grab the business of potential costumers in the future with their products. To understand that the eye care profession is it’s own universe is the reason why shows like this exist. Also being able to meet face to face with everyone on the OS team really brought to my attention of how much of a vision we have for the site, and how we all can have a great time. Being prepared for how vast this realm of the universe is can only help prepare those who are willing to jump head first into an amazing career as an optometrist. And I am truly honored to be a small part of this spectrum of the universe here with the Core Leadership Team. – Leandro Petalio, Pre-Optometry Student and Licensed Optician