Vision Expo wraps up on positive note

April 15, 2010

Vision Expo is maturing as a meeting and the staffs have been making steady improvements in show management.

Editor's note: International Vision Expo East and West are among the leading resources for continuing education, clinical equipment and supplies, and the latest merchandise for optical dispensaries. The Vision Expos are a combined "fashion event and medical meeting." The Advanstar Eye Health Group-including Ophthalmology Times and Optometry Times-is proud to support the Vision Expos' mission to enhance the eye-care profession.

New York-I am truly overwhelmed by the attendance and attitude of the professionals who attended Vision Expo East 2010. The weather in New York was perfect and many of us walked back from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center each evening to our hotels in the Times Square hotel district.

I had occasion to speak with several optometrists and opticians, and although the nation's unemployment numbers still are hovering around 9.7%, attendees overwhelmingly reported growth over the same period last year.

Vision Expo certainly is maturing as a meeting and the staffs from Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council have been making steady improvements in the show management. The staff who represent us at the show have established a relationship with most of the speakers and each year everything goes smoother and smoother.

From the physician's point of view, courses on glaucoma and dry eye and associated ocular surface disease still command the largest overall audiences. Pediatric issues and subjects dealing with headaches and developmental problems also are popular at Vision Expo East.

Finally, the Vision Expo meetings have come full circle in establishing themselves as the go-to place for business and practice management issues.

Attention to DDD

Doctor-driven dispensing (DDD) is not a new concept, but the subject is gaining major attention. Prescribing specialty and premium lenses, frames, and coatings begins with the physician in the examination room and follows with the optician in the optical dispensary.

Ophthalmic disease lecturers are beginning to include the subject of DDD more and more in their presentations along with discussions of specialty lenses for particular medical conditions.

Focus on dispensary

Finally, there is a tremendous amount of excitement about a new major emphasis on the optical dispensary and management of dispensary issues. Optician lecturers are drawing more and more physicians to their lectures on managing frame boards, understanding specialty lenses, and prescribing particular coatings and lens treatments.

As revenue from major medical carriers continues to decrease with overall health-care changes, practices are beginning to look to the optical dispensary for ways to increase practice revenue. As this change continues to grow, opticians will need even more training and topics such as professional marketing and sales training will gain in popularity.

Moving forward

As the conference advisory board members continue to work together, over time the program will continue to grow and will reflect the cutting-edge science and subjects that the professionals in our industry need to continue to keep abreast of all issues facing them. Technical improvements in ophthalmic lenses and diagnostic equipment continue to demand attendance at shows like Vision Expo East and the necessity to visit often will grow.

The challenges that we have in improving the show really are opportunities in disguise, and we are prepared to take this meeting to the next level with the help of our hard-working members.

Author Info

Kirk L. Smick, OD, FAAO, is chief of optometry services at Clayton Eye Center, Morrow, GA, and an owner of the facility. Dr. Smick also serves as a technical advisor to many companies in the ophthalmic industry and has helped pioneer several visual advances, including bifocal contact lenses.