SECO International Congress Wraps Up 2018 Event With Eye on New Orleans for 2019

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SECO International's new president Emilio H. Balius, OD, (far right) receives the gavel from outgoing president Dr. Lynn Hammonds. Looking on are past SECO presidents Dr. Stan Dickerson of Columbia, Tenn., and Dr. Ted McElroy of Tifton, Ga.

ATLANTA—The annual SECO International Congress wrapped up Sunday, March 4, after recording another solid turnout of delegates, a comprehensive lineup of continuing education courses, a busy exhibitor floor and the installation of a new president on Friday afternoon. Emilio H. Balius, OD, became the new president of SECO International at a House of Delegates meeting here late Friday. He was introduced to the delegates by Dr. Lynn Hammonds, OD, who is the outgoing president of SECO International LLC.

Balius was born in Cuba, migrated with his family to Madrid, Spain, and later moved to Miami. He began his college career at Florida State University and then attended the University of Houston College of Optometry before completing his residency at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. Balius, who becomes the first Hispanic president to lead the organization, according to a SECO announcement, has managed his own practice in Florida for the past 25 years.

The SECO meeting also featured 2016 Olympic gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez, who addressed attendees at the opening ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. Hernandez is a spokeswoman for Alcon Dailies contact lenses and the Invisible Edge campaign.

The 2018 edition of SECO featured close to 400 hours of continuing education (CE) courses, and an expected turnout of more than 6,000 eyecare professionals, vendors and ophthalmic professionals from around the world. For the first time, SECO attendees also had an opportunity to get hands-on during the CE sessions, gaining real-life practical experiences. Session themes included: practice and business management, evolution of lenses, addressing the future of the optometric practice and assessing online threats.

Organizers expect to issue information on attendance and other facets of the show later this week.


With the show ending on Sunday at the at the Georgia World Congress Center, the attention of both exhibitors and delegates alike turned to 2019, when SECO is moving to New Orleans for the annual education and exhibition event. It will mark the first time for the meeting to be held outside of Atlanta in 60 years, according to the organization. The 2019 dates for SECO are Feb. 20 through Feb. 24.

SECO is backed by the Southern Council of Optometrists Inc., a non-profit association founded in 1923. The council has a global membership of more than 25,000 eyecare professionals.