NEW YORK—As attendees gained their bearings and set out on paths to discover the new products, services and education offerings available at this year's Vision Expo east, the VM Daily hit the show floor to find out what attracted the attending eyecare professionals this year compared to years past and Vision Expo East brought in 2014 that they haven't seen before.
"I'm taking the return on investment for instruments class, clinical decision making class and an AREDs II course on age-related eye disease. I was looking for clinical courses and practice management courses, and Vision Expo blends those better than other conferences I go to. I'm also hoping to get some good deals at the Exhibit Hall and get some different perspectives and insight on the East Coast side of things."
-Lesley Brooks, OD, Carolina Eye Care on Merrimon, Asheville, N.C.
"I'm from Toronto where I've owned a small store for 20 years. I came to see my friends/designers from Europe; this is a great venue to meet with them and reconnect and see what new European flavor they brought. I love technology, too. I met a young woman wearing Google Glass and she let me try it, it's a great thing, very futuristic."
-Hanna Filarska, optician, Phila Optical, Toronto, Ont., Canada
"I'm from an independent boutique opening up in an ophthalmology practice. I've seen new collections, I came for frames, I'm just looking. I liked the King Baby line on the main floor, it's kind of like a take on Chrome Hearts. It's really cool."
-Brandy Graff, opticianry assistant, Opt Eyewear Boutique, Providence, R.I.
"My husband is an ophthalmologist and owns an optical shop, so I'm attending with him, just having fun. I'm a doctor too, but not an eye doctor. He's looking at ways to make his office more efficient, how to display things, and maybe to see some equipment."
-Mary Jumbelic, Clay Eye Center, Liverpool, N.Y.
"I'm taking some extra courses on glaucoma and retinal disease management. We're kind of a classic primary care practice, from infancy to 105, but I do tend to see a general population that's a little bit older. We have three goals at Vision Expo East this year: buying a new edger, getting educated and trying to stay on the cutting edge of what the latest fashions are here on the East Coast so that we're aware and can help our patients before those type of things arrive in Nashville."
-Jeffrey Kegarise, OD (pictured with Susan Kegarise, OD), Cool Springs Eye Care, Franklin, Tenn.
"I got a promotion—I've been in operations for about 13 years and I'm now in optical development, business strategies—so I'm here with a different set of eyes. Typically when I'm at Expo, I'm looking at things to improve efficiencies, new products, and price points of frames, lenses and equipment. But because I'm re-branding my optical dispensaries, instead of looking at [those aspects], I'm looking at how optical spaces are designed and products are displayed, and I'm talking to people, making connections. I just joined the Optical Women's Association and they have been so helpful."
-Pamela Miller, VP of Optical Development, IFB Optical (a division of Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind)
"I'm taking a course on pupils and optic nerves and then later on I have one for electronic health records. I hope to take in more of the EHR and business side and learn about everything that's going on with government regulations and managed care. I'm also here to look at equipment because as a student it was a little harder to get involved on that end."
-Jamee Patel, OD, Vision Care Specialists, Southborough, Mass.
"I've been coming here for over 20 years and I still love it. I get all my information, new products, take classes…we used to get more freebies, but it's still a great show. We liked Lacoste a lot, we just added it."
-Alison Risko, OD, Agape Vision, Valley Stream, N.Y.
"Everybody has been a big help, I really liked it. It's something different. We came to learn the new machineries, what the updates are with insurances, everything new that's coming out, that's what I came here to learn."
-Stephanie Rivas, opticianry assistant, Vision World, Monticello, N.Y.
"I'm here for frames, mostly, along with lenses. New designs, new information. We've picked up several new frame collections and are looking at a lot of new things that are available."
-Gary Scheib, OD, Gary L. Scheib Optometrist, Pottsville, Penn.
"We travel here every year from California, mainly to buy new product from our existing lines and then try to pick up new and interesting independent lines that we haven't seen before. I was really interested in Rolf, which is a line of wood frames."
-Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
"We're looking for frames and technology. Our doctor is looking for an OCT machine because right now if we suspect a patient of glaucoma, we have to send them out to another doctor for testing. We're also looking to possibly trade out some vendors and frame lines; seeing them in person is a lot better than searching on the web."
-Kerri Snapp, practice manager, Tara B. Bailey, OD PA, Waller, Texas
"I only came for machines. New Essilor cutting and edging equipment, that's all I did. My daughter took care of all the frame business. I work with a whole family membership, two daughters and a son-in-law. I came here particularly because I had a good deal. What I saw new or what was good was the improved Mr. Blue I would consider that fantastic. "
-Albert Voorthuis, OD, Voorthuis Opticians Inc., Washington, D.C.