ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Making its debut at Vision Expo West, OptiCon @ Vision Expo generated record breaking attendance numbers with a 16 percent increase in optician turnout and a 22 percent increase in all OptiCon related titles compared to Vision Expo West 2017, according to an announcement from the show organizers. OptiCon @ Vision Expo, a dedicated program for opticians and contact lens technicians, sold nearly 700 packages that included access to the industry’s leading educational programs.

An additional component of OptiCon @ Vision Expo included the OptiCon Hub, a dedicated Show floor booth that provided attendees the opportunity to connect with their peers and offered access to exclusive events.

“What a perfect opportunity to experience OptiCon @ Vision Expo West 2018 this year,” Cheri Guy, professional services manager at Hoya Vision Care, told show organizers. “ABO and NCLE provide an atmosphere that is not only welcoming to eyecare professionals, but also supports a learning environment to share pertinent industry information.”

The OptiCon Hub was designed to further networking and business opportunities by including key representatives from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO), National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE), National Academy of Opticianry (NAO), Opticians Association of America (OAA) and National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS).

“The OptiCon Hub was an electrifying experience at the 2018 Vision Expo West,” said James E. Iciek, executive director for the National Academy of Opticianry. “The National Academy of Opticianry had well over 400 people visit our booth located inside The Hub with gross sales the second highest we’ve had in 21 years at any trade show,” he told show organizers.

Events featured in the OptiCon Hub including the National Academy of Opticianry Awards Ceremony and Annual Business Meeting drew heavy foot traffic as attendees took full advantage of their personalized OptiCon packages.

“There certainly was a buzz on the Show floor that we have not seen or experienced in a while,” said Amy Schneider, vice president of product development for Eyes of Faith Optical, told show organizers. “Every single person I had a conversation with was extremely happy with the merger of events and feels the partnership provides more opportunity for education, networking and learning about the state of our industry.”

Additionally, the general session and OptiCon party saw an increase in participation compared to Vision Expo East 2018. The general session gathered attendees at an exclusive breakfast to discuss the latest in industry news and was followed later in the evening by the OptiCon party sponsored by Europa Eyewear.

“At Europa, we consider it nothing short of an honor to be able to partner with OptiCon on their Welcome Event,” said Scott Shapiro, chief operating officer for Europa Eyewear. “We strongly support the work of the ABO-NCLE and their associate organizations, and this is a fun way for us to exhibit that. Furthermore, the partnership allows us to align ourselves with the opticianry community as a whole, which we feel is vital to the future of the eyecare industry and more importantly, to eyecare patients.”

As OptiCon @ Vision Expo prepares to return to Vision Expo East 2019 (Education: March 21 – 24; Exhibit Hall: March 22 – 24), plans are underway to maintain OptiCon’s collaborative atmosphere while expanding the social and educational opportunities provided for attendees.