VM LIVE: A Conversation With Three OD Innovators About Customer Engagement

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NEW YORK—Three innovative optometry innovators will discuss the ways they are bringing new ideas to both vision care environments and retail to address today’s customers and patients who expect easy, seamless interactions, speedier, more convenient service and new experiences in both retail and health care environments. Brief presentations and a conversation among the three practices will be a featured highlight of Vision Monday's Sept. 18 VM LIVE forum, "Smart Solutions at the Speed of Sight," to be held just prior to the opening of Vision Expo West in Las Vegas.

The practice innovators will be joined by retail experts tracking the new expectations and tech guiding the customer experience from outside the optical arena. The event will be held at the Sands Convention Center on the Sept. 18 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and registration is now open.


Bimal Patel, OD

The latest to join the panel of ODs is Bimal Patel, OD, founder of Focus Refined Eye Care in Houston, Texas. Dr. Patel, a native Houstonian, is in tune with the latest in eyecare technology and fashion eyewear trends. He opened Focus nearly four years ago in the heart of the Montrose District—Houston's major cultural center and destination.

He wanted his practice itself to be a destination that provides patients with a one of a kind experience, where concierge and comfort meets eyecare. He is therapeutic optometrist and a glaucoma specialist. Dr. Patel received his Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Texas-Austin and his optometry degree from the University of Houston College Of Optometry, where he graduated magna cum laude. Most recently, Dr. Patel has been investing time in running for U.S. Congress. As a health care advocate and a small business owner he told VMail that he is ready to take his ideas and energy to Washington.

Also on the VM LIVE panel are co-founders Kyly Zak Rabin and Myles Zakheim, OD, of Los Angeles-based Zak. Just opened this year, Zak is described by its co-founders as "a 21st century approach to eyecare and eyewear. We streamline the traditionally fragmented process to provide a seamless, one-stop experience that is affordable without compromising quality. We believe in eyecare done better: comprehensive, aesthetic and educational. Our ethos, design, culture, products and services are created and presented to encourage all people to consider their eyes."


Kyly Zak Rabin and Myles Zakheim.

Rabin's background is a combination of production, operations, fundraising and marketing. After graduating from Northwestern University, she worked on the development team for the Board of Trustees at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and then transitioned into the start-up world. She had a front row seat to creating new business in marketing and production roles at various start-ups in the food and beverage space, which was a particularly fitting education for all things Zak.

Originally from New York City, Dr. Myles Zakheim, is the founder of Optometrix and has been in private practice in L.A. for over 35 years, with offices in Brentwood, Beverly Hills and Hollywood. After receiving his doctorate from the Illinois College of Optometry, he completed his residency at The New York Lighthouse for the Blind where he trained with a specialty in low vision. He served on the staff of the Center for the Partially Sighted at Santa Monica Hospital and was the director of Eye Services at the world-renown Pritikin Longevity Center.

Joining the others are Perry Brill and Dr. Raymond Brill, Brill Eye Center, Kansas City, Kan. The pair take a '"modern" approach to dispensing and embrace a strong, patient-centric focus in their two locations. Perry Brill is proud to be "a representative of the illusive millennial mind” when it comes to eyecare and eyewear. He began his optician career in 2012 while attending college at the University of Kansas and obtaining a B.S. in Environmental Studies.


Perry Brill and Dr. Raymond Brill.

Raymond J. Brill, OD, is a private practice "disruptive innovator" at Brill Eye Center, which he founded in 1983. He graduated cum laude from Illinois College of Optometry with BSVS and OD degrees, after which he served four years in the U.S. Army as the division optometrist at Fort Riley, Kan. In 2010, he earned an executive MBA degree with top honors from the Bloch School of Management in Kansas City with an emphasis in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Brill has diversified his practice to excel in a wide array of services. Dr. Brill and Perry Brill are co-hosts of “Eyetrepreneur” a new podcast series and social media platform developed to create enthusiasm and highlight new concepts in eyecare.

"Today's consumers want retailers, ECPs and brands to meet them on their own terms, and in multiple channels… brick, click and more," noted Marge Axelrad, SVP/editorial director of Vision Monday. "VM LIVE is an opportunity for attendees to learn from from optical innovators and influential branding experts who are developing creative ideas and digital tools to build customer loyalty, drive engagement and grow sales."

The Platinum sponsor for September's VM LIVE is CareCredit, a division of Synchrony Financial.

Additional speakers for VM LIVE will be announced soon. More details are posted on the registration site.