By Delia Paunescu
Assistant Editor, Vision Monday

What brought you to Expo this year? Do you sense the economy is improving?

Vicky and Ernesto Fernandez, Buyer and Practice Manager, Med Eye Optical, Miami, Fla.

I manage several opticals in Miami and we came in to see the new collections. Thank God we didn’t suffer that much because of the economy. When it comes to vision, everyone needs us. So in terms of business, we’re actually strong.

Pauline Kamens, Licensed Optician, New England Vision Care, Attleboro, Mass.

I’m here to look at new eyewear. My husband is an optometrist and he’s looking for more optical equipment and just seeing the show and New York. To be honest, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and this is the smallest I’ve ever seen Expo. The economy is still terrible. I hear that things are picking up but there are still a lot of unemployed people. In my office alone, there are a lot of unemployed engineers. And I really don’t think unemployment is down. We’re in New England on the border of Rhode Island and got hit really hard. I feel bad for people.

Andrea Cangialosi, OD, The Morrison Associates, Harrisburg, Penn.

I’ve never been to Expo before and since I’m an optometrist, I wanted to check everything out – the new styles of frames especially. I think it’s pretty cool. You get the CE and get to learn about the new styles, equipment, lenses; it’s totally inclusive. The economy just depends. We have three locations and between them, some people are willing to spend the money and some people just want to stick to what their insurance will cover. Other than that, we do take a lot of insurances so we’re not having a real problem.

Greg Amato, CEO, Epolin, Inc., Newark, N.J.

We come every year to meet our Taiwanese customers. We’re a chemical company and make special IR absorbing dyes for specialty sun lenses. Since there are many lenses molded in Taiwan, our customers come to see their customers and it’s an easy way for us to meet everyone. In terms of the economy, we’re actually up. We have an equal number of customers who say they’re up and down but overall, our business is up. Being as we make specialty dyes, we’re not really in eye correction, we’re in eye protection. Anybody who’s in a human safety and protection business is generally going to have increased sales as everybody gets more modernized – particularly as everybody who are in the East start using Western safety technologies. It’s a good market for us to be in and grow with it.