Vision Expo West: Eyewear and More

Life is better in focus were the words accompanying this drawing at the Vision Service Plan booth at Vision Expo West.
Photo by Diane Taylor

New products, ground-breaking technology and lots of special events awaited the estimated 15,000 people who attended the Sept. 18-21 Vision Expo West at the Sands Expo & Convention Center. The event was called the “complete event for ophthalmic professionals” and is the largest optical event in America. Even speed-dating was on the agenda, though this speed-dating matched business owners with independent eye-care retailers.

I have attended Vision Expo West for several years. I wear glasses and am always interested in the fashions of the day (bold, subtle, large, small, etc.), but I am also amused at how serious this industry is in describing trends in eyewear. How’s this from the Vision Council:

“Make way for neon and earthy pantones. For a dramatic look that’s anything but boring, neon hues are making a major style statement in flashy blues, vivid oranges, fiery reds, striking yellows and bold greens. Meanwhile, botanically-inspired colorations showcase a lush and minimalistic appeal in forest greens, soft browns, delicate purples and warm honey tones.”

Or….

“Retro and futuristic silhouettes are stepping into the spotlight. Take a trip back in time with chunky and thin rounds, enticing cat eyes and studious squares that are brimming with vintage vibes. For an ultramodern feel, jaw-dropping shields, edgy giometrics and reimagined aviators deliver a high-energy design that’s captivating consumers of all ages.”

Love those PR skills.

Once more, I walked the show floor and my video is attached. Because I am not an eye-care professional, I did not spend much time looking at the equipment used by eye doctors or by the folks who make lenses and frames, but all that was part of the expo. I looked at lots of what I called glasses, but which were actually the frames we choose. I have gotten my recent eye-wear from Sam’s Club and my recollection is that none of the glasses I chose have fancy names attached. But at the show, glasses frames with famous names are everywhere. My age may have something to do with my attitude, however.

Vision Expo West is a business-to-business gathering where retail sellers of eye-wear buy from manufacturers.
Photo by Diane Taylor

A chart called the Occular Telemedicine Report noted that 35.13% of folks ages 18 to 34 think eye-wear is a fashion accessory while only 14.5% of folks age 55 plus view eye-wear that way. Interesting.

A whole range of educational experiences was available at Vision Expo West. Topics such as “Five Life-Threatening Causes of Diplopia You Can’t Afford to Miss”, “Scleral Lens Fitting Workshop”, “Fitting Tips for Improving Your Success with Multifocal Soft Lenses” and “The Psychology of the Patient Encounter” were among the offerings.

Branding and fancy words aside, I am very grateful to the eye-care professionals in my life…I can watch movies and write these articles…because I can see.

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