This year’s Vision Expo East, which drew nearly 15,500 attendees from all over the United States and more than 90 countries, featured at least two notable events out of dozens of interesting happenings.
One was the expansion of The Vision Council’s Think About Your Eyes public awareness campaign and its partnership with the American Optometric Association.
The other was Vision Monday’s collection of exhibits in the Eye2 Zone, which gave showgoers a glimpse into the future of eyewear and visual technologies. It also provided a chance for some practice owners to do some valuable comparison shopping for ophthalmic instruments.
This year’s Expo showcased the newest frames and lenses—as well as the latest in ‘eye tech,’ such as the Z3 GPS MOD ski goggles with built-in GPS.
At Vision Monday’s Eye2 Zone, group editor Andy Karp tests out Cinemizer multimedia glasses.
‘Think About Your Eyes’
At Vision Expo East, the Vision Council announced its new partnership with the AOA for a relaunch of its Think About Your Eyes national campaign ( www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com).
Their goal is to educate the public about the benefits of eye health and the importance of getting an annual comprehensive eye exam. It ran in several test markets in 2010, reaching nearly 25% of Americans, the Vision Council reported.
Contributing editor Cheryl Murphy, OD, sported her eyeglasses skirt and had a ball with a couple well-rounded friends.
Those markets saw an 8% growth in the number of eye exams performed, which translated to an additional 120 patient visits for each participating practice per year in those areas.
“The first Think About Your Eyes campaign resulted in more than 3.4 million incremental eye exams in our test markets and more than 367,000 previously undiagnosed cases of eye disease,” said Ed Greene, chief executive officer of the Vision Council. “With results like that, imagine the impact we can have on a national scale as we combine the strengths of the Vision Council, the leading industry association, and the AOA, the leading professional association.”
In the second half of 2013, Think About Your Eyes will begin advertising on national television, print, radio, Internet and social media outlets. It will also include a ‘doctor locator’ as part of its patient outreach. Doctors can join for an annual membership fee to be included in the doctor locator directory and will be able to track results of the tool in real time.
Get in the Zone
Among the many booths inside the exhibit hall, one area previewed the latest inventions in eyewear technology. Google Glass was noticeably absent, but plenty of other innovative devices were on display in Vision Monday’s brand new Eye2 Zone.
The futuristic-looking, silver Cinemizer (Carl Zeiss) video glasses resemble opaque, virtual reality glasses that display 3D movies with stereo sound. These could be used, for example, by an airplane passenger as an immersive replacement for the current in-flight seatback screens.
Vision Expo East drew 15,500 attendees to New York’s Javits Center this year.
Representatives of Optos, Inc., demonstrate the Optomap for James Loskot, OD, of Abingdon, Md.
For those who would like to go from watching movies to making them, Pivothead glasses (Aurora & Durango) can take HD video, capture stills, record wind-resistant audio, and more.
Adventure seekers looking for something even more interactive could check out the Z3 GPS MOD ski goggles (Zeal Optics), which not only have a built-in GPS but can also record speed, altitude, temperature, distance and more. These are shown on its widescreen in-goggle viewfinder display. The device also has Bluetooth to connect with the user’s smartphone to view texts, show maps and locate friends.
As visual technologies in glasses, contact lenses and eyewear expand, eye care professionals need to keep a close watch on this exploding market to help navigate our patients through it.
Easy-to-Compare Eye Care Tech
Among Expo’s array of 575 exhibitors, the Med Sci Pavilion was abuzz with doctors and eye care professionals from all over the nation testing out the latest diagnostic equipment.
James Loskot, OD, of Abingdon, Md., came not only for the one-stop shopping and side-by-side comparison of products that the vast exhibit hall provides, but also because it’s a place to “get rejuvenated and learn a lot.” Vision Expo East provided him and others with an opportunity that thumbing through pamphlets cannot: a hands-on demonstration and a chance to ask questions directly to representatives and experts.