With its diverse list of topics and wealth of experienced speakers, Vision Expo East (VEE) is arguably one of the most valuable CE events eye care professionals can attend. Returning to New York City from April 14th to April 17th, conference organizers pledge to deliver a healthy portfolio of continuing education classes covering all aspects of the trade and include a robust education curriculum.

Beyond Ocular Disease

“I believe the Vision Expos [East and West] have the most complete and comprehensive educational curriculum anywhere,” says Mark Dunbar, OD, co-chair of Vision Expo’s Conference Advisory Board. “Where most CE programs focus on ocular disease, Vision Expo has that and more. Indeed, there is a rich ocular disease curriculum but [there is] also an emphasis on other key areas such as business solutions, contact lenses and optical technology.” Dr. Dunbar adds the event includes “having Ritz Carlton come in to do a two-hour long program on Excellence in the Patient Experience,” he says.

Attendees can also boost their bottom dollar with a host of seminars on business solutions.

What’s New in Medicine  

Keeping up with the latest in medicine includes updates on current prescribing, diagnostic and treatment philosophies. “We have brought back some of our core programs that continue to be huge in attendance and are well received by attendees such as ‘The Greatest Series’ which includes The Greatest Anterior Segment Disease and Medical Management of Contact Lens Complications Course—Ever! hosted by Jack Schaeffer, OD, Charlie Ficco, OD, and Marc Bloomenstein, OD, as well as The Greatest Posterior Segment Disease Course—Ever! with Dr. Dunbar, Diana Shechtman, OD and Jay Haynie, OD,” says Dr. Dunbar. 

This year’s meeting offers more than 330 hours of CE.

Ron Melton, OD, and Randall Thomas, OD, will return to host Current Trends in Medical Management and Reducing the Pressure on Glaucoma Decision Making.


In addition to fostering business ideas and obtaining disease updates, if one wants to widen their skill set toward the ever-expanding edge of the optometric profession, investing in one of the two classes on amniotic membranes, “Amniotic Membranes in the Optometric Practice” or “Crash Course: Amniotic Membranes, Why, How and When?” may be a wise decision. The former course, taught by Drs. Douglas Devries and Walter Whitley, is a workshop in which practitioners will gain hands-on experience with amniotic membranes as well as knowledge on how to bill and code for the procedure and its follow ups. Also of interest may be the “Injections Workshop” held on Friday afternoon in which Nathan Lighthizer, OD, will teach injection techniques applicable to the optometric setting such as subcutaneous, subconjunctival, intralesional and intramuscular injections as well as venipuncture for fluorescein angiography. Dr. Lighthizer will also review the indications, contraindications, possible complications and proper management for each technique. 

Fast Solutions for CE Fun

To keep things fast and fun this year, for the first time, VEE will be adding COPE-approved half-hour long classes to its format as well as a couple of classes with a revolving door of rotating lecturers. 

Drs. Jerome Sherman, Jay Haynie and Mark Dunbar will all return to teach at VEE classes this April.

“New this year is our debut of the Crash Courses, which are 30-minute, topic intensive courses designed to grasp and hold the attention of the audience,” says Dr. I. Ben Gaddie, co-chair of Vision Expo’s Conference Advisory Board. These six, shortened classes held at the end of the day on Friday and Saturday allow participants to squeeze in a bit more CE while still leaving plenty of time to experience the excitement of the exhibit hall and other classes during the day as well as networking events in the evening. Some of the Crash Course topics include: “Amniotic Membranes: Why, How and When?,” “Google Contact Lens and Other Future Technologies” and “Is This Acanthamoeba?” 

Another way CE at VEE is changing things up this year is with its two “lightning round” classes on glaucoma and anterior segment disease. Each lightning round is held at the same time on Saturday morning (9:45am to 11:45am), but similar to the new “Crash Courses,” the lightning round’s format has been created to keep things upbeat and interesting. “In that same spirit of our Crash Courses, we are introducing our ‘lightning rounds,’ which are one-hour long courses where the audience stays in one room and the faculty rotate to multiple classrooms to present for 15-minute intervals on a given disease topic,” says Dr. Gaddie. This should help attendees fight the in-classroom fatigue that some may experience after being in a lecture for an extended period of time.

Expertise In and Out of the Classroom 

At the end of the day, classes and the expansive exhibit hall are not the only ways to gain knowledge at Vision Expo East. Conversations and interactions with fellow ODs and eyewear professionals can help broaden one’s perspective and knowledge base. Evidence of this can be seen in the ever-growing popularity of OD social media groups such as ODs on Facebook. According to Dr. Dunbar, “ODs on Facebook has emerged as the industry’s largest and most active internet forum for eye care professionals, and so to capitalize on its popularity, we have developed two courses around it: “Best of ODs on Facebook: Practice Management Pearls” with Drs. Gary Gerber, April Jasper, Neil Gailmard, Mark Wright and Alan Glazier [as well as the] “Best of ODs on Facebook: Clinical Tales from the Trenches” with Drs. Ben Gaddie, Diana Shechtman, Andrew Morgenstern, Mark Dunbar and Scot Morris.” 

Cutting Loose

Chances for additional social exchanges—not for CE credit, but for further inspiration from other ODs—can be acquired in even more casual settings such as networking at Alcon’s free lunchtime Vision Series course on Friday afternoon (pre-registration required), the ODs on Facebook Party at B.B. King’s on Friday night, NYSOA’s World Yacht Cruise around Manhattan on Saturday evening (pre-register, for NYSOA members only) and the Young Professionals Club lunch on Friday afternoon or Party on Saturday night. Also, the benefits of sharing ideas and networking can be reaped online through Vision Expo’s Eyecare and Eyewear Community, Visionaries, which premiered in 2015 and is continuing this year (to learn more, visit http://visionaries.visionexpo.com). 

Attendees can register for classes online or by fax, phone or mail. Note that the new, COPE-approved 30-minute Crash Courses are priced at $54 per half hour. Other registration packages, discounts and a la carte pricing are available. Be sure to sign up early for the best class selection, as some of the popular lectures do tend to “sell out” quickly.  

Taking advantage of the education opportunities at Vision Expo East may be one of the wisest investments ODs make for themselves and it may even help them “grow a little more green” from their practice.  

Visit www.visionexpoeast.com to see the full program.