ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Vision Expo East 2023 concluded on Sunday, March 19, following four days of new product discovery, action-packed education sessions, networking events, and business meetings. Held at New York City’s Javits Center from March 16 -19, Vision Expo East was the largest gathering of ophthalmic professionals in the U.S. in recent years. The Show welcomed thousands from the international vision care industry. Attendees included optometrists, opticians, contact lens professionals, allied ophthalmic professionals, optical assistants, office managers, frame buyers, lab technicians, students and other leaders in eyecare and eyewear.

Show organizers did not report any attendance information for the event and told VMAIL that "there are no plans for attendance numbers to be reported for Vision Expo East 2023."

Vision Expo East featured 425 world-class exhibiting companies, encompassing some of the biggest names in eyewear and eyecare. Attendees explored the industry’s top brands in seven unique exhibit neighborhoods: The Park, The Union, The Focus, The Springs, Look East, The Atelier, and Panorama, the newest addition to Vision Expo.

Fran Pennella, vice president of Vision Expo at RX and co-organizer of Vision Expo, said, “This year’s Vision Expo East was a phenomenal event by all points of view. Seeing the energy and excitement on the bustling exhibit floor, where business associates, friends and colleagues were able to come together to conduct meaningful business coupled with the jam-packed educational sessions and countless evening networking events confirms that this is the most crucial event in eyecare in the United States

“We are truly grateful for the support of our loyal exhibitors, renown speakers and the thousands of attendees who came from across the globe to make this year’s Vision Expo East one to remember”

In addition to the exhibit hall, industry professionals attended VisionEd—Vision Expo’s continuing education program—which included over 300 hours of sessions ranging from the latest business strategies and fashion trends to patient education tactics and cutting-edge innovations. Additionally, OptiCon @ Vision Expo returned with an unmatched opticianry education program and exhibit hall experience.

The Career Zone-Student Lounge, a destination for students to connect with optical companies that are actively recruiting and explore career resources, also returned to Vision Expo East on Saturday, March 18.

The Bridge, Vision Expo East’s main stage destination, featured a diverse range of inspiring and educational events including a highly anticipated keynote presentation from Jason Romero, a legally blind ultra-runner, and an exclusive conversation with radio personality and author, Delilah.

In addition to hosting exclusive educational programming, panels and discussions, Vision Expo East 2023 recognized and celebrated several individuals, brands and eyecare providers.

The winner of Vision Expo’s Fifth Annual OPTImum Independent Retailer Award, Primary Eye Care, was announced during an award ceremony on Friday, March 17. Launched in 2018, the OPTImum Independent Retailer Award celebrates independent boutique retailers by showcasing their products, stores, visions and stories to the optical industry.  

NOW by Vision Expo, an eyewear trends showcase created by Nico Roseillier, creative director at Europa/State Optical/American Optical, returned for a second year and hosted its inaugural NOW Awards, honoring brands that embody the latest trends and innovations in eyewear.

 NOW winners included (l to r) Corey Shapiro of Vintage Frames, James Spina of 20/20 Magazine, Pierre Cariven of Pierre Eyewear, Chris Esposito of Ethnicity Eyewear, Andres Warszawski of Rimmel Eyewear, and Guillame Thuau and Julia Gogosha of BAARS x Gogosha.
The 2023 NOW Award Winners:

  • NOW Best Sunglass Award: Under $250 retail category – Mita

  • NOW Best Sunglass Award: $250 to $500 retail category – Maison Nathalie Blanc 

  • NOW Best Sunglass Award: $500 & above retail category – Baars x Gogosha 

  • NOW Best Optical Award: Under $250 retail category – Rimmel Eyewear

  • NOW Best Optical Award: $250 to $500 retail category – Ethnicity Eyewear 

  • NOW Best Optical Award: $500 & above category – Le Lab by Pierre

  • NOW Optical Achievement Award – James Spina

  • NOW Special Design/Brand Activation – Vintage Frames Company

  • NOW People’s Choice Award – Strak Eyewear
“The business conducted and ideas shared at Vision Expo East shape the future of this incredible industry,” said Mitch Barkley, vice president of Trade Shows and Events at The Vision Council and co-organizer of Vision Expo. “We’re grateful to all our partners from across the sector who came together and made this show a success.”

Vision Expo West 2023 will be held in Las Vegas from September 27-30, 2023. The Show’s educational program, together with OptiCon @ Vision Expo, will open Wednesday, September 27, and the Exhibit Hall will open Thursday, September 28.