NEW YORK—After nearly four decades of showcasing some of the best eyewear products, eyecare technologies and countless hours of continuing education at Vision Expo in New York City, attendees at this year’s Show soaked in every moment and celebrated an Expo East that was held for the final time at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. More than 450 leading eyewear and eyecare companies showcased their latest products and technologies, and attendees were again treated to VisionEd, the accredited educational program of Vision Expo featuring nearly 200 sessions, new product launches, special events and company anniversary celebrations.

Beginning in 2025, Vision Expo East will permanently relocate to Orlando, Fla. The initial show is scheduled for Feb. 19-21.

“We’re thrilled with the overwhelming success of our final show in New York,” said Fran Pennella, event vice president of Vision Expo, RX. “The excitement was palpable, the energy was electric, and the show floor was packed, with attendance surpassing last year’s numbers. It’s a testament to the passion and dedication of our attendees, exhibitors and conferees, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support as we wrap up our residency in New York and begin a new chapter in Orlando next year.”

If you are just back from New York or were unable to attend Vision Expo East, the onsite Show Dailies are a great way to catch up on everything Expo. The full digital editions of the Show Dailies from March 15, 16 and 17 can be accessed here.

Click the image above to download a PDF of Latest News and Show Shots from Vision Expo East Day 1.

Click the image above to download a PDF of Latest News and Show Shots from Vision Expo East Day 2.

Click the image above to download a PDF of Latest News and Show Shots from Vision Expo East Day 3.

Some attendees appeared to have mixed feelings about the move south next winter, feeling a bit sentimental about leaving the Big Apple.

“I came to the show because what they do here emphasizes why I love being an optician. It’s a fashion mecca,” said Natasha Kuberski, optical supervisor, Eye Physicians and Surgeons. “When I think of Vision Expo, I think of New York. After 24 years in the industry, when they say Vision Expo, it’s New York.”

“Changing venues is definitely going to bring some new people to the show that didn’t attend before, but I think overall this year’s show was pretty good,” added Rick Guinotte, CEO of Acquios Alliance and Advisors. “The vendor hall was full, and it looked like people were definitely getting in there and talking to people. So, this was a good event for Expo in its last year in New York.”

Additionally, OptiCon @ Vision Expo returned with an unmatched opticianry education program and exhibit hall experience. As always, OptiCon was the place to take in thought-provoking panel discussions, education and celebrations geared to opticians, contact lens practitioners and ophthalmic allied professionals.

 (L to R) John Bruening, second vice president of OAA, parliamentarian of delegate assembly; Ronnie Harbert, OAA president and the new board president of UOA; and Bob Reynolds, secretary of delegate assembly and past president of OAA, made the announcement of the merger at Vision Expo East on the morning of March 17, the last day of the Show.
On Sunday morning, March 17, a special press conference was held at the OptiCon hub to announce that The Opticians Association of America (OAA) and the National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS) completed a merger, with continuing funding provided by the American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO & NCLE). The merger created a model opticianry association representing more than 80,000 opticians and contact lens professionals throughout North America, according to a statement from the three organizations.

The vote took place Sunday morning at Vision Expo East. The decision by delegates was “unanimous,” as announced by Bob Reynolds, secretary of delegate assembly and past president of OAA, who noted “this is the next step in a very bright future for opticians.”

The new organization will be named United Opticians Association (UOA) and will begin operations on July 1, 2024. Click here to read the full story about the historic merger.

Another of this year’s highlights came at the OptiCon general session, which featured an inspirational conversation with Rebecca Alexander, LCSW-R, MPH, who has been losing her vision and hearing due to Usher Syndrome (type 3) since adolescence. She spoke with Blair Wong, ABOM, NCLEC, about her accomplishments, challenges, and the encouragement and inspiration that she gives others who are facing their own challenges.

Vision Expo East 2024 announced the winners of the inaugural NOW Awards on March 15. The awards honored brands that embodied the latest trends and innovation in eyewear. (L to R) Accepting the 2024 NOW Awards were Gustavo Assis, LAPIMA, for New Emerging Brand/Designer; Mehran Baghaie, Spectacle Eyeworks, Pussy Galore, for Best Optical Style of 2024 by an independent brand; Selima Salaun, Selima Optique, for “Eyewear, the Ultimate Accessory” Award presented by the Accessories Council; Lorena Serrano, Nina Mur Eyewear, for Best Sunglass Style of 2024 by an independent brand; Rebecca Giefer, Modo, for 3D by Modo, Best Sustainable Style of 2024; Jamie Shyer and Chris Shyer, Zyloware, for Optical Lifetime Achievement Award; and Alessandro Mariani, EssilorLuxottica, for Swarovski, Best Optical Style of 2024 by a licensed brand.

NOW by Vision Expo and the accompanying NOW Awards also returned, featuring some of the most innovative designers in the optical industry. All Vision Expo East eyewear exhibitors were welcomed to participate by submitting a product for inclusion that aligned with the 2024 themes, ranging from New York City nostalgia to innovative materials and technologies. Click here to read the full story about the NOW Award winners.

A new fashion show series by IMAGINEM, titled Flaunt the Frame, made its debut at Vision Expo East 2024 and provided a showcase for independent eyewear designers. More than 75 independent designers from around the world were also showcased at the expanded Atelier neighborhood.

This year’s Vision Expo East also featured a number of notable anniversaries, led by 20/20 Magazine’s 50th anniversary celebration featuring a walk through history, with a life-sized timeline that showcased the journal’s journey over the past five decades as well as key industry milestones. Other notable anniversaries included ClearVision Optical celebrating 75 years in 2024, Coburn Technologies marking its 70th anniversary, Eye Q Eyewear turning 30, and Modern Optical International hosting a celebratory toast in honor of its 50th anniversary.

The National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS) hosted the College Bowl competition, another attendee favorite, featuring a game show-style format with questions covering various aspects of opticianry. The annual event was sponsored by EssilorLuxottica.

Among the many special events, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins provided attendees with a special performance on Saturday and also discussed her personal journey living with exotropia and amblyopia.

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 Sunday, March 17. Located at The Bridge, the Career Zone served as a central hub for students and young professionals to network with participating companies, all of which were actively recruiting and seeking new talent. Participating companies include EssilorLuxottica Eye Care, MyEyeDr., SEE Eyewear, Vision Source, VSP Premier, Walmart and Warby Parker.

Overall, the final Vision Expo East show in the Big Apple lived up to the billing, as attendees felt the energy and excitement when they walked through the doors of the Javits Convention Center hall for the last time before the move to Orlando next February. While Vision Expo East is set to make its move to Orlando in 2025, don’t forget to mark your calendars for Vision Expo West, which will be held in Las Vegas from Sept. 18-21, 2024.

“The anticipation for Vision Expo East 2025 is steadily building—we’ve seen an incredible response from our existing exhibitor base who have already contracted for Orlando, and there is an incredible buzz leading into what will be a dynamic show experience and expanded market for everyone,” said Pennella. “For any exhibitors who haven’t confirmed their Orlando booth space yet, Vision Expo Show Management encourages them to secure their spot as soon as possible.”

20/20 Magazine, sister publication to Vision Monday and a leading resource in the optical industry, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special installation in the Crystal Palace. The milestone event featured a walk through history, with a life-sized timeline that showcased 20/20’s journey over the past five decades as well as key industry milestones.

(L to R) Celebrating the 20/20 booth installation were Jobson’s group publisher James DeMatteias, booth designer Nico Roseillier, UN-TI-TLED Creative Agency, 20/20’s executive editor Christine Yeh and Jobson’s VP of advertising sales Dennis Murphy.

On March 16 at The Bridge, longtime eyewear executive Harvey Ross announced a new North American Sergio Cereda Design Award, presented by the Ross Family Viva Foundation Corp and powered by 20/20 Magazine. This is the second award created in honor of eyewear designer Sergio Cereda to recognize distinctive and emerging talent in the eyewear industry. (L to R) At the announcement at the Bridge were 20/20’s Victoria Garcia, Stefania Cereda-Oppermann, Harvey Ross, Ketty Cereda and ClearVision’s David Friedfeld.

Vysen’s CEO Joel Sheero holding the People’s Choice Award. Vysen, an independent eyewear brand exhibiting in the expanded Atelier neighborhood, took home the People’s Choice Award for The Sha after receiving the most votes from attendees throughout the weekend.

ClearVision’s David Friedfeld (l) and Peter Friedfeld raised a glass to celebrate the company’s 75 years in business.

The family-owned business Modern Optical is marking their 50th anniversary this year. Company president Ken Weissman (l) and son Jonathan took a moment to share a unique toast with tumblers that were given away daily at the booth.

Coburn Technologies’ Alec Incera was all smiles at the company booth. Coburn is celebrating it 70th anniversary this year.

(L to R) It was a family affair at the Eye Q Eyewear booth as Jeffrey Frumkin, Jackie Frumkin and Zach Frumkin toasted to the company’s 30th anniversary.

JR Smith, a recent member of Team Oakley, is a former professional basketball player who admitted himself back into college at the age of 36 to fulfill his passions of playing golf and receiving a college degree. Smith was at the Oakley booth on Friday for a meet and greet with Show attendees.

This year’s OptiCon General Session, sponsored by EssilorLuxottica, featured an inspirational conversation with Rebecca Alexander, LCSW-R, MPH, who has been losing both her vision and hearing due to Usher Syndrome (type 3) since adolescence, and Blair Wong, ABOM, NCLEC.

Sophie Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins, (r) followed her performance at The Bridge with a conversation with Bad Habits “The Eye Docs of Rock” bassist, Michael “Jules” Raies, OD.

Devyn Shea (r) of Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology was named the National Federation of Opticianry Schools College Bowl champion at the annual event sponsored by EssilorLuxottica. The award was presented by Judy Lew, professional development director for opticianry, EssilorLuxottica. 

Members of the family of the 2024 Prevent Blindness Person of Vision Award recipient, Ed Buffington, GPN Technologies, came from across the country to celebrate his special honor.

(L to R) Prevent Blindness president and CEO Jeff Todd; 2024 Prevent Blindness Person of Vision Award recipient, Ed Buffington, GPN Technologies; Prevent Blindness board of directors chair Jim McGrann, Advancing Eyecare; and Prevent Blindness Person of Vision Award committee chair Maureen Cavanagh, celebrated at the Person of Vision Award gala on March 14.

Jason Lake, OD, general manager at Opti-Port, welcomed attendees to the group's annual SPARK conference in New York on March 14.

Heather J. Crider, neuroperformance coach, delivered the keynote address at the Opti-Port SPARK Conference.

The Optical Women’s Association (OWA) held their champagne breakfast and Star Award ceremony at Gotham Hall on the morning of March 14. (L to R) Honorees included Modo’s Rebecca Giefer, Vision Monday’s Marge Axelrad, Safilo’s Reagan Colpitts and Marketing4ECPs’ Trudi Charest.

EssilorLuxottica’s Fabrizio Uguzzoni welcomed attendees to the breakfast. EssilorLuxottica was the OWA platinum sponsor for the event.

(L to R) Attending the OWA breakfast were Zyloware’s Janna Neal, The Vision Council’s Bonnie Whitfield, Marketing4ECPs Trudi Charest, Dr. Lorie Lippiatt, Silhouette’s Katherine Cruz, EssilorLuxottica’s Tamara Sanders and Havas PR’s Courtney Myers.

(L to R) Attending the Optical Women’s Association’s Stars, Sips and Scholarships reception were Jobson’s Marge Axelrad, The Vision Council’s Ashley Mills, and EssilorLuxottica’s Amy Stachler and Deb Bulken.

(L to R) Attending the OWA reception were Tyjia Sherman, Vision to Learn; Amy and Jim Schneider, Eyes of Faith Optical; Victoria Hallberg, DigitalOptometrics; Minerva Maldonado, LensCrafters; Moses Nawlo, optician; and Zenya Tucker, Sam's Club.

Skyline views set the backdrop on Friday night for the Zeiss Curtain Call reception at The Peak in Hudson Yards. Attendees took in the sunset while enjoying dancing, conversation, delicious food and live music.

Marcolin celebrated the opening of their new NYC showroom on the night of March 14. (L to R) Helping to welcome attendees were Lara Marogna, Sabrina Paulon and Clara Magnanini from Marcolin.

The Rock4Sight Band has raised $3 million for optical non-profits in 16 years of shows. (L to R) Celebrating this landmark at the March 16 show at the Hard Rock Café were longtime band members Terry Marquardt, OD, Eric Rollins, David Salk (holding the mic), Andrew Karp, John Alofs and Bob Stein.

Bad Habits, featuring the Eye Docs of Rock, performed at the Vision Expo East Opening Night Party on March 15 at Sony Hall.   

(L to R): Designer Anna-Karin Karlsson, EYECONS Agency founder and CEO Tarrence Lackran, Selima Optique founder Selima Salaun, and designers Coco and Breezy made up the panel at EYECONS Agency's SoHo House event on March 14.

The audience, which included both SoHo House members and those in the industry, listened to the panel discuss the ever-evolving world of eyewear.

On the opening day of the Show, the Jobson contingent spent some time at the EssilorLuxottica booth. (L to R) EssilorLuxottica’s Sherianne James, Jobson’s Anne Cooper, EssilorLuxottica’s Fabrizio Uguzzoni, Jobson’s Andrew Karp and EssilorLuxottica’s Leonardo Maria Del Vecchio.

EssilorLuxottica’s Fabrizio Uguzzoni (r) explains the ins and outs of Nuance Audio glasses to Jobson’s Anne Cooper (l) and Marge Axelrad. The glasses feature advanced hearing technology that is seamlessly built in.

Flaunt the Frame, a new series presented by IMAGINEM, transcended conventional fashion shows by focusing solely on eyewear and providing an unfiltered view of cutting-edge designs.

L’Amy’s Stephen Rappoport (c) and Bradford (l) and Bryan Manning of Two Blind Brothers, met with ECPs to talk about the launch of their new eyewear collection, 2BB: Optical.

Attendees gathered at the Opti-Con hub for education and special events aimed at opticians.

Thomas Burkhardt (l) and Andy Skitmore took a much needed break at the VSP Vision booth.

Andrea Stringhini (l) and Candice Zatonski shared the latest in fashionable eyewear from Safilo, from their new location at the Terrace in the Javits Center.

(L to R) Zeiss team members Mike Racioppi, Summer Bouchedid and Jens Boy were ready to talk about lenses with attendees.

Business was brisk in the Atelier, which brought together more than 75 independent designers from around the globe. Here, Nick Fleek (l) of Poets Eyewear showed some frames to Claudia and Stan Lesniak of Express Optical.

The Career Zone returned to Vision Expo East on Sunday, March 17. Located at The Bridge, the Career Zone student lounge served as a central hub for students and young professionals to network with participating companies, all of which were actively recruiting and seeking new talent.

As part of the Visionaries Unveiled presentations at The Bridge, the Accessories Council’s Karen Giberson (l) and Frank Zambrelli discussed sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance).

At the Physician Burnout Session hosted by the National Optometric Association, Dr. Frank Barnes, Jr., BNC Eyewear Group, addressed the audience about dealing with stress in the workplace.