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The New Grad Optometrist Guide to Vision Expo West


Last March, I attended my first Vision Expo in NYC. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was told it could be overwhelming without a plan. As a new grad OD and practice owner,  it’s important to maximize the return on your investment. I devised the below guide, and will implement it again in Las Vegas. For practice owners, Vision Expo is a chance to attend CE,  trial the newest technology, and purchase the most original and innovative eyewear.

Vision Expo West Timeline – Prior to Event

2 Months Prior

  • Book your airline/hotel reservations- If you book through Reed Exhibitions, you receive the best pricing and location. Book early because rooms fill quickly.
  • Register to attend the event- Free entry can be obtained through membership in the Young Professionals Club.
  • Sign up for CE- If it has been 5 years or less since you graduated, you are eligible for 6 free hours of CE through the Young Professionals Club – a $3,630 savings over 5 years.

1 Month Prior

  • Browse the map for the general layout of the event so you have an idea of the location of your areas of interest. Typical layout includes a floor dedicated to equipment, a floor of eyeglass lens/contact lens vendors, a floor dedicated to both the big frame vendors and sections for the smaller independent and luxury brands. Click here for the exhibit hall map.
  • Use the Vision Expo West App to mark specific booths of interest. Poll your staff for their opinions on what might be necessary to acquire for the office.
  • Research frame lines, equipment, and accessories you are looking to add to your practice to maximize allocated time.
  • Pay particular attention to the first time exhibitors showcased, as well as which vendors may be 2014 discounts.
  • Consider planning some fun activities using the Vision Expo West Discounts Program.

3 Weeks Priordrift eyewear

  • Set up appointments with vendors/reps of interest.
  • Many times you can view frame lines and equipment on the spot, but I like to cram my “must-dos” into back-to-back time slots.
  • Have a list of specifics to look for. For example, my ongoing list for my practice includes a digital optical measurement device, security sensors, and planning for future equipment, like an edger and an OCT.
  • Frame companies usually release new frames before Vision Expo East and West occur. This makes Vision Expo West the ideal time to meet with any national or international reps to view their new designs.

1 Week Prior

Take a detailed inventory of your optical:

  • Are you missing any particular colors of frames?
  • Do you have a sufficient number of metal vs. plastic vs. drill mount?
  • Are you deficient in any styles?
  • Missing a certain price point?
  • Do you need to re-order anything?
  • Would your patients enjoy any additional optical accessories?

Get everything ready

  • Check out the hotel shuttle itinerary
  • Check out the airport shuttle options
  • Pack some business casual clothes along with going out clothes… this is Vegas!

Meet the Team at Vision Expo West

Here is where our team will be. Come hang out with us!

Thursday, September 18 – 5:00pm – 7:00pm

The New Graduate Perspective
Join Young ODs for networking, food and drinks while participating in a program brought to you by International Vision Expo West, Allergan OPTOMETRY JUMPSTART®, and

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Part I: Roundtable Discussion with NGO

Join founder of NGO, Matthew Geller OD and the NGO team, as they give you the step-by-step details of how to land your dream job in a medically based optometry practice. The NGO team will cover how to find the practice that can use your talents and how to make your pitch for employment. Also learn how to create a medical based practice environment, from getting medical patients in the door to getting paid on insurance claims. Be prepared to drill down into the step-by-step details!

Part II: Considerations in Dry Eye Disease Management (Not for CE credit) By Marc Bloomenstein O.D., F.A.A.O.

Dr. Marc Bloomenstein will discuss effectively integrating dry eye disease management into your practice.

Thursday, September 18 – 9:00pm – 1:00am

Bad Habits Concert
Location: Hard Rock Café
Mingle with your peers and industry professionals as you rock out to the Bad Habits “Eyedocs of Rock”.

Friday, September 19 – 9:00pm – 1:00am

Club Marchon
Location: Paris Hotel

Club Marchon is the BIGGEST party in Las Vegas. Over 7,000 Vision Expo West attendees come to party using the entire outdoor property at the Paris Hotel. Walk to paths to see multiple live acts, Vegas performers and bar destinations. You may get a pass to Club Marchon by visiting their booth anytime on Friday.

Saturday, September 20 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Young Professionals Club Party
Location: Kahunaville Poolside Lanai Bar, Treasure Island
Join your fellow club members for food and drinks.

“The Young Professionals Club is exactly what new graduates need. New grads don’t have a practice club or alliance to join right out of school and this is the first one I’ve seen with some real backing. is glad to partner with the YPC and we are going to help make this club even more valuable!” – Matthew Geller O.D., Founder

We make a BIG deal out of attending Vision Expo West with our patients. We build their excitement for our return with the newest and most original frame styles. For our most devoted patients, we ask for frame requests, and promise to look for eyewear with them in mind.

And…Plan for the future…When you are looking to add a new frame line or perhaps open a second office,  what big purchase will you need to make in the near future?

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About Courtney Dryer

Courtney Dryer
Courtney Dryer is a 2011 graduate of SCO. She opened 4 Eyes Optometry in her hometown of Charlotte, NC in February of 2013. After 5 years, the practice name was changed to Autarchic Spec Shop to renew the practice's commitment to independent optometry. In addition to consulting with new graduate optometrists on start-up practices, she contributes regularly to New Grad Optometry and has guest blogged for Invision Magazine. The unique design of her boutique practice was featured in Women in Optometry. In 2015, Vision Monday named her a Rising Star, and one of the most influential women in optical.

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