Another Vision Expo East meant another year attending as a member of the Young Professionals Club, and as always, it was worth every second.
Here are some of the highlights from the Expo, shared by the team members of NGO.
Vision Expo East has always been the place where I schedule the most meetings and meet the most new faces. There are many other meetings where I do networking and schedule time with optometry students, new graduates, and industry, but none of them come close to Vision Expo.
Since 2007 when I first started going to Expo East, I have always noticed that no one misses Expo, and therefore, you can get a lot of work done. Whether it is meeting up with old friends, hanging out with Gary Gerber on his podcast, or meeting with some big names in eyecare, it all goes down at Expo. I cannot recommend enough, that new grads join the Young Professionals Club. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to be part of that organization and reap the benefits. Being a member of the Young Professionals Club has made networking so much easier. It puts new and recent graduates in contact with not only each other, but leaders in this profession!
Here are some things to do at Expo next time you come.
- Come meet with me and the NewGradOptometry.com team
- Talk with startup companies like Smart Vision Labs and find ways to be part of the evolving landscape of eyecare
- Talk with the Vision Expo influencers and see how you can lecture your own CE topic
- Film a segment with the Social Media Zone and use the footage to get your name out there
- Talk with folks over at Jobson, Optometry Times or BMC publications to become a journalist for a magazine
- Talk with some of the companies who support NGO and care a lot about new graduates like Lee Ball O.D. from Vistakon and Janelle Routhier O.D. from Essilor. They are super cool and work hard to make sure that their companies understand your needs as a new OD.
- Talk with up and coming technology or clinical care companies about becoming a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) for their company. Companies often pay well for consulting or speaking from a young and motivated optometrist.
These are just some ideas, but I truly mean it when I say it that Vision Expo is the PLACE to get stuff done. See you next year!
–Matt Geller O.D.
Aside from networking, Vision Expo East proved to be the ultimate destination for education. As Optometrists, we are all required to complete a certain amount of continuing education each year for licensure renewal.
Vision Expo East had more than enough continuing education to meet any state requirements. Topics including contact lenses, ocular disease, billing and coding, as well as practice management were in abundance. Classes were offered at all times and all days throughout the conference catering to our busy schedules. As a member of the Young Professionals Club, we were all afforded six free hours of continuing education! This benefit is more than enough of a reason to be a member of the Young Professionals Club and attend these meetings.
From Vision Expo East alone, I was able to almost entirely fulfill the state requirements for education on the topic of glaucoma in one day, and at no cost! Not only are the speakers truly knowledgeable and entertaining, but many of this year’s lectures also featured technology to improve and increase interaction.
Various programs allowed attendees to utilize our cell phones to answer and ask questions, as well as participate in polls and request information, creating the ultimate form of engagement and heightening interest in the topic creating an enjoyable experience. Here are some of the classes that I had the pleasure of attending for free through the Young Professionals Club.
Continuing education is a requirement. Attending Vision Expo East as a member of the Young Professionals Club was a very simple way to obtain several credits of education in one place, at no cost, and on topics of interest.
–Antonio Chirumbolo O.D.
In addition to what Dr. Chirumbolo previously mentioned, the continuing education at VEE is filled with excellent topics presented by top industry leaders. I had the opportunity to catch the “Mystery Solved Conquering Anterior Segment Pathology” and “Separating the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Is It Glaucoma or Not” by Drs. Ron Melton and Randall Thomas. They discussed some very relevant, high level cases that really hit home. Also, both of these doctors practice in my own backyard and yet they were at VEE lecturing to hundreds of ODs from across the country! It was pretty awesome to see.
The education did not end there however, as I was able to sit in on a presentation, “Therapeutic Considerations for Management of Patients with Chronic Dry Eye” by Dr. Ben Gaddie, during a lunch time seminar. Sponsored by Allergan, Dr. Gaddie provided insightful clinical pearls and discussed multiple real life patient scenarios that all optometrists encounter.
Not only was the food delicious, but I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Gaddie’s perspective on the treatment and management of chronic dry eye with medications like Restasis. The presence of optometric leaders, such as Dr. Gaddie, is what makes Vision Expo so exciting for new graduate optometrists! Our generation of ODs looks to these industry leaders for guidance and motivation as they continue to shape the future of our profession!
–Ryan Corte O.D.
As a member of the Young Professionals Club, attendees are not only given access to free CE, they are also admitted to the exhibit hall and special events for free. The exhibit hall kicked off on Friday, and having gone to many other optometry meetings, I can tell you VEE’s exhibit halls were among the largest and most encompassing. Divided into three categories (Eyewear and Accessories, Lenses and Processing Technology, and Medical and Scientific), almost every possible vendor in our industry was there to answer your questions and help you further your career and practice.
In addition to the commonly recognized names such as Essilor, Allergan, Johnson & Johnson, etc., there were countless up and coming companies for you to get to know. Many hosted opening night receptions where you could enjoy a cocktail while you browsed and networked with your colleagues. This year, Essilor and Luxottica were two of the companies hosting such events.
Beyond the vast exhibit halls, you don’t want to miss the special events. This year, members of the YPC had the chance to participate in two social gatherings, both occurring on Friday. The first, the Young Professionals Club Member Reception, was held at Lucky Strikes and gave members a chance to enjoy food and drinks while relaxing and getting to know each other.
The second was Vision Expo’s Opening Night Party, featuring Bad Habits “Eye Docs of Rock” in concert. Taking place at the well-known B.B. King’s, young professionals and established docs alike danced, sang, and mingled the night away. It was a fabulous end to a jam-packed day.
–Patricia Fulmer O.D.