Vision Expo East Illuminates Javits Center With Successful 2022 Edition

April 28, 2022

New York’s Javits Center buzzed with activity as vision care professionals converged at Vision Expo East 2022, held March 31-April 3. As the first Vision Expo to take place in New York City in three years, the annual four-day conference and trade show brought together thousands of enthusiastic eyecare and eyewear professionals from across the U.S. and the globe to reconnect with their peers, conduct business and take advantage of plentiful education and engaging programming. 

“Following Vision Expo’s successful return to in-person shows at Vision Expo East 2021 in Orlando, and keeping the momentum going at Vision Expo West 2021 in Las Vegas last September, it was incredible to finally bring the vision care community together again in New York City for the first time since 2019,” said Fran Pennella, vice president, Vision Expo, at RX, which co-owns and organizes Vision Expo East and its annual sister event, Vision Expo West, alongside The Vision Council 

She continued, “The success of Vision Expo’s return to New York would not have been possible without the support and commitment of all our attendees, exhibitors and partners—we are truly grateful to each and every one who participated in this year’s exciting event.” 

From new showfloor offerings and a dynamic education program to a vibrant line-up of special events and experiences, the show provided attendees with an extensive array of avenues to connect, learn, celebrate and grow, Pennella added. 

Presented under the banner of VisionEd, Vision Expo’s industry-driven education program offered 167 sessions led by 81 speakers covering relevant topics ranging from the latest business strategies and fashion trends to patient care and cutting-edge innovations, while the continuing education program featured more than 100 hours of clinical education delivered by leading eyecare experts.

The 2022 show also marked the return of the OptiCon@Vision Expo program and hub, an education program and exhibit hall experience for opticians, contact lens practitioners and ophthalmic allied professionals, optical assistants and office managers, frame buyers and lab technicians that hosted networking, social events and access to representatives and resources from a comprehensive range of industry associations and vendor partners. 

At The Bridge, the show’s main stage destination, the EYE2EYE Series offered a robust schedule of special events, panels and presentations, and housed the Innovation Stage, dedicated to groundbreaking content and state-of-the-art products and services revolutionizing the vision industry. 

Vision Expo East 2022

Not to be overshadowed by the vast array of conference sessions and showfloor education, the show’s bustling exhibit hall showcased the latest trends, technologies and innovative products and services presented by more than 360 exhibiting companies across several distinct neighborhoods. 

Among the many exhibitors commenting on how pleased and excited they were to be back in New York to meet in-person with fellow eyecare professionals and industry colleagues was Jens Boy, president North America for ZEISS Vision Care.

“We had very good engagement with attendees this week in our booth as we celebrated the launch of ZEISS PhotoFusion X,” Boy said. “Attendance was much stronger than last year’s show in Orlando and a testament to the industry’s continued recovery and improvement that we have seen over the last 18 months. We are looking forward to exhibiting in Las Vegas for Vision Expo West 2022.” 

Making its debut in the expo this year was the show’s newest neighborhood, The Atelier, an exclusive showcase and lounge housing a limited group of sought-after independent designers, and NOW by Vision Expo, a new eyewear trends showcase featuring curated selections of eyewear from more than 80 exhibiting companies.   

“We created NOW by Vision Expo to highlight where our industry stands today and spotlight the trends to focus on for the year ahead,” explained Nico Roseillier, creative director of Europa / State Optical Co. / American Optical. “It was gratifying to see it all come together and hear the feedback of attendees. NOW will be back next year with even more to offer.” 

The Career Zone-Student Lounge, a destination where students could connect with optical companies that are actively recruiting and exploring career resources, returned to the show on April 2, buoyed by exclusive registration benefits including free exhibit hall admission and unlimited education access that was offered to up-and-coming eyecare professionals this year. 

Several award ceremonies and special events provided ample opportunities for attendees and exhibitors to network and socialize on and off the showfloor, including the OPTImum Retail Award, the second annual Vision Expo Global Talent Search, the Vision Choice Award and the Prevent Blindness Person of Vision Award fundraising event benefiting sight-saving programs. 

In an effort to accommodate members of the global vision care community who were unable to attend the show in person, Vision Expo East also offered Vision Expo+, a free digital extension of the show experience, through April 8. Featuring online exhibitor showrooms and recorded content, the platform was delivered through global sourcing platform ShopVISION.  

While show participants had the option to go maskless, Vision Expo adhered to and offered access to its comprehensive set of health and safety guidelines, policies and resources, VisionSAFE. Designed to support a safe show experience and updated in accordance with New York City and State public health requirements, as well as the guidelines set in place by the Javits Center, it included details on all on-site health and safety protocols as well as specific guidelines for exhibitors, travel tips and resources and frequently asked questions. 

“As co-owner of Vision Expo, The Vision Council’s mission is to provide a platform for our members and the industry to showcase their products,” explained Mitch Barkley, vice president of trade shows and events at The Vision Council. “We delivered on this mission at Vision Expo East 2022, and were thrilled to see so many of our members in-person — doing business, learning, forging new relationships and connecting with longtime peers.”

He continued, “The success of this show directly impacts The Vision Council’s ability to fulfill its mission of growing the industry through education, advocacy, research and consumer education, so by coming together in New York we were all helping to elevate the greater industry.”  

Vision Expo West 2022 is set to take place Sept. 14-17 at The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas, while Vision Expo East will return to the Javits March 16-19, 2023.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.