Personal Expression

Members of the “Me” generation are passionate about conveying their individuality, and fashion offers a perfect delivery for this modus operandi. Gen Y expert, popular blogger, and Transitions lenses ambassador Sarah Evans gives us the 411 on how millennials digest—and embrace—style.

“Millennials enjoy self-expression through fashion, not just the traditional sense of the word 'trend.' With the growth of online networks, especially visually based ones, trends can seem to appear almost overnight.”

“The trends millennials follow aren’t what they’re seeing in storefronts—it’s what the latest Internet celebrity is sporting, or something they saw while browsing Tumblr, Reddit, and Instagram. They can now get instantaneous feedback from their social networks if they are in the market for new eyewear.”

“Millennials…are trendsetters, not just followers. Fashion choices can be as important to them as the restaurants they dine in or the music they listen to. Why? Because they all help to express their individuality and personal preferences.”

“Eyewear is a huge market for millennials. Glasses are…an opportunity to showcase personality or style. And, millennials aren’t the one-and-done type of eyewear owners. They may have multiple pairs to complement different parts of their lives.”

10 BIG Trends from VEE

international Vision Expo & Conference East (VEE) closed on Sunday, April 17, to increased attendance numbers—more than 16,000 attendees gathered in New York City to celebrate the conference’s 30 years of enriching the optical community through dynamic education, exclusive buying opportunities, and meaningful partnerships.

More than 5,000 global brands were represented at the show, and attendees traveled to the conference from all 50 United States and 94 countries. In addition, education registration broke records for overall attendance.

Eyecare Business’ team of editors scoured the show floor for three days to pinpoint our industry’s biggest, most impactful trends. Here, on this and the following pages, we outline 10 of these big ideas + share an abundance of snapshots and party pictures from the people and events that defined this year’s VEE.

The Carlyle in color Yolk from Kilsgaard

Pure aviator style by Dior from Safilo


Eye candy abundant—VEE served up an enticing array of stunning new eyewear products, fresh brands, and standout trends.


One of the most noticeable trends across brands and companies was well-placed hits of bright hues popping up on everything from sunwear to optical frames. Colors ran the gamut—head-turning orange, red, purple, blue, green, and yellow—and cropped in small sections of frames, from frame front tops and inside bottoms to browbars and temples. We noticed this trend pop up in lines such as Dior from Safilo, Stella McCartney from Kering Eyewear, Cole Haan from Altair, and Leisure Society.


This bright and happy hue clearly stood out from the palette pack in eyewear releases at the show. Yellow, in every incarnation from mustard to mellow blonde and citron, ruled the roost. It showed up in collections ranging from Vuarnet to Kilsgaard.


The high-flying aviator trend continues to be ubiquitous in the sunwear world, while an extension of this hip look has taken things to a new level. The ophthalmic aviator (same shape, same look, but sans sun lenses) is taking off. Some hipsters simply place Rx lenses in sunwear styles, but a few companies are now offering true optical aviator styles. Notable entries in the category included Dsquared2 from Marcolin and Oliver Peoples from Luxottica.

—Erinn Morgan

VEE Trends: Lenses + Technology

it’s been an industry buzzword for a couple of years now, but the discussion of harmful blue light and its cumulative effect on eye health certainly ramped up during this Expo.


Why the commitment to fighting blue light? According to new consumer research just released by VSP Vision Care, by the time an American child reaches age 17, they’ll have spent the equivalent of nearly six years looking at digital devices. ECPs still have their work cut out for them in educating patients, however, as the study found that 58% of parents were unaware of the potential danger of blue light.

BLUE LIGHT PRODUCT LAUNCHES: Essilor’s Smart Blue Filter provides embedded protection in an aesthetically clear lens. It’s significant to note that Smart Blue Filter will be offered in select Varilux, Essilor Transitions, and Eyezen+ lenses.

Signet Armorlite’s Total Blue Lens is an interesting AR/lens monomer hybrid available in three indexes: It absorbs as well as deflects up to 80% of harmful blue light, while letting the beneficial blue light through. And, Vision Ease released its Clear Blue lenses, in which the blue light filter is embedded within a polycarbonate lens through in-mass technology.

EYE STRAIN PRODUCT LAUNCHES: While often talked about in the same breath as blue light, digital eye strain is a separate issue with its own visual solutions. Essilor's new Eyezen+ lenses, exclusive to ECPs, and Eyezen Glasses, available via multiple channels in Rx and plano, contain a small amount of accommodative relief to alleviate eye strain. Eyezen+ lenses also have the Smart Blue Filter.


Practices looking to set themselves apart in their market are responding to in-office finishing trends that offer the ability to customize work for patients. This includes custom lens shapes for rimless eyewear, of course, but also lens engraving, countersunk gemstones, and other decorative lens art.

Other trends that have been driving the finishing equipment category for some time are still going strong—smaller footprints, the ability to handle a variety of materials and base curves, and ease of operation. To that end, we saw plenty of edgers with “smart” tracers and blockers that operate digitally and take the heat off the operator, and tracing done by simply taking a digital impression of the demo lens.

Of special note among newer equipment releases is the trend of offering ECPs a variety of models in the same product family—buyers can pick their level of bells and whistles, and price points, that suit their needs.

LENS FINISHING PRODUCT LAUNCHES: Essilor Instruments of America launched its Delta2, an all-in-one edger that combines smart tracing, centering, blocking, and edging in three different configurations. Santinelli International introduced new productivity and accuracy technology in its LE-1200 edging system. And AIT Industries launched its WECO C.6 blocker with wavefront power mapping technology.

—Susan Tarrant

Blue light from digital devices continues to be a main focus in emerging lens technology

VEE Trends: VM + CLs

whether it was categories as divergent as contact lenses and store design or conversations with ECPs, the emphasis at Vision Expo East was balancing professionalism with a consumer-friendly experience.

Here are a few seen-at-Expo trends that reflect both sides of that coin.


Keeping it simple and convenient are big. The emphasis on monthly modalities in contacts is just one example, with at least one new launch slated for June. And just last month, Bausch + Lomb introduced ULTRA for Presbyopia monthly replacement lenses.

The K.I.S.S. principle is seen in inventory control, as well, with the Digitact RFID (radio frequency identification) inventory tracking system, now in the U.K., that was previewed at the Eye Designs booth. “Smart tags,” says Eye Designs’ Andrew Fader, “are the next generation in inventory management.”


Everyone is addressing ways to increase and simplify access. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, for example, has replaced its Unilateral Pricing Policy with new programs to ensure broad access. And CooperVision has announced a LensFerry system available to all U.S. ECPs that allows them to offer subscription-based ordering of 1-day contacts.

Open access is key in office design, too. That means exposing everything, including the lab, says One Interior’s Helen Rogic, who displayed pullout countertops for equipment plus remote-control panels for modifying the open look when needed.

Presenta Nova’s Kristina Ivancic says people want an open and clean interior—no frame boards and fewer drawers. Fashion Optical Display’s Lori Estrada points to floating, hardware-free drawers and clean edges.


The trend is flexible, modular shelving with removable cubes, hanging holders, and fronts.

The trend in lighting is changeability, too. With some companies featuring both white LED and RGB (red, green, blue) lighting, the emphasis is on shelving that’s lit from inside or above, with some systems allowing ECPs to change the color of displays.

Clean, crisp, and colorful—a standout store design from Presenta Nova at Eye Candy Optical in Cleveland


In her keynote, consultant Ann Marie Luthro offered three must-do’s: promote localness, make sure consumers can find you any way they want, and take social responsibility seriously. “It’s about creating the experience,” she says.

Peter Menziuso, the new president, North America, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, agrees. “It’s not just product, but the surrounding system. Even after you get them in, abandonment is a potential issue. It goes back to keeping them engaged.”


ECPs can be gatekeepers of overall health. According to the Vision Impact Institute’s Maureen Cavanagh, “5.6% of chronic conditions identified in patients—including diabetes and multiple sclerosis—were actually identified by their eyecare provider.”

In fact, adds Menziuso, “The ECP can detect almost 200 diseases. Despite that, the doctor/patient relationship is at a critical juncture. That’s why we’re working to maintain the sanctity of that relationship.”

—Stephanie K. De Long

Style + Substance

Vision Expo East delivered fashion, function, and pure fun

head-turning new products, fresh design directions, brilliant new ideas, 350 hours of the very best continuing education—International Vision Expo & Conference East (VEE), held April 14-17 in NYC, served up four days of utter inspiration. A plethora of wow-factor events and celebrity appearances rounded out the mix. Here, we reveal the spirit of this year’s VEE in photos.

Style arbiter and "Project Runway" host Tim Gunn spoke at a lunch event sponsored by Transitions at VEE, then posed for photos.

Kate Renwick-Espinosa, president of VSP Vision Care, and Jim McGrann, president and CEO, VSP Global, celebrate the opening of the VSP Innovation Lab in NYC.

Violet display stimulation on view at VEE.

Eye-catching display inspiration at Teka.

The Optical Women’s Association (OWA) awarded Ann Englert (left) with the 2016 Pyxis Award and Sue Downes (right) with the 2016 Pleiades Award at a memorable Star Awards event held at New York’s Freedom Tower Observatory. Photo: Denise Rafkind

Mirrored lenses in every incarnation, including flash and colored mirrors, continued as a key sunwear staple.

Rising eyewear design stars Coco and Breezy attend the edCFDA event at VEE.

The edCFDA (Eyewear Designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America) held a well-attended showcase event where attendees could mingle with designers and view their products. Eyecare Business was a media sponsor of this successful event.

Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor wearing Burberry sunwear from Luxottica at an event celebrating The Regent Collection at Sunglass Hut SoHo.

ClearVision's Mimi and Peter Friedfeld hosting a spectacular Aspire eyewear event at New York’s Glasshouses. Photo: Geir Magnusson

A perfect match at Gold & Wood’s NYC Flagship Grand Opening at 10/10 Optics.

Adlens held an inspiring event at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) celebrating the company’s new adjustable-focus eyewear launch. From left: Drew Eichelberger, owner of Vision Products Southeast; Michael Ferrara, CEO & executive chairman of Adlens; and David Eichelberger, senior vice president of Adlens.

Design phenomenon Jonathan Adler has a laugh with EB’s editor-in-chief Erinn Morgan (right) and (standing, from left) Ryan Dziadul, director of Jonathan Adler PR, and REM Eyewear’s director of brand management Gilda Mehraban (center).

NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal makes a celebrity guest appearance at the Zyloware Eyewear booth to debut his new eyewear collection.

Gerard Santinelli (left), president & CEO of Santinelli International, and Motoki Ozawa, president & CEO of NIDEK CO., LTD., celebrate 25 years in business together at a grand event at Rockefeller Center's Sea Grill.

The neubau team celebrates the brand’s U.S. launch at an exciting event at Silhouette’s new New York Gallery space.

Kering Eyewear’s senior trade marketing manager Kristin Kelley at a head-turning Bottega Veneta event held at the brand’s New York boutique.

ZEISS hosted the world premiere of "Seeing," a planetarium documentary film directed by Kris Koenig, as part of an impressive event held at the Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium.

VEE Vision Choice Awards first-place winner Ian Rubinstein, owner of Specs of Wood, with his eyewear collection. Eyecare Business was a media sponsor of this special showcase and awards event.

Marcolin hosted an unforgettable river cruise event that sailed more than 300 people around Manhattan for a one-of-a-kind sunset experience.

Vision Source Hosts Biggest Exchange Yet

Annual meeting celebrates the future, launches social media program

vision Source, North America’s largest independent optometric alliance, held its annual member meeting in mid-March. This year’s Vision Source Exchange theme, “Celebrating Our Past, Forging Our Future,” proved fitting, as the alliance celebrated its 25th anniversary and the event’s biggest turnout ever with more than 3,500 attendees, 514,000 square feet of exhibition space, and nearly 200 exhibitors in the heart of San Antonio.

Vision Source went all out on the digital spectrum. Highlights at this year’s event included Vision Source Insight, the exclusive online community of the alliance, which promotes productivity, practice growth, and collaboration among colleagues.

It also promotes the Vision Source Social Media Team, which aims to provide free one-on-one consultations to Vision Source members to boost their presence online and gain new patients via social media.

“We are excited to offer an exclusive destination that will enhance the Vision Source member experience while educating members on industry trends and best practices in marketing,” says Bryan D. Pinciaro, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Vision Source. “Insight is the new digital heart of Vision Source.”

Find out about more new initiatives at

ZZ Top performs at the opening night party at the Tobin Center

Vision Source president and CEO Jim Greenwood at the general session

Senior vice president of vendor relations, John A. McCall Jr., O.D., in a suit commemorating Vision Source’s 25th anniversary

Attendees mingle in the San Antonio fresh air at the welcome reception Credit for all images: Joseph Rodriguez