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It’s a monumental year in vision. And, International Vision Expo East, scheduled for March 26-29 at the Javits Center in New York City, celebrates this new era with a clear, laserlike focus on its evolution.

“2020, with its powerful optical symbolism, is the perfect moment to reimagine Vision Expo,” says Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. Shaped by specific feedback from exhibitors and attendees, the show is “informed by new, curated neighborhoods and interactive exhibit spaces.”

The three new, distinct neighborhoods debuting at Vision Expo East include The River, offering artisanal product for a “show-within-a-show” space; The Union, complete with fashion-forward lifestyle brands; and The Springs, the space for emerging talent.

Read on for a look at what’s in store at Vision Expo East, from world-class education and engaging events to enticing après hot spots to enjoy. We hope to catch you in New York!

—The EB Team



Vision Expo East 2020’s education offerings have been engineered to include never-before-seen clinical tracks plus engaging business and leadership-focused courses. “Each course is thoughtfully designed to deliver relevant and timely information as well as hands-on training through interactive demonstrations,” says Ben Gaddie, O.D., co-chairman of the conference advisory board.

Here, we pinpoint some key programs to bookmark before you head to the show. For more offerings, visit .


Focused on one of the most pressing topics in the industry today, this track will help ECPs learn how to seamlessly integrate myopia management into their practice.


With courses like “Five Guaranteed Ways to Improve Hiring, Build Strong Culture, and Retain Staff for Years,” and “When and How to Hire an Associate,” this track aims to help business leaders elevate their practice and strengthen their staff.


3D printing, digital measuring devices, wearable tech, and more—this track digs into the industry’s novel technologies and up-and-coming business opportunities.


This celebrated program returns, specifically designed for opticians, contact lens technicians, and ophthalmic allied professionals. Plus, the “Jeopardy”-inspired National Federation of Opticianry Schools College Bowl competition (held Saturday, March 28) always draws a crowd—as one student will head home with bragging rights and $500.

GO MOBILE: As you roam the show floor, you’ll notice refreshed branding, including redesigned logos and a new show tagline: “The Future, Clearly.” For updates and to stay connected before, during, and after the show, download the Vision Expo mobile app at .

Parties & Presentations

2020—it’s a celebration. Vision Expo East has an assortment of anticipated events in store for this special year in vision. Here, a sampling of the most enticing. For more, visit .


7:30-9 a.m.
OWA Champagne Breakfast
Kick off Vision Expo East with the Optical Women’s Association by celebrating the industry’s innovative female leaders; also featuring keynote speaker Erin O’Malley, a leadership facilitator. $75/individual at Location: Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway

9:30-10:30 a.m.
The River Debut Opening Breakfast Reception
The River, one of Vision Expo’s new neighborhoods, opens one day before the general exhibit hall. Celebrate this anticipated new space, which offers a backdrop of the Hudson River. Location: Javits Center, The River, Level 4

2:30-3:30 p.m.
The Art of the Collab
Bringing together some of the most prolific collaborators in the eyewear industry, the conversation will be moderated by Tarrence Lackran of The Vision Council and include panelists Thierry Lasry, Coco & Breezy, Julia Gogosha, and Selima Salaun. Location: Javits Center, The River, Level 4

5-7 p.m.
Vision Expo 2020 Talent Search Reception
Supported by the eyewear designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (edCFDA), this reception celebrates the winners of the inaugural Vision Expo 2020 Talent Search—each of which will receive a complimentary booth in the new exhibit hall incubator destination, The Springs. Location: Javits Center, The River, Level 4


9:30 a.m.
Voting Opens for Vision Choice Awards
Cast your vote on the latest and greatest eyewear products, as all votes will be automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 exhibit hall shopping spree. Winners will be announced at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. Location: Javits Center, Product Gallery

10 a.m. to noon
The Ritz Carlton Leadership Center Presents: Memorable Customer Service
Part of Vision Expo’s EYE2EYE series, this session will explore the Ritz-Carlton methods for creating customer loyalty through superior customer service and engagement. Location: Javits Center, Level 3, The BRIDGE

12:30-1:45 p.m.
OptiCon @ Vision Expo General Session: A Discussion With Delilah
Essilor, Eyes of Faith, and the Essilor Vision Foundation sponsor this chat with iconic radio personality Delilah. Each preregistered attendee of the discussion will receive a copy of Delilah’s 2018 book, One Heart at a Time.
Location: Javits Center, Level 3, The BRIDGE

3-5 p.m.
ALLDocs Presents: “Open Your Eyes,” a film by Wayne Chesler
Join your colleagues for the worldwide debut of “Open Your Eyes.” The documentary follows Kerry Gelb, O.D., and podcast host Chris Maraboli as they travel the globe to reveal how a comprehensive exam can detect systemic diseases. Location: Javits Center, Level 1, Innovation Stage, Booth MS4967

4-5 p.m.
Married to Medicine
One of the industry’s most dynamic husband-and-wife duos, optician Phernell Walker, ABOM, and Lena Walker, O.D., (EB’s Workload Hacks columnist!) moderate a panel consisting of industry power couples. Location: Javits Center, Level 1, Career Zone

5-6 p.m.
EYE2EYE Series: Keynote
Don’t miss this year’s exciting keynote speaker, fashion innovator and author Dapper Dan.
Location: Javits Center, Level 3, The BRIDGE

5-6:30 p.m.
OWA Networking Reception
Gather with the Optical Women’s Association to meet industry experts + learn more about the celebrated organization. Location: Javits Center, Level 4, The River

6:30-8:30 p.m.
OptiCon @ Vision Expo Welcome Event
Part of the OptiCon @ Vision Expo package, meet with your colleagues at this party hosted by Europa Eyewear just a short walk from the Javits Center. Location: Marquee New York, 289 10th Ave.

9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Vision Expo Opening Night Party
Sing along with Bad Habits, the industry’s Eye Docs of Rock, as they kick off Vision Expo East. Your show badge gets you free entry and free drinks (from 9-10 p.m.) to the annual get-together. Location: Sony Hall, 235 W. 46th St.

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Establishing a Sports Vision Practice
Charles Shidlofsky, O.D., and Jennifer Stewart, O.D., discuss ways to establish a sports and performance vision training center. Location: Javits Center, Level 1, Innovation Stage, Booth MS4967

8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Rockin’ for New Eyes
This year’s Rockin’ for New Eyes concert pays tribute to the 1970s! Wear your favorite ‘70s-inspired outfit for the benefit concert, which raises funds for New Eyes for the Needy. Location: Hard Rock Café, 1501 Broadway

EB’s Trends Talk at Vision Expo East will reveal Spring 2020’s key styles.


10:30-11:15 a.m.
Coffee Talk in The BRIDGE
Erinn Morgan, EB’s editor-in-chief + editorial director, moderates this lively, engaging panel (complete with coffee on tap) of fun banter on topics of interest to independent retailers. Panelists include Stephanie Haenes of Art of Optiks, Alicia Hartman of Eye Q, and Nada Vuksic of Bruce Eyewear. Location: Javits Center, Level 3, The BRIDGE

2:30-3:30 p.m.
Conversations at The River: The Next Generation of Retailers Speed Dating
10 independent retailer leaders will serve as mentors to new or future independent retail owners. EB editor-in-chief Erinn Morgan will serve as co-host. Location: Javits Center, Level 4, The River


On Friday, March 27, at 2 p.m. in The BRIDGE, EB Editor-in-Chief + Editorial Director Erinn Morgan presents the top fashion + eyewear trends for spring/summer. The interactive talk features special guests edCFDA designer Selima Salaun and Vision Expo’s Tarrence Lackran plus key trends presented via informal modeling. Stick around for prizes!

An Insider’s Guide to the Best of New York


No one asks for directions anymore. But stop a New Yorker on the street and you’re likely to get a different kind of local knowledge: advice on top cocktails, quality food at a value price, or what of-the-moment restaurant is really worth the buzz.

Here, EB’s resident New York City expert, Jessica Colley Clark, dishes out the details on where to eat, drink, and catch the latest in the arts after an inspiring day at the Javits Center.


7 Cool Eateries + Craft Cocktail Spots

The neighborhood around the Javits Center got a serious culinary upgrade with the recent development of Hudson Yards. The team behind downtown hot spot Charlie Bird opened Legacy Records ($$$, 517 W. 38th St.), a sleek restaurant that draws locals with its diverse menu of crudo, small plates like wood-roasted octopus, and pasta dishes including cavatelli verde with sausage ragu.

Legacy Records

For refined bar bites and cocktails, head upstairs to the art deco-inspired Ada’s Place ($$-$$$, 517 W. 38th St.); don’t miss the Tuscan fried chicken.

Ada’s Place

However, the nod for most exciting opening of the neighborhood belongs to Mercado Little Spain ($-$$, 10 Hudson Yards), a food hall from Chef José Andrés that celebrates the many flavors of Spain. There’s an option for every budget and craving, from the supercasual Spanish Diner to market counters (serving paella, empanadas, and tortilla de patatas) to full-service sit-down restaurants devoted to grilled meats or seafood.

Mercado Little Spain

The market can get crowded, but there’s plenty of room to spread out nearby at Cedric’s at the Shed ($$, 545 W. 30th St.), a bar from Danny Meyer of Union Square Café fame located within Hudson Yards’ new arts center. Plates like curry deviled eggs and spicy lettuce wraps are designed to be shared. Cedric’s, like all of Meyer’s establishments, are nontipping, which brings a little extra value when you order a signature cocktail like the Kilted Monk (Scotch, chartreuse, honey, and lemon).

Beyond the area around Hudson Yards, the upscale Mexican fare at Atla ($$, 372 Lafayette St.) is well worth the taxi fare. Order the duck wings with scallions, cauliflower tacos, and chicken enchiladas; finish with an order of churros to satisfy a sweet tooth. —J.C.C.


Many markets or food halls try to compete with Chelsea Market ($-$$, 75 Ninth Ave.) but often fall short. The variety here ensures something for even the pickiest eater; choose between Black Seed Bagels, Los Tacos No.1, Tings Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Corkbuzz Winebar, and much more.

The retro diner gets a stylish update at Empire Diner ($$, 210 10th Ave.), where breakfast is served daily until 4 p.m. (try the rye pancakes with caramelized apple). Beyond breakfast hours, try the wedge salad, roasted chicken, or double patty burger.

7 Must-See Shows + Museum Exhibits

Value and theater aren’t always used in the same sentence in New York City, but one app is trying to change that. Download the TodayTix app to search last-minute deals that bring Broadway into a more affordable zone.


Right Now in the Arts

Tickets to musicals like Book of Mormon ($$-$$$, 230 W. 49th St.), a humorous, Tony Award-winning production from the creators of South Park, are often available at attractive prices via the app.

Theater lovers interested in the latest productions may want to check out Jagged Little Pill ($$, 235 W. 44th St.), a new musical inspired by the 1995 Alanis Morissette album. Diablo Cody—who wrote the film Juno—transformed the music and lyrics of Morissette’s smash-hit album into a story for the stage.

Jagged Little Pill

Music fans will also be drawn to Sing Street ($$, 149 W. 55th St.), a new musical based on an independent Irish film. Set in 1980s Dublin, Sing Street tells the tale of a handful of schoolmates who start a band in an attempt to impress a girl (it was such a hit at the New York Theatre Workshop that it is moving directly to Broadway; previews begin March 26).

Famous faces Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett star in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ($$-$$$, 222 W. 45th St.), a revival of Edward Albee’s dramatic play that first premiered on Broadway in 1962. —J.C.C.


Manhattan’s top museums also have exciting exhibitions on display this spring.

After a four-month renovation, the iconic Museum of Modern Art ($, 11 W. 53rd St.) reopened in October 2019. Seek out the “Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman” exhibition that brings together a unique combination of pieces from MoMA’s collection in one space.

Fashion lovers won’t want to miss a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art ($, 1000 5th Ave.). “In Pursuit of Fashion” features French and American couture from collector Sandy Schreier. Expect to see womenswear, accessories, and fashion illustrations from the biggest names in fashion like Balenciaga, Dior, and Lagerfeld.

In Pursuit of Fashion

Farther north up Fifth Avenue in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum ($, 1071 Fifth Ave.), the bright hues of the ‘60s have taken over the galleries with an exhibition called “The Fullness of Color: 1960s Painting.” Learn about the decade’s avant-garde artists who pushed boundaries with color and abstraction.