The year was 1986. It was the first gathering of eyecare leaders from The Vision Council at what would later become International Vision Expo & Conference. This month marks the 30th anniversary of International Vision Expo, an event that has served as a conduit for progress and a catalyst for the transformation of our industry over three decades of rapid change.

For 30 years, International Vision Expo has built its reputation as a leader in world-class education. It has been a turning point for vision care professionals, designers and businesses to develop the ideas, trends, and technology that help people see better.

But beyond the visible influence of what we see each year in New York and Las Vegas there is an even larger impact.

International Vision Expo has reinvested more than $136 million in consumer awareness initiatives through The Vision Council, most notably the Think About Your Eyes consumer campaign to help educate all Americans of the importance of comprehensive yearly eye exams.

Here are a few examples: 5 The Vision Council was the eyecare industry’s strongest advocate for bringing consensus to the phrase “digital eyestrain” as an accepted term, and we’re working to build consumer awareness about the dangers of — and solutions for — combatting DES. The rise in usage of products and services to help consumers resolve this important issue is evidence of just how influential these efforts have become

The Vision Council’s Eyecessorize fashion eyewear campaign generates consumer media coverage of eyewear and sunwear as must-have accessories, and also gives consumers a reliable, go-to source for the latest trends in frames (not to mention the health risks associated with ultraviolet light on the health of the eye).

As a long-standing supporter of the Think About Your Eyes awareness campaign, The Vision Council’s efforts have contributed to an increase of more than 1 million new eye exams. Last year, the program yielded nearly 1.3 billion consumer impressions and is on track to reach as many or more patients this year with news messages focused on eye health and comprehensive annual eye exams.

Today’s patients and consumers are savvy, engaged and more aware of their options. Programs that focus on eye health, eyewear trends, DES, UV protection, and lens technology are not only improving the quality of life for patients, but also contributing to a healthier business environment for all of us.

Without International Vision Expo, the state of the industry wouldn’t be as strong as it is today

Although we gather at Expo only twice a year, International Vision Expo’s impact can be seen 365 days a year through its community of leaders and visionaries who are creating the opportunities and nurturing the ideas that make a difference.

We should all feel challenged to contribute to the advancement of our industry and the profession. Supporting International Vision Expo gives us each a chance to contribute by coming together and bringing about changes.

What will the next 30 years bring? International Vision Expo East in New York City is the next step in our journey to fuel our industry and successfully create new opportunities out of the many changes we all face.

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of INVISION.

MIKE DALEY is CEO of The Vision Council. Contact him at mdaley@ thevisioncouncil. org or for more information, visit


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