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Industry Influencers Unite at the Second Annual EyeStyle Influencer Event During Vision Expo West 2019

It was participated by 40 of the industry’s most ‘followed’ and influential eyecare professionals, trade media and brand representatives.

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(PRESS RELEASE) LAS VEGAS – On Friday September 20th, during Vision Expo West, industry influencers and social media experts gathered at the second annual EyeStyle Influencers event. Sponsored by The Vision Council and Vision Expo, the event provided an opportunity for guests to break bread and discuss the key trends and topics related to the optical industry.

The event brought together 40 of the industry’s most ‘followed’ and influential eyecare professionals, trade media and brand representatives to share stories, best practices and tips, and to ultimately discuss ways to help further increase the number of eyecare professionals and practices actively using social media to interact with patients.

Sheena Taff, known as “Optician about Town,” conceived and organized the event to drive partnerships and collaboration among brands and eyecare professionals, as well as to recognize the amazing work being done in the industry today.

Guests were treated to the EyeStyle Pop Up shop, and will be among the first to have the latest frame and lens styles from vendor participants, such as Allure Eyewear, Etnia Barcelona, Transitions Lenses and Zyloware. Each guest took home new eyestyles and “eyecessories” to complete their #EyeStyleOOTD as well as personalized gifts from Clear Lens Cloth.

Social media posts were plentiful, with the interactive photo backdrops, each customized with EyeStyle and Vision Expo neon signs. On the outdoor patio of The Terrace Point restaurant located in the Wynn Hotel, guests indulged in a delectable three-course meal and shared experiences from the first two days of Vision Expo West 2019 and also discussed the must do and see activities for the upcoming day.

“The Vision Council was proud to sponsor the EyeStyle Influencers event and provide a space for networking, sharing ideas and discussing the Vision Expos,” said Maureen Beddis, The Vision Council’s vice president of marketing and communications.

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“We recognize the crucial role media and influencers play in the industry and we are thrilled that they attend Vision Expo East and West each year. Furthermore, we are so happy with the genuinely positive messaging they share with their followers about the Show, The Vision Council and the incredible industry we represent.”

“The guests at the EyeStyle Influencers event are dedicated leaders in our industry, working hard every day to educate the public through social media and in their practices on the benefits of seeing eye care professionals and changing the perception of what it means to wear glasses,” said Sheena Taff. “These professionals should be recognized for their commitment and entrepreneurship in not only applying the latest social media trends into the optical industry but for first and foremost, helping patients. I believe that these events foster ideas and collaborations that can only come from putting innovators from all sectors of our industry together.”

  • “Being able to connect with the great leaders from all across the country and world fills your heart and mind and sparks not only friendships and connections in the industry but also sparks new ideas and partnerships. All at one event.” — Optometry Student Nadia Aflhami @eyeamnadia
  • “This was my third EyeStyle Influencers event, and it gets better every time. Sheena manages to convene the most interesting voices in optical social media—doctors, opticians, journalists, and eyewear lovers—in a relaxed, salon-like environment. I always sit next to someone I was hoping to meet in person! Can’t wait to see what she has in store for the next event.” — Peggy Garson, Optical Writer/Blogger @socialeyesonyou
  • “The EyeStyle Influencers event is such an honor to attend. Not only do we get to enjoy a delicious meal, we get to network with fellow industry professionals and build lasting friendships personally and professionally. For me, it’s the perfect time to escape the whirlwind of Expo to spend more time with friends and like-minded ECPs.” — Dr. Jennifer Chinn, Optometrist @drchinnchinn
  • “The eyestyle event was beyond fabulous. The room was filled with vibrant energy, the who’s who in fashion eyewear influencers, delicious food and amazing drinks. Eyestyle is a must attend event!” — Dr. Darryl Glover, Optometrist @defocusmedia
  • “The EyeStyle Influencers event is always a highlight of my Vision Expo because it’s an intimate time to connect with innovative colleagues in a beautiful setting. We learn from the vendors, get to catch up with each other, and there are always fabulous frames + cocktails! What’s not to love?! Looking forward to next year!” — Dr. Danielle Richarson, Optometrist @fierceclarity
  • “I had such a great time at the EyeStyle influencer event. Being able to to meet with social media experts and personalities from the optical industry and doctors and learn from their success and work ethic and how to reflect that to the public via social media.” — Arra Apikian, Optometry Student @optomfit

The Vision Council and Vision Expo will continue to collaborate with The EyeStyle Influencers with more to come during Vision Expo East 2020.

To learn more about The EyeStyle Influencers contact Sheena Taff, OpticianAboutTown@gmail.com

PHOTO GALLERY (23 Images)

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CooperVision Appoints Jane Agbontaen as Senior Brand Marketing Director for Myopia Management in North America

Agbontaen has more than 20 years of professional experience in the healthcare space.

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Jane Agbontaen

(PRESS RELEASE) SAN RAMON, CA — CooperVision has named Jane Agbontaen as senior brand director for Myopia Management – Americas. In this newly created role, Agbontaen will be responsible for the strategic planning and execution of all activities that support the U.S. growth of CooperVision’s myopia management portfolio – specifically the Brilliant Futures™ Myopia Management Program with MiSight 1 day, the first and only FDA-approved product1 clinically proven to slow the progression of myopia when initially prescribed for children 8-12 years old in the United States.

Agbontaen’s role includes cross-functional and cross-business support to ensure CooperVision’s MiSight 1 day commercialization strategy is successful. Growing the portfolio includes touchpoints with eyecare practitioners and patients, as well as healthcare and legislative ecosystems that govern children’s health and wellness.

“With the FDA approval of MiSight and the impending roll out of our Brilliant Futures Myopia Management Program, we require an evolution of our sales and marketing approach as we take on the rising epidemic of childhood myopia. Going forward, broadening our scope of healthcare provider alliances and industry partnerships are essential elements of shaping the standard of care in myopia management,” said Simon Seshadri, vice president of marketing at CooperVision, North America. “Jane’s previous experiences and skills are a perfect fit for this role and to help us achieve our desired outcomes. I’m delighted to have her onboard.”

Agbontaen has more than 20 years of professional experience in the healthcare space and with large medical device players such as Hologic, Abbot Medical Optics and Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes. While at Abbot Medical Optics, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care during her tenure, Agbontaen managed a broad brand portfolio in the cataracts segment, including intraocular lenses and instruments. Agbontaen received her bachelor’s degree from Long Island University and her MBA from the Stern School at New York University.

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OGI Eyewear Names Chief Creative Officer

He will not only lead creative development but will also serve as partner.

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(PRESS RELEASE) OGI Eyewear, a member of The Optical Foundry, announces the appointment of David Duralde as chief creative officer. Duralde has joined the company not only to lead creative development but also as a partner.

Duralde’s distinguished optical career is marked by extensive experience both with licensed and independent brands, including his most recent role as Chief Creative Officer at Kenmark Eyewear. “I am very excited about the opportunity to redefine and reinvigorate the niche independent brands in the OGI portfolio of products and provide a consistent, compelling story to the brands. I can’t wait to get started with the OGI
Eyewear product and marketing teams to connect deeply with our loyal customers, create frames that light up many more faces and help independent practices thrive and shine in this vigorously changing market.” said Duralde.

Robert Rich, CEO of OGI, notes, “David is exactly the right person to lead us in the revitalization of our brand portfolio. Despite a solid market position, OGI and its family of brands will benefit from an injection of fresh ideas and design innovations that will expand our leading role in the realm of affordable luxury frames.”

Rich adds, “This is a homecoming of sorts for David, having begun his formative optical design training at l.a.Eyeworks, another member of the Optical Foundry.”

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First US Patient Gets Wireless Retinal Device Implant

It’s aimed at restoring partial sight to patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PITTSBURGH – UPMC has implanted the first patient in the U.S. with a new wireless retinal device as part of a clinical trial aimed at restoring partial sight to patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration.

“Vision research has advanced dramatically in the recent past and UPMC is at the forefront of this revolution. This is the first of many such breakthroughs led by UPMC and Pitt that will benefit patients with vision loss in our community and around the world,” said José-Alain Sahel, MD, director of the UPMC Eye Center, Eye and Ear Foundation chair of ophthalmology and distinguished professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who initiated the trial at UPMC. “We are proud to be the first center in the United States to test this next generation retinal implant that could help treat an incurable disease like AMD.”

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The system, called PRIMA, is designed to restore sight in patients blinded by retinal degeneration. It consists of a 2 millimeter-by-2 millimeter, 30-micron thick miniaturized wireless photovoltaic chip placed under the damaged retina. It works in tandem with augmented reality glasses that have a built-in miniaturized camera and infrared projector.

The chip acts like a tiny artificial retina, made up of 378 tiny electrodes that convert infrared light from the glasses to electrical signals that are carried by the optic nerve to the brain. After receiving the implant, patients undergo an intensive rehabilitation program that trains their brains to understand and interpret the signals from the implant in combination with their remaining natural vision. Compared to earlier-generation implants, PRIMA is wireless and has significantly more electrodes, which allows for the transmission of more visual information.

“This is an incredibly exciting first for us at UPMC and I’m honored to be a part of it,” said Joseph Martel, MD, the implanting surgeon at the UPMC Eye Center and the Pitt School of Medicine, and the principal investigator of the trial at UPMC. “I’m grateful to our patients who have volunteered to participate in this trial, without whom this would not be possible.”

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in people older than 50. Today, it affects approximately 14 million people in the United States, and the prevalence is expected to rise as the baby boomers age. As AMD progresses, the center of vision becomes increasingly blurry. “Atrophic” AMD, which accounts for a large proportion of advanced cases, has no curative treatment available.

The UPMC feasibility trial is running in parallel with the first-in-human trial in France, which involves five patients with advanced AMD, who now have been followed for more than a year. The 12-month results from the French study demonstrated the ability of most patients to identify sequences of letters and there were no device-related serious adverse effects.

“We are working with a great sense of urgency because the aging population of the United States, especially the western Pennsylvania region we live in, will see a significant rise in the number of patients at risk for vision loss through diseases like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and vascular eye disease, as well as earlier onset genetic conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa,” said Sahel. “This is why our physicians and researchers at UPMC and Pitt, in collaboration with our U.S. and international colleagues — especially at the Paris Vision Institute at Sorbonne University — are taking a multi-pronged effort to treat and rehabilitate patients with vision impairments.”

In March 2019, UPMC broke ground on the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower at UPMC Mercy, which when completed, will provide advanced specialty clinical care and innovative programs for visually impaired patients. It also will be the home for the vision research program at Pitt and UPMC.

The PRIMA implant was invented by Daniel Palanker, professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, and licensed and developed by Pixium Vision, a spin-off from the Paris Vision Institute. Sahel is a co-founder of Pixium and holds shares in the company.

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