Optometric Trade Shows in a Post-Pandemic World

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Trade Shows in a Post-Pandemic World

Optometry trade shows are back and we couldn’t be happier about it! These types of networking events are crucial for the industry and provide a way for individuals across the country to showcase the latest and greatest in innovation and products. However, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to meet – and for good reason. 

Flashback to March of 2020, we were just beginning to gear up for SECO when the world seemed to stop. COVID-19 had made its way to the states and everyone was taking pre-emptive action to combat the spread. Weeks turned into months and show after show was either canceled, postponed or hosted virtually. Although not the best-case scenario, we opted to join in as many virtual events as we could. We figured even a little interaction with our current and future clients was better than none. Although we were able to get in front of OD’s and owners again to discuss industry trends and their potential options for their practice’s future, nothing can quite replicate what in-person trade shows give.   

After such a long time, it can be hard to remember what these events felt like. The buzz and energy within a venue, the laughs and smiles from friendly faces, the handshakes and fist bumps. We’ve really missed getting that one-on-one face time with others in our industry and after talking with others, we aren’t the only ones. 

Thankfully, a vaccine has been developed and COVID-19 cases have started to drop. This has allowed in-person trade shows to return, albeit a bit differently than in the past. Fewer people and increased safety requirements such as masks and social distancing are now the norms. Many international vendors are unable to participate due to travel restrictions or personal preferences. 

So far in 2021, Optometric Architects have participated in three shows: SECO, Vision Expo East and AOA Optometry’s Meeting. All-in-all though, we have had positive experiences at these events and have felt that the venues have done a great job keeping everyone safe. Exhibitors and attendees alike have been respectful of the restrictions set in place and this has resulted in a lot of great interactions. We are looking forward to many great shows to come, including the upcoming Vision Expo West. 

Optometry shows are a critical way for professionals in the industry to collaborate and work together. Although COVID-19 made things difficult last year, this year is off to a great start! We are looking forward to connecting with everyone we haven’t seen yet and reconnecting with those we have. Until then! 


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