Last week, the international eye care world converged on New York City for Vision Expo East. Billed as the “the world’s most inclusive ophthalmic conference and expo,” Vision Expo takes place twice a year (once in New York, once in Las Vegas) and is packed full of “events focused on education, fashion and technology.”

Since Vision Expo takes place fairly close to home (for me), I didn’t need to make any elaborate NYC plans. In fact, all I had to do was fit the convention into my weekend plans. I would typically take the subway (the 4/5 to the 7) to the Javits Center, but I just hopped an Uber to avoid any weekend delays caused by Hudson Yards construction.

Anyway, my Uber driver (let’s just call him, “James”) started a conversation. He was particularly interested in which conference/event was taking place. When I told him it was Vision Expo, he proceeded to tell me that he was a diabetic (in his mid-30’s) and presently dealing with some eye health problems.

Always Be Prepared

As the ride continued, my attention turned directly to “James”. He asked several questions because he was truly concerned about his personal wellbeing and his future as a diabetic. Instead of discussing the negative aspects, I made an effort to focus on the positive. I urged him to focus only on a few things (for the time being) because if he does, he’ll be surprised at how much progress can be made.

Controlling diabetes starts with an understanding of the importance of proper diet. “James” made it clear that he’s been having a hard time eating properly because he’s drives (works) a lot. That said, we discussed reasonable dietary changes. Incorporating healthy fats such as almonds, avocados and wild caught salmon would be a good step in the right direction. Surprisingly, those foods aren’t as expensive as one may think.

“James” then mentioned that he already juices his fruits and vegetables, which is an excellent sign of the effort he’s willing to give. However, I recommended a Nutrient Rich Super Smoothie to maintain fiber intake and cut out any increase in natural sugar.

From there, we talked about a fitness regimen that could be added to his daily routine, and then discussed the importance of him wearing eye protection at all times (especially behind the wheel).

As we pulled up to the Javits Center, I made it clear that “James” needs to work closely with his eye doctor over the next few years. If he can get his diabetes under control, he won’t need to make more than a couple (or a few) visits per year. In the end, I hope nothing but the best for “James” and encouraged him to reach out to me if I could help him in any way.

After this particular experience, I guess I can say that it’s good to always be prepared because you never know when or where you’re help may be needed.

The (Vision Expo) Rundown:

Here’s a rundown of a few things that caught my eye at Vision Expo East (2017):

Beaba – This particular French based company focuses on issues related to infants and toddlers. This year, Beaba debuted their new “baby sunglasses”. Not only are the sunglasses colorful and resilient, but they’re quite ergonomic as well. They’re extremely light weight and they don’t pinch the ears. Hopefully, this means your baby will actually wear (and not try to eat) this innovative new product.

Spy “Happy” Sunglasses – This product isn’t necessarily new, but this was the first chance I got to check it out. In a nutshell, the “Happy” lens allows the “good blue light” to reach our eyes. In the eye care world, we’re starting to understand how blue light may damage retinal tissue over time, however a small segment of blue light is actually very beneficial to our serotonin production. In all actuality, medications that treat depression aim to increase serotonin. If a pair of sunglasses can help with this issue, count me in.

Zoria Cosmetics – Once again, this beauty product has been out for a while, but I finally got to see it up close. Zoria is geared toward woman who want thicker, healthier eyelashes. Currently, several available products contain a drug called a prostaglandin, which come with various side effects (such as pigment changes to the skin and eye color darkening). Zoria gives more of a natural option with a mascara that can be worn during the day and a lash boosting serum that can be applied at night.

PogoTech – PogoCam by PogoTec is “the world’s smallest look & shoot camera attachable and detachable to eyewear.” Because of its tiny size, the PogoCam is barely detectable and can snap photos while you concentrate on having fun. If that’s not enough, PogoCam sends those photos directly to your smartphone where they can be used for social media.