The necessity to provide a pre-departure negative Covid-19 test in order to enter the United States made the run up to Vision Expo East slightly more stressful than past trips and would probably have been enough to put a lot of people off making the journey.

As a result, the show looked and felt a little different this year, but the enthusiasm among delegates was still the same – overwhelmingly positive.

While dropping in on talks and presentations, I was struck at how engaged attendees were. They listened, asked questions, cheered and laughed, and it always felt like they were having a good time. Given the times we’re in, infectious is perhaps the wrong description, but it was.

Then I started to think about what trade shows are like in the UK. And I got sad because I couldn’t recall a single event in over 11 years on Optician where attendees seemed as enthusiastic about being at a trade show.

Much of the content at Vision Expo wouldn’t have been accredited for CPD points, so it’s not as if people were there as a point collecting exercise. They were there to learn how to be better at their jobs and it looked like they were enjoying it in the process.

There may have been a little bit of extra enthusiasm at the show as, for many, it would have been their first New York event since 2019, but there have been a couple of Vision Expo events in different parts of the US during that time.

If it was post-pandemic positivity, then I hope the same is evident next weekend (April 23-25) at 100% Optical. The event’s journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster since its inception in 2013, but being the only show in town should mean the ride should be a bit smoother. Let’s hope organisers create engaging content and make sure delegates have a good time rather than simply going to accumulate CPD points.