International Vision Expo & Conference has announced the launch of a new program for the estimated 1,500 young professionals who graduate from optometry school each year. Appropriately dubbed the Young Professionals Club, the newly formed affiliation is intended for optometrists (ODs) who have recently graduated or have been working in their field for five years or less. In the coming months, Vision Expo plans to expand the program beyond ODs to include all young professionals in the eyecare industry.

“The first five years following graduation are crucial in a young professional’s career path,” said Deborah Castor, vice president of shows and meetings for The Vision Council. “This is a critical point where time and resources are limited as they start to look for jobs, decide whether or not to open their own practice, or pursue additional education. The Young Professionals Club was designed to keep young professionals engaged after graduation and to help them meet their career goals.”

Membership in the Club offers young professionals access to valuable resources such as industry research, seasoned OD Mentors, and a community of nearly 30,000 eyecare professionals, through its Vision Expo-related networks. The program encompasses onsite events at International Vision Expo’s annual tradeshows in New York City (Vision Expo East) and Las Vegas (Vision Expo West) as well as offsite elements throughout the year. In addition to in-person events, the Young Professionals Club offers the following benefits:

– FREE Exhibit Hall Entry to International Vision Expo East and West, a $150 value ($75 per conference)
– Six FREE hours of continuing education at International Vision Expo East and West, a $526 value ($263 value per conference)
– Subscription to New OD magazine
– Subscription to Vision Voice, a monthly e-newsletter for eyecare professionals
– International Vision Expo travel mug
– Benefits will be added as Club membership grows. Graduates can sign up to become a member of the Club by visiting and completing the short form.

The Young Professionals Club is the latest extension to International Vision Expo’s Student Program, which has been gaining momentum since 2008. In its fifth year, the program now includes industry-wide participation from students, alumni, student organizations, the 23 schools of optometry in the United States and Canada, and exhibitors.

During International Vision Expo West, held Oct. 2-5, 2013 (Education: Oct. 2-5, Exhibition: Oct. 3-5) at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, registered students will have access to private events and education designed to build their networks, knowledge base, and vendor relations. On Saturday, October 5, Ryan Parker, OD, will lead Vision Expo’s popular hands-on course, “The Student Expo Experience,” which provides real-world scenarios and requires students to compare products in the exhibit hall to determine the best fit for their practice’s needs. In the evening, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., students are invited to a fun Las Vegas bar (Kuhunaville Poolside Lanai Bar) to mix and mingle with their peers before heading out on the town.

For more information about International Vision Expo’s Student Program, visit To learn more about International Vision Expo’s Young Professionals Club, visit For regular updates in the weeks leading up to the show, connect with International Vision Expo on Facebook or follow Vision Expo on Twitter (@VisionExpo).