The beautiful city of Seattle was home for the 2015 Optometry’s Meeting®. The week was full of continuing education programs, networking opportunities, social events and entertainment, and even an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. Optometrists and students from around the nation came together to celebrate legislative successes for the year, new product lines, and impactful research involved with optometry. Rob O’Neil, a highly decorated Navy SEAL, kickstarted this year’s Optometry’s Meeting® with a message that inspired the audience to approach each day with passion. O’Neil was involved in many special projects in Afghanistan, consistently putting his life in danger. Using his experiences, he challenged optometrists and students to form a strong team in order to be successful in our practices and profession. He shared stories from the front lines that led the audience to think about daily sacrifice and the importance of placing other people above themselves.
Varilux® Optometry Student BowlTM XXIV
Every year, the cheering, energy and excitement of Student Bowl makes it an event to remember! This year, the Seattle Seahawk drum line elevated the noise level as the contestants ran through the screaming crowd of student supporters. The T‐shirts, costumes, noise makers and school spirit filled the room with energy. PCO’s contestant, Nicole Rist, took home the trophy and $1,000 prize as the winner of the 2015 Student Bowl. For the second year in a row, MCO finished in second place. While each school tried to outperform the others for the coveted Spirit Award, PUCO took home the honor as the winners of this year’s 2015 Spirit Award. Their massive student section and positive energy helped them secure this highly coveted victory. To wrap up the Student Bowl, a new event was added to this year’s Optometry’s Meeting®. Students and observers were all given sunglasses to wear for five minutes. To break the Guinness Book of World Record’s Most People Wearing Glasses in the Dark record, 1,500 people were needed. Unfortunately, we were just short of our goal this time…but there is always next year!
In between student events and continuing education courses, students were given the opportunity to explore the exhibit hall. Students could participate in “Sight Quest,” a bingo‐style activity that allowed students to familiarize themselves with how to interact with industry and also gave them the opportunity to win great prizes, such as Starbucks gift cards. Various booths were selected and there were designated questions to ask in order to complete the Sight Quest activity.
Continuing Education and Social Events
Other events more specific for students included a HOYA Jeopardy-style game, a practice management session with Mile Brujic, O.D., and David Kading, O.D., as well as a panel of optometrists from various sectors discussing the personality of different modes of practice. In addition to the panel discussion, Luxottica supported a party at the Hard Rock Café. The dueling pianos, free giveaways and socializing on the roof-top terrace made for a memorable night in Seattle. Saturday morning, runners participated in the 2015 Optometry Cares® 5k Run/Walk in order to raise money for the AOA Foundation. The run took place outside of the city along the scenic Lake Washington as the sun rose over the mountains.
The Celebration of Optometry
To close out Optometry’s Meeting® this year, Brian Olsen showed off his incredible painting skills. He finished two incredible pieces, Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe, right before our eyes! The Celebration of Optometry was complete after Sinbad made joke after joke related to the life of an optometrist. No one knew it was possible to make so many jokes based on a phoropter and difficult patients! The audience was brought to tears and laughter thanks to Sinbad’s great humor. Seattle welcomed us well with plentiful Starbucks and stunning views from the Space Needle. Join us next year for Optometry’s Meeting® 2016 in Boston!