NextGEN Canada Event 2024

EyeCare Business Canada proudly presented the 2nd Annual “Opportunities & Options” event from University of Waterloo and live cast to Watch Parties to Canadian students at US Optometry Schools.

A Gathering Like No Other

The NextGEN OD Canada meeting, held on March 28, struck the perfect balance between in-person engagement and digital inclusivity. Hosted at the University of Waterloo’s Federation Hall and simultaneously broadcasted via Zoom, the event connected Canadian student optometrists from across North America, including watch parties from NECO, Michigan College, and MCPHS. The event welcomed over 100 students in-person and more than 50 online attendees.

NextGEN OD Student ambassadorsThis distinctive hybrid meeting format was orchestrated by Eye Care Business Canada, significantly enriched by the invaluable contributions of the NextGEN Canada Student Ambassadors, who expertly hosted both the local and online facets of the event.

Innovative Engagement and Networking Opportunities
The live event began with students embarking on a journey through sponsor exhibits, guided by a passport card system designed to encourage exploration and engagement. Separate prize pools for the live event at Waterloo and online attendees added an extra layer of interaction and anticipation.

Natasha Reyes, (OD Candidate 2026 UW), NextGEN Student Ambassador kicked off the meeting and shared hosting duties with her remote Student Ambassador colleagues, Nyah Miranda (NECO), Sameer Majumdar (MCPHS) and Stephanie Mathews (MCO).

Spotlight on Sponsors

IRIS, Optometry Giving Sight, FYi doctors
Left to right: IRIS The Visual Group, Optometry Giving Sight, FYidoctors
CRO/Bausch + Lomb/Specsavers
Left to right: Clinical & Refractive Optometry, Bausch + Lomb, Specsavers Canada
OSI - Eye Recommend, ROI Corp
Left to right: Optometric Services Inc., Eye Recommend, ROI Corp.

Presentations from Visionary Sponsors, including Bausch + Lomb, FYidoctors, Specsavers, and IRIS, offered students a window into the diverse opportunities within the optometry field.  Collectively the presentations provided valuable lessons on career development, technological advancements, and insights into market trends

The event showcased insights from a broad spectrum of professionals, including senior executives with optometric backgrounds and more recently graduated optometrists from all sponsors, including Horizon Sponsors  Eye Recommend, OSI (Optometric Services Inc,) and ROI Corporation

Personal Journeys to Professional Success
Drs Alexa Hecht and Amrit BilkhuDrs. Alexa Hecht and Amrit Bilkhu shared their experiences and advice a presentation entitled, “Oh the Places You’ll Go… as a New OD Grad”. Their stories highlighted the importance of choosing the right career path and tops to do so.  They also shared how they leverage social media to fulfill their goals, serving as an inspiration for the next generation of optometrists.

Interactive Dialogue and Rich Networking

The evening was filled with opportunities for students to ask questions, engage with speakers and sponsors, and network with peers. This interactive environment, supported by the hybrid format, ensured that every attendee, whether online or in-person, could participate fully in the event.

A Night to Remember with Culinary Delights and Prizes
A delicious buffet dinner provided a moment for socializing, rounding off an evening of learning and networking. The evening culminated in the raffle draws, with separate prize pools ensuring that both in-person and online participants had the chance to win, marking a fitting end to an hybrid extraordinary event.

NextGEN Buffet

The NextGEN OD Canada 2024 event was a testament to the spirit of unity and innovation among Canadian optometry students. By overcoming geographical barriers and bringing together students from across North America, the event highlighted the strength and diversity of the Canadian optometry student community.


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NextGEN OD Canada

In a significant show of support for the next generation of optometry professionals, NextGen OD, alongside Eye Care Business Canada, is proud to announce its continued sponsorship of the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS) at the University of Waterloo for the second consecutive year.

This partnership is a testament to our dedication to fostering the growth and development of the optometry field by backing its future leaders—our students.

Elevating Student Voices Through APERTURE Magazine

One of the cornerstones of this sponsorship is our support for APERTURE Magazine, the official magazine of CAOS. But this year, we’re taking our support a step further by not only showcasing academic excellence but rewarding it as well.

The APERTURE writing contest offers a platform for students to express their creativity and insights, with enticing incentives. Winners of the contest will not only be celebrated with $500 in prizes but will also see their winning entries published in both Eye Care Business Canada and Optik Magazine. T

This opportunity opens the doors for over 10,000 Canadian eye care professionals to recognize and appreciate the fresh perspectives and innovative ideas of tomorrow’s industry leaders.

David Pietrobon, President of VuePoint IDS—which publishes Eye Care Business Canada, NextGen OD, and Optik Magazine—emphasized the significance of nurturing new talent. “Identifying the next generation of leading peer influencers offers an exceptional opportunity to acknowledge the talent within this cohort and introduce their fresh perspectives to the eyecare industry at large,” Pietrobon remarked.

We are calling on CAOS members to lend their voices to APERTURE Magazine. It’s a unique chance to contribute to the larger conversation in the eyecare community, with the assurance of a fair and transparent selection process led by CAOS leadership.

NextGEN OD Event: A Beacon for Future Opportunity

The highlight of our sponsorship is the annual NextGEN Opportunities & Options event, scheduled for March 28th at Federation Hall, University of Waterloo.

This event is designed to inspire and guide optometry students through the myriad of career paths available in the field. Featuring insights from both recent graduates and seasoned industry experts, the event promises to be a melting pot of inspiration, advice, and networking opportunities.

Key industry sponsors will be present to engage with students, alongside a sumptuous buffet and the chance to win exciting prizes. Moreover, with virtual attendance from Canadian optometry students across North America, the event promises to forge a wide-reaching network of future eyecare professionals.

Mark your calendars and register now for this landmark event. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to explore the diverse career options in optometry and connect with peers and professionals within the industry.

NextGen OD

Looking Forward

The future of optometry shines brightly, and with the continued support of NextGen OD and Eye Care Business Canada, it’s set to become even more luminous. We eagerly anticipate the innovative contributions to APERTURE Magazine and look forward to welcoming you to the NextGEN Opportunities & Options event. Together, let’s step into a future where the vision of tomorrow’s optometry leaders is recognized and celebrated.

Stay tuned to Eye Care Business Canada for updates on this exciting journey and more news from the forefront of the eyecare industry.



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CAOS Aperture Writing Contest Winner

An initiative proudly sponsored by NextGenOD and Eye Care Business Canada, The Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS) has revealed the winners of the APERTURE 2022-23 Writing Contest. Selection was conducted via an anonymous voting system by the CAOS communications directors and approval from the CAOS executive team at the University of Waterloo.  We’re delighted to highlight the first-place essay, “Lessons from a Superfield Lens,” penned by then 4th-year student Jenny Lee. Her engaging piece features an imaginative dialogue with optometric instruments, exploring the symbiotic relationship between technology and human skill in the field of optometry.

If you had told me a few years ago I would be replaced by what they call an “auto-phoropter”, I would have derisively slotted some headache-inducing Risley prisms in front of your eyes.

I mean, how ridiculous does that sound? An auto-phoropter? I’ve stood the test of time and I get the job done. When people think optometry, they think of me. The classic, satisfying feeling of each click as the doctor asks “one, or two?” is nowhere nearly as rewarding as the lack of tactile feedback from an adjustment on a screen.

Here I am, watching as my prized spot in the clinic is overtaken by that new, glossy, shiny… thing.

I tried not to sulk, I really did. I kept quiet, stopped myself from unlocking my grip on the stand so I could swing angrily into students’ heads as they tried to grab the stand light beside me. To be fair, Mr. “high-and-almighty” slit lamp glared daggers at me (without even a diffuse filter on, the nerve!) for me to finally cave in, but I won’t tell them that.

Weren’t the students worried about being replaced by technology? I’d certainly never do that to them. I panicked on weekends, wondering when it would be the last time my covering was removed before being shipped off elsewhere.

It had been an especially rough week when I overheard whispers from the clinic supervisor that I was to be replaced with the school’s new auto-phoropters. It felt like a death sentence, like standing on the edge of the precipice between comfort and complacency versus the melancholy realization of no longer having a purpose.

As luck would have it, though, a third-year had left their fundus lens on the slit lamp table overnight, temporarily forgotten.

“What is it like, knowing that you might be replaced by a new-age OCT or camera someday?” I asked in my desperation for some company.

“Replaced? What do you mean?” it replied.

“Well, sure, you give stereo vision now, but fundus cameras with stereo features already exist in this clinic,” I remarked. “It’s only a matter of time, isn’t it?”

If it were possible for a lens to chuckle, it did. “I’m not getting replaced anytime soon. And even then, when I came out, everyone thought I would replace my predecessor, the 90D. Ultra super wide field views can’t be compared! They said. But really, we each serve our own purpose. I give the wide views, and 90D helps with undilated patients.

They can come out with all the fancy technology they want, but at the end of the day we’re all just different tools in a toolbox, each with our own use and purpose.”

It was at that moment I chose to be vulnerable. “I’m worried about being replaced, though,” I admitted. “Once they roll in those new auto-phoropters, I’m done for.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” the lens replied.

And so here I am, the moment finally here – watching as a new era of change sweeps its way into preclinic, changing the course of education for a new batch of students. I brace myself for the moment I’ve been waiting for this whole time. Except it never comes.

When I’m next uncovered, I recognize the familiar surroundings of the school’s newer preclinic rooms. A furtive tilt to my right reveals a paper taped onto the clinic wall – Binocular Vision Lab – Vergence Testing.

It seems like the Superfield lens was right. In my grievances over the idea of a new phoropter being present, I’d forgotten that things never truly get replaced – just like how the Goldmann tonometer fretted over the new iCare probe and ended up sticking around anyway.

So when I next saw an auto-phoropter getting carted in past me, I didn’t worry. Like me, it has a place.

Jenny Lee, OD


Vision Science Assistant Editor, CRO Journal

Jenny Lee is an onboarding resident with the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.

She is a recent 2023 graduate and is passionate about pediatrics and vision therapy.


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Eye Care Business Canada Sponsors CAOS

The Optometry student winners of the APERTURE Writing contest have been announced by the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS). As a sponsor of the APERTURE Writing Contest, NextGenOD and Eye Care Business Canada have awarded prizes for the top 5 optometry student winners of the contest.

Aperture Optometry Student Magazine cover 2023
Aperture Cover 2023

The top entries were  selected by the CAOS communications directors by an anonymous voting system where personal identifiers were removed. Then, the entire CAOS executive team at University of Waterloo which comprises over 20 students, excluding the communications team, votes on the winners.

The first-place winning entry entitled “Lessons from a Superfield Lens” by Jenny Lee (4th year University of Waterloo) recounts a whimsical imaginary conversation with various optometric armamentarium which dispels her fears of being replaced by technology.

The second-place entry, by Shannon Huges (3rd year University of Waterloo), shares results and lesson ingrained from of her first real patient refractions in, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It“.

Simply entitled, “Foresight“, third-place winning entry by Judit Antonyrajan (3rd year University of Waterloo) celebrates optometry scope of practice advances that have been achieved and opines on the promising future of the profession.

Here is the full list of APERTURE contest winners and NextGEN OD cash prizes.  Congratulations to all of the participants.

  • 1st  Place Jenny Lee  ($150)
  • 2nd Place Shannon Hughes ($125)
  • 3rd Place Judit Antonyrajan ($100)
  • 4th Place Jennifer Li ($75)
  • 5th Place Kiratpal Hothi ($50)

In addition the cash prizes, optometry student winners will be recognized by publishing their entries in NextGEN’s parent company publications, including Optik Magazine, OptikNOW and Eye Care Business Canada,  reaching over 10,000 Canadian eye care professionals. Look for the winning entries to be published later this year.

The 2023 issue is the seventh Aperture Magazine publication. The optometry student publication strives to reflect the voices of future Optometrists in the ever-changing landscape of the profession.

View the winning entries in APERTURE Magazine.
See Contest Announcement.



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Eye Care Business Canada Sponsors CAOS

Eyecare Business Canada and NextGen OD are pleased to announce their 2023 Sponsorship to the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS).

NextGen OD is a digital resource specifically for recent Canadian Optometry grads and Optometry students studying in Canada and in the USA. The site provides resources for Optometry Students and recent OD graduates, including information on career options in all facets of optometric practice.

As students enter their final academic years, progress through internships and externships, and possibly residency and fellowships, a host of options and opportunities lay ahead.  NextGen OD provides insights from students making these choices as well the paths of recent grads who are dealing with these important decisions.

The NextGen OD eco-system consists of a website (, Facebook page, Instagram, and a Linked In Showcase Page.

APERTURE Magazine Contest Sponsorship and More
A unique aspect of NextGen OD’s sponsorship is to reward winning contributions to CAOS’ online magazine, APERTURE.

Student winners of the APERTURE writing contest will be recognized by publishing the winning entries in Optik Magazine in 2023, reaching over 10,000 Canadian eye care professionals.  Additionally $500 of prizes will be provided by the publisher to the winning entrants.

“As a broad spectrum B2B publisher in the eyecare space, identifying the next generation of leading peer influencers is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the talent that lies within the student cohort and bring their fresh perspectives to the industry at large.said David Pietrobon, president of VuePoint IDS, which publishes both Eye Care Business Canada and NextGen OD, Optik Magazine and CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) Journal.

In addition to the APERTURE Magazine contest sponsorship, NextGen OD is planning webinars bringing together Canadian students from across North America with various subject matter experts. Plans are also underway to provide peer-reviewed clinical pearls to both students preparing for Board Examinations and recent graduates that require continuing education credits. These will be provided through CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) Journal and CRO Online CE, a division of VuePoint IDS Inc.

.About VuePoint IDS
VuePoint IDS Inc. is a private 100% Canadian-owned media and marketing services company focused on serving the information needs of the eyewear and eye care industry’s professional service providers including optometrists, opticians and affiliated personnel. VuePoint publishes print and digital titles for eye care professionals under the media brands Optik, (CRO) Clinical & Refractive Optometry, Eye Care Business Canada/NextGen OD and co-publishes IMAGINEM Magazine, a multi-lingual global eyewear fashion publication published in 5 languages.

VuePoint also offers services to eye care professionals, including accredited continuing education program development and delivery for Optometry through CRO Online (  and for Opticians through OptikConEd (

About  Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS)
CAOS represents Canadian Students enrolled in optometry faculties across North America. CAOS has two chapters in Canada, University of Waterloo and Université de Montréal. There are currently nine chapters in US-based optometry schools. CAOS provides optometry students with a unified voice and advocates on behalf of students in shaping the future of optometry in Canada.


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