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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NextGEN OD Networking

In March 2023, the inaugural hybrid event by NextGEN OD, entitled “Opportunities & Options for New Optometrists,” surpassed expectations in both engagement and impact. Not only did the unique event attract a high turnout, it offered an opportunity to hear and learn from the experiences of recent optometry graduates and network with Canadian optometry students from diverse schools across North America. Given the geographical challenges, this opportunity was especially meaningful.

Driven by Success: Introducing the Student Ambassador Program

Motivated by this strong reception and recognizing the clear demand for more interconnectedness, NextGEN OD is excited to launch its Canadian Student Ambassador Program.

This initiative seeks to further unite students and the industry, thereby making the NextGEN OD community increasingly relevant and accessible to Canadian optometry students, regardless of their study location.

Nyah Miranda and Dr. Jenny Lee, OD, co-hosts of “Opportunities & Options,” are at the helm of this new Student Ambassador program.

Nyah, a second-year student and 2026 candidate at NECO, takes charge of all social media aspects as Digital Communications Associate. Meanwhile, Dr. Jenny Lee, a recent graduate currently in-residence training for Vision Therapy and Neuro Optometry (University of Waterloo), serves as the CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) liaison.  CRO aligns closely with the new Student Ambassador program benefits.

Why NextGEN OD?

While the Canadian optometry student community may be relatively small in numbers, its potential for impact is substantial. NextGEN OD aims to enhance this community by offering invaluable resources and connections that pave the way for thriving careers. Whether studying locally or internationally, this program has you covered.

The Tangible Benefits: Why You Should Sign Up

This program grants student ambassadors a range of exclusive perks, such as:

  • A free CRO Journal subscription
  • Complimentary CRO Student Membership with quiz access
  • Compensation opportunities during special NextGEN events
  • Free CRO membership after graduation
  • Opportunities for publication in eyecare media, paving the way to become a peer influencer
Meet the Trailblazers

We’ve already enlisted a pioneering cohort of exceptional optometry students poised to make an impact in their roles as NextGEN OD Student Ambassadors. These trailblazers have set a high standard, and now the doors are now open for you to join this esteemed group.

NextGEN OD Student Ambassadors
Right to Left: Nyah Miranda (NECO), Jenny Lee (Waterloo) , Natasha Reyes (Waterloo), Michelle Paul (Pacific University), Stephanie Mathews (Michigan College)
How to Engage: Seize the Opportunity

Eager to contribute to NextGEN OD’s mission and join this groundbreaking initiative? Applications for the academic year starting September 2023, are now open. To apply and learn more, visit the NextGEN OD Student Ambassador Landing Page.

Your Next Move: Apply Now

Don’t let this opportunity slip by. Apply today and become a driving force in shaping the future of  the initiative.

About Eye Care Business Canada/Next GEN OD

Eye Care Business Canada (ECBC) and NextGEN OD are sponsors of  CAOS (Canadian Association of Optometry Students) for the academic year 2022-23.

About Eye Care Business Canada and NextGEN OD

Eye Care Business Canada, and NextGEN OD, are committed to empowering Eye Care Professionals and aspiring optometrists. In collaboration with our sponsors, we deliver insights across a range of topics including practice marketing, financial well-being, leadership, and self-development. Additionally, through the NextGEN OD Student Ambassador program, we offer Canadian optometry students a unique platform for networking and professional growth opportunities.

We welcome reader engagement through article ratings and comments on our website. Upholding an open approach, we are impartial toward potential sponsors who wish to engage responsibly with our diverse audience.  ECBC and NextGen OD, and CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) are divisions of VuePoint IDS.


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Bailey Nelson Career Opportunities

Dr. Laurie Lesser,  Eyecare Director Canada/UK, Bailey Nelson subtitled her presentation “How to have a fulfilling career as an optometrist, while having the time to enjoy your other passions” and outlined Bailey Nelson career opportunities for young NextGEN ODs.

She traces the roots of  Bailey Nelson to Aussie founders, Nick and Pete who gained modest success selling beautiful eyewear at reasonable prices on chill Bondi Beach Market near Sydney.

The entrepreneurs heeded the advice of a local Optometrists suggesting coupling their eyewear in a full-service optometry setting. Success in Australia spread internationally to New Zealand, Canada (2016) and UK. Today Bailey Nelson has over 100 stores in four countries, nearly 40 of which are in Canada. And, they continue to grow.

Bailey Nelsen’s core values and tight knit down to earth culture appeals to young ODs. “It drives positive energy where you can bring your true self to work without the headaches of running a business”, says Lesser.

Bailey Nelson Career Opportunities for ODs
Watch Dr. Lesser’s Full Presentation to NextGEN ODs on YouTube

She describes a highly collaborative workplace environment where a “never ending” group chat provides almost immediate support from engaged and supportive colleagues.

Bailey Nelson Optometrist Dr. Grace Sim
“I enjoy working with Bailey Nelson because I have all the freedom and control I need to manage my practice, but still have the support and resources that comes from a tight-knit company like Bailey Nelson.” Dr. Grace Sim, Bailey Nelson, Conestoga Waterloo, UW 2022

Dr. Lesser details the Bailey Nelson subleasing model which takes care of the back-office functions including reception, phone, internet, EMR, patient recall and online booking.

Bailey Nelson brand tends to attract younger healthier patients which helps to keep Optometric care simple and provides the opportunity to fulfill patients needs in an uncomplicated setting.

Dr. Lesser also presented testimonials from recent Optometry grads who found their match with the Bailey Nelson culture.

Bailey Nelson provides career opportunities for young ODs seeking  young vibrant communities compatible with their culture. She outlines specific opportunities where a retention bonuses of $100,000 are available.

Click here for more information about Bailey Nelson career opportunities for young Optometrists.

You can reach Dr. Lesser directly to discuss if Bailey Nelson career opportunities are a match for you.

Phone: (236) 412 9911  (Canada)
Phone (954) 401-2476 (USA)


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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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The independent advantage

Dr. Matthew Harrison, a SW Ontario Independent OD aligned with the Eye Recommend network, presents the case for independent practice with the support of a strong membership group.

Dr. Harrison, a 2013 University of Waterloo grad, provides his definition of “Independent Practice”, a term that is often bandied around and accepted often without a full understanding of its meaning and consequences to practice.

He concludes that independence ultimately is defined as the freedom of choice to selectively utilize the tools you desire to provide the highest level of care.

He advocates that you can have the best of both worlds by aligning with a strong member group such as Eye Recommend, which has 500+ practices across Canada and over 1300 optometry professionals.

The Independent Advantage Dr. Matt Harrison
View Dr. Harrison’s full presentation by clicking the play button above

NextGEN ODs as early as Year 2 can receive a signing bonus of $25,000 when starting with an Eye Recommend practice after graduation.

For more information on the “Eye Recommend” advantage: connect here.



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Dr. Mark Langer graduated from Pacific University College of Optometry in 2013. He had interned at a number of interesting practice locations, including private practice in Beverly Hills California, an Army Hospital in Europe, a Veteran Affairs Clinic in Hawaii, and a private practice and IRIS location in British Columbia.

While engaging with young ODs and optometry students at the March 2023 NextGEN OD event, it is not surprising therefore to hear him strongly recommend that NextGen ODs step back from the academics and take time to network and build bridges to their future opportunities.

A Mentor’s Advice
While contemplating the “how, what and where’ of his future practice opportunities, a successful private practice owner/mentor offered this advice, “”Pick where you want to live and build a life there”.

Langer took the advice to heart. Building upon the connections previously forged, he landed with IRIS in the BC interior.

Aligning the family around the decision to stay in the Okanagan Valley, Dr. Langer officially partnered with IRIS which perfectly melds his professional career and personal lifestyle – which now includes a family of “three little dudes!”.

He’s appreciative of the professional teams that take the administration burden off his plate allowing him to go home, put on his “Daddy Cape” and enjoy life.

My Path to Practice Partnership at IRIS
View Dr. Langer’s full presentation by clicking the play button above.

Key Point of advice: “Make sure that life outside of work is at the forefront of any decision you make.”


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Dr. Michael Naugle discusses OD Compensation models

The following subject matter is usually not discussed in an open forum, but is essential information for NextGEN Optometrists looking to land their first practice experience. Dr. Michael Naugle, VP of Optometric Partnerships FYidoctors, addressed attendees of the “Opportunities & Options for New Optometrists” event March 29.

The hybrid event reached over 150 attendees, including a live audience at University of Waterloo and online webinar participants.

While Dr. Naugle emphasized the importance of matching personal values and clinical interests with prospective practice opportunities, he noted that compensation is an important factor that can vary considerably in different situations.

USA vs. Canada | Rural vs. Urban
Dr. Naugle addressed the realities of how the geographic setting of a practice could impact OD compensation. He covered the expected differences in net earnings for optometrists in USA versus Canada. He explained how the different compensation models generate the perception that OD incomes are higher in the USA but further explained how other factors come into play to make Canadian compensation potentially more attractive.

Dr. Naugle elaborated on the “pillars of compensation” and presented details on how compensation might vary in different Canadian provinces and in urban versus rural practice settings with specific examples.

How Practice Geography Impacts OD Compensatin
View Dr. Naugle’s full presentation by clicking the play button above.

He advised new optometrists to dive deeper than the simple “percent of total gross billings” as other critical factors will outweigh this “top line” figure, citing specific questions that associate NextGen ODs need to ask to determine the income potential in specific practice situations.

Recently, Dr. Naugle was interviewed by NextGEN OD Ambassador, Nyah Miranda regarding the FYidoctor’s Future Vision Leadership Program.  
Click the link to listen to this recent discussion.



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Opportunities for NextGEN Optometrists

Dr. Sophia Leung is at the cutting edge of the transformation of primary care Optometry to the medical model.

As a residency-trained and fellowship-trained optometrist with a clinical emphasis on the cornea, advanced glaucoma, and anterior segment disease, she calls upon her own experience to provide insights on the benefits of residencies and fellowships and provides concrete advice on finding the right match for young ODs.

After spending five years in private practice, Dr. Leung pursued an Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery Residency in the US followed by an Advanced Glaucoma and Cornea Fellowship.

This led her to her current position as Principal Optometrists at a high volume corneal, cataract, and refractive surgical centre in Calgary, AB.  Dr. Leung is developing an OD-to-OD referral model the enhance patient access to ophthalmologic care that also increases time efficiency for ophthalmologists.

Dr. Leung is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Optometry in the Anterior Segment Section, the first Albertan and Canadian to do so.  She is President-Elect of the Alberta Association of Optometrists.

You can view her full presentation by clicking the play button below.

Dr. Sophia Leung discusses Residencies and Fellowships

Earlier this year, Dr. Leung was the guest on Eye Care Canada’s Eyes Wide Open Podcast.

She and host Dr. Roxanne Arnal discuss their personal and professional insights on mentorship, professional collaboration, and the evolution of optometry. They also delve into stress and practitioner burnout and point to a few interesting reads on the topic.


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next Gen OD webinar

In a uniquely formatted event, Canadian Optometry students were treated to the perspectives of both recent OD grads and insights of seasoned experts showcasing the opportunities and options available to them as they forge their professional careers.

The event was held simultaneously live to 100 students at University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science and via online webinar to an expanded North American audience of young Canadian optometry students, including those studying in US Schools, including New England College of Optometry and others.

Bausch + Lomb Canada and Eye Care Business Canada | NextGen OD co-presented the event which was sponsored by B+L partners including Bailey Nelson, Eye Recommend, FYidoctors, and the IRIS Group.

NextGEN OD ambassadors Jenny Lee (OD-4 Univ. of Waterloo) and Nyah Miranda (OD-1 NECO) co-hosted the event, which presented six speakers, which was capped off with a panel Q&A and prize draws of over $1000 valiue.

YouTube Ravi Tanna
Watch Ravi Tanna’s Introduction to the NextGen OD Event – March 29, 2023. Tanna opens the event with his deeply personal account of his Best and Worse days relating to his own eye care.

Speakers Share Perspectives

Dr. Sophia Leung, President-elect of the Alberta Association of Optometrists provided advice on pursuing residencies and fellowships based on her own experience.

Dr. Michael Naugle, VP of Optometric Partnerships, FYidoctors, provided a very detailed assessment of the various OD compensation models, particularly as they relate to practicing in USA versus Canada and in various geographical settings; urban versus rural within Canada.

Dr. Mark Langer, IRIS Practice Owner in BC, shared his unique path to to practice ownership from Pacific College of Optometry (Oregon) to ownership of a community-based practice in the Okanogan Valley, having to wrestle with the decision to practice in Canada versus USA along the way.

Dr. Matthew Harrison, practicing in an Eye Recommend Practice in SW Ontario, shared his perspectives on the benefits of “Independent Practice”, including details on the Associate Signing Bonus Program offered by Eye Recommend.

Dr. Laurie Lesser, Eye Care Director, Bailey-Nelson North America and UK, provided a history of the chill Aussie Brand retailer addressing the importance of work-life balance in an optometric career.

Over $1000 of Prizes

Following the Q&A  , all event attendees were entered into a random prize draw. Here are the winners:

Clinical & Refractive Optometry Annual Subscription/Complimentary CE:
Amanda Leong (UW 2026)

Bailey Nelson Quality Sunwear:
Bethany Lo (UW 2023)

Eye Recommend $100 Gift Cards award to three attendees:|
Amy Wang (UW 2024)
Sarah Long (UW 2025)
Jean Nasta (UW 2026)

FYidoctors $100 e-gift card:
Alexander Rozbacher (UW 2024)

IRIS Group iPAD winner:
Vyshnavi Satyajit (NECO 2024)

Photo Gallery – Live Event Univ. of Waterloo

Live Event Univ. of Waterloo Live Event Univ. of Waterloo Live Event Univ. of Waterloo Live Event Univ. of Waterloo




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