Thema Optical presented its proprietary V.E.A. store concept in the U.S. at the latest Vision Expo East in New York, which was held on March 21-24. As previously reported by Eyewear Intelligence (Vol. 20 n°2+3 of 22/02/2019), V.E.A. stands for Virtual Eyewear Assistant. The V.E.A. store, entirely dedicated to customized eyewear, is characterized by the presence of software and hardware that enables customers to browse through the different collections and choose eyewear that best suit their face. Through a 3D camera mounted in a tablet, the software takes a scan of the customer's face and develops a 3D virtual image that mirrors reality.

The V.E.A. technology was released in 2018, and has already been deployed in Europe, at a first V.E.A. store that was opened in Turin, Italy, in April of this year. Other V.E.A. stores are expected to follow in the upcoming months.

Thema was founded in Italy in 1971. It has been present in the U.S. since 2013, with its own branch Thema USA, and has its American headquarters in Miami, along with a strong presence with brand representatives and distributors in Canada and Mexico. The first partner that will collaborate with the company in the U.S. using the V.E.A. technology in its stores is Edward Beiner Eyewear, this year's winner of the Optimum Retailer Award. More partnerships are reportedly expected to be finalized this year.