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HomemioptometryWAVE Conference 2008

WAVE Conference 2008

WAVE, the OAA WA Division annual conference held from 8 to 10 August 2008, is a unique blend of lectures and small group tutorial sessions.

WAVE was conducted at the historic Esplanade Hotel in picturesque Fremantle – a city known for its port atmosphere, great seafood restaurants, alfresco dining, street theatre and markets.

The weather was mild and dry and the 190 local and interstate delegates got tremendous value in obtaining their 40 CPD points. The 20 sponsors and trade exhibiters were also kept on their toes with the constant flow of delegates and programme activities through the exhibition space.

WAVE Education

The format for WAVE this year was a little different as executive officer Tony Martella and the OAA WA division continued to innovate in order to keep the conference fresh and relevant. The ACBO WA division provided a number of speakers on clinical and behavioural care, whilst local ophthalmologists and researchers provided great insight into both clinical diagnostic information and treatment options.

Health Minister, Mr. John Hyde, opened the conference with a glowing endorsement of the role of optometrists as primary care providers
… as well as changes to the Poisons Act that will enable WA optometrists to prescribe appropriate therapeutics

Friday started with a lunch in the exhibition hall and the afternoon was devoted to short/sharp presentations by the main speakers and tutorial group leaders.

The parliamentary secretary to the Health Minister, Mr. John Hyde, opened the conference with a glowing endorsement of the role of optometrists as primary care providers. He reiterated the governments support for optometry’s concern for the public in relation to the sale by unqualified retailers of non-prescription novelty contact lenses, as well as changes to the Poisons Act that will enable WA optometrists to prescribe appropriate therapeutics.

Sue Larter spoke on testing for special populations, Ed Howell and John Mountford on myopia control, Ophthalmologists Dimitri Yellachich (retinal detachments), Siew-Yin Then (eye lid tumours), Jean-Louis deSouza (orbital disease). Mai-Tey Lai and researcher Prof. Sarah Dunlop spoke on macular degeneration and gene therapy treatments.

David Foresto spoke on infection control procedures, Georgina Ryan and Jo Thomas (with Monty the dog) on client issues for MD. Prof Lyn Beazley, with her lizards, spoke on neural organisation and the ability to return sight to “amblyopic” or blind eyes and Margie O’Neill presented on delivering optometric services in remote areas.

The cultural issues and logistics of optometric and ophthalmic treatment and the pathology was a real ‘eye opener’ for most of the delegates who had not been involved in remote area services.

Garry Fitzpatrick spoke on planned giving for Optometry Giving Sight as the NGO delivering services and education for sustainable projects for preventable blindness in Australia and overseas.

All presenters were able to provide snappy, easily digested lectures to encapsulate the essence of their topic and as a teaser to further investigation.

WAVE Saturday

Saturday saw the delegates separated into groups to progressively work on: Visual Fields (Peter Herse), glaucoma and suspicious discs (ophthalmologists Bill Morgan and Dru Daniels), OrthoKeratology (John Mountford and Lisa Jansen), accommodation and convergence (Ed Howell) and testing special populations (Sue Larter). The movement between speakers and small groups made for great interaction and the day sped by.

Saturday night was an opportunity to turn off the brain and loosen the limbs as the four-piece band swept the delegates onto the dance floor at the South of Perth Yacht club, with great views to the Perth City night lights. Carole Saville (Saville Optical) and Helen Marsh (CooperVision) lead the dancing, along with Lily Wegrzynowski and Andrew Ayesa. The more mature, like myself, were also well represented and undeterred by injury and surgical intervention.

Despite Saturday night’s gyrations, Sunday was a day to get up and out early for a breakfast at The Esplanade Hotel with Ita Buttrose. She spoke on ‘Love, Hate and the whole damn thing’. The sponsor Essilor fed our minds with information about practice building and client relations, whilst the hotel staff fed our stomachs. This was followed by more lectures and more group tutorial sessions. Prizes galore were on offer.

WAVE was a tremendous success this year and full credit to Tony Martella, his helpers and the very impressive and entertaining array of speakers. Because of the tutorial style break-out sessions numbers are limited, so get in early next year if you want an opportunity to visit the West. Tack on a few days to take in the local scene or visit the great wine or forest regions. Pencil in August 2009.

Gary Crerie is an optometrist from Bullcreek, WA. Gary has been the President of the Optometrists Association (and currently vice-president), Director of the national board of ProVision, previous consultant to the low vision centre (Association for the Blind) and board member of the Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation.