Spring arrived early on the first weekend of August to launch WAVE (Western Australia Vision Education) 2010, held in the elegant Esplanade Hotel on the idyllic Fremantle coast, just 20 minutes from the heart of Perth.
Darrell Baker, President of the Optometrists Association Australia (OAA), WA Division, and Andrew Harris, National President OAA, officially welcomed a lecture hall full of delegates from around the country.
OAA, WA Division CEO, Tony Martella, was more than happy with proceedings saying; “We are up on the interstate delegates and we’ve also achieved our highest number of trade visitors. WAVE is a growing congress.”
Local ophthalmologist Dr. Angus Turner kicked off the educational program by highlighting the need for a coordinated patient service delivery approach between ophthalmology and optometry in rural areas, and looked at how to improve clinic and surgery rates.
Western Australian optometrists are on the cusp of having therapeutics approved, so it was not surprising to see this topic was central to the educational program.
Western Australian optometrists are on the cusp of having therapeutics approved, so it was not surprising to see this topic was central to the program.
Associate Professor Mark Roth led the way with an introduction to therapeutics and therapeutic exam room essentials, while Dr. Ian Chan provided an update into corneal treatments and an intro on clinical workshops.
Delegates celebrated the launch of WAVE 2010 by attending the Perth Scientific BOC Cocktail party.
The Alcon Breakfast on Sunday morning was very popular with contact lens specialist Damon Ezekiel speaking on the fitting of all types of rigid gas permeable contact lenses, including Orthokeratology and all types of scleral lenses, soft bifocal, multifocal and cosmetic contact lenses.
Dr. Celia Chen was a very popular speaker at the conference. Her case studies on ‘Neuro Opthalmic Emergencies’ in the Clinical Workshop on Saturday, was followed up the next day with presentations on ‘Optic Neuritis: Recognising Symptoms and Signs for Appropriate Management’ and ‘Double Vision: When to Refer and How Urgently’.
Dr. Laura Downie, who provided WAVE with new insights on contact lens, with her presentations on ‘The Challenging Contact Lens Patient: Specialist Lens in Practice’, as well as lectures on ‘A Snapshot of Anterior Eye Therapeutics’ and ‘More than Meets the Eye: An Evidence-Bases Update on Systemic Medications and Ocular Sequelae.
Optometrist Jim Kokkinakis was at his brilliant best, encouraged delegates to run their practice more successfully by ‘Breaking the Shackles of Medicare’ and educating us on ‘Specialty Contact Lenses (Post Retractive Surgery, Keratokonus, Graft).
WAVE Breaks Ground for Optical Dispensers
At a time when our state legislators are dumbing down optical dispensing through deregulation, others are striving to push forward with a higher level of skills training and education.
For the first time in Australia, a full day education program was incorporated into WAVE, to cater for the educational needs of optical dispensers and practice staff.
The Dispensers & Practice Staff Lecture Series and Workshops were a must for those individuals wanting to learn from some of the best practitioners in the profession.
Many of the lectures were presented by leading optical companies including Hoya, Essilor and Transitions on a range of topics including Demystifying Freeform Lenses, Patient Insights, Photochromic Technology, Motivation, Managing the Progressive Lens Wearer and much more.
Tony Martella said the idea for the Lecture Series and Workshops came after a special dispensers session at last year’s WAVE Congress.
“The interest was definitely there in 2009 so this year, instead of just one session, we decided to provide a whole day of lectures and workshops, just for optical dispensers.
“It makes lots of sense on so many levels. Dispensers and practice staff are key components of the optometry team. They speak to patients about lens choices, coatings and, of course, frames. WAVE provides educational sessions to improve their product knowledge and hence their ability to meet the patients needs, and of course, increase their sales ability,” said Tony.
Exhibitors at WAVE, like Aaron McColl, Managing Director from Shaan Labworks, were equally impressed. “In many cases we find it’s the practice staff that are making purchasing decisions for the store, or at least highly influencing the optometrist. They are on the front line of optical retail, so in many cases they have the knowledge of what the customer is looking for.”
Shaan is as interested in speaking to dispensers about the frames and lab services as they are with optometrists. “If you are going to put on a trade exhibition, then I’d like to continue to see dispensers and practice staff attend with optometrists at the show,” said McColl.
WA Optical Dispensers Kylie Bett and Dawn Callender agreed. Kylie found out about the Dispensers and Practice Staff Lecture Series and Workshops through her optometrist employer. “He said he was going to WAVE and also told me that there was a program for dispensers,” said Kylie.
“We’ve just come out of a lecture on multifocals and freeform progressives, and we found it very beneficial.”
Asked whether having sessions running simultaneously for both optometrists and optical dispensers was the way of the future for optical conferences, Dawn agreed, “after all, we are the front line and we need to continue to improve our skills and knowledge as much as the optometrist”.
WAVE 2011 will be held from 19 to 21 August. For more information phone (AUS) 08 9321 2300.