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HomemioptometryOptometry Conference Season

Optometry Conference Season

As we lead up to the optometry conference season we look at the highlights and stunning line-ups for Australian Vision Convention and Southern Regional Congress. This year’s leading optometry conferences will go a long way towards helping optometrists fulfil their annual CPD requirements.

Australian Vision Convention

A stellar line-up of speakers, the bonus of earning compulsory professional development points, and the lure of family time on the Gold Coast has prompted a rush of registrations for this month’s Australian Vision Convention (AVC) 2011.

The AVC, scheduled to run from 28 April to 1 May, is “awash with highlights” according to the host, the Optometry Association (OAA) Queensland / Northern Territory division.

OAA Qld / NT Executive Director Greg Johnson said convention organisers were particularly excited by the involvement of two U.S. based optometrists – Dr. Mile Brujic and Dr. Thomas Quinn – who will give a raft of lectures and promise to be “just stunning”.

AVC organisers this year have made a deliberate effort to promote local optometrists

Associate Professor Michael Ibbotson will present a session summarising the Australian National University’s breakthrough research on the bionic eye.

Associate Professor Ibbotson’s team has experimented with blind cats and discovered images from the bionic eye were being transmitted to their brains.

“He believes it is inevitable that there will be the production of a bionic eye that works in the future. It is very exciting,” Mr. Johnson said.

He said the “irrepressible” Professor Nathan Efron will be heading a “spellbinding” rapid-fire session highlighting six ground-breaking research projects. Self-proclaimed ‘diabetologist’, Dr. Chrys Michaelides GP, will be speaking about encouraging general practitioners to refer their eye patients to optometrists.

AVC organisers this year have made a deliberate effort to promote local optometrists, and have a lineup of local optometrists – Mark Hinds, Jason Holland, John Holme, Kate Johnson and Julie Newport – who have agreed to share their ideas and experiences with delegates.

The annual event – which has moved away from its traditional ‘Queensland Vision’ branding in recognition of the convention’s popularity with Australian and New Zealand practitioners outside of the host state – is preceded by Easter and Anzac Day. Mr. Johnson said this has made this year’s event particularly attractive to practitioners with families, who see the conference as an opportunity for quality family time.

Mr. Johnson said the convention was starting to attract international interest, with a number of confirmed registrations from the US, Canada and Japan – and even an expression of interest from Kenya.

Another bonus for all delegates attending the AVC is that it is worth 40 CPD points, which meets the annual requirement for optometrists.

A separate session will be held for exhibitors in the Exhibition Hall, with Chris Cormack, from Senioragency Australia, who will discuss making sales, effective marketing and developing goodwill.

AVC 2011 will feature four full days of clinical sessions; a 70-strong Exhibition Hall; three complimentary breakfast sessions; 40 CPD points; all congress meals; complimentary Essilor Cocktail Party; CIBA Vision gala dinner at the famous Dreamworld; creche and hosted shopping/tourist tour for other family members. In addition, there will be separate sessions with St John Ambulance on cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and a two-day program (on 27-28

April) on the specialised field of aviation eye examinations.

To register for AVC 2011 go to www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland, or phone (AUS) 07 3839 4411.

Southern Regional Congress

Held in Melbourne in May, the Southern Regional Congress (SRC) 2011 is generating significant interest among optometrists who are busily planning their CPD schedules for the coming 12 months.

This year, Helen Papadimitriou conference co-ordinator for host OAA Victorian Division, says “our number one priority has been to make obtaining your CPD both easier and more interesting,”

To this end there will be a dual program on the Monday and optional assessments across most sessions. A new keypad system has been introduced for delegates, which will allow you to undertake assessments at the end of each lecture, and in doing so, increase your point earnings.

Importantly, the organisers say that “for therapeutically-endorsed optometrists, all lectures and sessions that attract therapeutics points for are easily identifiable in the program by a blue tear.”

The SRC international keynote speakers have promised some great lectures which will provide you with the current news – and some future developments – in optometry.

Professor Bruce Onofrey, is regarded as an expert on disease management and therapeutics. He will talk about “systemic medications, steroids, glaucoma, and steps to make a differential diagnosis when a patient presents with a ‘what the heck is that?’ condition.”

Associate Professor Diana Shechtman will “emphasise co-management and everyday eye health. She will include a special lecture on eye health risks and women.”

“Our Australian speakers are Daryl Guest, who will talk on topics including how to distinguish neurological incidents from BV problems and Dr. Alex Gentle, who will speak on antibiotics, adverse drug reactions and more. Further highlights include the new Hot Topics panel discussion and the H Barry Collin Research Medal Lecture, which will be delivered by Professor Jack Pettigrew. Prof. Pettigrew’s work has been internationally recognised with fellowships to both the Royal Society of London and Australian Academy of Science,” says conference organise Ms Helen Papadimitriou.

SRC 2011 will aim to mix and match sessions to meet delegates individual point requirements.

“If you only have one day to spare for SRC, we suggest you visit on Saturday to make the most of the workshops and free symposiums in the morning then spend the afternoon taking in all four keynote speakers. Finish the day at the SRC dinner with friends and colleagues. Alternatively, take full advantage of the dual programs on Sunday or Monday. Need therapeutics points? Attending on Sunday and Monday will give you more than enough points to meet your annual registration requirements for therapeutic points,” says Helen.

Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the SRC venue with free access to the internet and printing facilities available at the SRC Business Centre located in the SRC Info Hub. Take advantage of these facilities to print PDF handouts of lecture notes, check your email, or print out your flight boarding pass. Complimentary childcare is available to all delegates by prior registration only so be sure to indicate your interest when registering online.

First time delegates at SRC can register to attend a special half hour orientation session on Saturday. Lunch and information will be available to make sure you hit the ground running.

For more information and registration details for SRC go to: www.optometrists.asn.au/victoria

SRC Speaker: Jessica Gallagher’s Extraordinary Sporting Achievements

Vision-impaired athlete Jessica Gallagher created history at the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver, becoming the first Australian woman to win a Winter Paralympic Games medal.

The former Victorian netballer had previously been barred from the Beijing Paralympics when she was unexpected deemed “not blind enough” just a day before the opening ceremony. But her sight deteriorated further and after just 150 days on the snow, Gallagher took the bronze medal with guide Eric Bickerton, who led her down the 610m Slalom course in Vancouver. To top it off, it was her 24th birthday!

The gifted athlete also competed at the IPC World Athletics Championships in February this year, winning bronze in the F13 Javelin and the silver in the F13 Long Jump – making her the only Australian athlete to have won medals at a major international meet (Olympics or World Champs) in both winter and summer competition!

Jessica Gallagher will be speaking at SRC 2011 on Saturday 14 May at 5.15pm