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Thursday / May 30.
HomemioptometryWAVE 2014 A Great Conference Program

WAVE 2014 A Great Conference Program

Perth’s a long way to go for a conference if you’re not living in Western Australia, but that didn’t stop optometrists from other states of Australia and overseas from making the journey to the Pan Pacific Hotel for WAVE 2014.

Specsavers optometrist Nigel Chesterfield Evans, summed WAVE up perfectly when he said the best thing about this year’s conference was “the lack of low lights… everything was good.”

The Busselton optom is a regular conference attendee, but he says WAVE is the go-to event.

“I have a huge amount of respect for the education committee – they did a cracker job (of WAVE 2014). And I’m a very strong supporter of Optometry Australia – I think Tony (Martella) deserves a pat
on the back for the conference he organised this year.”

I can see the split between shoptometry and doctometry widening…

WAVE 2014 attracted 220 delegates, which represents an increase in total numbers from last year of approximately 10 per cent. Impressively, the number of interstate and international delegates in attendance doubled.

Optometry WA EO Tony Martella puts WAVE’s success down to the quality of the educational program. “A lot of the content is delivered by fellow optometrists as well as local ophthalmologists, so in terms of being relevant, applicable and practical, it stacks up.”

Additionally, he said, “WAVE is growing in popularity because of its reputation as a conference with varied topics that include small group clinical workshops with patients actually incorporated into the presentations to demonstrate teachings on the spot.”

Mr. Martella said the decision by the Cornea and Contact Lens Society Australia to run a Masterclass in Perth on the Friday prior to WAVE further strengthened the conference educational content. “WAVE is well supported by our local members and optometrists from interstate because they realise, in terms of education and the trade show, it really has everything they’re looking for within a small, friendly event.”

Mr. Chesterfield Evans agrees that the presentations were in-depth and practical with strong take home messages.

“I got a lot out of the gonioscopy workshops presented by Dr. Joshua Yuen and Dr. Jonathon Ng – in fact, all the workshops were well worthwhile. They were well presented and hands-on if that’s what you wanted. The suppliers were great – they enabled us to observe and try different pieces of equipment so you could really experience the features.”

He said the glaucoma lecture presented by Dr. Graham Lakkis was very informative as was his presentation on OCT. “I got a lot of new information and I was reminded of plenty I’d forgotten – it did make me want to have one in my practice.”

Andrew Gay an optometry franchisee with Laubman and Pank in Garden WA agreed. “I thought Graham did a superb job with his glaucoma overview. His presentation on glaucoma management was the tour de force – being exposed to his philosophy that it is up to optometry to detect and treat glaucoma was a highlight.

I also enjoyed Mark Roth, said Mr. Gay. “He is always interesting and I would have liked to have heard more from him.” He said the conference was well organised with its “mixed bag” of speakers and presentations that aimed to address a wide range of interests. “I think it is always difficult to cater for everybody as sub specialisations are starting to emerge in optometry, for example I am passionate about therapeutics but have no interest in children’s vision.”

Mr. Chesterfield Evans said the Sunday afternoon short lecture series was particularly informative. I thought the presentation on macular degeneration by Prof. Dimitri Yellachich was excellent, particularly as it gave us the opportunity to hear about recent studies. Dr. Mike Wertheim spoke on the huge topic of
red eye and Dr. Ian Chan spoke on corneal white lesions – the information from both was excellent.”

He commented that the only criticism he’d have of WAVE 2014 was the length of each workshop and lecture. “I felt they were all a bit short and consequently a bit rushed. There is plenty of information to communicate about each of these topics and so I think an extra 15 minutes for each workshop or lecture would be well worthwhile.” Additionally, he said, “We had some great speakers from around the country at WAVE 2014 – but I would like to see more ophthalmologists and optometrists from WA presenting – we have plenty of great local talent.”

Mr. Gay said he would have liked to hear more about the recent budget announcement surrounding Medicare. “There wasn’t really much talk about the upcoming Medicare changes and who is going to charge what. Most are taking a wait and see attitude,” he said.

Mr. Chesterfield Evans said the trade show was well attended by all of the major equipment and product suppliers and the cocktail party was enjoyable – if a little loud.

Both agreed that WAVE presented an ideal opportunity to network with colleagues from around the state and country, and discuss the direction that optometry in Australia is currently taking. “I was talking to a young locum from interstate and I asked how much therapeutics she was doing,” said Mr. Gay.

“She said hardly any because it would affect the number of spectacles she could sell per consultation. If she got a patient back for additional appointments then her conversion rate (of spectacle sales) would suffer and she would lose her job as a locum. Wow!

“This approach to optometry was such a contrast to the perspective that Graham Lakkis shared with us… I can see the split between shoptometry and doctometry widening.”

Mr. Martella said he was thrilled with the outcome of WAVE 2014. “Ultimately any conference lives and dies by its program and WAVE is now recognised for delivering a great conference program.”

WAVE 2015 will take place in Perth from 8–9 August.