The first cohort of students will graduate from the Doctor of Optometry program at the University of Melbourne this year, and as part of their final year activities they hosted the inaugural Doctor of Optometry Student Conference.
Students from all four years of the program were required to attend, along with members of staff of the Department. The conference was held over two days and lectures and workshops were presented by a combination of the students themselves and invited academics, including Professor Nathan Efron and Associate Professor Erica Fletcher, as well as clinical optometrists, general practitioners, ophthalmologists, researchers and other allied health practitioners.
What made this conference unique was that the entire program was devised and run by the student body with minimal assistance from staff.
The conference program was carefully choreographed, with up to four parallel sessions of lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars. The subject matter was broadly divided into four themes: anterior eye; optometry and allied health; medical retina and future of optometry. The event was held at The Spot Building on the University campus, with the main lectures delivered in the Copland Theatre.The opening keynote address was delivered by Professor Nathan Efron from the Queensland University of Technology.
He gave an entertaining account of his work developing ophthalmic markers of diabetic neuropathy. The quality of interaction was high. Professor Efron told mivision, “I was impressed with the level of interest shown by students in my work, as judged by the considered questions asked at the end of my lecture and in casual conversation during the breaks. This reflects the high quality, maturity and enthusiasm of the students undertaking this intense course.”