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Friday / April 19.
HomeminewsNational ACBO Vision Conference

National ACBO Vision Conference

‘Body and Brain’ was the theme for a thought provoking National ACBO Vision Conference, held in July at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

ACBO’s annual two-day conference is well known for its high clinical component. This year was no different when optometrist Dr. Jason Clopton and his partner occupational therapist Heidi Clopton, from Tennessee in the USA, shared their knowledge with over 150 optometrists and vision therapists.

The speakers began by discussing how they came to practise together specialising in vision care and vision therapy. Despite their different techniques and evaluation strategies, they had discovered many connections in the way vision is related to balance and the other senses. Optometrists are taught that vision is the dominant sense and sometimes tend to forget the other senses. This seminar reminded delegates
of the connectedness of our senses.

Head Injuries, Health and Brain Science
Head injuries and concussion were explored in some detail. These are hot topics in many fields today and it was excellent to hear the rationale behind optometry’s involvement. It was suggested that, in the future, optometry will play a greater role supporting patients with head injuries. It is worth noting that a number of Australian optometrists are developing a large following in this area.

An interesting message to come from the conference was the importance of health and healthy eating to support and improve vision, learning and movement. Optometrists were encouraged to be more than ‘eye measurers’ and to take an active role in their patients’ overall health. We were told that optometrists would increasingly be in a position to advise their patients on eye and general health.

Dr. Clopton spoke of neural pathways and brain structure, giving optometrists tips for using the vestibular system and in particular, the semicircular canals, to impact binocular vision function and strabismus. Participants were reminded of the neural links between the systems.

Infant Therapy
Numerous videos were presented to demonstrate techniques for baby examinations and therapy. Demonstrations showed rotational and spinning procedures that stimulate the balance mechanisms and subsequently affect the eyes. Many conference participants were looking forward to getting back to their practices to try the new procedures.

Jason and Heidi Clopton were friendly and interesting speakers. They related their discussions to Australian conditions and were fascinated by our language, our level of understanding and the questions the audience posed. Optometrists who have an interest in stretching their knowledge base and helping a wider range of patients found much to excite them at this conference.

Adrian Bell is a behavioural optometrist at Roberts Alexander Optometrists in Caloundra, Queensland.