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Wednesday / April 17.
HomemioptometryRamping up for Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress

Ramping up for Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress

Optometry Tasmania has prepared a full program for the Tasmania Lifestyle Congress with this year’s theme ‘acknowledging 40 years of Optometry’s Inclusion in Medibank’.


Geoff Squibb
Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress
(TLC XI) will be held at the Old Woolstore, Hobart from 28–30 August this year. Two favourite lecturers, Professor Joseph Sowka and Dr. Lori Vollmer from Nova South Eastern University College of Optometry in Florida USA, will return due to popular demand (both have lectured at previous TLCs, the most recent being in 2013).

Professor Sowka, who will present five lectures this year, is highly regarded as one of the up and coming young speakers on the USA optometry conference circuit. He has a special interest in glaucoma and ocular disease management, is the author of numerous papers and co-authors the annual Handbook of Ocular Disease Management. Dr Vollmer will present two lectures focussing on “Nutrition and the Eye” and “Uveitis”.

NSW optometrist Liz Jackson will present this year’s Keith Mackriell Lecture, titled “Accommodation and Convergence in Children”. Liz graduated from the University of Melbourne and has worked in a number of highly regarded practices throughout Australia. She is a fellow of ACBO and has interest in the areas of strabismus, visual aspects of learning difficulties and the visual issues of people with special needs. Liz is a councillor on the Optometry NSW/ACT Council and was a supervisor at the UNSW School of Optometry for many years. She has been a popular lecturer at a number of optometry conferences throughout Australia.

Optometry Australia President Kate Gifford will speak on myopia management and her husband Paul Gifford will be the guest speaker at the Contact Lens Breakfast on Sunday morning.

As usual, the Saturday morning program will be dedicated to the Australian Low Vision Seminar. Our third international speaker, New Zealand optometrist Rodney Stedall, will be the keynote speaker for this seminar. Rodney first specialised in low vision in Pretoria, South Africa before immigrating to New Zealand in 2009, where he works in Hamilton with a group of independent optometrists. He has presented at a number of international conferences.

Ophthalmologists Dr. Nitin Verma and Dr. Andrew Jones will also present, the latter for the first time at TLC. Additionally, members will present six case studies.

This year’s Coopervision Congress Dinner will be held at the extremely popular MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art, on Saturday 29 August.

The theme for TLC this year is “Acknowledging 40 years of Optometry’s Inclusion in Medibank”. It is appropriate that Optometry Tasmania acknowledges this important milestone as our former Tasmanian and National President, the late Arthur Lea, led the campaign to have optometry included in Medicare in 1975 despite strong opposition from ophthalmology. Medibank lasted less than a decade in its original form and was replaced by Medicare in 1984.

Full details of the TLC program and the registration form are available on the Optometry Tasmania website:

Agfest Eye Centre

In May a number of Tasmanian members once again volunteered their services to assist with the Agfest Eye Centre, providing free eye health and vision screenings at Tasmania’s largest and premier rural event. This year’s three-day event attracted around 60,000 patrons and the Eye Centre screened about 660 people.

Screenings included visual acuity using a Snellen Chart; colour vision using Ishihara colour plates; macular degeneration using an Amsler grid; and Glaucoma and IOP using the Icare Tonometer and a retinal camera. Tasmanian President and Agfest volunteer Brett Jenkinson said despite increased awareness campaigns and anecdotal evidence that the public was more aware of the need for regular eye examinations by an optometrist, a survey of people who visited the Agfest Eye Centre showed that 29 per cent had never previously had an eye examination.