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ICBO 2018: Establishing the Future

Presentations by theoretical cognitive scientist Mark Changizi and Professor Kovin Naidoo as well as a four day program for vision therapists were just some of the highlights at the International Congress of Behavioural Optometry 2018, hosted in Sydney.

The International Congress of Behavioural Optometry (ICBO) is a collective of eight global organisations with an interest in neuro-developmental and behavioural optometry. The organisations meet together once every four years in a different country. This year, it was the turn of the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists to host the event, themed From Vision to Practice: Establishing the Future.

Over 330 delegates, representing 22 countries attended ICBO 2018 at Darling Harbour, to hear more than 30 international speakers deliver a broad ranging program for optometry and health professionals in all areas of practice. A large exhibitor display provided hands on experience with the latest optometric equipment, especially in the area of virtual reality and the use of technology in vision therapy.

Delivering the Brien Holden Memorial Lecture, Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of the Brien Holden Institute reminded delegates of the importance of educating patients about myopia control treatment choices. Prof. Naidoo also detailed the statistics derived from research into the effects of myopia and myopia control solutions.

a broad ranging program for optometry and health professionals in all areas of practice

For the first time, the Congress featured a full four day program for vision therapists, featuring keynote speaker Patti Andrich (the Vision Development Team Ohio), along with lectures and workshops designed to share and expand knowledge and skills in the vision therapy room, and gain a greater understanding of therapy concepts such as cheiroscopic tracing and mental minus.

Veronica Kypros, Chief Executive Officer of ACBO said the vision therapy program was extremely popular with optometrists and vision therapists alike. “Sessions were over capacity and larger rooms had to be arranged. It was a great indicator of the burgeoning interest in this area of practice,” said Ms. Kypros.

As a truly international conference, behavioural optometrist Liz Jackson (Visual Potential, Sydney) said, “ICBO was a great chance to see what people from around the world are doing and exploring in the areas of behavioural optometry, paediatric vision care and neuro-optometry.”

Ms. Jackson said theoretical neurobiologist Mark Changizi, was particularly interesting. “Mark gave two great presentations that investigated such issues as why we see in colour, why we see illusions and why we have two forwardfacing eyes. It was wonderful to be able to hear him talk through his research and the logic behind his theories. I love a meander through someone’s thought process and this one was filled with gems. Spoiler alert – he doesn’t think that stereopsis is the primary benefit of forward-facing eyes!”

Meredith Graham in action with her subject, Kristin Adams from the USA


Gold Coast optometrist Meredith Graham delivered a practical, insightful approach to vision therapy activities used over many years, including projected vectograms and the Brock string. “She breathed new life and meaning into these activities and really got people thinking about what we can explore with seemingly simple tasks,” said Ms. Jackson. “Meredith also gave a lecture on the importance of sleep and the research behind when we learn best in relation to sleep. We assume that learning when children are ‘fresh’ or have just woken up is better than when children are about to go to sleep, but maybe this isn’t the case. It was a great summary of the research so far and the questions still to be answered.”

Behavioural optometrist Rebecca Jamieson (Bayside Eyecare, Brighton Victoria) said she gained valuable strategies from the USA’s Professor Christine Allison’s lecture on providing eye care for young children with intellectual disability.

“Many of us, myself included, are thrown in at the deep end when presented with our first intellectually disabled patient,” commented Ms. Jamieson. “Christine simplified the examination process and gave us strategies that we could take back to practice and implement.”

For Ms. Jamieson, another highlight was a presentation by Associate Professor Marc Taub (USA). “I have read many of Marc’s papers on vision care for patients with special needs. These papers have guided me in my practice when examining patients with conditions such as down syndrome and autism. On this occasion Marc demonstrated the importance of providing quality optometric care to patients with acquired brain injury and the integral role we play in the patient’s treatment team. It was a privilege to hear Marc’s lecture.”

With such a variety of lectures, Ms. Jackson said it was difficult to single out the most powerful take home message. “I think that for me there was simply the thought of exploring the ‘why’ – why did the patient come in, why did they respond to that test in that way, why is that measurement significant, why is this management appropriate for them? Whether we are dealing with binocular vision issues, myopia management, patients with head injuries, we always need to be asking ourselves if what we are doing fits in with our model of vision and the best research available. Never stop asking ‘why’.”

BHVI Receives Skeffington-Alexander Memorial Award
The Skeffington-Alexander Memorial Award from the Optometric Extension Program Foundation
(OEP) was awarded to the Brien Holden Vision Institute for significant contributions to the international
growth and development of behavioural vision care.Receiving the award at ICBO 2018, Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of BHVI, said the Institute’s founder,
Professor Brien Holden had been a long term supporter of behavioural optometry, especially the Australasian
College of Behavioural Optometrists.The Skeffington-Alexander Memorial Award honours the efforts of E.B. Alexander and A.M. Skeffington
for establishing the Optometric Extension Program around 90 years ago.

Professor Kovin Naidoo accepting the Skeffington Award


ICBO 2018 featured social initiatives enabling delegates to connect outside of the lecture room. Brain Dates paired subject matter experts with delegates in 20 minute one-to-one sessions; delegates could sign up for an Aussie Crawl event, which featured barbeques and dinner dates hosted by ACBO members; and Rise and Shine morning sessions offered yoga and pilates to get people off to a great start for the day.

The next international meeting, ICBO 2022, will be hosted by Canadian Optometrists in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation in Ottawa, Canada.

Presentation to 2018 ACBO Fellowship program graduates

ACBO President Steve Leslie with Dr Paul Harris, OEP USA

From Perth, WA, Annemarie Bishop and Bernie Eastwood