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SPECS 2019: Changing Paradigms in Eye Care

Two Australian optometrists, Dr Alex Black from Brisbane and Dr Wilfred Tang from Perth, were among 23 speakers to address an audience of 200 practising optometrists, opticians, medical students and ophthalmologists at the third annual Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS).

The theme for the 2019 symposium was ‘Changing Paradigms in Primary Eye Care’, focusing largely on the latest advances in the eye care industry. The symposium also explored how optometrists and opticians in Singapore can play larger roles as primary eye care professionals.

“SPECS has proven itself to be a meaningful educational initiative which all eye care professionals can participate in to keep themselves abreast of the latest advancements in their field,” said Leanne Hui Xin Lee, organising chairman of SPECS 2019.

When presenting, Dr Alex Black, Senior Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, highlighted the importance of having good vision across all ages. Dr Black’s talks delved into the many negative impacts of poor vision on academic performances in children, prevalence of falls in older adults and on driving performance. He reminded eye care professionals to strive to provide the best possible vision for all patients, regardless of age, in order not to affect their quality of life.

Dr Wilfred Tang, Clinical Optometrist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in WA, gave a talk on contact lens-related corneal ulcers, which covered the different signs and symptoms observed in patients with corneal infiltrates and corneal ulcers, the differences between contact lens peripheral ulcers and microbial keratitis, and how to manage these conditions.

Dr Mizhanim Mohamad Shahimin, Senior Lecturer at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, shared tips and tricks to achieve successful fittings for orthokeratology lenses. Delegates were able to pick up useful pieces of advice to apply in their own practices. Dr Mizhanim’s talks also covered the use of meibography in contact lens clinics as well as diagnosing eye conditions through the analysis of fundus photographs, both of which aim to better aid practising eye care professionals in their daily work.

Dr Au Eong Kah Guan, Medical Director and Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist at International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Singapore, gave a talk on complications of myopia. He discussed the various changes in the posterior segment in myopic patients, highlighting complications such as posterior staphyloma, myopic choroidal neovascularisation, myopic foveoschisis, macular hole and retinal detachment. He also gave a classification and grading system for myopic maculopathy.

Throughout the sessions, SPECS 2019 encouraged eye care professionals to keep up to date with the latest advancements in the evolving eye care industry and to constantly strive to provide better eye care services for their patients.

Amanda Dionysia Tan is an optometrist at the International Eye Cataract Retina Centre in Singapore.