The recent Southern Regional Congress (SRC) attracted a record number of 1,300 delegates and delivered key learning points across all areas of eye care and eye health that were reinforced with a new, interactive assessment process.
SRC was held in the Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre alongside the Yarra River, over a typically fresh, long winter’s weekend in May. Delegates came from around the world, with representatives from New Zealand, Cambodia, Timor and even Canada, as well, of course, as every state of Australia.
We are 30 per cent up on last year’s numbers and I’ve had really good feedback
Ms. Terri Smith, Chief Executive Officer of the Optometrists Association of Australia, Victoria branch, was pleased with the attendance, which has been fuelled by the Optometry Board of Australia’s new requirements to achieve 80 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points every two years.
“We are 30 per cent up on last year’s numbers and I’ve had really good feedback,” she said.
By attending sessions over all three days of the conference, delegates could achieve an entire year’s worth of CPD points. While this has been possible in previous years, a new interactive system ensured that to achieve their points, delegates needed to not only attend sessions, but pay attention too.
The system required delegates to use a personal keypad to both register their attendance and voluntarily answer questions based on presentation content at the close of each session. CPD points were then awarded for both confirmed attendance and answering the questions.
International keynote speakers at this year’s SRC included U.S. based Professor Bruce Onofrey, an internationally recognised specialist on the management of ocular disease and the use of pharmaceutical agents and Associate Professor Diana Shechtman, the attending optometric physician at the Eye Institute and Diabetic Macular Clinic of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry.
Dr. Alex Gentle, a senior lecturer at the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne delivered a presentation on myopia control and Daryl Guest, an optometrist who practices in Tasmania spoke about systematic diagnosis by exclusion, rather than ‘bobbing for apples’.
Other workshops delivered across the weekend included the complex topic of patient co-management, women’s eye health, and the latest in vision research, including solutions for safe contact lens storage, diet, the use of steroids and antibiotic.
700 people gathered in the Banquet Room of the Melbourne Conference Centre to attend the SRC dinner on Saturday evening, hosted by Transitions. In a room wafting with dry ice and low light, guests were entertained by Mr. Personal who crafted his own music using electronic keyboards, his body, his voice, the voice of Transitions CEO Eric Breda and the audience. Later, a DJ had most in the room up and dancing until the evening’s close.