With evidence-based approaches being the foundation for safe and effective practice, research plays an integral role in optometry. But while it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest developments, how realistic is this to maintain in our busy world?
The Australian Vision Convention (AVC) returns in March, offering hands-on opportunities for optometrists looking to advance their careers and prioritise patient care, and judging by the program – innovative research takes centre stage.
Specialist ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Lindsay McGrath, is one of 40+ world-class speakers, presenting two lectures – an oculoplastic guide to the watery eye, followed by benign and malignant lesions of the iris.
additional face-to-face and workshop registrations have now become available. Due to high levels of demand, these are expected to go quickly
A former optometrist, Dr McGrath recognises the challenges for optometrists with differentiating eye lesions, and will guide delegates on patient diagnosis, care and monitoring.
“They’re exceptionally rare, so optometrists are not used to typical appearance of benign vs. malignant lesions. A lot of tumours of the iris are also embedded in the iris tissue, so they can be difficult to pick up,” she said.
Dr McGrath will also share cutting edge developments from her work with Queensland Ocular Oncology Service, including “novel findings about the genetic makeup of iris melanomas… We’re learning more about these tumours every day”.
Medical retina specialist, Professor Chris Layton will present an interactive workshop exploration of scleral indentation, giving delegates the tools to perform this “inexpensive and very effective” procedure on patients presenting with signs of retinal damage or disease, or alternatively assess the best procedure based on equipment available.
The Director of the LVF Ophthalmology Research Centre is well positioned to offer his expertise and insights to the future of eye technology. He believes the biggest limitation of optometry is that you can only treat the individual patient in front of you, but that this limitation can be overcome with research.
“Ophthalmology has been at the forefront of medical breakthroughs that other specialties have used to help their own patients.”
Citing developments in the area of medical retinal as one key breakthrough, he believes it is critical to impart this knowledge and will offer clinical pearls to assist delegates with diagnosis and treatment.
“We’ve got a role to play as leaders… (and) I believe this type of research is the way forward to help large numbers of people across the whole world.”
So, with research high on the agenda for AVC 2021, what will these speakers be sharing on the future of vision science?
“Diagnosis and therapy of eye disease is hurtling forward at a great pace,” explains Dr McGrath, “In 2019 we saw Heidelberg Engineering release a ‘whole eye’ optical coherence tomography (OCT) image. Although it was just a composite image… the technology for a machine which can capture the entire eye feels within our reach. I’m excited to discuss more on this, including how it will make monitoring of iris, ciliary body and anterior uveal tumours even more detailed.”
“We are working towards a future of ‘one and done’ approaches for general, widespread eye conditions,” adds Prof Layton, “That is, one intervention and your lifelong eye problem or disease can be controlled.”
Marissa Megaloconomos, OQNT’s Board President, says AVC is the perfect forum to gain vital industry knowledge and skills, with a four month on-demand period and fulfilment of annual CPD requirements all at one event.
“We’re proud to deliver this innovative, interactive content with real-world applications – allowing our members to implement what they’ve learnt in their own practices right away.”
Additional Face-to-Face Places Available
Delegates are invited to attend AVC 2021 in person or virtually, from 27–28 March at Sea World Resort & Conference Centre on the Gold Coast.
In line with OQNT’s COVID-safe plan, additional face-to-face and workshop registrations have now become available. Due to high levels of demand, these are expected to go quickly.
To register: www.optometryqldnt.org.au/avc