Over 200 optometrists from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore have attended WAVE 2012, the annual conference hosted by the West Australian division of the Optometry Association of Australia (OAA WA).
According to Tony Martella, Chief Executive Officer of OAA WA, the conference was a great success, attracting double the number of optical professionals from interstate when compared with previous years.
There was a mix of reasons for this, said Mr. Martella. “Anecdotally people wanted something different – our workshops are more intimate in size, offering almost one on one teaching.” Additionally he said, some treated the chance to attend WAVE as an opportunity to visit Perth for the first time, “to see what’s happening over here”.
With six different workshops running concurrently and each one repeated throughout the day, there were plenty of opportunities for delegates to attend the sessions they were most interested in.
“Some of our presenters ran the same workshop many times across the conference. Andrew Hogan for instance presented his workshop on social media ten times across the weekend. That was hard work for him, but by running the same workshop so many times, we were able to keep the number of attendees at each to around 20, which provided a sense of intimacy and much greater opportunity for feedback and interaction,” said Mr. Martella.
He said that within a diverse program of workshops and seminars, therapeutics was a focus. “Associate Professor Beata Bajorek from the University of Technology Sydney delivered many of our workshops and all were on therapeutics-related topics. Ken Thomas – an optometrist from country Victoria balanced out the academics with some great presentations based on his experiences as a therapeutically endorsed country practitioner.
“We also focused on how behavioural optometry can be used in a practical way. Liz Jackson, a Sydney based optom, spoke a lot about this and how it can be used for all different age groups – from assessing preschoolers through to working with adults with autism.”
On the business side of things, Jared Slater, the Professional Services Manager at the OAA attracted a solid audience to hear about the topic of professional indemnity, the incidence of optometrists being sued and the support offered by the OAA.
Delegates welcomed the chance to relax over cocktails on the Saturday evening before returning to the conference activities on Sunday. “We had solid attendances at our workshops and seminars right through the weekend – even our last session, at 4.30pm on Sunday was packed,” said Mr. Martella. “That’s always a great sign.”