The annual scientific meet of American Academy of Optometry (AAO) at New Orleans was held between7-10 October, 2015
This year it recognized and witnessed the most incredible performance and achievements of all the Indian optometrists like never before.It’s indeed a great honor and pleasure to share all the amazing happenings and updates from this annual scientific meet.
The AAO scientific meet provides a platform to optometrists across the world to meet and share their knowledge, research, clinical experience and expertise. It offers all the optometry updates in order to standardize and upgrade the professional efficiency. The meeting offers much more than what one can expect. From Contact Lenses to Binocular Vision, from Low Vision Aids to Therapeutics, AAO has a wide range of lectures and workshops. Along with this it offers various programs for students and programs on improving leadership and networking opportunities.
This year, “Optometry” had a great loss, with the sad demise of Prof. Brien Holden, one of the most prominent Optometry visionary and researcher. He developed and encouraged Optometry not just in one country, but went across the world to develop the profession and bring it to a different level. His contribution in the development of Optometry particularly in India was distinctly evident and truly incredible.AAO also marked his contribution and achievements by giving atribute during the meet.
AAO felicitates and acknowledges all the researchers and experts for their contribution in the profession. It was of great pride to see the hard work done by the Indian optometrists to be highly recognized. This year the AAO – Essilor award for outstanding international contributions to Optometry was awarded and shared among five Indian optometrists: Ms. Lakshmi Shinde, Mr. Vivek Mendonsa, Mr. Rajbir Berwal, Mr. Rajesh Wadhwa and Mr. Vinod Daniel, for their immense contribution towards developing Optometry in India. The Irvin M. And Beatrice Borish Award(established in 1996) recognizing outstanding young scientist or clinician scientist who has shown exceptional promise to conduct independent research was awarded to Dr. Ravi Bakaraju, for his excellent research work.
The list of achievements is not done yet, Fellowship of American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) where individuals are evaluated against the highest standards of professional competence was successfully completed by Ms. Ukti Shah, Mrs. Aditi Deshpande, Mr. Prasad Sawant, Dr. Vinod Maseedupally, Dr. Baskar Arumugum, Mr. Kuldeep Raizada and Mr. Raiju . This year it had the highest number of Indian fellows ever. This was also acknowledged at the Banquet reception, which felicitates all the New Fellows.
Apart from receiving these prestigious awards and fellowships, they also contributed in presenting their research. Mr. Prasad Sawant and Dr. Baskar Arumugum were the oral presenters, while Ms. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen, Mr. Siddhartha Chande, Ms. Ukti Shah, Dr. Vinod Massedpully , Dr. Shrikant Bhardwaj, Ms.Apoorva Karsolia and Mr. Kuldeep Raizada had poster presentations.
The above is about the achievements of Indian Optometrists living in India. We also had approximately around 20-30 Indian Optometrists either pursuing Masters or PhD who were present at the meeting. Some like Prof. Lakshman Subbaraman, also chaired sessions and had oral presentations as well.
Apart from all the interactions, the Academy is also about networking. An example of the networking that happened which benefitted Indian Optometrists are as follows:
- The American Optometric Association (AOA) has opened its doors to overseas registration. However, the fee was quiet high. But through meetings with them they have said that the organization will revise the fee and would be approximately 45-50 USD from January 2016, which is almost half the fee at present. What was more encouraging to “Private Practitioners” is that, the AOA will support its members by providing information pamphlets on glaucoma, Diabetes and other diseases and eye conditions and also tailor it to the practitioner with the practitioners logo, name etc. A soft copy of the pamphlet will be sent and the members can print it according to their needs.
- The AAO also had a meeting with the international delegates. Ms. Lakshmi Shinde attended from India. The president Dr. Bret Bence was very receptive to all the feedback and very soon the registration fee for overseas registrants will be reduced.
- Australian educators meet: Optometry Council of India met with leading educators and head of optometry colleges during the meeting. The educators were very eager to help OCI, in its accreditation process of Optometry College and schools. Ms Lakshmi Shinde has been in constant dialogue with the team of these educators and college heads.
AAO meeting was not just work but also had other interactive sessions like student’s interaction lunch and Australian party to make it a joyful learning experience.All the Indian optometrists made the most of it by gathering for lunch, dinners, city tours and not to forget shopping. It was an amazing annual scientific meet which was made remarkable by the achievements of the Optometrists.
Next year Academy is at Anaheim 2016. A larger contingent of Indian Optometrists can be anticipated to participate, present and also get recognized for their contributions.
Article authored by Ms. Laxmi Shinde, CEO, Optometry Council of India