San Antonio, Texas – Throughout a three-day weekend on November 9-11, 2018, the 14th annual conference of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS) was held in San Antonio, Texas. IALVS, the largest group of Low Vision eye doctors in the United States and Canada, consists of 39 members – 29 of whom attended this conference.
They benefited greatly from this unique opportunity to learn about new optometric technologies, testing procedures, treatments, and marketing tips for low vision optometry practices. Participants also gained 11 hours of COPE-approved Continuing Education credits offered by several leading low vision doctors.
Dr. Richard Shuldiner, OD, FAAO, and founder of IALVS, kicked off the conference with his introductory speech, followed immediately by an impressive roster of professionals in the field of low vision. Some of the presentations included:
Decreased Contrast Sensitivity; When It’s All Just One Shade of Gray, given by Marlena Chu, OD, FAAO, professor at Berkeley College of Optometry
Contrast sensitivity reduction is a major cause of vision impairment in retinal diseases. It challenges both the patient’s ability to function, as well as the low vision eye doctor’s ability to provide optimal treatment. In this two-hour course, Dr. Chu explained how CSF tests are designed, how to use these tests, and how to interpret the results properly.
The Today Show: The Retinal Consultation Hour, given by Diana Shechtman, OD, FAAO
In this engaging two-hour presentation on retinal conditions and diseases, Dr. Shechtman reviewed the latest diagnostic tests and treatments. In addition, in an outstanding interactive exchange, attendees provided Dr. Shechtman with low vision care slides to use in her future lectures. These slides clearly convey the message that “nothing more can be done” is not an appropriate response for doctors to tell their low vision patients.
Nutritional Update, given by Ed Paul, Jr., OD, PhD
Dr. Paul, a valued member of IALVS, provided a one-hour CE course on the latest studies and updates in Nutritional Medicine. He discussed how low vision doctors can apply these studies when advising patients about supplements that can decrease their risks of further vision loss.
Telephone Effectiveness and IALVS as the Worldwide Leader in Low Vision, given by representatives from EyeCarePro
Josh Kanter, Senior Marketing Manager and Low Vision Marketing Specialist, and Evan Engel, head of Sales and Marketing, gave two presentations. They first spoke about the importance of handling incoming calls effectively to ensure each potential low vision patient is being heard. They then outlined a strategic plan for IALVS to develop into the premier global low vision organization and online resource for all things related to low vision.
Low Vision and the Optometric Media, given by April Jasper, OD, newly named Chief Clinical Editor of Optometric Management
During this reciprocative presentation, Dr. Jasper shared her thoughts and opinions on the best ways to educate optometrists and ophthalmologists to refer patients with vision loss for specialized low vision rehabilitation. At the same time, she listened to our participants’ concerns regarding limited exposure in optometric media.
In addition to the lectures, vendor sponsors, including DVI, Vispero, E-Sight, IRIS Vision, and OrCAM, displayed and demonstrated their cutting-edge low vision devices. The doctors were able to benefit from hands-on experience with a range of advanced and innovative low vision aids. Programs were also launched to help doctors perform demos in their own offices.
Throughout the second day of the conference, five of IALVS’s most successful eye doctor members talked about the unique marketing and outreach programs that led to their exceptional accomplishments. They revealed their secrets and answered all questions. The audience gained new perspectives on how to reach patients and garner more referrals from other professionals.
At the close of the 14th annual IALVS meeting, participant and vendor surveys acknowledged the incredible, diverse benefits of the speeches and demonstrations, and how the three-day event exceeded all their expectations.