The second World Congress of Optometry began here on Monday to discuss new ideas and share research and knowledge about various facets of optometry.
Over 1,200 delegates comprising optometrists, researchers, educators, students and health professionals from around the world were attending the three-day event.
Deliberations will focus on the future of optometry, upgrading optometrists’ skills, as well as developing clinical and professional knowledge and skills.
The biennial congress is a World Council of Optometry (WCO) initiative organised in partnership with the Asia Pacific Council of Optometry (APCO) and the India Vision Institute (IVI).
The conference theme is “Accessible, quality vision and eye health”, which ties into the WHO’s ‘Universal eye health: A global action plan 2014-2019’ which aims to reduce the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25 per cent by 2019.
WCO envisions accomplishing this by placing a strong and equitable eye health system within which optometry plays a valuable and essential role, the organisers said.
Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, South Africa, is the chair of the conference.
Some of the world’s leading practitioners and professionals, including seven keynote speakers will make presentations. There will be discussions and presentations on cutting-edge research and clinical practice. The educator’s track will offer participants a platform to discuss and shape optometric education worldwide.
Keynote speakers include: Dr Taraprasad Das, Vice-Chairman, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad; Professor G.V.S. Murthy, Director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad; Dr Bina Patel, Professor, Director of International Programs, New England College of Optometry, Boston; Dr Sandra S. Block, Faculty, Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago; and Dr Peter G Swann, QUT, Brisbane, Australia & Visiting Professor, School of Optometry, Hong Kong.
WHO estimates 285 million to be visually impaired, of which 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle- and low-income countries.
Around 100 million adults in India suffer from refractive errors, leading to preventable blindness. Equally distressing is the fact that over 10 million children, nearly 5 per cent of all children, affected by the problem.