By Nicky Fambios
Niagara Falls, ON is a world-renowned tourist attraction and popular honeymoon destination. This past April, it was also the site of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) Annual Symposium and InfoMart.
Over 500 optometrists and optometric staff gathered for the comprehensive event, which included nearly 50 hours of continuing education seminars. Among the group of prominent speakers was Dr. Harry Quigley, a distinguished glaucoma specialist with JohnsHopkinsUniversity, who marked his Canadian optometric debut by co-presenting Management of Glaucoma with Dr. Mike Patella.
Dr. Laurie Capogna gave a well-attended talk to optometric assistants entitled Eyefoods: Create a Food Plan for Healthy Eyes. Aside from lecturing, Dr. Capogna, along with her partner and co-author Dr. Barbara Pelletier, were among the more than 100 exhibitors at the InfoMart trade show.
The duo sponsored an interactive cooking demonstration with celebrity chef, Anna Olson, who created two recipes based on recommendations from the books Eyefoods™: A Food Plan For Healthy Eyes and Eyefoods for Kids. And the outcome? “Our goal was to engage the attendees and inspire them to discuss ocular nutrition with their patients,” stated the doctors. “We were very happy with the response.”
It was a sentiment shared by others. Territory Manager Doug Hart, agreed the show was a positive experience for Briot/Weco and its sister company Visionix, with visitors to the booth actively participating in demonstrations.
Visionix used the OAO show as a platform to launch their newest innovation, the VX 55 phoropter technology and were rewarded with enthusiastic feedback from professionals. “Overall attendance was quite good,” Hart noted. “And we were pleased to make several new contacts.”
The TearScience booth enjoyed a steady stream of visitors which Frank Hackett, sales manager eastern Canada, attributes to optometrists’ eagerness for information on products that allow them to improve the quality of life for their patients while differentiating their practices from the competition.
Hackett proclaimed the event a solid success as well as a reflection of a current industry shift: “We’re finding that dry eye awareness and the desire to accurately diagnose as well as effectively treat Meibomian gland dysfunction is at an all-time high.”
Other highlights of the three-day event included a prize hunt, the President’s Honours and Awards luncheon, a town hall meeting and an evening comedy show followed by a musical performance by the Juno-nominated band, God Made Me Funky.
The next OAO Symposium and InfoMart is scheduled for April 17 – 19, 2015 in Toronto.