On September 21 and 22, 2018, I was an invited speaker at the 2nd Annual Eastern Mediterranean Council of Optometry (EMCO) meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. While not quite located on the eastern Mediterranean, their first meeting in Beirut, Lebanon in 2016 certainly was! I want to express my appreciation to the EMCO Scientific committee, Dr. Hassan Awada, Dr. Yazan Gamoh, and Dr. Liana Al-Labadi for their invitation.
I met optometrists and optometry students from all over the Middle East, northern Africa, India, Nepal and Bhutan. Speakers ranged from far and wide, including the US, Canada, UK, France, Australia, Sudan, South Africa, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Topics ranged from myopia control (with Naidoo Kovin, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute), scleral contact lenses, amblyopia, ortho-keratology, pediatric eyecare, and for me, of course, low vision. Co-sponsored by the Moroccan Council of Optometry and the World Congress of Optometry (WCO), the meeting attracted several hundred attendees.
I was asked to present three COPE approved courses—the first on treating distance vision loss, a second on understanding and treating hemianopic and tunnel vision visual field loss, and lastly a bioptic prescribing and fitting workshop. The 2-hour workshop, limited to 12 attendees was filled with energetic, enthusiastic (and young!) optometrists. We discussed how to identify promising candidates, determine the appropriate prescription, establishing a prognosis, and especially the nuts and bolts of fitting the telescopes. Attendees played the roles of both patients and doctors and took turns fitting the Ocutech bioptics on each other. It didn’t take long for them to see how easy it is! We also demonstrated the new Ocutech Falcon Autofocus bioptic, which was a highlight and huge success! Since many spoke only French and Arabic, I was ably translated and assisted by Dr. Liana Al-Labadi, a 2009 graduate of the OSU School of Optometry, who now practices in Palestine.