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Ocutech supports optometrist who created non-profit to serve visually impaired children in Namibia

Dr. Chantal Overvliet, of the Oculus Vision Centre in Windhoek, is the sole optometrist providing low vision care in all of Namibia. After learning of the urgent needs of the 132 children at the country’s only school for the visually impaired, she and her business partner and Low Vision assistant, Michelle Opperman, created a non-profit project to provide high-level low vision testing and products to the students. The school’s principal, Smithly Engelbrecht, said he was so grateful for the important work Dr. Overvliet is doing.

In the back row: Chantal Overvliet (Optometrist at Oculus Low Vision Centre), Mr. Smithly Engelbrecht (Principal), Ms. Beverly Coussement (Public Relations Officer at NAMDIA), Mrs. Mugunda (Teacher), Mr. Andreas (Teacher) and Michelle Opperman (Low Vision Support at Oculus Low Vision Centre) with the Prevocational and Grade 9 learners of the School.

Since close to 80% of these students are from less privileged households, their families could not afford the high-quality low vision aids that would allow the children to maximize their educational opportunities. The testing process, which was provided by Oculus at no cost, took close to a year to complete as it had to be scheduled between the daily functions of the practice. Once their vision needs were identified, Dr. Overvliet approached many organizations in search of funding to provide these special low vision aids to these deserving children.

After visiting the school and learning about its programs and seeing the amazing work done by the teachers and administration, the Renaissance Health Medical Aid Fund selected the project as their biggest Corporate Social Investments (CSI) to date. According to the fund, part of their sponsorship and CSI policy focuses on youth and health-related issues.  “We came to understand that children with visual impairments will find it hard to get through life without the necessary early life training and visual and mobility aids required. These services can make a real impact for these children and on society and this need fit exactly into our fund’s social investment mission,” said Kwendhi Amagulu, Renaissance’s senior marketing officer. Namdia, the Namibian diamond company, has also become a sponsor of the project.

Ocutech was pleased and honored to have its products selected for these children and offered special reduced pricing to enable the project to reach as many children as possible. They are especially well received by children due to their ease of use, wearing comfort and hi-tech appearance.  They are designed to be easy and convenient for low vision specialists to fit and prescribe and can be updated as children grow.

Overvliet’s and Opperman’s joint passion is to enhance vision for visually impaired children in Namibia. “Our goal is to help them maximize their academic and personal potential to allow them to become productive members in their communities,” they said.

Michelle Opperman (Low Vision Support) demonstrating how to use the VES Sport telescope to a Grade 9 learner.

To contact the Oculus Vision Centre visit www.oculusvisioncentre.com.

In back row: Chantal Overvliet (Optometrist at Oculus Low Vision Centre), Mr. Smithly Engelbrecht (Principal), Ms. Beverly Coussement (Public Relations Officer at NAMDIA), Mrs. Mugunda (Teacher) and Michelle Opperman (Low Vision Support at Oculus Low Vision Centre) with all the children that received the VES Sport telescopes and Sightscopes.

Link to Press Release: Downloadable PDF

Open Your World With Low Vision Care


OCUTECH, Inc., the worldwide leader in developing advanced bioptic telescopes for the visually impaired, has released a special video called “Open Your World with Low Vision Care” in celebration of Low Vision Awareness and Macular Degeneration month.

Over 5 million individuals in the US alone have reduced vision from disease, injury or genetic disorders. Low vision is not improvable with conventional eyeglasses, contacts, medication or surgery. However, low vision care can help individuals maximize their vision to enable them to see and do things they may never have thought possible.

A referral for low vision care is now the standard of care. Every individual with reduced vision deserves to learn about and have access to modern technology that can help them enhance their sight and “Open their World” to opportunities.

If you, a friend, or a loved one has reduced vision, ask your eye care professional for a referral for low vision care.  

Low Vision specialist, David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO, credits his Ocutech cap for his tennis success!

Low Vision Specialist wearing Ocutech hat and holding tennis trophy above head
Congratulations to Low Vision specialist, David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO for winning the runner-up tennis trophy!

“In preparing for and playing their sport, many athletes have habits or rituals that seem superstitious to others. When playing tennis, I always wear my Ocutech hat. The hat reminds me of the superior design and precision manufacturing of Ocutech products, and that translates into nailing the precision shots that have made me a trophy-winning tennis player. Superstitious? I think not!” said David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO.

Dr. Lewerenz, Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Eye Center and Clinical Diplomat in Low Vision from the American Academy of Optometry, was the runner-up in the 2019 Denver Gates Tennis Center Men’s 3.0 Fall Tournament. 

But, he says, “here’s the totally true story of how this coveted trophy came to occupy a prominent place of pride in our home– There were about 12 of us in the Gates Tennis Center’s 3.0 men’s fall tennis ladder. Each ladder has a post-ladder tournament, for which a trophy is awarded to the champion and the runner-up. Only 4 of us signed up for the tournament in my division, so a single elimination bracket was put together. I immediately began to brag to anyone who would listen that I had made the semifinals of a tennis tournament. Well, one person had to drop out, so the tournament was reorganized as a round-robin between Steve, Mike and me. I played Steve and lost in straight sets, but to be fair, they were close sets (6-4, 7-5). Mike was never available to play at any of the scheduled times. So, in summary, I played one match, lost in straight sets, and won the runner-up trophy!”

Ocutech HatMy favorite hat to play tennis in is my Ocutech hat (see attached photo). After winning this trophy, I began to wonder, “Why is a trophy-winning athlete like me advertising for Ocutech for free? So, I reached out to Ocutech and said please have your people contact my people. I’ll leave the discussion of dollars to my agent, but I will tell you that you could get me on board for a lot less than Roger Federer.”

“We offered David a lifetime supply of caps, but evidently he feels that negotiations need to be ongoing,” said Henry Greene, OD, FAAO, co-founder and President of Ocutech!

Open Letter to a Mom Parenting a Child with Albinism from a College Student living with Ocular Albinism

This open letter is my response to an article written by Lee Kofman and published on Mamamia.com.

Dear Dr. Kofman,

I was pleasantly surprised to come across your recent post about parenting your son who has albinism. In my opinion, there aren’t enough people like you sharing these stories which help to enlighten the community. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mack, I am 20 years old, and live in North Carolina, United States. I was born with another form of albinism, ocular albinism. This genetic variant affects my vision in many similar ways as your son Ollie’s. I have a nystagmus that people usually cannot help but notice, lack sufficient melanin in the iris and retina parts of my eyes, and have trouble reading classroom boards, restaurant menus, books… you name it. 

Your son Ollie, sounds precious and gifted, playing piano at such a young age! I applaud your continual effort to locate all the resources available to you to help your son grow up with everything he could need. I too have been through that cycle of conferences, appointments, and specialists. I have heard my fair share about stigma surrounding physically apparent conditions like albinism. One thing that I think has helped so many people with low vision to reach their potential is to come into contact with the right advocacy group that changes the individuals life forever. And while I do not want to provide anyone with false hope, I would be remiss not to share with you my story and how I found the thing that can help me reach my potential.

When I was an infant, my parents learned I had ocular albinism, and from that point on, 20 years ago, my parents lived with the fear of me not being able to drive. For 14 years it had never crossed my mind I could be even more different than I had realized, never pondering my ability to obtain a driver’s license. My parents, holding out for some miracle, kept in touch with my low vision specialist in between appointments about any new breakthroughs in the field that would enable low vision patients to drive. They learned about Ocutech and I soon got one of their products which allowed me to drive! I then was able to drive myself to school, athletics practice, and to friends’ houses. This was something my parents never expected me to be able to do myself.

I now attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am a third year studying economics and entrepreneurship, still using my bioptic device to drive everywhere! I also now work as an intern for Ocutech, the very same company who gave me so much independence. My job there is to share my story, and how their product changed my life forever. Eager to make an impact, I have searched for people who could benefit from my story. Upon reading this heartfelt post of your experience so far with Ollie, I could not help but reach out.

If you are interested in seeing what could be out there for Ollie, I would love to answer any questions you might have and be a resource for you to make sure you leave no stone unturned. Please reach out to me at my personal email mackdespard@ocutech.com, I would love to get to know you and your family!

Eager to hear from you soon!

Best,

Mack Despard

Time of Flight Technology Enhances the Lives of the Visually Impaired

Technology designed for self-driving cars is now being applied to help low vision individuals see as close to normal as possible.

A project, led by Ocutech, Inc. a developer of vision-enhancing devices for the visually impaired, in collaboration with the engineering firm Image Quality Labs and ESPROS Photonics AG, has created the world’s only self-focusing bioptic telescopes.  Bioptic telescopes allow visually impaired individuals to magnify objects making them easier to see, similar to the use of binoculars. They may provide close-to-normal visual acuity for individuals with vision as reduced as 20/300. But since bioptics must be focused to be used at different distances, they can be inconvenient, if not difficult to use.

What is Time of Flight (ToF) Technology?

Incorporating time of flight (ToF) technology has enabled the development of the Falcon Autofocus Bioptic. By measuring the distance at the speed of light, it allows the device to focus smoothly and immediately to virtually any distance, providing the most natural and easy to use magnification possible. The Falcon incorporates wide-field Keplerian optics and is available in 3x, 4x and 5.5x powers. Weighing just 3.2 ounces (90gm), the Falcon device, mounted onto custom-designed conventional eyeglasses, can be worn comfortably for hours.  It can operate for over 8 hours using its separate rechargeable battery pack.

Young female wearing VES-Falcon Autofocus Bioptic and smiling
Time of Flight Technology Enhances the Lives of the Visually Impaired

Experienced manual focus bioptic wearers report how much easier and more natural the Falcon is to use.  Intended for individuals with central vision loss from disorders including Macular Degeneration, Stargardt’s Disease, Albinism, Nystagmus, Optic Atrophy, Achromatopsia and other Photo-receptor disorders, the Falcon, as well as Ocutech’s manual-focus versions have helped individuals of all ages throughout the world, allowing them to fully engage in the world around them such as to see signs while traveling and shopping, the board in school, recognize faces of friends and family, and where legal, perhaps even drive.

How to Obtain More Information

Ocutech bioptic telescopes are available through low vision specialists throughout the world.  Contact Ocutech for more information at 1-800-326-6460 or bioptics@ocutech.com. Visit Ocutech’s website for additional contact information!

ESPROS Press Release

VES-Falcon Autofocus Bioptic Brings Tears of Joy

We received this amazing letter from one of Ocutech’s favorite prescribers and would like to share it with you. Thank you Dr. Fuhr for your kind words.

Falcon is One-of-a-Kind Device

Image of Dr. Patti Fuhr with veteran Patient wearing Ocutech Falcon Autofocus Bioptic My first experience with the new 4x Falcon autofocus bioptic telescope brought tears to my eyes– tears of joy. This type of system has been only a dream for so many years, for patients, and for prescribers. The previous version of the Ocutech autofocus has not been available for a few years, which left a void in my low vision rehabilitation prescribing practices. An autofocusing, wearable telescopic system is more appropriate for many persons with visual impairment who also have manual dexterity problems, tremors, shoulder or arm issues, or simply slow reaction times. An autofocus is also more appropriate for heavy users of telescopic systems, such as students, teachers, public speakers, and technical persons. And it can be prescribed for driving for appropriate candidates.

The Ocutech system is not a heavy box that sits on the face and eliminates the outside world. It is a telescopic system that mounts on a regular pair of glasses and provides a seamless transition in focus from 13 inches to optical infinity and anywhere in between. Also, it is an autofocus OPTICAL system, so it feels like normal vision magnified through a telescope. The Falcon is much more natural than any of the head borne video magnification systems available today. And, as with most distance viewing devices, it helps people feel more connected to the world beyond the limitations of their visual impairment.

New Powers are Now Available

Recently, Ocutech introduced 3x and 5.5x versions of the Falcon. I was amazed at the appreciable increase in the field of view with the 3x version (15 degrees) and the lightning speed at which it focuses. The 5.5x version has a good field of view (9.5 degrees) for a high power telescope and its optics are also nice and sharp.

All versions of the Falcon are astonishingly easy to fit and prescribe. The Ocutech website has videos that walk the prescribing doctor through the process, and prescribers can always call Ocutech for any questions or help necessary. They are very accessible, knowledgeable, and willing to help. Since the optics are basically the same as the manual focus systems, if you can’t afford new fitting systems, it is easy to demonstrate and fit with the Ocutech manual systems that are currently in many low vision rehabilitation offices. The frames are the same as used in the manual systems, and the parameters can be verified on the website.

I urge any prescribers to consider these autofocus bioptic systems for any patients interested in distance viewing enhancement. Personally, I have prescribed almost a dozen 4x autofocus systems to date, and all patients have been successful. I am thrilled that the 3x is now available, as it is appropriate for so many persons with mild to moderate visual acuity loss. It bridges the gap between the 1.7x and 2x SightScope Galilean bioptic telescope systems and the 4x autofocus. The cost of the autofocus systems is similar to that of many of the head borne video systems that, in my opinion, can’t compete with the Falcon. 

Autofocus Bioptic is a Game-Changer

Ocutech has brought great advances in technology to the practice of low vision rehabilitation, concentrating on the fairly neglected, but oh so important, study and application of technology to the field of distance vision enhancement. The autofocus bioptic systems allow seamless focus from distance to near, simply by looking at the object of interest. It allows the wearer to focus more on what they want to see rather than dealing with the technology with which they must interact. That, my friends, is a game-changer, for prescribers as well as patients with visual impairment.

Interview with Patrick Raymond

In this interview, we touch on several of aspects of Patrick’s life including how his parents raised him to look past his eye condition and embrace the world for everything it has to offer. We discuss wearing assistive devices in public and the anxiety that can go along with it. We also explore ways that teachers and parents can help minimize a low vision student’s fears in the classroom. Hopefully, by talking about these issues, we can help someone else that is experiencing similar feelings or situations.

You can find Patrick Raymond on his blog @ https://runyourdaytips.wordpress.com/

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/runyourdaytips/

Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/runyourdayfitness/


Patrick Raymond – Optic Nerve Hypoplasia

1. Where are you located and who is your low vision specialist?

I live just outside of New Haven, CT.  My low vision specialist is Dr. Christopher Inclima

2. Did your low vision doctor recommend Ocutech bioptics or did you learn about them from another source (media, friend, etc)?

I learned about bioptic lenses through my mom.  After googling magnification glasses, she came across Ocutech and immediately sent me a link to Ocutech’s website.  I emailed my case worker (provided to me by the state of CT) and inquired about these glasses. At my next low vision appointment, the doctor submitted a recommendation to the state for Ocutech bioptics.

3. You had diminished acuity from birth, but was not truly aware how different your vision was from others until age 9? Do you have any advice for young kids experiencing vision loss for the first time or just realizing it like yourself?

My first piece of advice would be for the parent/parents to nurture the idea of uniqueness. Often, there is a negative connotation felt by kids and teens with wearing glasses or bioptics, using assistive technology, sitting close to the tv/blackboard, etc. Vision loss should be seen as a unique trait and not as a “loss.” I would highly encourage parents to be vigilant with their child’s moods, emotions, and to communicate frequently about their daily lives.

Keep your child active.  Understand where physical obstacles exist. Keep your child safe, steer him/her around, but at the same time, just let your kid be a kid!  A visually impaired child should experience as much as they can– like any other normal sighted child. (As long as they are safe, being active and experiencing as much as possible is key.)

Next, research your State’s services for the blind.  Each state is different and it is important to discover criteria for eligibility; and then, take advantage of these services for your child while he/she is still in school.

Advice for a visually impaired child: run, walk, swim, kick, skip, throw, smell, taste, touch, hear, feel, and catch!

Also, create a signal between a parent and a child in case of separation.  I choose to have people clear their throat hard.   I can hear well so that allows me to identify the person as well as identify their general vicinity.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

4. Do you have any advice for teachers (like the one you had when you were 9) who might have a visually impaired student in their class and how they can help support inclusiveness and provide a safe environment for the student? Any advice for parents of young children as well?

I’d advise parents to stay in communication with teachers as often as possible – a quick check-in may be all that’s necessary. Also, keep an eye out for any behavioral changes, difficulties with subjects or visual aids in the classroom.

My advice for teachers: be aware and educated on the student’s learning style, their condition, visual aids, and most of all show compassion for the difficulty that a child with a visual impairment will experience in a classroom setting.  Given that the student will most likely perceive that all attention is on him/her, as a teacher, do your best not to actively draw unnecessary attention to the student, especially around their peers.  The visually impaired student will most likely be well aware of what he/she needs to help themselves.  If an issue needs to be addressed, wait until after class to talk about the situation one-on-one.  I always preferred to be treated like my fellow classmates and allowed the leeway to make my own adjustments with my teacher’s blessing.

6. I find your statement about how you continue to strengthen your ability to identify an image through context incredibly powerful.  The idea of “tapping” into other senses and testing the limits of brain flexibility in order to identify an object or person (same goal as fully sighted individual, but completely different method to achieve it) is something that should be shared and encouraged – Can you expand a little on this topic and provide a couple tips on how someone with low vision could practice this technique?

Throughout my life, I would look at and consciously remember pictures of the objects.  Sometimes I will walk up extremely close to an object in order to see the detail and effectively “store” these details in my memory.  I will also find bigger objects that usually surround a smaller object (that are more easily identifiable), which may allow me to surmise the smaller object’s identity.  When I enter a particular environment (a grocery store for example) I will ask myself what types of objects, signs or people I may encounter in the particular environment?  Just to be prepared.  I heavily rely on my memory to safely navigate through environments and find what I need to find. 

Also, I remember smells and sounds to gather further clues regarding objects or potential hazards.  I can identify restaurants that I am in or pass solely by their scent or sound, even with my eyes closed.

My goal is to narrow down the possibilities of people and things in a particular environment by drawing from previous experience.  In a new situation and environment, I’ll walk around, if possible, to acclimate and familiarize myself with the smells, sounds, and identifiable objects such as stairs.

7. When do you use your SightScope?  What are its limitations in terms of your eye condition?  What are the drawbacks?

I primarily use my Sightscope in the car, outside, watching TV, at the movies or at a ballgame.  I tend to use my prescription lenses at work. When I walk, I usually have the bioptic lenses flipped down so I can quickly lower my head to better see an object with the magnifier, as opposed to only looking through my prescription lenses.  Obviously, the magnifiers reduce my peripheral vision, but it may allow me to see or identify an object that I couldn’t identify without the bioptics. There is a tradeoff.

With the bioptic lenses flipped down, my glasses tend to slip down my nose, but this is a minor inconvenience to have the visual assistance it provides me. Looking through the bioptics does not correct my vision, but allows me to potentially see objects I couldn’t see before and, depending on how close I am, actually see details!

I am looking through my magnifiers with a severely decreased acuity, so while objects are magnified, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will be able to automatically identify the object, but I will certainly have a much better chance of seeing it.

With my condition, I notice that there is a much sharper view from the glasses, but sometimes, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.  Sharper is sometimes like rich chocolate; chocolate is good, but too rich can become problematic!

8. Do you wear your SightScope in public? How often do people ask you about it?  Do you have any advice to a young child that could benefit from using a bioptic in a classroom setting, but might be embarrassed to use it because of what other kids might think?

I do wear my bioptics in public, but it does take some self-assurance and support.  People have asked me what they are, and I respond simply by saying, “they allow me to see.”

Truthfully, I’ve been worried about what other people think of my assistive tools my entire life and positive self-talk (weighing pros vs. cons of wearing the glasses, channeling confidence, and telling myself, “people are too wrapped up in themselves to care very much about my assistive tools and how they make me look”) is all I can do to minimize this anxiety.  Looking back on my childhood, I now realize that once my classmates saw my assistive tools, made their comments or asked questions, they no longer paid much attention.

9. Cost can be an issue for some when deciding whether or not to purchase a bioptic; can you give a couple reasons why bioptics were worth the money for you and any advice to someone that is on the fence about purchasing bioptics from their low vision specialist?

My bioptic lenses were provided to me by the state of CT.  Because I qualify for state services for the visually impaired, my low vision specialist wrote a recommendation letter documenting the drastic increase in my acuity when I tried the bioptics on during an office visit and I received them.  I have no idea how much they cost; I just remain very grateful that my Sightscope bioptics were provided to me.

If I were to purchase the bioptics, I would make sure I found a physical outlet so I could try them first!  Visit your low vision specialist, a low vision clinic or try to find someone who owns a pair to demonstrate and test out.  Not all assistive technology will work for everyone (like E-sight and NuEyes).

Image of Patrick Raymond and his low vision specialist
Patrick Raymond with his low vision specialist, Dr. Christopher Inclima.

Gary Asano, OD, FAAO joins Ocutech as Low Vision Professional Consultant

Dr. Henry Greene, OD, FAAO, co-founder and president of Ocutech announced the appointment. “We are thrilled to have a clinician as expert, experienced and well respected as Dr. Asano join Ocutech in its mission to enhance the vision and lives of the visually impaired,” said Greene.

Dr. Asano, a nationally known low vision expert and respected lecturer and educator, was the founder and former Chair of the California Optometric Association Low Vision Section, staff member at the Center for the Partially Sighted for over 30 years, and faculty at the Southern California College of Optometry. His broad clinical experience also includes over 25 years in private practice. In honor of his career in working for the visually impaired, Dr. Asano was the recipient of the Envision Oculus Award given at the 2018 Envision National Low Vision Conference. The Oculus award honors an individual or organization whose career has had a national or international impact for people who are blind or low vision through professional collaboration, advocacy, research or education.

If you are in the West Coast area and would like to contact Dr. Asano, please email at g.asano@verizon.net or by telephone at 310-966-7573

Floridians with low vision can benefit from bioptics even if they cannot use them to drive.

Image of palm trees in florida with title, Visually Impaired and Living in Florida

There is more to bioptics than just driving in Florida

Losing one’s drivers license or never being eligible for one because of reduced vision is undoubtedly a bummer.  There are ways to get around without driving yourself, but the independence and enhanced quality of life one gains from being able to drive (not to mention the ‘right of passage’ of a driver’s license for teenagers) is hard to argue. Most US states have adopted bioptic driving laws, allowing individuals with a certain acuity and degree of peripheral vision to be eligible for full or restricted license privileges.

Unfortunately, Florida is one of the few remaining states in the Union that does not allow visually impaired individuals to obtain a driver’s license while wearing a bioptic telescope.

What is the current licensing requirements in Florida?

Date last verified: August 2018

  • Bioptic driving is NOT allowed
  • Bioptic is NOT permitted to meet visual standards
  • Minimum visual acuity of 20/70 for an unrestricted license
  • Minimum visual acuity of 20/40 if one eye is 20/200 or worse
  • Field of view must be at least 130 degrees

So, if I cannot use a bioptic to drive in Florida, why should I use one?

There’s more to life than driving… really!  And bioptic telescopes for low vision can be part of making your life experiences as positive and enjoyable as you choose to make it.  Can’t see your friends, family or co-workers from across the room? Can’t read the sports score on TV? Can’t read the menu on the wall of the restaurant?  Can’t read the computer screen or play music or card games.  Can’t see well enough to play shuffleboard or bowl? Don’t want to go out because you can’t recognize people at a distance? Feel left out because you don’t feel visually connected?  Bioptics can help in all these ways and even more.

Bioptic telescopes can help individuals with 20/200 see 20/40, and maybe even better.  You’ll see virtually as well as a normally-sighted person.  Granted, they look a little weird (most folks think they’re cool once they realize how much better they can see with them… promise!), and there a few things you’ll have to learn.  Bioptics have changed the lives of the visually impaired whether they are in their teens, twenties, or even nineties!  You owe it to yourself to check them out. They may not get you behind the wheel in Florida, but at least they will help you see where you’re going and when you get there!

For more information on Ocutech bioptics visit our webpage at www.ocutech.com or email info@ocutech.com for a referral.

Image of Dr. Greene with EMCO Conference Attendees

Eastern Mediterranean Council of Optometry Marrakesh, Morocco 2018

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.

Dr. Greene with Hamid Nafis, chairman of EMCO 2018.
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