The Paediatric Training Academy and the Namibian Optometric Association hosted a joint congress in the lovely town of Swakopmund in Namibia on 10-11 September 2016. I was so excited to be back in one of my favorite countries again and to meet up with likeminded stunning colleagues keen to “Get to grips with Paeds and BV”. We had the congress at the Alte Brucke Resort right by the seaside! With the majority of the NOA’s members joining the congress, 5 speakers and 11 exhibitors we were set for an epic event!
The program was a nice mix of topics carefully selected to try and provide the practitioners with practical take home info to get them comfortable in doing Paeds and BV exams. What fun we had! I lectured on examining babies and difficult patients as well as an amazing new method to detect Autism Spectrum Disorder using eye tracking. Prof Wayne Gillan gave lectures on the latest research and management strategies for amblyopia and Diagnosis, Classification and causes of commitant strabismus. Schalk Burger then blew our minds with the
complexities of the vestibular system in fixation and eye movement control. A local ophthalmologist from Windhoek, Dr Julia JV Rensburg, spoke to us about Paediatric Neuro-ophthalmology and when it is an emergency. We had several sessions of Grand Rounds where we discussed difficult Paeds and BV cases which were done by Wayne, Leoni and Graham Crich. These were great fun as the audience participated and we all learnt a lot. Two workshops were presented. The first one was done by Leoni and Hayley on DDDO – a new paediatric technique to assess accommodation function, paeds retinoscopy techniques and new software to investigate eye movements in reading. The second workshop was done by Wayne who explained the BV Exam – in terms of “forgotten fundamentals”. It seems we have all forgotten things we didn’t even know we had learnt!
Of course, as per my usual Paeds congresses, plenty of Lucky Draw and spot prizes were handed out. We had our selected exhibitors taking part. Hayley from Danker was there with all their stunning Paeds and BV equipment. Genop Instruments had some cool high tech gadgets. Graham and Jacques from Spectrum had a massive lucky draw of a whole Spectrum testing unit worth about R15 000! Graham also did a presentation on the importance of keeping up with technology in the practice. Coopervision has been so supportive of all the Paeds Academy congresses and it was nice to meet their Namibian representative. HOYA was represented by Stefaan from Cape Town. Another loyal supporter of the Paeds events is Pichtech Vision, with their stunning range of frames and lovely lucky draw prizes. Craig from Spectill and his wife attended and had some lovely optical accessories on display. Allergan also had a fantastic prize as a lucky draw. E&E Optics was a new exhibitor at the Paeds events and they had a really nice range of hypoallergenic make-up which drew a lot of interest from the lady optoms. Welch-Allyn were giving demos of their awesome new Spot Autorefractor which works well with kids and kindly donated an ophthalmoscope as a lucky draw prize. Renier and Darren from D-EYE were showing the latest upgrade to the D-EYE system
that uses your cellphone as a retinal camera which is so amazing! Some suppliers could not attend but kindly donated prizes for our lucky draw: Alpha optical, Essilor, Luxottica, Safilo, SDM and Tomato gave such cool prizes! A very big thank you to the exhibitors and suppliers for all their support!
Of course, the Namibians are known for their legendary party spirit and this weekend did not disappoint! After their AGM on Saturday afternoon we all went to Tiger Reef for sundowners and then back for their Saturday evening function which carried on until 3am!! Needless to say there were some bleary eyes at lectures on Sunday morning but boy I didn’t even expect anyone to show up before 10am and yet we had a super keen bunch ready to go! The feedback has been wonderful, we all had such fun catching up with friends from far and wide, learning some new info to get us enthused about practicing optometry and of course “kuier-ing” as only the Namibians know how! One thing is for sure: WE WILL BE BACK!
Published in EYESITE.co.za Magazine July 2017