ACBO will also be offering regular webinars in 2018 for members on neuro-rehabilitative optometry, featuring interesting cases to provide really practical clinical insights for you to use in care of your existing patients.

In 1993 when I was president of the National Council of the Australian Optometric Association (AOA, now Optometry Australia) Daryl Guest (now at University of Melbourne Optometry) and I organised a conference on “neuro-optometry” to bring together a few optometrists who were interested in the visual and ocular problems associated with head injury, stroke and neurological disease. Instead of a few attending, we had 180 register, which convinced me of the relevance of this area of practice to Australian optometrists and the need for this service for our community.

iStock 000013485370XSmallSince then my partner Liz Wason and I have become increasingly involved in providing care to people who have had a head injury, concussion, or whiplash; a stroke or brain tumour; or neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

Yet it should be said that a number of people you already see as patients, who present for routine care of vision and eye health, also have a history of whiplash, concussion, head injury, or neurological issues which they do not tell you about (until you ask), and in their mind do not connect to their vision problems.

They may have symptoms of blur or ghosting or even double vision; migraines, pattern glare symptoms (see the ACBO paper in the evidence section on our website); or balance and vertigo issues, which they do not realise may be connected to their brain history. I am sure you have some patients who have multiple sclerosis (MS), or dementia, or Parkinson’s disease (PD), or any one of a number of neurological issues, which can cause vision and ocular symptoms and problems which should be identified and treated if possible.

I recently presented a webinar for the Centre for Eye Health in NSW on the signs and symptoms of MS, PD and Alzheimer’s, which was reportedly very well received by the 100 participants, probably because it was relevant to patients seen already.

I recently attended the annual conference in Buffalo New York, of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA), a multidisciplinary group interested in practice and research in optometric care of brain issues. This is a rapidly growing scope of practice in the US, mainly for two reasons. The first is increasing awareness of brain injuries from sport, especially concussion, where in America many parents are taking their boys out of American football, where they are taught to use their heads and helmets as weapons, and putting them into soccer. Unfortunately soccer is now the third biggest cause of sports-related head injury in the US, one third due to heading soccer balls, and the rest caused by blows and falls. The second reason is large numbers of “wounded warriors”, soldiers who have returned from battle zones, especially Afghanistan, with significant head injuries from the concussive effects of bombs.

Which is an introduction to the two day course ACBO is offering on December 2-3 in Sydney, which will provide a good introduction to the issues and optometric assessment of the visual and ocular issues of brain injury, stroke and neurological disease.

The speaker is Texas optometrist Charles Shidlofsky, who has been providing this course around America as an OEP Regional Clinical Seminar. I attended a two day course in Buffalo with Charles as a speaker, and he is an enthusiastic and clinically practical presenter.

ACBO will also be offering regular webinars in 2018 for members on neuro-rehabilitative optometry, featuring interesting cases to provide really practical clinical insights for you to use in care of your existing patients.

We understand it is a busy time in December, and due to the constraints of our venue at that time, numbers are limited. We have a few places left, and if you are interested register now, as so far we have limited attendance to ACBO members only, but we will open it up to the demand from non-members soon.

For more information, please go to the event page in the ACBO event calendar.

Steve Leslie

ACBO President

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