Like I do every year, last week I attended the Southern Regional Congress (SRC) in Melbourne. This is the biggest optometric conference in Australia and it is held each year in Melbourne. This year there were over 825 delegates and as is the norm they were treated to some excellent lectures from both local and overseas speakers. The commitment of the optometrists in attending the conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre has to be admired given that the temperature outside on each day of the conference was over 35 degrees.
There were some great contact lens lectures, including one on Ortho K given by Laura Downie and another one on the fitting of mini-scleral lenses presented by Jessica Chi. In particular, the mini-scleral lenses have become very popular in contact lens practice over the last couple of years and Andrew, Regina and I now find these lenses to be a great problem solver in our practice, especially for those patients with very advanced keratoconus or highly irregular corneal grafts.
One of the highlights of the conference was a wonderful lecture presented by Michael Loughnan on herpetic eye disease (which is more common than many people realize). Michael is one of the top corneal specialists in Melbourne and someone who we work very closely with given that we see many patients with corneal diseases – such as keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration – in our practice. We also see many patients with herpetic eye disease who we often refer to Michael given that he is truly an expert in this area.
As always, the SRC has a very big trade show and this year I spent some time looking at photo slit-lamps. This instrument would allow us to take pictures of – and photo document – anterior eye conditions such as pterygia, cataracts and corneal scarring, and we certainly intend to buy a photo slit-lamp for the practice in the very near future.