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Australia’s first virtual optometry product showcase coming in June

Optometry Australia (OA) has announced it will be hosting a three-day virtual event that will feature an accredited CPD program and the sector’s first online product showcase.

The organisation said the event, Optometry Virtually Connected, is in line with its commitment to support members during the COVID-19 pandemic by using technology to advance members’ education and continued career development.

The virtual event, to be held from 26-28 June, will be free to all OA members. Non-members will also be able to register to access a more restricted three-day event for $349.

OA national president Mr Darrell Baker said the event will feature Australia’s first virtual optometry product showcase.

“We believe that it is important to keep abreast of the latest clinical and patient care management technology and products on the market,” he said.

Optometry Virtually Connected will allow delegates to attend a series of accredited live and pre-recorded webcasts. They can also network with colleagues in real time within an online platform throughout the three-day program.

“With technology providing more and more scope to be innovative, we felt it was time that we too stretched ourselves by introducing new ways to do things,” Baker said.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, virtual events, conferences and trade shows have become increasingly popular within the ophthalmic profession, providing an opportunity to attend a live program without the added expense of travel and accommodation.

Baker said the organisation had been exploring the idea of a virtual conference for a while.

“We felt there was no better time than now to hold such an event,” he said. “Virtual conferences are becoming increasingly popular as already demonstrated by the strong support of those attending AVC 2020 as a virtual event and the WAVE at-home series of webcasts.”

Registration details and the event program will be released in the coming weeks.

The event is the latest initiative by OA to support the sector during the COVID-19 crisis after it cut its annual membership fees in half last week and offered a free six-month trial of Oculo’s telehealth platform, including its real-time videoconference feature, to ensure patients continue to receive optometric care.

The organisation has also established a Crisis Leadership Group in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

“We’re starting to consider frameworks for the future and how we can help members and our profession emerge from this period embracing and capitalising on the opportunities that always sit alongside challenges,” Baker said.