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Largest eye health conference coming to Australian shores next year

A three-way partnership will host the largest eye health conference and trade show for optometry in the southern hemisphere next year, showcasing Australian optometry to a world stage.

O=MEGA23 will be held together with the 4th World Congress of Optometry at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 8 – 10 September 2023.

The combined event was secured through a partnership between the Optical Distribution & Manufacturers Association (ODMA), Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA) and the World Council of Optometry (WCO).

Joining forces for the first time, the two events are expected to attract more than 2,000 global professionals including optometrists, optical dispensers, ophthalmologists, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses, practice staff, optical retailers and service providers, technicians and students to Australia over three days.

Originally scheduled for 2021, the 4th World Congress of Optometry and O=MEGA21 were postponed due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions.

The 2023 event will mark the first major international gathering of eye health professionals in four years.

It will feature a fully accredited program, with learning opportunities from local and international speakers in a multi-stream format including keynote lectures, poster sessions and breakout sessions, along with a networking program. The program will also include masterclasses aimed at further developing business management skills of optometrists, to better support their professional practices.

Prof Peter Hendicott.

WCO president Professor Peter Hendicott said the combined events are an opportunity for optometrists internationally to participate in what will be a high-quality learning and professional development experience.

“Importantly, [it] allows optometry to highlight its role in the international agenda of securing improved vision and eye health outcomes across the world. The WCO is excited by our congress partnership with OV/SA and ODMA, and the value the congress will bring to optometry worldwide,” he said.

OV/SA CEO Ms Ilsa Hampton said she was excited by the opportunity to showcase Australian optometry to a world stage.

“Offering opportunities for quality learning is at the heart of what we do at OV/SA. After two years of not being able to meet up, O=MEGA23 and 4th World Congress of Optometry will provide eyecare professionals the chance to meet in person, workshop and engage with interesting developments in the industry,” she said.

“We are also partnering with local Indigenous representatives to ensure that First Nations eye health and cultural awareness are integrated in the program. We look forward to working with ODMA, WCO and [Event management company] Arinex,” Hampton said.

The mega event will also include the largest eye wear and eyecare trade fair in Australia, featuring the latest technology, fashion, lenses, frames, equipment, instruments, and accessories giving unparalleled reach to all major suppliers in the optometry and ophthalmic community in the southern hemisphere.

Organisers said the trade fair will incorporate a ‘knowledge centre’ where sponsors and exhibitors can provide concise educational seminars to help improve businesses processes and promote best practise.

Optometry Unites, Down Under

ODMA acting CEO Ms Amanda Trotman said it was important that O=MEGA23 and 4th World Congress of Optometry, themed Optometry Unites, Down Under, took a fresh sustainability stance as it showcased Australian optometry to the world.

“Melbourne provides an ideal location for the 4th World Congress of Optometry and O=MEGA23. The thriving metropolis is not only known for its global expertise in eye health but also for being one of the most liveable and sustainable cities in the world,” she said.

“The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is recognised for its green credentials, launching a sustainability strategy in 2021 with a commitment to be powered 100% by renewable electricity by 2028, and to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2030.

“Our partner in the delivery of O=MEGA23 and 4th World Congress of Optometry, Arinex, is one of Australia’s longest standing and reputable event management companies with a proven commitment to sustainability. In early 2022, Arinex became the first Australian event management company to be certified carbon neutral.”

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