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OA hails success of inaugural virtual conference

Optometry Australia (OA) has hinted at a follow-up to the inaugural Optometry Virtually Connected event after attracting 2,200 registered delegates to become one of the largest optometric clinical conferences and trade shows in the region.

The 2.5-day virtual event, held from Friday to Sunday, attracted optometrists from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific, as well as professionals based in the US and Europe.

According to OA, an average of 900 delegates attended each of the live CPD webcasts and an average of 230 viewed each of the seven on-demand CPD webcasts. Approximately 417 delegates attended each supplier CPD session hosted on the event platform.

The 23 exhibitors who participated in the virtual product showcase engaged with up to 460 visitors to each of their stands, with “major product sales reported to have taken place”, OA stated.

NZ ODOB chair Jayesh Chouhan (top left-clockwise) with OA’s CEO Lyn Brodie, NZAO president Rochelle van Eysden and OA president Darrell Baker.

“We could not be more delighted with how our members, New Zealand optometrists and product suppliers responded to this event. Feedback has been terrific,” OA president Mr Darrell Baker said.

“Optometry Virtually Connected represents a new way of delivering a multi-day conference and trade exhibition utilising technology that is just beginning to gain traction globally. We are pleased to be at the forefront of bringing this type of event to the optometry sector in our region. As this becomes more widespread, I’m sure we’ll see rapid changes in the technology around these virtual conferences.”

Baker did note some technical issues that were eventually worked through. However, with the event being the first its kind and a test case in Australia, he said OA has taken on board some key learnings to ensure the next Optometry Virtually Connected will run even smoother.

“Driven by the needs of our members, we are anticipating holding a second event as this innovative online platform enables delegates to maintain patient appointments and to meet personal commitments within a highly flexible learning environment,” Baker said.

“I found it especially attractive, as I was able to work on the Friday and Saturday, move in and out of the conference, and maintain patient commitments between lectures and video connection with delegates.”