The 3rd World Congress of Optometry and 98th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Optometry (AAO) held during end October 2019 at sunny Orlando, the home of world famous ‘Tupperware’ range of serving and storage products, was a win, win situation for the Elite School of Optometry and Sankara Nethralaya, with its veteran Optometrists Dr Rizwana and Dr Anuradha making the best use of their presence at Optometry’s most prestigious global event. It was a proud moment for the institutions she represented when Dr Rizwana was called upon to make a grand round presentation on ‘Convergence and Divergence Insufficiency’- The Complex Couple’ a challenging syndrome for optometrists. Her well researched papers on the management of ‘Hemianopia’ and ‘Accommodative Spasm’ both critical challenges for practitioners of optometry were also very well received. The expertise and experience of the first Indian Optometrist to be awarded a ‘Diplomate’ by the AAO were sought by the ‘New Grad Optometry Community’ at the global meet, under the prestigious forum ‘Experience sharing by thought leaders in optometry’ and her in-depth response by way of sharing her experience as an optometrist at a tertiary eye care institution in India reiterated her subject matter expertise and ability to effectively communicate complex theorems and algorithms to freshers.
The event witnessed the conferring of AAO’s Fellowship, considered the highest recognition in Optometry on Dr. Anuradha, Head of Sankara Nethralaya’s School Screening Projects. The fact that her Fellowship was awarded on the basis of her extensive publications on the critical field of children’s eye health and the title of her paper ‘Role of eye screening in promoting gender equality’ came as a testimony to the passion, dedication and commitment of the Assistant Professor at ESO and champion of children’s eye care and her institution’s enduring values and philosophy.
The two young representatives succeeded in doing some valuable spade work for the inception of an exclusive India chapter at the AAO, the fact that the idea was very well received by the decision makers makes it a distinct possibility in the near future, a key development which would open the gates of the August body to budding optometry professionals, help in enhancing their knowledge, exposure and pursue their Fellowship at the most preferred destination for optometrists the world over.
The vibrant team held critical discussions with Dr Michael Twa, Dean, University of Houston and successfully drafted the next steps towards formalizing an academic alliance that would facilitate exchange of knowledge and collaborative research between scientists, researchers from Sankara Nethralaya’s educational institutions and the University of Houston. The team made the best use of the presence of a large number of Alumni of the ESO at the meet by extending their personal invite, discussing the grand event and finalizing speakers for the forthcoming ‘EIVOC’ the equivalent of the AAO, this side of the Atlantic. The visit combining such varied accomplishments by the team of Dr Rizwana and Dr Anuradha made it a truly rewarding and memorable trip.