Submitted by Dr Dirk Booysen
I attended the Zimbabwe Optometric Associations (ZOA) conference, which was held on 4 and 5 August at Troutbeck Hotel in the Nyanga province of Zimbabwe. Lynett Masiwa, current president of the ZOA, invited me to present two papers which focused on the anterior segment. The speakers were Lynett Masiwa, who dealt with new imaging technologies, Dr Patel, a paediatric ophthalmologist, who presented two papers on common anterior segment disease, and Dr Desmond Akuffo who presented on Keratoconus. I did a paper on scleral lenses as well as the use of topical antibiotics in optometric practice. Of the forty-five registered optometrists in Zimbabwe, around thirty attended the conference. The sessions were followed by lively discussions in which everyone took part and contributed. This was one of the most memorable events I have attended in recent times and it warms my heart to see the positive attitude of our colleagues across the border. Where we have failed to build bridges with ophthalmology these practitioners are working hard at building them and they are succeeding. Currently two schools offer optometry degrees, both only with first year students at present. Intakes are limited to guard against over population of practitioners. The ZOA has identified what the needs of their citizens are and are working hand in hand with the training institutions to tailor the curriculum to these needs, which includes ocular therapeutics. I felt very honoured to be invited to be a part of such a vibrant group of professionals and experienced true Zimbabwean hospitality, including to many beers on the Friday evening.
If you would like an nice break away while attending clinically directed lectures, workshops and discussion sessions, you should not miss this conference next year.