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Low Vision Team Travels to the Netherlands

Although all optometry students study a broad array of topics during their education, many also choose to specialize in areas such as low vision, contact lenses, and pediatrics. At New England College of Optometry, NECO, the low vision team prepares future optometrists by teaching them about the role primary care optometrists have in evaluating, treating, and referring patients with low vision, as well as identifying various low vision devices available to assist patients in their daily lives.

(The Hague, Netherlands)  In addition to coursework at the College and clinical work in the community, our low vision team shares expertise through continuing education programs locally at the College as well as globally at conferences. Their most recent invitation was to participate at Vision 2017 in the Hague, Netherlands. The theme of this year’s conference was Low Vision Rehabilitation: A Global Right.

Vision 2017 is an international low vision conference held every three years with over 1,000 attendees from optometry, ophthalmology, and other vision rehab professions. The twelfth international low vision conference featured an opening address by HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, followed by presentations from other leaders in the field of low vision clinical practice and research.

NECO professors Alexis G. Malkin and Nicole C. Ross, were joined by student Micaela Gobeille, Class of 2018, as they participated in the conference.  Dr. Malkin organized a symposium entitled “Models of Care Delivery around the World” that features speakers from the US, India, China, and Moldova. Speakers included: 

  • Alexis G. Malkin, New England College of Optometry: Low Vision Services in Community Health Centers in the US
  • Ava K. Bittner, NOVA Southeastern College of Optometry, Development and Implementation of a Model for Delivering Remote Telerehabilitation Services to Low Vision Patients
  • Vijaya Gothwal, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Low Vision Service Delivery: Challenges in the Developing World
  • Nicole C. Ross  and Micaela Gobeille, New England College of Optometry: The NECO Mobile Eye Clinic: A novel solution to address state-wide access to care for the low vision patient population
  • May Ho, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Developing human resources for low vision in Shanxi Province, China
  • Tatiana Ghidirimschi, Moldova, The development of low vision services in the republic of Moldova

The NECO team was able to feature the low vision services that the mobile clinic provides to underserved communities in Massachusetts. They also presented early data from their work improving access to care in community health centers in the NECO clinical network.

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