Low Vision Rehab and Research Conference Draws a Diverse Crowd
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Low Vision Rehab and Research Conference Draws a Diverse Crowd

BLVS instructors at Envision Conference Pic1

For Jule Ann Lieberman, MS ‘13, CLVT/CATIS, ATP, the Envision Conference East 2024 held at the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus of Salus University was an opportunity to learn in a friendly and familiar environment.

Lieberman, 2021 Blindness and Low Visions Studies (BLVS) Alumna of the Year and an adjunct professor in the University’s BLVS programs, was essentially on her home field accumulating, among other things, continuing education credits.

“I’m enjoying it very much. It’s nice to be with people who understand vision loss. I always learn something new when I come to these kinds of conferences,” said Lieberman, who works at TechOWL, the Assistive Technology Act program for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “It’s been a very positive experience all around and it's nice to see my friends in a familiar environment.”

Instructors at Envision Conference Pic2The inaugural event ran from April 11-13, 2024, and was described as a multidisciplinary low vision rehabilitation and research conference by Envision University in collaboration with the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), the William Feinbloom Low Vision Rehabilitation Center housed at The Eye Institute (TEI), the clinical teaching facility for PCO, and the University’s BLVS and Occupational Therapy (OT) programs.

“I think what we’ve looked for over the past several years is finding a school that specializes in optometry or OT that is also working in the field of low vision,” said Karen Kendrick, an OT for Envisions, based in Wichita, Kansas.

The target audience for the conference included optometrists, ophthalmologists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation therapists, licensed visual therapists, vision researchers, nurses, industry representatives, special education teachers, community agency personnel, government policymakers, rehabilitation engineers, and assistive technology practitioners and suppliers.

The objective of the conference was to:

  • Apply the most current research and clinical practices in low vision rehabilitation.
  • Recommend appropriate patients who could benefit from low vision rehabilitation.
  • Differentiate between the roles and scope of practice among the multidisciplinary professionals involved in the continuum of care of low vision patients.
  • Assess the potential of patients for maximizing functional vision through low vision rehabilitation.
  • Promote awareness of research results ready for rehabilitation service delivery by disseminating research findings to the healthcare communities.
  • Choose appropriate resources and adaptive strategies for patients with permanent vision loss.
  • Analyze strategies for strengthening the role of low vision on the public health agenda.
  • Examine disparities in access to low vision care.
  • Identify practice gaps in low vision care delivery methods.

Thirty hours of education and research were presented over three days and participants could receive up to 15 hours of continuing education credit. There were also tables set up in the exhibit hall at the Hafter Student Community Center to view the latest in vision rehabilitation techniques and assistive devices. Several Salus faculty members were among the featured speakers at the conference.

Envision Conference Trade Show tables Pic1It all made the trip worth it for Donald Hooks of Lubbock, Texas, a VIST (Visual Impairment Services Team) coordinator representing the Veterans Administration.

“What I’ve seen at this conference that has impressed me is the knowledge base they are providing from all the different speakers,” said Hooks, himself a visually impaired veteran. “I’m also very impressed that they’ve not only helped me but embraced me with my field of vision loss. And, they’re helping me understand how to help the blind and visually impaired Veterans I work with.”

Monica Casey-Gee, OD, traveled from New York, where she works for the Northeastern Association of the Blind in Albany, for the conference.

“I’ve liked all the speakers that I’ve seen and I’ve also enjoyed talking to some of the representatives in the exhibit hall, catching up with people I’ve seen in the past and with all the new products as well,” said Dr. Casey-Gee. “The different things that you learn at this conference, hopefully you can incorporate back home. And, hopefully it brings to mind some things you may have forgotten in the past.”

Conference trade show overhead Pic4

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