Wales & West Vision Conference 2013

Our conference this year was co-hosted with SeeAbility and proved to be a terrific partnership!.

SeeAbility’s purpose is to encourage people who are blind or partially sighted and have multiple disabilities to achieve their full potential and enhance their quality of life. Working together in this partnership we were able to reach highly qualified speakers who have vast experience of dealing with people who have learning dissabilities and who also have, or may have, impaired sight. For more information about SeeAbility please visit their website.

Martin Thomas – SeeAbility’s Eye Care and Vision Regional Manager worked closely with our team which resulted in an exceptional conference this year. Delegate feedback of the event was unparalleled with speakers receiving more “exceeded expectations” than we have ever had before.

The event provided a good networking opportunity together with up to date information on Therapeutics together with current information and advice about dealing with people with sight loss, who also have learning dissabilities.

Our Eminent Speakers this year were:

Barbara Ryan – Chief Optometric Adviser Directorate for Public Health and Health Professions- who spoke and answered questions on the Eye Care plan under the topic “Remembering the small numbers in the big picture

Gordon Ilett – Optometrist with Special Interest (OPwSI) in both the Bexley and West Kent PCT areasProfessor

Gordon Ilett has worked mainly in private practice, he also spent several years as a clinical supervisor at City University and The Institute of Optometry. He was a sessional optometrist at Darent Valley Hospital responsible for low vision and general clinics, and set up a multidisciplinary paediatric low vision clinic at Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup. Gordon Illett drove all the way from Kent to deliver his talk on The Prevalence of Eye problems& Eye Examinations for People with Learning Disability which was well received and engaging.

Mr David H Jones MA BM BCh FRCOphth Consultant Ophthalmologist, Cornwall Eye Unit

A Practival Approach to Cognitive Visual Impairment in Adults and Children with Learning Dissabilities” The presentation was informative, engaging and with a touch of humour! Just right for our audience!

David Jones has worked under Professor Gordon Dutton, under whose guidance he developed an interest in eye diseases of children and of people living with disability.  After gaining his Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists he worked as a locum consultant paediatric ophthalmologist in Bridgend before taking up his present substantive consultant post in 2007 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust.

Martin Thomas– SeeAbility – (Eye Care and Vision Regional Manager – Midlands and Wales

Martin Thomas is a Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired. Martin worked for Sense Midlands helping establish their Rehabilitation Team for Adults with Dual Sensory Impairments. In 1990, as Head of Service, Martin established Vision Homes Association – providing housing, support and services for adults with sight loss and profound learning disabilities and challenging needs. In 2007 Martin joined SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye campaign, managing its Look Up Information Service and is now Eye Care and Vision Regional Manage. Martin’s presentation “Working with People with Learning Disabilities that have visual impairment and sight loss” was delivered in partnership with Scott Watkin.

Scott Watkin – SeeAbility

Scott was SeeAbility Eye2eye ambassador in the summer of 2011 and is now taking a permanent role with SeeAbility as an Eye care and vision development officer from next month.

Scott was an absolute star – his presentation in partnership with Martin Thomas was very informative,moving and inspirational!

David T Shima – Professor of Translational Vision Research at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Professor Shima established the UK-based Translational Vision Research Laboratory at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. The lab’s aim is to work collaboratively with biopharma to create a multidisciplinary environment for exploring fundamental questions in basic ophthalmic research coupled with the expertise to help turn new innovations into medical treatments.

Professor Shima has supported us before and spoke at our conference in 2009. We asked him back again this year and we wern’t disappointed. Lots of information about Therapeutics- giving us an update on Retinal Neurovascular Disease delivered in a way that was fascinating informative and well recieved by delegates.

Andy Millington – Optometrist with areas of academic interest in paediatrics and patients with special needs

Andy has worked in a number of clinical settings and is co-owner of a successful community based family run practice in Monmouth. He developed a professional interest and specialises in seeing patients with learning difficulties and takes an active role in the Special Assessment Clinic in Cardiff University, where he is responsible for undergraduate teaching as well as performing eye examinations. Andy spoke about Autism and in particular dealing with patients who have Autism. Lots of good advice!

Huge thanks go to all our speakers for making the event such a success!!