When students think of going to optometry conferences, the first ones that come to mind are usually the larger ones such as Optometry’s Meeting, Academy, and Vision Expo. However, there are also many other high quality smaller conferences out there including EastWest Eye Conference, which takes place every October in Cleveland. I had the opportunity of going this year and am looking forward to coming back next year! Here are four reasons why you should also attend EastWest next year:
1. Student Workshops
On Saturday morning, a workshop was held for students only on how to diagnose and treat dry eye. The workshop started with an overview of dry eye and the various treatments. During the second hour, we circulated between seven different stations that included learning new clinical techniques such as meibomian gland expression, new diagnostic equipment such as LipiView, and new treatments such as Prokera. Prokera is an amniotic membrane that comes from the placenta and is placed over the surface of cornea for a few days to promote healing of the corneal epithelium.
2. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Party
On Friday night of the conference, there is a party open to all participants at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that is catered with amazing food, drinks and dessert! The whole museum is open for attendees. My favorite part of the exhibits was seeing the costume pieces and instruments from various artists, including Michael Jackson’s glove. On the main floor, the amazing Bad Habits: The Eye Docs of Rock were playing. This is a classic rock band that consists of all optometrists and they were the highlight of the evening!
3. Continuing Education (CE)
This conference had a wide range of CE offerings in many different areas of optometry. My personal favorite CE was given by Ron Melton and Randall Thomas, two optometrists practicing in Ohio who have a great sense of humor. At EastWest, they presented a CE about the patients they had seen while on call. The cases were fascinating and ranged from Herpes Zoster infections to complications of non-compliant contact lens wear. With their jokes and funny banter, they kept my attention for the full two hours!
4. Networking, Networking, Networking
I met many optometrists from Ohio and other students at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. With various dinners, an exhibit hall, poster presentations, and professional lunches, there are ample opportunities to mingle with various optometrists, optometric educators, optometric researchers, and students from around the country. Be sure to check out EastWest next year!