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By Optometry Australia

With its 2,200 registered delegates, Optometry Virtually Connected has become one of the largest optometric clinical conferences and trade shows held in Australia and New Zealand.

The virtual event, created by Optometry Australia, attracted optometrists based throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific with a reach also extending to the United States and Europe.

Throughout the 2.5-day online event held from 26-28 June 2020, an average 900 delegates attended each of the live CPD webcasts hosted by Optometry Australia and an average 230 viewed each of Optometry Australia’s seven on-demand CPD webcasts. In addition, on average 417 delegates attended each supplier CPD session hosted on the Optometry Virtually Connected platform.

Over 300 delegates attended the virtual welcome cocktail function, taking the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and to view the launch of ‘We are here’, a highly motivational song written by Optometry Australia’s own Sophie Koh in collaboration with Robin Waters and sung by Sophie with contributions from members.

The 23 exhibitors based in the product showcase welcomed up to 460 visitors to each of their stands throughout the event with major product sales reported to have taken place.

“We could not be more delighted with how our members, New Zealand optometrists and product suppliers responded to this event. Feedback has been terrific”, Optometry Australia’s President Darrell Baker said.

“Optometry Virtually Connected represents a new way of delivering a multi-day conference and trade exhibition utilising technology that is just beginning to gain traction globally. We are pleased to be at the forefront of bringing this type of event to the optometry sector in our region. As this becomes more widespread, I’m sure we’ll see rapid changes in the technology around these virtual conferences.

“We did manage a range of technical issues but we worked through them to create a successful event for those who participated. As this is a first of its kind in Australia, and essentially a bit of a testing ground, we have learnt a lot to ensure that our next Optometry Virtually Connected will run even better than this one.

“Driven by the needs of our members, we are anticipating holding a second event as this innovative online platform enables delegates to maintain patient appointments and to meet personal commitments within a highly flexible learning environment.

“I found it especially attractive, as I was able to work on the Friday and Saturday, move in and out of the conference, and maintain patient commitments between lectures and video connection with delegates”, Mr Baker said.

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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.