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SIODEC Conference

TVTO Continuing Education  |  March 2019  |  SIODEC Conference

Report by Dr. April Eryou

I recently had the pleasure of representing the Canadian Optometrists in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation at the SIODEC bi-annual conference in Granada, Spain March 28-31st 2019.  The conference was held over 3 days and had over 400 attendees.

Here are some of the great pearls that I am bringing back with me from the conference:

  • Carl Hillier, the keynote speaker: spoke to us about the discovery of Mirror Neurons.  These neurons fire when a person observes an action they want to learn.  They are very important in the learning process
  • Richard Bruenech: spoke to use about ocular proprioception.  He discussed the importance of nerves in our extra-ocular muscles in helping us move our eyes appropriately.  He also discussed their importance in our balance system
  • Jurgen Eichinger: Discussed how we can measure a patient’s fixation disparity.  He demonstrated how a patient’s fixation disparity can be associated with their body and head posture.  Using the appropriate prescription, including prismatic correction, can improve not only the patient’s posture, but also improve their entire visual function.
  • Inaki Pastor, a physiotherapist: spoke about the importance of the ocular-cervical reflex.  He discussed how poor development of this reflex can affect visual function and posture in children.  He also discussed how injuries (including whip lash) to the neck can impair this reflex and cause significant balance and visual symptoms.  He emphasized the importance of collaboration between physiotherapists and optometrists.
  • Pilar Vergara: spoke to us about how the visual system affects how easy it is for people to learn music.  She showed us the visual difficulties that exist when a person is required to read a single line of music (ex: violin) compared to multiple staffs of music (piano music).  She also reminded us that in certain head positions required for specific musical instruments, that may put the eyes in a position that makes it difficult for them to focus and track efficiently.  We were lastly reminded on the importance of glasses adjusted to the focal distance of the music the musician is reading.
  • Helena Vidal Llop: spoke to us on how to adjust the cognitive load with different vision therapy exercises.  She elaborated on the hart chart, giving us options to make it more and more difficult.  This reminded me of the importance of ensuring the eye movements are able to be done without the need for cognitive support.

The conference had a broad range of topics, that inspired me to contemplate the work I do in the office with my strabismic patients, those with balance difficulties and with my patients who find reading challenging.  It was exciting to learn from and share ideas with Behavioural Optometrist from many different countries.