Save Sight Symposium

Otago Polytechnic symposium shines light on eye health

A Save Sight Symposium was held at Otago Polytechnic on Saturday 8 September 2018. This offered professionals and laypeople alike the opportunity to learn more about eye health.

The one-day symposium was the result of a collaboration between Otago Polytechnic, Retina NZ, Visual Impairment Charitable Trust New Zealand and the New Zealand Association of Optometrists. 

Key speakers included ophthalmologist Harry Bradshaw, who discussed the three main causes of preventable vision loss (injury, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration), and Emma Sandford, a physician qualified in the medical treatment of eye disorders, who discussed eye health and nutrition.

The messages in Emma’s keynote address were reflected in a lunch, after which participants could attend a 90-minute workshop presented by Matt Rudland, of the Blind Foundation, who tackled the challenges of making technology accessible for people with low vision.

Topics for other, shorter talks in the afternoon included brain injury and visual impairment, computer vision syndrome, how to avoid upper crossed syndrome (text neck), mobility scooters and low vision, ebikes and low vision, adventure sports and low vision, and vision screening for schoolchildren.

To round off the day, a lively collection of Dunedin’s most articulate and opinionated citizens debated the topic “Not waving but drowning: keeping our heads above the digital flood.”

We have been running awareness events for several years, but the symposium really broke the teaching silos. The event brought together students from across Otago Polytechnic to develop different elements as part of their learning projects. This included Occupational Therapy students screening school students using the Eyes Right Toolkit, and other OT students organising volunteers to cook lunch for the event.

Otago Polytechnic Information Technology students talked about the intergenerational volunteering program that they were engaged in over the previous six months, teaching older people to use their digital devices. Another IT student showcased the prototype for a virtual reality vision simulation app; and we also showcased an app that has been developed to help re-train vision for individuals how have had a stroke or brain injury.

This is the list of short talks:

·      David Bridgman:
o  “Brain injury and visual impairment”
·      Kelechi Ogbuehi :
o  “Computer vision syndrome”
·      Karley Bergersen:
o  “Upper Crossed Syndrome”
·      Keri McMullan :
o  “Mobility scooters and self-regulation”
·      Steve Ward:
o  “Ebikes and low vision
·    Adrienne Henderson:
o  “Adventure holidays and low vision”
·      Aleisha McMurray + Mary Butler:
o  “Eyes Right Toolkit report”
·      IT students:
o  “Bridging the digital divide report”