Low Vision Goes High Profile at Envision Conference 2013


Alex Bowers, MC(Optom), PhD, (c) an assistant scientist and assistant professor with the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, recipient of the Envision Award in Low Vision Research with Envision's Michael Epp (l), and Michael
Monteferrante (r).

MINNEAPOLIS—The 8th annual Envision Conference 2013, held here last month at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis focused on low vision research, rehabilitation and education, and brought together an international audience of professionals, academics and others aligned with the fields of vision research and rehabilitation. The conference attracted 227 attendees and some 26 exhibitors, mainly comprised of assistive technology and adaptive aids, education, lens and prism manufacturers, diagnostic testing companies.

Held each September, Envision Conference brings together ophthalmologists, optometrists, occupational therapists, medical researchers, students and instructors from leading low-vision optometry schools and other professionals and academics to focus on improving the quality of low-vision care through collaboration, advocacy, research and education. The 2013 conference agenda featured both clinical education and research presentations, as well as an exhibit hall with vendors from all over the country displaying the latest in technology and services in vision rehabilitation, books and optometric supplies.

At the Opening Plenary Session kicking off the conference, Envision presented two prestigious awards to two individuals who have contributed most substantially to furthering research and facilitating collaborative efforts toward addressing low vision and the conditions that cause it. August Colenbrander, MD, PhD, an affiliate senior scientist of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, and Alex Bowers, MC(Optom), PhD, an assistant scientist and assistant professor with the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, respectively, were honored with the 2013 Envision Oculus Award and Envision Award in Low Vision Research.

August Colenbrander, MD, PhD, an
 affiliate senior scientist of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, recipient of the 2013 Envision Oculus Award,with Envision's Michael
 Epp (l), and Michael Monteferrante (r).

The Envision Oculus Award is presented to individuals or organizations whose efforts in professional collaboration, advocacy, research or education have had a significant national or international impact on people who are blind or low vision.

In addition to the awards ceremony and a keynote address by internationally renowned pediatric ophthalmologist Lea Hyvärinen, MD, PhD, FAAP, a noted authority on vision assessment and screening, highlights of Envision Conference 2013 included the following sessions: Functional Assessment and Rehabilitation with Prosthetic Vision, presented by Gislin Dagnelie, PhD; Duane Geruschat, PhD, COMS, CLVT; Nilima Tanna, Occupational Therapist, CLVT; and Jessy Dorn, PhD. Visual Rehabilitation Training with Implantable Miniature Telescope for End-Stage Age-Related Macular Degeneration–Occupational Therapy and Optometry, presented by Laura Miller, OD; and Karl Hammer, OT.

Envision Conference 2014 will also be held at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, next September 17 to 20. For more details or to register, visit www.envisionconference.org.

Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or low vision. Founded in 1933, Envision is one of the largest employers of individuals with vision loss in the nation. Headquartered in Wichita, Kan., Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration for the blind and visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research. For more information, visit www.envisionus.com.