Low Vision News

For low vision specialists and those who consult them

European Congress on Visual Impairment reviewed

I have just returned from the European Congress on Visual Impairment in Valladolid, Spain. As I promised in a blog post several months ago. Valladolid is an attractive city, and the conference was interesting.

I particularly enjoyed the contribution from Jan Lovie-Kitchin from Australia, who presented very interesting work on mobility in visual field loss. She is trying to determine the point at which people with visual field loss should be referred for mobility training (I had always assumed people need referral when they report mobility difficulties: of course the best situation would be people get assessed BEFORE they have mobility difficulties). Other highlights for me were some of the research presentations, and the keynote talks by Aries Arditi and Bob Massof.

I was a bit disappointed by the large proportion of speakers who were from the USA and particularly the implication by one speaker that “the USA is the best for low vision care and maybe one day Europe will catch up”. Low vision care in much of Europe, particularly in Holland and Sweden, is (in my opinion) superior to that offered in much of the USA. Whats more, low vision devices are state funded in much of Europe…

It was a shame that the research sessions did not have translation and weren’t stratified by language, so many sessions had a couple of Spanish presentations then a couple of English presentations. For those of us with no Spanish this made the conference a bit difficult to navigate. Further, the programme did not include the speaker’s name in the research sessions which was frustrating.

Apart from these minor gripes, the conference was enjoyable and informative. I hope there are many more European meetings which follow this model.

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