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    Why I’m thankful for optometric conferences

    I recently had the opportunity to do something I’d never done before: attend a conference that had absolutely nothing to do with optometry. Now some of you will ask, “Don’t you go to enough of those things as it is?” Well, yes, but this one appealed to my creative side, it was an easy drive, so I decided to make this a belated birthday present to myself.

    Boy, was that a mistake.

    There is a certain acquired comfort at optometric conferences. Let’s face it, we’ve all been to so many that we know what to expect when we trudge off to whatever exotic locale the meeting organizers have chosen. We see people we know and hear lectures that interest us by speakers who are knowledgeable, informed and—if we’re lucky—entertaining. Lectures that are science-based and free of commercial content.

    Related: We want YOU for Optometry Times!

    That last statement is included for a reason. The conference I attended had absolutely nothing to do with science and was essentially a series of infomercials. Every presentation was tied to some book or blog the presenter had generated, and every presentation ended with, “Here’s my website, here’s my blog page, and I have book(s) for sale out in the hallway. You need to buy one!” Which may well be the norm; as I said, it was my first experience with a non-optometric conference. At least no one asked me to walk barefoot over hot coals. Still, the shameless hucksterism really left a sour taste.

    Ernie Bowling, OD, MS, FAAO
    Dr. Ernie Bowling is Chief Optometric Editor of Optometry Times. He received his Doctor of Optometry and Master of Science in ...


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