Knowledge Fest 2015 – Empower And Elevate

The three-day event proved to be a truly engaging and informative one, with eminent speakers sharing their insights and knowledge with the delegates

Where: Pune, Maharashtra
When: Feb. 2-4, 2015

Yeshwant Saoji and Nilesh Thite
Yeshwant Saoji and Nilesh Thite, organisers of Knowledge Fest 2015

Organised by two of the most dynamic personalities and experts in the field of optometry, Masterclass Knowledge Fest was truly unique in many ways. The event was hosted at the Le Meridien Hotel, Pune, from February 2-4, 2015, and was attended by over 325 eye care professionals, about 70 per cent of whom were practitioners. A distinctive feature of this event was its agenda that touched upon the core specialty areas of optometry and the latest concerns and areas of interest in the field. This was accompanied by extensive workshops on various clinical skills conducted by experts in the field.

Day one began with a session on ‘Spectacular World’ which provided insights on various ways to upgrade consumers from basic to high-end products. Various advanced technologies involved in lens coatings and designs were discussed by Rishikesh Bapat and Ajay Mishra. Numerous simple and innovative ideas in optical dispensing, including demo tools and videos, were shared in the next session called ‘Put Your Practice In Top Gear’ by Ajay Shinde. Yeshwant Saoji made an interesting point on how one should promote oneself as a brand to create and retain loyal customers. This would be possible only by following the best practice methods, leading to happy and satisfied patients.

One of the most popular talks was ‘Understanding Consumer Psyche’, delivered by Pradnya Gogate in her signature style. This led to the next interesting session on ‘Internet Business’ led by Nilesh Thite and Rajesh Wadhwa who enlightened the delegates with the trends and views of all the stakeholders. This transitioned into an absorbing panel discussion on ‘How To Tackle Internet Business And Way Forward’, which brought a positive vibe amongst the professionals. The take-home message was that optometry is a healthcare profession involving patient care, and if you do your job right patients will remain loyal to your practice. The night ended with a gala dinner, the theme being ‘Fusion – East meets West’.

Day two started with an extensive panel discussion on optometric education, its practical aspects and views of various stakeholders who employ optometry students, ably moderated by Amod Gogate. The convening of this diverse panel threw light on some untouched points and the outcome would surely help in the betterment of the profession.

Professor James Wolffsohn from the British Contact Lens Association
Professor James Wolffsohn from the British Contact Lens Association

The next session on contact lenses (CL) covered important topics like managing CL dropouts, prescribing CL at an early age and how specialty CL practice is all about specialised care and not about specialty lenses. Darshini Desai, Nagesh Vuppala and Yeshwant Saoji made interesting presentations to highlight their points.

The most unique part of the scientific session was an innovative discussion called ‘On Sofa With Nilesh And Yeshwant’. In their inimitable style they discussed interesting points like – Is social media really useful, what are the benefits of various fellowships, etc. Later, they invited business leaders from three prominent contact lens companies, namely Rajan Sharma from Alcon, Indranil Chakravarty from Bausch + Lomb and Vivek Bhatnagar from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. The industry leaders gave their views on contact lens penetration, patient education and candidly answered some probing questions. This was probably the first time that these leaders were seen sharing the same dais.

The next two sessions were on clinical practice and binocular vision. Dr Parikshit Gogate and Ajay Shinde emphasised on collaboration with other eye care cadres like ophthalmology. Prasad Sawant reiterated his passion to become a clinician rather than being only a businessman. Rajeswari Mahadevan gave a brief account of the optometric instruments that professionals must understand and use. The binocular vision session was a pleasant surprise. All the speakers, namely Manisha Ghai, Aditya Goyal and Rizwana Jameel, made it easy and interesting for the delegates.

The biggest highlight of the event was the presence of Professor James Wolffsohn from the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA). He interviewed 20 eligible candidates for the Fellowship. It was a moment of pride for Indian optometry when all the appearing candidates were deemed fit and awarded the Fellowship.

Rajan Sharma from Alcon, Indranil Chakravarty from Bausch + Lomb and Vivek Bhatnagar from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care with Nilesh Thite and Yeshwant Saoji
Rajan Sharma from Alcon, Indranil Chakravarty from Bausch + Lomb and Vivek Bhatnagar from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care with Nilesh Thite and Yeshwant Saoji

Nilesh Thite introduced the BCLA session on the third day. He briefed the participants about the association of Masterclass and BCLA. Professor James Wolffsohn then presented a scientific talk where he elaborated on the various aspects of clinical examination – history taking, grading scales and record keeping, aspects of soft lens fit etc. This was followed by presentations from the recent Fellows of BCLA, which consisted of studies on Rose K lenses, upgrading to SiH lenses, multifocal contact lenses, Ortho K, CL dropouts. The felicitation ceremony of the Fellows took place thereafter.

The last leg of the conference included extensive workshops by experts on advance CL fittings, use of Slit lamp in CL fitting, vision therapy, consultative up selling, diagnostic instruments and fitting advanced PALs and troubleshooting.

The event was supported by a panel of experts consisting of Abhilekh Aneja, Isha Dave, Prasad Sawant, Prema Chande, Dr Rajeshwari Mahadevan, Ms Rizwana, Dr Shrikant Bharadwaj and Jayanta Bhattacharya. The organising team included Boman Barucha, Darshini Desai, Lakshmi Shinde, Monica Chaudhry, Dr Sunil Gawade and Vivek Mendonsa, with the support team consisting of Pradnya Gogate, Chinmay Deshpande, Aditi Deshpande and volunteers.

The conference was enthusiastically supported by industry partners (Platinum sponsors: Alcon, Gold sponsors: Bausch + Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Silver sponsor: Essilor, Courtesy sponsor: NECC) who participated in a big way in the form of presentations, exhibitions and various contests for the participants. All in all the conference was a grand success, truly the Masterclass way!

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