by Debbie Jan, MLIS, AHIP
Optometry and Health Sciences Librarian
Fong Optometry and Health Sciences Library
University of California, Berkeley
With the assistance of an NNLM PSR Professional Development Award, I was able to attend the 2019 Association of Vision Sciences Librarians (AVSL) Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the American Academy of Optometry (Academy) and 3rd World Congress of Optometry in Orlando, FL, on October 23-28, 2019. This year was a special meeting for AVSL as it is its 50th anniversary. AVSL is a Medical Library Association (MLA) Special Interest Group and Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) Special Interest Group. Meeting twice a year with a mid-year meeting at MLA and an annual meeting at Academy, AVSL is an active, international group of vision science librarians. It provides many resources (e.g. Standards for Vision Science Libraries, Opening Day List, and Whitelist for Vision Science Journals) for anyone interested or working in vision sciences. Membership is free.
At the AVSL meeting, I met with other vision science librarians and learned about recent federal vision funding activities, new eye and vision-related MeSH terms, what’s happening with the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, and much more. During our Boards Review discussion, I shared information about the Berkeley Study Guide for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry Exam. And from Rudy Barreras’ Evidence Based Eye Care at WesternU presentation, I noticed some techniques to incorporate into my evidence-based optometry instruction. At Western University of Health Sciences, Rudy and a faculty member created a spiral bound workbook, where students take notes and do all of their assignments. Students work individually and in groups during the course to learn how to Ask, Acquire, Appraise, and Apply evidence-based information. In my presentation, UC and Transformative Publishing Models: A Journey, I shared highlights of the University of California’s transition to transformative publishing agreements that incorporate open access with subscriptions.
One presentation I attended was I Have What in My Eyes? Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the Eye. STDs can manifest in one’s eyes without the patient ever knowing. It’s possible to have chlamydial conjunctivitis without simultaneously having genital chlamydia. And, of course, who knew there were three kinds of lice or that lice could live on your eyelashes? Another presentation was Painless Shingles and the Zoster of Tomorrow, where I found out herpes zoster ophthalmicus can present without any pain. From these University of California, Berkeley (UCB) presentations and others on diabetic retinopathy and restrictive strabismus, I gained insights into my faculty’s research and what publications are important to them. They use a wider range of journal publications than I had realized and I will keep these in mind if further journal reductions happen in the future. I also attended other non-UCB presentations such as From the Smart Phone to the Smart Home: A Case Based Review of Low Vision Technology where I discovered how smartphone features and apps (e.g. Siri, Aira, Color ID, BARD Mobile) and common existing technology (e.g. video door bells, smart light bulbs, smart refrigerators, talking scales) can be used to assist patients with low vision. This made me start thinking how I could best support our Low Vision Clinic. On my last day, I attended the Global Summit on Optometric Education where I sat at a table with optometric educators from around the world to discuss how to support optometry as a profession, professional development for optometric educators, curriculum development across nations, and equipment needs.
In the Exhibit Hall I encountered many of our Optometry students and joined them in the Hoop It Up 20/20 Challenge, a virtual basketball competition between optometry schools. Alas, UCB only came in 3rd but the goal of having 2,020 games played was achieved and the Alcon Foundation donated $25,000 to the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. The final highlight was when I attended a faculty presentation and my faculty member told me her presentation would not have been possible without my assistance in getting her the information she needed to prepare it!