Calgary Conference On Nutrition And Vision 2008

The Vision Institute hosted a special two-day conference on Nutrition and Vision with 15 hours of optometric continuing education credits, a Book Fair, Ocular Imaging Workshop, and a Nutraceutical Trade Show in Calgary, Alberta at the TELUS Convention Centre on May 31st and June 1st, 2008. Speakers included Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD, Dr. Steven Pratt, MD, Dr. Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, Dr. Bernard Szirth, PhD, and Dr. Dhar Dhanda, MD.

This open optometric conference focused on the role of nutrition in eye disease, in conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, myopia and cataract. Dietitians and other health-care practitioners interested in nutrition and vision were welcome to register. Optometric Assistants were especially welcome to attend and received 15 hours of CAO Approved Educational Credits.

Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD, is a professor at Colorado State University and is a leading expert in the field of nutrition and fitness. He presented the opening keynote lecture: Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century. Dr. Cordain also lectured on the pathogenesis of juvenile-onset myopia, hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization, and the diet of our human ancestors. He has written extensively and is the author of the books The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes.

Dr. Steven Pratt, MD, is an ophthalmologist from California and the author of the 2004 best-selling book SuperFoods Rxand the 2006 book SuperFoods HealthStyle. Dr. Pratt has been a guest on the TV show "Oprah" promoting nutrition and vision. He presented several lectures based on his research on "superfoods" and “supernutrients” in ocular health. 

Dr. Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, was the lead investigator in the landmark VeteransLAST Study demonstrating the role of lutein and other antioxidants in macular degeneration. His interest in nutrition has made Dr. Richer one of the most knowledgeable scientist in the field of nutrition and vision research. His lectures included a presentation on Nutraceuticals vs. Pharmaceuticals. He also presented new information on "aging pigment" in the eye and brain and ways of reducing it with nutrition; carotenoids in the eye and brain, and the importance of proper vascular perfusion to the eye and brain.

Dr. Bernard Szirth, PhD, is the Director of TeleOphthalmology at the New Jersey Medical School and presented a lecture on the interpretation of digital retinal images in patients with nutritional deficiencies. An opportunity was provided for registrants to attend a workshop on retinal imaging during the course of the conference.

Dr. Dhar Dhanda, MD, is a retinal specialist affiliated with the University of British Columbia. He completed his Ophthalmology Residency in 2002 in London, Ontario, and his Vitreo-Retinal Fellowship at the University of Toronto in 2003. He practices in Vancouver with the Retina Surgical Associates.

There was a Nutraceutical Trade Show over the two day conference which highlighted the various vitamin and mineral supplements on the market for vision and eye health. This allowed practitioners to learn about the products that are on the market and what their patients may be using. There was also an Ocular Imaging Workshop sponsored by Pacific Medical and also a Book Fair that made available some of the most recent books on nutrition, vision, and health.

Special thanks to Novartis Canada for providing an unrestricted educational grant in support of this conference and helping us promote the role of nutrition in ocular health and to Pacific Medical for their sponsorship of our Ocular Imaging Workshop.

Last updated June 1st, 2008, after a very successful conference! Thanks to all who attended and to our speakers for a fantastic educational program.

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