Smart Education for Eyecare Professionals

By Paddy Kamen

eventoptifairBuilding on 15 years of success in educating eyecare professionals, the Academy of Ophthalmic Education (AOE) holds two continuing education seminars this autumn: October 29 and 30 in Toronto, and December 11 in Vancouver. Top speakers from leading schools across North America provide interactive seminars for continuing education credits in two streams, one for opticians and one for optometrists, as well as ophthalmic and optometric assistants.

The Khan Group, led by Yavar Ali Khan of Toronto, owns the AOE brand, in addition to Optifair, the trade show that accompanies the educational seminars. Khan is a licensed optician with an extensive background in optical education and regulation. He has revised and developed curriculum for ophthalmic dispensers at Toronto’s Ryerson University and extended that expertise into programs at Seneca College in Toronto and Georgian College in Barrie, ON. In addition to serving as chair and president of the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers (now the College of Opticians of Ontario), and as a board member of the Association of Ontario Opticians, Khan has also taught applied optics to ophthalmology residents at the University of Toronto.

It was no surprise that 600 opticians and 250 optometrists showed up for AOE and Optifair: attendance has been growing year over year. Clearly Khan is meeting a need in the continuing education market. The secret to his success? “I have always felt there is a desire for people to learn, but you have to give them something relevant,” explains Khan. “We have an advisory committee that brings suggestions to the table about what speakers they want to hear from and what they need to learn to stay current. Our objective is to keep the standard of education high by delivering top-quality education that really makes a difference to our attendees. We’re bringing in top educators, researchers and clinicians from across the spectrum.”

By directly serving both the opticianry and optometric communities, the AOE conferences bring the professions together in a positive learning environment. “By respecting each group’s knowledge and expertise we help to establish common ground,” explains Khan. “And exhibitors on the trade show floor value Optifair for the opportunity to visit with participants from both professions at the same show.”

Khan understands, on a very personal level, the benefits of mixing ‘the Os.’ One of his sons is, like him, a licensed optician, and another son (and daughter-in-law), along with Khan’s daughter (and her husband), are all optometrists. Which must make for some very lively discussions around the family dinner table!