Envision announced that Ione Fine, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle and an expert in brain plasticity and sight recovery technology, will deliver the keynote address at the 13th annual Envision Conference, to be held August 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, Kansas. She will speak at the conference’s plenary welcome session on Thursday, August 23, 2018. Envision Conference is the premier multidisciplinary gathering dedicated to advancing and disseminating knowledge about the causes, impact and rehabilitative opportunities tied to low vision.
Dr. Fine’s keynote presentation at Envision Conference, “Blindness, Brain Plasticity and Future Sight Recovery Technology,” will address how individuals who are blind come to understand the language and concepts of the sighted world and, ultimately, learn to navigate through it fluently. She will discuss what is known about brain plasticity – caused both by the loss of vision and the resulting need to rely more heavily on the remaining senses – the affect it has on brain development, the slowing down of the process later in life and the extent to which it might eventually be harnessed to interpret the information provided by sight recovery technologies.
“We are excited to have Dr. Fine lead off our 2018 program as the keynote speaker. Her research into brain plasticity and sight recovery technology has direct implications to the validity of vision rehabilitation interventions and clinical practice techniques for people who are blind or low vision,” said Michael Epp, manager of professional education at Envision. “Her work understanding the effects of blindness will prove increasingly important as new sight-restoration procedures such as retinal prosthetic implants, epithelial stem cell replacements, gene therapies, retinal transplants and others become available in the next few years and are incorporated further into the treatment of vision loss. She will provide the perfect foundation on which to launch several days of discussion centered around current and future approaches to addressing vision loss and impairment.”
A selected speaker at the National Eye Institute’s (NEI’s) 50th Anniversary Symposium focusing on low vision, Dr. Fine is a noted advocate for women in science and is currently a fellow of the Optical Society of America. She is considered a leader in the field of examining the perceptual experience of retinal implant patients. Her projects, which have direct correlation to vision loss and impairment, include a five-year study funded by the NEI to examine how neural responses to auditory stimuli might mediate the enhanced behavioral abilities observed in early blind individuals.
Presented annually by Envision, the Envision Conference draws optometrists, ophthalmologists, teachers of the visually impaired, occupational, rehabilitation and licensed visual therapists, researchers and suppliers of vision-related products and services. It has increasingly attracted researchers and practitioners from fields including psychology, neurology and other areas whose interests show real or potential ties to the field of vision.
Attendees gain access to 90 hours of clinical education and research sessions, receive updates and initiate opportunities to collaborate on the latest advancements in low vision rehabilitation, research, practice and technology. They can also view exhibits of the latest low vision products and services and share knowledge from around the globe in an effort to improve approaches to minimizing the adverse impact of vision loss.
As an added incentive, Envision Conference attendees can earn continuing education accreditation at many sessions through agencies including:
- The Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE);
- American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA);
- Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP);
- Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC); and
- Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).
At this year’s event, attendees will also have the opportunity to tour Envision’s headquarters, which houses a child development center, vision rehabilitation clinic, research facility and the newly launched William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center, aimed at training people who are blind or visually impaired, placing them into skilled positions and providing direct employment accessibility inclusion expertise to businesses around the United States.