How virtual is the world you experience? Are you lost without a mobile device or internet connection? Or, does face-to-face communication still account for the majority of your daily social interactions? For many of us, social media and online education create comfortable environments that enmesh virtual and reality, making it easy to be a participant and engage with familiar or not-so-familiar faces and names. For the not-so-familiar, just like in physical meetings, networking is a great way to learn and grow in your profession, but what does it even mean to network at a virtual event?
Once you find yourself at your computer screen in a lecture chat room, how do you connect with that optometrist sitting across the digital terrain? At our virtual conference –SiB- the answer relies on building a familiarity with the names you see, and to be willing to put yourself out there. We’d like to help by introducing you to some of our new speakers before the show even begins.
And so, it is our pleasure to introduce you to Dr. Charles Boulet from Alberta, CA, who will be logging in live this January to provide education at SiB.
Dr. Boulet was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, grew up in northeastern Alberta, and now resides in Okotoks, Alberta. Okotoks is home to the world’s largest glacial erratic, “Big Rock”, located about 7 km west of the town. With the high elevations and bright sun exposing residents to extreme climates, the importance of having a regular visit to the optometrist is amplified. “The community had virtually no basic optometry coverage until I arrived,” says Dr. Boulet, “and there are a large number of families in the region who need treatment, particularly for developmental optometry.”
The Rocky Mountains definitely make for a pretty sight to see in 20/20, too. During his free time, Dr. Boulet enjoys hiking, photography, and community development through varied organizations. He is also serious about Yoga Therapy which is becoming a greater part of his therapeutic work.
Yoga at Waterton Lakes National Park with Dr. Boulet's daughter.
The behavioral side of vision and how it impacts a child’s development has always driven his passion for optometry. He traces his roots back to his professors at Pacific University, who were the first to introduce him to this cause; he’s been an educator since 1991 and has dedicated his Practice, Diamond Valley Vision Care, to developmental optometry since 2010. His specialties within eye care cover research and clinical practice in pediatrics, vision development, and visual impediments to learning.
When asked about his most memorable experience in the field, there are of course many. Dr. Boulet’s practice regularly sees children come in through the doors struggling with behavior and learning issues, often diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, who see a complete turnaround after their vision concerns are addressed. Every experience is truly unforgettable for him.
From his perspective, the near future of eye care will yield success for ODs who emphasize vision care over eye care. “Technology will continue to advance and permit greater detailed analysis of ocular health concerns, but those ODs who maintain emphasis on visual function and visual rehabilitation will more easily distinguish themselves. Those who remain focused on ocular health and refractions alone will continue to struggle against market forces.” Additionally, he mentions that the ACA (the Affordable Care Act for US practitioners) makes it clear that there will be an increase in uptake for exams, especially with other movements towards legislated vision management for children. Some good news he shares is that “new innovations in lens products make it easier to manage more common concerns even in a general optometric practice, like visual strain, amblyopia, and aniseikonia.” We’re excited to hear more from Dr. Boulet in 2014.
Listen to and discuss these issues and more with Dr. Charles Boulet this January 30th, from 6pm to 7pm EST as he speaks on the “Visual Impediments to Learning” at SiB.
Be on the lookout for Part 2 of this series as we make our way from Alberta to Florida to introduce you to our next SiB speaker, Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford.