NZAO Conferences

Save the date! This years annual NZAO conference will be held in Paihia, in the glorious Bay of Islands.  Join us on 12th and 13th October at the 4 star waterfront hotel, Copthorne Hotel for a 2-day program of educational presentations and collegial social events. Keep an eye out for future issues of TVC where we will announce the opening of registrations.



Click here to register


Friday 12 October
START 9:00am
FINISH 5:05pm
Saturday 13 October
START 8:15am
AGM: 9:30am
FINISH 5:30pm
ANNUAL DINNER 7:30pm – 12am

DAY 1   Friday    
9.00   OPENING NZAO President Welcome Speech
9.15     Joseph Sowka Mistakes to avoid in neuro-ophthalmic disease
10.00     Paula Katalinic Connecting the dots in diabetic retinopathy: what has changed?
10.45   Morning Tea    
11.15     Ally Xue Fun with broad spectrum ray guns - Intense pulse light therapy for meibomian gland dysfunction
11.45     Lori Vollmer Nutrition, modifiable risk factors and ocular disease 
12.45   Lunch    
13.30     Joseph Sowka Mistakes to avoid in glaucoma management
14.15     Samantha Simkin Community optometry - Blind and Low Vision Education Network of NZ (BLENNZ) and the role of optometrists in assessment and solving paediatric vision problems
15.00   Afternoon Tea    
15.30     Paula Katalinic Grand rounds: advanced imaging
16.15     Danielle Ross Community optometry - how optometrists can work with their local school to improve education outcomes for children with learning difficulties
17.05     close  
DAY 2   Saturday    
8.15     Joseph Sowka Mistakes to avoid in anterior segment and retinal disease
9.00     Hans Vellara The Adventures of Hans Episode 2: the journey from corneal research bench to clinic chair continues!
9.30   AGM    
10.45   Morning Tea    
11.15     Trevor Gray TBA Ocular lecture trifecta
12.00     Paula Katalinic Looking peripherally - practice tips for optometrists
12.30   Lunch    
13.30     Richard Johnson Eye department cases to make you think
14.00     Lori Vollmer Managing ocular trauma: from front to back
14.45     Dean Corbett Primary care referral dilemma: should I refer my patient to another optometrist for ortho-k or to an ophthalmologist for refractive surgery?
15.30   Afternoon Tea    
16.00     Brian Kent-Smith TBA Clinical adventures in the Southern Hemisphere
16.45     Jack Crawford Show and tell - Quickfire pearls for clinical practice 
17.00     Richard Johnson  
17.15     Lori Vollmer  
17.30   close Joseph Sowka  
7.30 to 12.00   ANNUAL DINNER    




Joseph Sowka, O.D., FAAO, Dipl.

Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a Diplomate in Glaucoma. Dr Sowka has held numerous Chair positions within the American Academy of Optometry. Currently, Dr. Sowka is Professor of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry where he serves as Chief of the Advanced Care Center and Director of the Glaucoma Service. He also serves as Chair for the Department of Optometric Clinical Sciences. His clinical responsibilities are devoted exclusively to the diagnosis and care of patients with glaucoma.

Lori Vollmer, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Dr. Vollmer is currently an Associate Professor of Optometry and Program Coordinator for the Primary Care Residency Programs within Nova Southeastern  University.  She is an attending optometric physician for the primary care clinic at The Eye Institute in Broward County. Her professional interests lie in ocular disease and nutrition. Her lecturing interests involve anterior and posterior segment disease, trauma, medical and surgical management and nutrition. She also teaches a course in Ocular Nutrition and the Eye. She is a member of the Optometric Nutrition Society, member of the American Optometric  Association, and a Member of International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)

Paula Katalinic, BOptom (Hons), MOptom, GradCertOcTher

Paula has worked in both rural and urban optometric practice and spent 3.5 years at Joslin Diabetes Centre's Beetham Eye Institute in Boston. Most recently, she was a Staff Optometrist in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at The University of New South Wales and is currently on the clinical staff of the Centre for Eye Health UNSW and works part-time as the Professional Services Manager at the Optometrists Association Australia (NSW Division). Her clinical interests are in retinal pathology (with a particular interest in diabetic retinopathy) and colour vision.


Click here to register



Copthorne Hotel

Accommodation is available at the conference location, however, spaces are limited on the Thursday (the night before conference begins). October is a busy time of year, so we suggest you get your accommodation booked as soon as possible. In order to receive these rates bookings MUST come hotel direct (can call if you prefer: T +64 9 402 7411) or email the hotel using the booking form below. Any enquiries can be made to – these rate are not available on their website.
Bed & Breakfast Rate Single Occupancy - $155.00 per night.
Bed & Breakfast Rate Double Occupancy - $175.00 per night.

The above rates are per room per night, based on a single, twin share or double occupancy and include a full cooked buffet
breakfast per person. 

Download the booking form below and send to to receive the discounted rate:




NZAO 2017 Conference | NZAO 2016 ConferenceNZAO 2015 Conference | NZAO 2014 Conference | NZA0 2013 Conference | 
NZAO 2012 Conference