This year, I had the incredible opportunity of traveling to Fort Worth, TX to attend the Alcon Academy for Eye Care Excellence. Every year, third- and fourth-year optometry students are invited by Alcon, in an all-expenses paid trip, to their headquarters in Fort Worth to learn about the latest technology in contact lenses and other products. I was able to learn so much on this trip and it was a nice little break from long weeks of clinic and classes.
I started off my trip by arriving in Dallas, which is a short drive from Fort Worth. I decided to fly in a little early to allow for time to explore on my own before the events began. I was very excited to be in Dallas because of one major attraction in the downtown area... the Giant Eyeball! Now I wouldn't be a true optometry student if that wasn't the first place I checked out. After taking a million pictures by the Giant Eyeball, I headed over for lunch at a local Italian restaurant and enjoyed some of the best manicotti I've ever had. Following this, I made my way to the Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth, where I would be spending the weekend.
The first event of the weekend was a dinner in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, where I enjoyed a three-course meal while listening to lectures by optometrists about the latest Alcon contact lens products. In addition to learning about their products, the highlight of this event was being able to try out colored contact lenses and monthly lenses for myself. This was such a great opportunity to experience these products first hand, and will ultimately lead to better patient education for my future patients.
The next day started off bright and early with a breakfast in the hotel lobby and departure to the Alcon headquarters. I was seated in a beautiful lecture hall where all students had an array of products at their seats to take home with them. The beginning of the day consisted of lectures about patient education, multifocal contact lenses, and eye drops, to name a few.
After plenty of snacks between lectures and a buffet style lunch, I proceeded to take a short walk to another building on the grounds. This building housed machinery developed for ophthalmic surgeries, latest Alcon products, and so much more. All students were able to participate in three different workshops in this building, which included performing a mock cataract surgery, chatting with a patient about their experience using multifocal contact lenses, and also trying the latest technology in dry eye devices! After finishing up the different workshops, all students were sent off to the airport with a bag of snacks to hold us off until we arrived home.
Overall, this was an amazing jam-packed weekend which allowed for a lot of hands on learning which I felt was incredibly valuable as a future optometrist. I learned so much, especially in the topic of patient education, and I have been applying this knowledge to my interactions with my patients in clinic. I highly recommend that optometry students attend this event for some education outside of the classroom, and a short break away from the responsibilities of an optometry student!
If you would like to see more of what went on during this weekend, check out my vlog!