“We’re tweakers. We tweak all day long.”
During third year at ICO, students have the opportunity to join this great organization called the Contact Lens and Cornea Society. CLCS hosts numerous events throughout the year. During Lunch & Learns, the latest information in the field is presented; there are also workshops, when we get to practice fitting patients with different types of lenses.
Throughout first and second year, I remember walking by the second floor entrance to the Lecture Center and being curious about the regular occurrence of long tables covered with catered food. Now as a member of this elite society, I’m enjoying the eats while expanding my knowledge about contact lens and cornea. It’s honestly a win-win.
We’ve had a couple of Lunch & Learns so far, as well as a workshop. During one of the Lunch & Learns I learned all about Prokera, an innovative biological bandage tissue made of cryopreserved amniotic tissue. Prokera is superior to a basic bandage contact lens (BCL) because it promotes wound healing while reducing inflammation. Additionally, it can be used on corneas that have been infected, while basic BCLs cannot be. It’s a great concept and one whose suggestion in clinic may earn an approving nod. Maybe even a couple of 5’s on clinic evaluations. Anything is possible.
The first workshop CLCS hosted was on fitting soft toric lenses. The top four contact lens manufacturers partook in the event and representatives from each told us about the latest from their brand and helped guide our selections. The workshop began with breakfast and an illuminating address from guest speaker Dr. Rhonda Robinson. We learned about the benefits of making contact lenses a part of our future practices and how important it is to recommend contacts to patients who would be good candidates.
It was interesting to note that one in four patients is interested in contacts. Sometimes a patient wants to try contacts, but if lenses aren’t recommended by the doctor, the patient will assume that he or she is not a candidate for contacts and will not ask about them. A study showed that seven in 10 patients would be highly motivated to try lenses if they were recommended. If a patient says that they aren’t interested in contacts, it’s advisable to ask if they’ve ever worn lenses. Chances are they have worn lenses years ago that were uncomfortable or cumbersome to care for, but now could be happy with a new lens option. Dr. Robinson also highlighted the importance of trying the newest and latest products with patients and making changes as we go along instead of staying with the same old. “We’re tweakers,” she said. “We tweak all day long.” After talking about using contact lenses in practice, our guest speaker went over the toric lens designs from the four major manufacturers: Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, Vistakon and CooperVision.
From there we moved into the clinic and worked in groups of three or four under the guidance of a preceptor to fit patients that had astigmatism with each of the four toric lens options. I liked how we got to work with different lenses from each company and see the differences between the lens modalities and patient responses. While fitting the lenses we filled out a form for our own reference, entered data on NextGen, and indicated the patient’s top choice in the end.
After the fittings were complete, we enjoyed a lunch from Panera while wrapping up. All in all this was a great workshop that made me more comfortable fitting and handling toric lenses. The next workshop is for fitting multifocal lenses, something we’ve learned about in class but that I have not yet had experience with. I’m loving being a member of CLCS and learning tons more about this speciality while having hands-on experience.