Keep your eyes peeled for Dr. Cheryl Murphy, and you might see yourself on Review of Optometry’s Facebook page.
One of the most noticeable changes to the course curriculum this year is its early start with the new Global Contact Lens Forum, beginning at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, and running through noon Thursday. This special program of classes serves up seven COPE-approved credit hours and aims to give practitioners sharper strategies for a smoother and more successful contact lens practice.
“The main theme of the forum is the business of contact lenses,” says Kirk Smick, OD, co-chairman of the VEE Conference Advisory Board. “The goal is to explore different aspects of the contact lens practice and demonstrate its contribution to the overall primary care optometric practice.”
Topics include: the use of technology, Internet and communication with patients; debates on contact lens wearing schedules; the ocular system’s response to contacts, and more. The Global Contact Lens Forum is hosted jointly by the British Contact Lens Association and Vision Expo East.
A Sizable Entree
If you’re looking for something substantial to sink your teeth into this year at VEE, you’ll find the conference CE menu packed with an inviting 19 hours of credits that will satisfy your craving to learn more about glaucoma.
The Special Glaucoma program was successfully offered last year at both Vision Expo East and West. “Its aim is to highlight the most important skills and knowledge that primary eye care optometrists need to regularly treat glaucoma,” says Richard Madonna, OD, a member of the VEE Conference Advisory Board.
“Optometry has been granted the privilege to manage glaucoma in almost every state, yet we have been disappointed in the number of ODs who say they actively manage the condition,” Dr. Madonna says. “This program highlights the areas in which the practitioner needs to be well versed in order to effectively provide glaucoma care.”
He also states that, “the program is taught by practitioners who regularly manage glaucoma, so it provides education that can be used immediately in practice. I believe that the courses have something for everyone, from the practitioner who doesn’t regularly manage glaucoma to docs experienced in glaucoma but who wish to learn a new pearl or two, [as well as those] who just want to be involved in the discussion.”
Attending the entire Special Glaucoma program provides practitioners with a comprehensive and thorough view of diagnosing, managing and treating glaucoma, but single classes in the program can be taken a la carte. “While the courses do proceed sequentially from diagnosis to treatment to grand rounds, attendees may wish to take only a few of the courses,” Dr. Madonna says.
Still hungry for more? There are plenty of topics and classes to devour, and the variety is part of Vision Expo’s draw. According to Dr. Smick, “more than 4,000 optometrists, opticians, practice managers and office staff come together to take courses at the Vision Expo meetings, [and] Vision Expo educates more eye care professionals than any other meeting in the United States.”
Course tracks include clinical, contact lens, optical technology and business topics. Specifically, “clinical subjects related to allergy, retinal disease and ocular emergencies continue to be well attended,” says Dr. Smick. “New techniques in refractive surgery and cataract surgery comanagement are always in demand. And, because diabetes is appearing in epidemic waves in our practices, any course dealing with current trends in diabetic management is popular.”
Courses that address children’s eye conditions are “gaining in popularity as the new Affordable Care Act will bring many underserved children into our practices,” he says.
Courses on new lens designs and treatments are once again coming into vogue, as doctors and opticians strive to protect their patients from harmful UV and blue light.
Dr. Smick also notes the importance of continuing education on macular degeneration and nutritional supplements. “Since the completion of the AREDS 2 study, doctors have been looking for the best formula to prescribe to their AMD patients,” he says. “Nutraceutical prescribing is at an all-time high because patients are eager to find the right solutions to this overwhelming eye disease.”
Also new for 2014 are 12 hours of CE that focus on neuro-ophthalmic disease to ensure that optometrists can diagnose these conditions promptly and manage them properly.
Finally, “Business Solutions is the heart and soul of Vision Expo,” says Dr. Smick. “This meeting has come to be known as the business center of the eye care professions.” More than 50 hours of business education cover all aspects of staff and practice management, government regulations and audits, as well as dispensary and contact lens business.
Sunday’s Cherry on Top
Sunday is the last day of courses at Vision Expo East, and attendees can choose to end it with something sweet by registering for the 12th Annual Ocular Nutrition Symposium, a full-day CE program from the Ocular Nutrition Society. (Attendees must pre-register at www.ocularnutritionsociety.org.)
“The ONS strives to bring in nutrition experts from outside of the eye care industry to discuss the true science behind nutrition,” says ONS president Jeffrey Anshel, OD. “Our programs offer insight into how nutrition can bring about positive results for our patients.”
Topics include nutrigenetics in eye disease, the role of lutein in visual function and in the brain, early detection of macular degeneration structure and function, evidence-based nutrition and how to bring your newfound nutrition knowledge into practice. The ONS symposium at VEE includes lunch and concludes with “a cabernet, chocolate and chatter” social hour.