SECO is well known for its annual Congress in Atlanta each winter, but its summer CE offering has quickly become a popular venue for optometrists to gain the latest insights on new treatments, technologies and a look at what’s ahead in optometry. SECO held its latest summer summit in Vancouver July 26-29, where optometrists were able to take advantage of 14 hours of world-class education, including enlightening sessions on collagen cross-linking, recent advances in cataract surgery, and nutrition from AMD to Z.

“This was a unique meeting in a beautiful city… another SECO first!” says Paul C. Ajamian, O.D., General Chairman of the SECO CE Committee. “I hope that many more doctors will make the SECO Summer Meeting a part of their education and family vacation plans.”

Cutting-Edge Surgery
Dr. Ajamian kicked off the meeting Thursday and presented his course “Cataract Surgery: A Look Ahead” in which he offered his expert perspective on the latest techniques for managing cataract patients, with an emphasis on the pluses and minuses of the femtosecond laser. Some cataract surgeons expect “femto-phaco” to be a game-changer that improves outcomes, particularly in patients receiving premium IOLs to correct astigmatism or presbyopia. These lenses are chosen by patients who have high expectations, and precise refractive outcomes may be more easily attained with femto-based procedures. Other surgeons are reluctant to adopt the technology, citing concerns about decreased productivity and a yet-to-be-determined financial model to pay for the equipment.

Then, education Co-Chair Paul Karpecki, O.D., took the baton for a memorable presentation on another cutting-edge topic in eye care: collagen cross-linking, an investigational procedure that strengthens collagen bonds in the corneas of patients affected by keratoconus or post-LASIK ectasia by applying riboflavin followed by UV light. His discussion highlighted important clinical pearls in the diagnosis of keratoconus and forme fruste keratoconus and contrasted their typical clinical presentations with other findings, such as ocular surface disease, that can also cause an irregular corneal surface. With international research and current U.S. trials holding significant promise, Dr. Karpecki updated attendees on this new treatment.

“The participants for this program were a mix of both Canadian and American optometrists,” notes Dr. Karpecki. “Since the Canadian optometrists had experience with cross-linking, they were able to share insights into the technology that will likely help our U.S. patients with corneal ectasia conditions as the treatment becomes more widespread.”

Food for Thought
Friday was also a stellar day for non-surgical CE as Kim Reed, O.D., and Steven Ferrucci, O.D., engaged in a lively back and forth look at the role of nutrition in ocular health and eye disease. Dr. Reed presented a course titled “You Are What You Eat” and shed some light on food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, explaining how these conditions affect systemic and ocular health, including a review of all pertinent current literature about inflammatory responses to food and environmental substances. Then Drs. Reed and Ferrucci joined forces to present “Nutrition from AMD to Z,” a rapid-fire review of micronutrients involved in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration and other ocular diseases.

“The speakers explained how the foods we eat affect systemic and ocular health, and continued in that vein by detailing how certain micronutrients are related to AMD and other ocular diseases,” Dr. Karpecki says. “Once again, our attendees came away with new and thought-provoking ideas in treating their patients.”

Following a day of education, attendees and presenters cooled down in Vancouver during SECO’s social events, including the welcoming and sponsor receptions.
On Saturday, it was another SECO first, “Paul and Paul in the Morning,” as Drs. Ajamian and Karpecki, both leading comanagement experts, discussed a variety of anterior segment cases that highlighted new technologies and therapeutic modalities.

Following that session, Michael Chaglasian, O.D., took to the podium for “Keeping Up with the Chaglasians: Glaucoma 2012,” in which he discussed keeping up in glaucoma by understanding risk analysis for ocular hypertension, sleep apnea, treatment of pre-perimetric glaucoma, new glaucoma severity codes, visual field progression and adjunctive medications.

The last day of SECO’s summer meeting did not disappoint. Sunday’s session opened with Drs. Chaglasian and Ferrucci presenting a timely review of OCT technology and its role in optometric practice, including current approaches to the diagnosis and management of patients using the latest technology.

Then Dr. Ferrucci took to the stage alone for “Comanagement of Retinal Procedures,” where he described the optometrist’s role—including pre-operative and post-operative care where appropriate—in patients undergoing both surgical and in-office retinal procedures, with an emphasis on intravitreal injections.

The summer meeting wrapped up with Dr. Ajamian’s “Know Your IOLs” talk, in which he enlightened audience members on lens implants and what optometrists need to know to ensure their cataract patients are fully informed about the latest options. He also covered the many choices patients have in IOLs and how optometrists can play a key role in educating patients during the IOL selection process.

“Sunday’s courses culminated an amazing week of education,” says Dr. Ajamian, who cites diverse topics such as “Comanagement of Retinal Procedures,” “All About the OCT” and “Know Your IOLs” that attendees rated highly. “The Vancouver 2012 program delivered world-class education in a first-class location. Attendees got to cool down in this lovely waterfront city as they geared up for better patient care with useful information that they could immediately implement in their practices.”

Coming Next
After the conference returns to Atlanta once again next winter for its long-running annual meeting (February 7-March 3), the mid-year program will head westward, with the summer CE conference slated for San Francisco next July. Keep your eyes peeled for details!