The Optometric Council on Refractive Technology (OCRT) will hold its second full-day educational meeting Wednesday, December 8, 2005, in conjunction with American Academy of Optometry (AAO) meeting in San Diego.

The OCRT was organized in February 2002 to bring together optometrists who have an interest in refractive technology. According to Louis Phillips, O.D., president of OCRT, significant numbers of optometrists throughout the world are actively involved in this field. Obviously, thousands of O.D.s are involved in clinical care, he says. Additionally, a large number of O.D.s are involved in research, business ownership, manufacturing and education.

The OCRT meeting is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for these clinicians, researchers and business owners to come together to gather information, interact with one another and meet with manufacturers.

OCRT associated with the AAO and held the first meeting in December 2004. The inaugural meeting was an unqualified success, says Lou Catania, O.D. Many of the top optometrists in the country presented on topics that included a debate on wavefront, the emergence of intraocular procedures for refractive errors, corneal structure and its response to treatment, and optometric ownership.

As impressive as the program was, even more impressive was the level of expertise of the attendees, who came from all over the country, says Paul Karpecki, O.D. The evening social also gave these O.D.s time to meet one another.

Says Dr. Phillips: Optometry needs a strong voice in refractive technology. We are, after all, the profession that manages refractive care. And, as more options become available, it is becoming increasingly complicated to determine which treatment best fits a given patients needs. The patients optometrist is in the best position to make this decision with the patient.

Dr. Phillips says that the rest of the world has discovered what O.D.s have always known: 20/20 vision is not necessarily good vision. Glare and contrast sensitivity can be as important as acuity.

It is important to choose the modality that best fits the patients vision needs, says Wally Ryne, O.D. Each procedure has a risk-benefit profile that is unique to it.

One of the major roles for OCRT will be to bring this information to the optometric community from an optometric perspective. We are planning to do this through the annual meeting, regional educational meetings, and by encouraging research and writing in the field, says board member Jim Owen, O.D., of San Diego. For many optometrists, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find objective sources of information in the field.

Founding member Michael Twa, O.D., of Ohio State University, is making sure that a role for OCRT includes assisting colleges of
optometry in educating students and encouraging research in these evolving treatment modalities.

Inevitably, there will be a political role for this organization. There are ongoing attempts by ophthalmology to restrict patient access to optometric care by restricting refractive surgery comanagement and limiting access to information through its restrictions on optometric attendance at educational meetings, says Dr. Phillips.

But OCRT was not established as a reaction to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery or the American Academy of Ophthal-mology placing restrictions on optometric attendance at their meetings. We established OCRT in 2002well before these actions were taken, he says. Our mission is to bring the best experts in refractive technology together, whoever they may be, for the good of the field and, ultimately, for the benefit of the patient. Nobody will be restricted from attending our meeting.

Planning for the 2005 meeting in San Diego is under way. An exciting program with more time for open discussion and debate is being planned, says Marc Bloomenstein, O.D., program chair. Optometrists who attended last years meeting were very impressed, and we are making sure that this years meeting elicits the same response.

OCRT is open to anyone who has an interest in the field. Meeting announcements and membership information will be available soon. OCRT is organized as a 501 C3 non-profit educational corporation.

For more information, contact Dr. Phillips at

Vol. No: 142:9Issue: 9/15/2005