Despite Mother Nature’s winter fury, some 7,000 eye care professionals from across the nation and around the world gathered from February 10 through February 14 to attend SECO’s much-anticiapted annual meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. This year’s theme: “Embracing the Generations.”

SECO 2010 offered almost 350 hours of continuing education, including special sessions, hourly lectures, hands-on workshops, certification reviews and joint education for the entire optometry office; and in keeping with the “Embracing the Generations” theme, many of these courses focused on generational patient care topics.

Dr. Leonard Press, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., F.A.A.O., introduced the panel at the special session, “All in the Family.” Panelists included (from left) Andrea Thau, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., F.A.A.O.; Jack Schaeffer, O.D.; Joseph Sowka, O.D., F.A.A.O., Dipl.; and Paul Freeman, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., F.A.A.O.
“Each generation of patient brings different treatment challenges for optometric practitioners,” says Jonathan L. Shrewsbury, O.D., President of SECO International. As such, course topics ranged from customizing infant eye exams to providing glaucoma treatment option for baby boomers and comanaging cataract surgery for seniors.

SECO also recognized that optometry professionals span the generations and have different needs. “We wanted our courses at SECO to help optometry professionals of all ages and levels of experience remain informed of new clinical treatments, diagnostic equipment, fashion trends and practice management techniques so they can maximize office productivity and provide the best patient care possible,” Dr. Shrewsbury says.

This year, the O.D. Continuing Education program had 16 new educational tracks, including:

• An Eye to the Future, which looked ahead with major advancements that may affect how optometry is practiced.
• Birth of a Practice, which offered insight on the right tools to own and operate a new practice.
• Decades, which focused on individual needs and interests of patient groups.
• Fountain of Youth, which discussed opportunities for patients who want to maintain their appearance using surgical, laser and contact lens modalities.
• Kids and Beyond helped the primary care doctor feel comfortable examining infants, children and all patients with binocular anomalies.
• Mysteries of the Brain explored the conditions of Alzheimer’s, stroke, brain injuries and addiction and the relationship to patients and their eyes.

New CE Regulations
Despite tough economic times, the quality of education at SECO was every bit as excellent as ever. This past year has also been an important one for refining continuing education. In June 2009, the Steering Committee for Independent Continuing Education (ICE) for Optometry released voluntary guidelines on the relationship of industry support of continuing education.

The ICE committee, chaired by SECO’s own Paul Ajamian, O.D., F.A.A.O., general chairman of the SECO CE committee, included members from SECO, the American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry and Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, along with industry leaders.

Basically, the guidelines say that industry support should be in the form of educational grants with no strings and no commercial bias. “This has been a landmark year for continuing education,” says Dr. Ajamian, chair of the ICE steering committee. “The ICE guidelines are another step toward trying to separate promotional messages from continuing education.”

Promotional meetings and continuing education for credit are both very useful, Dr. Ajamian says. But the guidelines create a distinction so that attendees know exactly what they’re getting before they step into the lecture room.

To that end, SECO established a Symposium Series supported by its Diamond and Platinum level Partners. This year, attendees enjoyed a complimentary meal while listening to well-known lecturers talking about the latest products, services and trends.

Attendees traveled far and wide to attend SECO 2010. The Association of Optometrists delegation from the U.K., pictured above, were warmly welcomed by Douglas Clark, O.D. A flock of Cupids (right) flew in for SECO to help attendees at the Destination Stations.

Though not for CE credit, these were valuable learning experiences; each session presented a unique opportunity to learn the latest in the industry, have breakfast or lunch with colleagues and friends, and also have a chance to win complimentary SECO 2011 OD registrations or $1,000 vouchers to be used in Optometry’s Marketplace™.

AOP Highlights
This year, SECO presented 131 courses developed and delivered by leading industry experts just for AOPs. And, an additional 88 courses were available to AOP attendees at no additional charge.

Courses were divided into tracks so that you could find the courses you need. This year, AOPs could focus on business, clinical skills, contact lenses, opticianry and pharmacology. Also, five courses were dedicated to AOP certification review. These courses helped prepare attendees to sit for their respective exams.

At the AOP Special Session, InfantSEE® for AOPs, AOPs learned the proper technique and procedure for examining the eyes of an infant. The presenters also discussed the importance and long-term value of the program itself.

This year’s exclusive AOP General Session was “Cross-Training: It IS My Job!” This free, interactive course featured a panel of paraoptometric association leaders who addressed cross-training issues and discussed how to enhance teamwork in the office.

The AOP Program was supported in part by CIBA VISION.

Snowbound During SECO
Though scheduled to lecture in person, glaucoma specialist Harry Quigley,  M.D., was snowbound in Baltimore. So, the education committee and the audio visual company sprang into action. They got Dr. Quigley to “attend” on time, albeit by videoconferencing from his home computer. “Secrets of a Glaucoma Experts” was moderated by Michael Patella, O.D.

Online Education
Following SECO 2010, eye care professionals can take advantage of SECO’s expanded online education at

SECO offers a variety of online continuing education courses, many of which are COPE-approved. For O.D.s, SECO features 55 courses provided by world renowned experts in the field of optometry. For AOPs, SECO offers 18 courses, ranging from Phone Triage to Current Contact Lens Care Systems. SECO’s online courses are viewable through an Internet web browser, contain a slide presentation and are recorded live with the speaker’s voice. Provided in a streaming format, these presentations are like a live lecture. At the conclusion of the COPE-approved courses, users may participate in a multiple-choice examination to receive credit for viewing the course. Eye care professionals can select a course in the online library and may search by course topic here: SECO recommends professionals check both the SECO course listing and their state board requirements prior to taking any online education. 

Cutting the ribbon to the Optometry’s Marketplace™ are (from left): John Breiwa, O.D.; Michael Quint, O.D.; Allison Lord, O.D.; Dale Morris, O.D.; Jerry Park, O.D.; Ron Bannister, O.D.; Jonathan Shrewsbury, O.D.; John Castro, O.D.; James Burke, O.D.; Elizabeth Taylor; and Bill Reynolds, O.D.
SECO also provides podcasts, which include educational lectures, interviews and event highlights at Approximately 45 podcasts are posted online and can be downloaded to an iTunes or RSS feed player or can be listened to directly from a media player.  

In addition to SECO’s online educational presentations and podcasts, ePosters are available at www.secointernational/eposters/indexcfm. Electronic posters are multimedia formatted posters published in the Advanced Media Learning Center during the annual SECO event and are posted online following the meeting. Every year, SECO invites students, residents and optometrists to submit multimedia presentations for display at SECO. Nearly 100 presentations are posted each year and date back to 2006. 

Supported by CIBA VISION, SECO offers Digital Grand Rounds at no charge. More than 178 interesting cases test the knowledge of optometry professionals with clues preceding the diagnosis. This interactive format offers a new approach to traditional rounds education. Visit