Continuing education classes at Vision Expo East, held March 19-22, allow eye care professionals from around the world to explore new ideas and exchange updates on the latest in health, technology and business-building strategies.
Cultivating CL Knowledge
Returning to Expo after what Mark Dunbar, OD, co-chairman of the VEE Conference Advisory Board, deemed a “hugely successful debut last year at Vision Expos East and West,” the Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF) once again hosts an ample supply of classes pertaining to the business and the craft of fitting contact lenses. This forum marks the 7:00 AM start to classes at Expo on Thursday. Topics include: the art and science of managing astigmatism with contact lenses; successful scleral lens fitting; troubleshooting cases; and how to ensure that the dollars and “sense” of a contact lens practice allow room for growth.
This year’s meeting offers more than 330 hours of CE.
Experts will envision advancements and predict upcoming trends by sharing updates on disease and technology, as well as a “farmer’s almanac” view of the future of contact lenses. Although pre-registration is required, there is no fee for signing up, and those who register may accrue six CE credit hours.
If the early start to classes on Thursday poses an issue, don’t fret. There are over 15 credit hours of other contact lens-related courses available outside of the GCLF. These courses are scattered throughout the class schedule, with the first one, “Hashtag Contact Lens: What’s New and What’s Coming,” held on Thursday at 1:30 PM.
Sowing Seeds of Wellness
Healthy eyes begin with healthy bodies, so it is essential for eye care practitioners to have the tools to educate patients on the importance of regular checkups and keeping their eyes and bodies well nourished.
“For the very first time at Vision Expo, we are introducing our Ocular Wellness Program, which will debut on Thursday afternoon,” says Dr. Dunbar. “Optometry needs to take a leading role in helping to inform and educate our patients on the need for ocular wellness.”
This three-hour program uses evidence-based medicine to provide clinical guidelines that emphasize the advantages of preventive medicine and focus on improving each patient’s quality of life. “Through our Ocular Wellness Program, we are hoping to create awareness to our patients and colleagues of the importance of preventing ocular problems before they develop, with the overall goal for our patients of maintaining good vision and healthy eyes for a lifetime,” Dr. Dunbar says.
Other classes that highlight health and wellness can be found throughout the lineup at Expo, including: “Feed Your Retina: Nutrition and Retinal Health”; “Diabetes: What we ALL Need to Know”; and “Omega 3 Fish Oil—Benefits for Your Patients and Practice.”
Another way we can help our patients’ health thrive is to arm ourselves with the knowledge necessary to recognize problems early and to treat them successfully with the most up-to-date, proven techniques. “We will have the full armament of ocular disease clinical courses [at Expo],” says Dr. Dunbar, “focusing on glaucoma, external disease, nutrition and retinal disease among others.”
Like last year, Vision Expo East 2015 will have more than five football fields of exhibits encompassing fashion, accessories and medical equipment.
Within the Friday schedule is the “Greatest Ever” series—a set of courses on managing ocular disease. The first class of the series, “The Greatest Anterior Segment Disease and Medical Management of Contact Lens Complications Course—Ever!” takes place in the morning, and its complement, “The Greatest Posterior Segment Disease Course—Ever!” takes place in the afternoon. These classes are designed to enhance the practitioner’s clinical diagnostic and treatment skills and provide strategies on handling a patient suffering from problems related to medical vision correction options as well as retinal disease.
On Saturday, the entertaining and knowledgeable duo of Drs. Ron Melton and Rondall Thomas is back, offering six hours of disease-oriented continuing education classes, including: “What the Primary Care Optometrist Should Never Miss,” “Separating the Good, the Bad and the Ugly—Is it Glaucoma or Not?” and “Mystery Solved—Conquering Anterior Segment Pathology.”
Exploring New Technologies
One of the enhancements to some lectures this year is the use of technology to increase speaker-attendee interaction. “This past year we have broadened our approach to deliver education in more interesting and creative ways, including our Crowd-Sourced Learning courses that use smartphone and polling technologies,” says Dr. Dunbar. Specific classes will allow audience members to participate through their mobile device or audience response system (ARS) technology. These technologies will help attendees become more engaged by being able to answer poll questions, suggest topics and request specific information. “We launched this at Vision Expo West, and it was a huge success. We think it will be even better for Vision Expo East this year,” says Dr. Dunbar.
There are also plenty of classes to help businesses reach new heights. This year they “have expanded the Business Solutions curriculum to include over 100 hours of education on a broad range of topics, including the popular Visionomics Program, Frame Buyers Program, billing and coding, as well as a Retail track and the Wearable Technology track. We have even brought in The Ritz-Carlton for our Spotlight series discussing Memorable Customer Service Experiences,” Dr. Dunbar says.
He adds that there will also be “unique courses delivered through our Optical Technology tracks by some of the top lecturers in the industry, including Edward De Gennaro, Laurie Pierce, Michael Vitale and Barry Santini, among others. Courses will include the latest in lens technologies as well as the popular Optical Bootcamp.”
Eye Care for Athletes
Sundays aren’t always for resting; they’re also for sporting events—and Sunday has a lineup of eight credit hours that cannot be defeated. Kicking off at 7:15 AM, the Sports Vision CE classes are designed to give eye care professionals proficiency and an appropriate game plan on how to draft athletes to their practice, help them enhance their performance, protect them from injury—and grow profits in the process. By pairing these classes with the wide variety of courses available at Vision Expo East this year, attendees are sure to walk away with a record-breaking score of eye care and eye wear know-how.