The 2017 Congress on Contact Lens Education, organised by the IACLE Educators and held in Hyderabad, India in September, provided some answers to help increase contact lens use across the world
‘Let’s get more lenses on more eyes’ was the take-home message from the IACLE Congress on Contact Lens Education, held in Hyderabad, India on 9-10 September. More than 100 delegates from 20 countries joined the IACLE Congress at the L V Prasad Eye Institute. The meeting was facilitated by IACLE and supported by Alcon, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision.
The theme for the congress was ‘Translating contact lens knowledge into increasing contact lens penetration’. The programme featured a combination of updates on the latest thinking on contact lens management, and practical ways to improve teaching and assessment.
Dr Etty Bitton and Dr Shehzad Naroo opened with their top 10 tips for proactive contact lens education and wearer success emphasising the need for strict hygiene. Strict storage case hygiene and avoidance of contact with tap water were particular concerns, said Dr Luigina Sorbara and Dr Rajeswari Mahadevan reviewed the importance of patient compliance to lens wear and care instructions, and looked at how compliance could be improved. Dr Lakshmi Shinde described a pilot scheme in India to establish a common assessment pattern for students’ practical assessment in contact lenses.
Dr Lewis Williams and Nilesh Thite reviewed the many resources available from IACLE to support contact lens educators.
The final session was devoted to group exercises to identify the challenges of teaching contact lenses and share ideas for increasing uptake of lens wear worldwide. Professor Janice Jurkus and Dr Ithar Beshwar described how contact lenses were taught in their respective institutions, in the US and Palestine. The discussion generated a long list of suggestions for encouraging contact lens.
In the sponsor session to the congress. Alcon’s Dr Dwight Akerman said the biggest challenge in contact lenses – lack of patients – was also the greatest opportunity. For CooperVision, Dr Gary Orsborn reported that its latest product was MiSight 1 day that reduced myopic progression in children by 59% and axial length change by 52% over a three-year period compared to a control group. The company also recently acquired the Procornea orthokeratology technology. Jack Chan, representing Johnson & Johnson Vision, said his company’s product focus was on addressing the specific needs of contact lens wearers.
Closing the congress, Dr Naroo said key learnings were that educators needed to ensure their students had good product knowledge and improved fitting, The IACLE Congress provided an invaluable opportunity for educators from around the world to get together and share their experiences. IACLE also acknowledged the achievements of its members with the presentation of the IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education to former president, Professor Deborah Sweeney, and the 2017 IACLE Asia-Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year Award to Professor Koon-Ja Lee from Eulji University, Korea.