This year has been truly congested with gatherings on the optometric calendar. Optometrists have been spoilt for choice. Naturally, one would like to see all of these events do well, and the reality is that it is the number of registrations that spell success or not. At the end of the day, it is about return on investment for optometrists and suppliers alike.
The CLSSA was resurrected just four years ago and surged on to present an International Conference at Rand Park, Johannesburg in August 2017. The CLSSA was inaugurated in 1967 when the only material available was PMMA. The challenge of the day was two-fold: getting oxygen to the cornea and patient adaptation. Irving Borish was one of the world-renowned authorities on contact lenses. He presented at the SAOA Conferences which were traditionally held in Durban in those days. Borish was a pragmatist. What he taught one could take straight to the consulting room and apply in clinical practice. But we had our own trailblazers. Grant Jenkins, Brian and Sidney Saks, Flip Bruwer, Edwin Levy and Bertie Beiles. These were the clinicians that soldiered on in spite of only having PMMA material at their disposal. There were also the contact lens laboratory trailblazers. Tony Vine, Jack Bernhard, and Steve Webb did so much to advance the contact lens industry in South Africa with their genius intuition in contact lens manufacture.
Then the game changed with the advent of the soft lens. Suddenly many more practitioners were drawn into contact lens practice. However, it brought with it several adjunct clinical issues, such as allergic reactions to the cleaning solutions. One of the most profound historical markers in the history of optometry was the launch of the disposable lens in early 1990. This event allowed contact lens practice to take a big step towards pulling many more patients in and making a significant contribution to the economics of the practice.
It took many years before the next big step in contact lens practice happened. It is happening now; Scleral lenses. The difference about the Scleral Revolution is that it presents one of the most rewarding services optometrists can render to patients, who otherwise would have been destitute. Moreover, there are also the subjects of myopia control and dry eye syndrome, which should form part of every optometric practice.
ContactConnect presents a golden opportunity, for those outside the fraternity of contact lens practitioners, to enter the fray. This is an ideal opportunity to get advice and learn from the best in the world.
The general consensus of the 2017 Conference was the incredible vibe and camaraderie that personified the meeting.
If you are not there, you will be square.