The annual CooperVision-sponsored Educator’s Meeting took place in advance of the Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas on January 24, 2019. An annual meeting, this year’s Educator’s Meeting was the first to be cohosted by CooperVision North America Professional Affairs and CooperVision’s newly formed Specialty Lens Division, led by Juan Carlos Aragon, OD. Rich Jeffries, president of Paragon Vision Sciences and Jean Blanchard, president of the recently-acquired Blanchard Contact Lenses were both in attendance.
Dr. Aragon kicked off the 4-hour meeting by reviewing CooperVision’s specialty lens acquisitions over the past two and a half years – Soflex, Procornea, Paragon Vision Sciences and Blanchard Contact Lens – and the additional portfolio breadth and subspecialty expertise that each acquisition brings to CooperVision’s already extensive portfolio of contact lenses.
Leah Johnson, OD, Director of Global Professional Services for CooperVision Specialty Lens Division and Mark Andre, FAAO of CooperVision North America Professional Affairs co-presented Educational Updates and discussed CooperVision’s long-term vision: “…to have the right contact lens for every single patient that walks into every single office,” said Andre. Educational initiatives presented by the pair included the upcoming Resident’s Weekend 2019 which will be the first be hosted at Paragon’s facility in Arizona, and the expansion of CooperVision’s Adopt-a-Patient™ program to include specialty lens division products.
“We were inspired by CooperVision’s Adopt-a-Patient program in the Specialty Lens Division and are excited to announce that, beginning in March of 2019, Specialty Lens Division products will also be available to patients in need through this exciting program,” said Johnson. “I think the students will really benefit from the experience of fitting specialty CRT and scleral lenses, and of course patients who may not otherwise have been able to pursue those options due to financial need will benefit from being provided complimentary lenses through the Adopt-a-Patient program.”
Lyndon Jones, PhD, DSc, FCAHS, FCOptom, FAAO of CORE in Waterloo followed with an update on the myopia epidemic and current myopia management options. “It is estimated that by 2050, nearly 50% of the world’s population will be myopic, equating to approximately 47 billion myopes,” said Jones. He went on to share that the percentage of high myopes will also increase substantially, pointing out that already, 1 in 5 Taiwanese children is likely to have a refractive error in excess of -6.00D by the age of seven years, putting them at substantially higher lifetime risk for myopic complications such as cataract, retinal detachment or myopic maculopathy. Dr. Jones went on to discuss all potential interventional therapies including pharmaceutical interventions, spectacle strategies, and contact lens options including both ortho-keratology and retinal defocus models. He went on to discuss the currently available 4-year data available from the European MiSight clinical trial, making note that the study is actually in its 6th year. “This is the longest of any controlled randomized clinical trial, not only in myopia management, but in the history of contact lenses,” asserted Dr. Jones. The 4-year results were released in September 2018.
At the conclusion of Dr. Jones’ presentation, Michele Andrews, OD, Sr. Director of Professional and Academic Affairs for CooperVision, presented him with the IACLE 2018 Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year Award.
For the second year in a row, the educators themselves took part in a think-tank competition exercise in which 6 groups evaluated one of two problems facing the eye care industry. After each group presented their proposed solutions, a winning group was voted for in each category and the winning groups were asked to identify a charity of their choice to receive a $1,000 donation from CooperVision. The two issues considered by the groups this year were:
- How do we get practitioners to be more comfortable in fitting contact lenses in young children?
- How do we teach optometry students to be more comfortable in fitting contact lenses and inspire confidence with specialty contact lenses (including scleral, mf, etc.)?
The winning groups selected Disaster Relief and The American Academy of Optometry Foundations as their non-profits of choice and each will receive $1000 from CooperVision in the winners’ names.
Maria Liu OD, PhD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, Chief of Myopia Control Clinic at UCBSO rounded out the meeting’s agenda with a discussion of how to establish myopia control clinics in university settings. Berkeley’s myopia control clinic has approximately 1,000 active patients after just 3 years in operation according to Dr. Liu.
At the conclusion of the half day meeting, attendees moved on to the Global Specialty Lens Symposium, which continued through Sunday, January 27th.