Third IACLE World Congress
View our highlights video
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Thank you from the Congress Chair
The Third IACLE World Congress was a fantastic opportunity to shape the direction of global contact lens education and the future training of contact lens professionals worldwide. Delegates met with fellow educators from around the world and IACLE members were able to take part through our online broadcast live from the Congress.
IACLE would like to thank all those who participated for their contribution to making the World Congress a major success. Here’s to the Fourth IACLE World Congress…WC4!
Professor Philip Morgan
University of Manchester, UK
IACLE scores success in Manchester with World Congress
The Third IACLE World Congress could transform the future for contact lens education around the world and help grow the global contact lens market. Here’s an overview of the key points from the Congress and links to learn more about its findings…
‘Among the greatest challenges we face as educators is time, and providing large numbers of students with an equal clinical experience of contact lenses. That and money.’ This comment at the Third IACLE World Congress on Contact Lens Education might well have come from any one of more than 100 educators attending from 30 countries, from Nepal to Poland to Guatemala.
The speaker was Judy Perrigin, chair of the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) and Professor of Optometry at one of the largest schools in the US, at the University of Houston, Texas. Professor Perrigin’s experience highlighted the similarities rather than differences between contact lens teaching worldwide and the need to harness technology to overcome the common challenges that educators face.
Shaping the future
The World Congress saw educators come together to share their experiences and learn about the role of classroom technology in shaping the future of contact lens education. Industry representatives also played an active part and collaborated on a special business session examining the role of educators in growing global contact lens penetration. IACLE members around the world were able to participate via a live online broadcast throughout the four days.
Among the members taking part via live online broadcast were Dutch educator Eef van der Worp from his home in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Mera Haddad, joint IACLE Country Representative for Jordan, from the Jordan University of Science and Technology.
Meeting the challenge
Educators described how their institutions were preparing to meet future challenges, whether in Indonesia where infrastructure was not adequate to support practical sessions, or in India where the diagnostic and examination equipment students experienced might not be available in practice, so clinical sessions needed to mimic the normal scenario.
In the US, the University of Houston was already using a Simulation Lab to demonstrate refractive techniques to students, and in China – where as many as 70 schools offer a three-year diploma course – online learning and a virtual fitting centre was among the technology now in use.
One of the greatest challenges for schools is providing hands-on clinical experience with real patients. Craig Woods, Assistant Professor of Optometry at a new school at Deakin University in Australia, described its strategy: a unique case-based optometry program in which teams of students work together and meet at intervals to review their progress.
Congress Chair and IACLE Vice President Philip Morgan – Professor of Optometry at The University of Manchester, which hosted the meeting – said increased internet speed and Cloud-based technologies had changed the learning environment dramatically.
Morgan’s colleague Ian Miller, one of just 25 Nearpod Pioneers worldwide, showed how it was possible to combine several technologies through this one learning platform to create a ‘mobile classroom’. Dr Ian Hutt charted the rise of the MOOC (massive open online course) that had seen the university enrol 75,000 students in 200 countries.
Distinguished Apple Educator Joe Moretti (left) demonstrated the use of the iPad to ‘flip’ the classroom’, transform the learning space and create ePub content with rich media and interactive features.
Examples of ‘blended learning’ in use included Vision Sciences at Aston University in the UK, where virtual presentations and narrated lectures are pre-recorded and placed on the Blackboard learning management system.
Students can print up and listen to the lecture before attending an interactive seminar. This allowed students to bring in their own experiences and knowledge to practical sessions, said Senior Lecturer at Aston and IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo and research fellow Dr Fabrizio Zeri.
Professor Patrick Caroline of Pacific University Oregon argued that contact lens specialists needed to enhance their knowledge and education, commit to lifelong learning then communicate that passion to students. Senior lecturer at London’s City University Dr Catherine Suttie described her approach to incorporating research into teaching and its role in evidence-based practice. Her colleague Professor David Thomson presented an entertaining view of how optometry might look in 2060.
The science of persuasion
Dr Helen Crompton, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at Old Dominion University Virginia, offered some potential solutions for the future, with virtual and augmented reality devices that could create authentic learning opportunities using computer simulations.
Delegates had the chance to try the devices for themselves and Dr Crompton brought along a humanoid robot to demonstrate how robotics were advancing to become more interactive.
Along with technology, a key theme at the World Congress was the role of educators in the business of contact lenses and growing the global contact lens market. Our three sponsoring companies, Alcon. CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, worked closely to deliver the session.
Ian Davies, Vice President Global Affairs at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, identified three levers to grow the market and reduce dropout: proactive recommendation, communication (four words: ‘I recommend contact lenses’) and confidence.
But were topics taught by contact lens educators addressing these critical needs, when analysis of IACLE courses worldwide showed specialist fitting techniques and conditions such as keratoconus were among the most commonly covered?
Davies proposed a ‘core curriculum for change’ where communication of the benefits of contact lenses was the foundation, and lens handling and product selection were given greater prominence than ocular examination or complications.
Helmer Schweizer, Head of Professional Affairs Distributor Franchise at Alcon Vision Care EMEA/AMSA, highlighted the ‘and opportunity’. To increase the inflow of wearers, educators needed to generate excitement in their students about contact lenses, emphasise benefits rather than complications and teach them to choose the best lens option – or options – for their patients.
Expert in the science of persuasion, Steve Martin described the six principles of influence: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking and social proof. Examples of how these principles were applied to contact lens practice, might be communicating what patients stood to lose, rather than gain, to supplement lens care instructions, and having them make a written commitment to following the advice.
Pointing out how many people are wearing or starting to wear contact lenses might be a more persuasive communication strategy than saying how few people currently wear them, he argued.
IACLE founder honoured
A highlight of the World Congress was the presentation of the first-ever IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education to Professor Desmond Fonn, who received the award at the Congress Dinner at the historic Manchester Museum.
Professor Fonn’s contribution to global contact lens education includes being a founding member of IACLE and its Vice President for 15 years. He also served as Editor in Chief of the first edition of the IACLE Contact Lens Course (ICLC), used by educators around the world. And in 1994 and 2000, he organised the previous two IACLE World Congresses.
A Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, Professor Fonn joined the university in 1986 and was founding Director of its Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR). He retired from the university’s School of Optometry in 2010.
At the award presentation, Professor Fonn’s successor at Waterloo, Professor Lyndon Jones, described him as a ‘giant in the contact lens world’. ‘We owe Des a phenomenal thanks because without him we wouldn’t be here.’
‘IACLE has been very dear to me,’ said Professor Fonn, acknowledging the contribution of the association’s co-founders and the support of industry since its inception. ‘I’ve made incredible friends around the world who have spent thousands of hours working for IACLE. The result is that IACLE has been so instrumental in driving contact lens education.
Guests at the Congress Dinner included chief executives of the British Contact Lens Association Cheryl Donnelly (left) and World Council of Optometry (right) Dr Natalie Briggs, who were welcomed by IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo. Also pictured (left to right) are Indian delegates Srikanth Dumpathi, IACLE Director of Educational Programs Nilesh Thite and Premjit Bhakat.
For Professor Morgan, the World Congress marked a turning point both in his own outlook to technology in teaching and to the role of educators in the future prospects for growth in contact lens prescribing worldwide. ‘Just as the first IACLE World Congress, held at the University of Waterloo 21 years ago, set the agenda for the next decade and beyond, this meeting will have a profound effect on how contact lens education is delivered and ultimately how contact lenses are prescribed. That matters to everyone involved, from educators to industry right through to the end user, the patient.’
Delegates would seem to agree. Asked whether they would make any changes to the way they teach contact lenses at their institution having participated in the congress, all those responding to a post-congress survey, without exception, said they would.
A comment by Dr Jeff Walline, Associate Dean at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, summed up the feelings of many of those attending: ‘I loved that this was about education, not contact lenses. It was a completely original meeting.’
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