International session at the BCLA conference

Shehzad A. Naroo*

*Corresponding author for this work

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It seems a long time ago now since we were at the BCLA conference. The excellent FIFA World Cup in Brazil kept us occupied over the summer as well as Formula 1, Wimbledon, Tour de France, Commonwealth Games and of course exam paper marking! The BCLA conference this year was held in Birmingham at the International Convention Centre which again proved to be a great venue. The number of attendees overall was up on previous years, and at a record high of 1500 people. Amongst the highlights at this year's annual conference was the live surgery link where Professor Sunil Shah demonstrated the differences in technique between traditional phacoemulsification cataract surgery and femtosecond assisted phacoemulsification cataract surgery. Dr. Raquel Gil Cazorla, a research optometrist at Aston University, assisted in the procedure including calibrating the femtosecond laser.
Another highlight for me was the session that I chaired, which was the international session organised by IACLE (International Association of CL Educators). There was a talk by Mirjam van Tilborg about dry eye prevalence in the Netherlands and how it was managed by medical general practitioners (GPs) or optometrists. It was interesting to know that there are only 2 schools of optometry there and currently under 1000 registered optometrists there. It also seems that GPs were more likely to blame CL as the cause for dry eye whereas optometrists who had a fuller range of tests were better at solving the issue. The next part of the session included the presentation of 5 selected posters from around the world. The posters were also displayed in the main poster area but were selected to be presented here as they had international relevance. The posters were:
1. Motivators and Barriers for Contact Lens Recommendation and Wear by Nilesh Thite (India)
2. Contact lens hygiene among Saudi wearers by Dr. Ali Masmaly (Saudi)
3. Trends of contact lens prescribing and patterns of contact lens practice in Jordan by Dr. Mera Haddad (Jordan)
4. Contact Lens Behaviour in Greece by Dr. Dimitra Makrynioti (Greece)
5. How practitioners inform ametropes about the benefits of contact lenses and overcome the potential barriers: an Italian survey, by Dr. Fabrizio Zeri (Italy)
It was interesting to learn about CL practice in different parts, for example the CL wearing population ration in Saudi Arabia is around 1:2 Male:Female (similar to other parts of the world) and although the sale of CL is restricted to registered practitioners there are many unregistered outlets, like clothing stores, that flout the rules. In Jordan some older practitioners will still advise patients to use tap water or even saliva! But thankfully the newer generation of practitioners have been educated not to advise this. In Greece one of the concerns was that some practitioners may advise patients to use disposable lenses for longer than they should and again it seems to be the practitioners with inadequate education that would do this. In India it was found that cost was one barrier to using contact lenses but also some practitioners felt that they shouldn’t offer CLs due to cost too. In Italy sensitive eyes and CL care and maintenance were the barriers to CL wear but the motivators were vision and comfort and aesthetics.
Finally the international session ended with the IACLE travel award and educator awards presented by IACLE president Shehzad Naroo and BCLA President Andrew Yorke. The travel award went to Wang Ling, Jinling Institute of Technology, Nanjing, China. There were 3 regional Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards sponsored by Coopervision and presented by Dr. J.C. Aragorn of Coopervision.
1. Asia Pacific Region – Dr. Rajeswari Mahadevan of Sankara Nethralaya Medical Research Foundation, Chennai, India
2. Americas Region – Dr. Sergio Garcia of University of La Salle, Bogotá and the University Santo Tomás, Bucaramanga, Colombia
3. Europe/Africa – Middle East Region: Dr. Eef van der Worp, affiliated with the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands
The posters above were just a small selection of those displayed at this year's BCLA conference. If you missed the BCLA conference then you can see the abstracts for all posters and talks in a virtual issue of CLAE very soon. The poster competition was kindly sponsored by Elsevier. The poster winner this year was:
Joan Gispets – Corneal and Anterior Chamber Parameters in Keratoconus
The 3 runners up were:
Debby Yeung – Scleral Lens Central Corneal Clearance Assessment with Biomicroscopy
Sarah L. Smith – Subjective Grading of Lid Margin Staining
Heiko Pult – Impact of Soft Contact Lenses on Lid Parallel Conjunctival Folds
My final two highlights are a little more personal. Firstly, I was awarded Honorary Life Fellowship of the BCLA for my work with the Journal, and I would like to thank the BCLA, Elsevier, the editorial board of CLAE, the reviewers and the authors for their support of my role. My final highlight from the BCLA conference this year was the final presentation of the conference – the BCLA Gold Medal award. The recipient this year was Professor Philip Morgan with his talk ‘Changing the world with contact lenses’. Phil was the person who advised me to go to my first BCLA conference in 1994 (funnily he didn’t attend himself as he was busy getting married!) and now 20 years later he was being honoured with the accolade of being the BCLA Gold Medallist. The date of his BCLA medal addressed was shared with his father's birthday so a double celebration for Phil.
Well done to outgoing BCLA President Andy Yorke and his team at the BCLA (including Nick Rumney, Cheryl Donnelly, Sarah Greenwood and Amir Khan) on an excellent conference. And finally welcome to new President Susan Bowers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-322
Number of pages2
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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© 2014, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


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