RGP Education And the Internet
BY EDWARD S. BENNETT, OD, MSED
The Internet has become a staple in the education of consumers and practitioners in today's society. Children surf the web to find information for classroom assignments; business people increase
their knowledge through this source; our taxes can even be paid online. Contact lens practitioners are using the Internet on a more frequent basis to increase their knowledge about specific areas within the profession. One of these areas is rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses.
One important RGP education source is optometric journals' web sites. Contact Lens Spectrum (www.clspectrum.com) archives all of its published articles including those in the annual RGP issue published each October. RGP articles in other journals can be accessed through the RGP Lens Institute (RGPLI) web site (www.rgpli.org).
Information on orthokeratology is also available online. The Ortho-k NETwork (www.ortho-k.net) provides information about orthokeratology for both practitioners and consumers by answering frequently asked questions and providing a list of doctors who are members of this organization. Likewise, information about the Global Orthokeratology Symposium in Toronto in August 2002 is available at www.clspectrum.com. On the site you can register for the conference as well as submit papers.
RGP publications such as the Contact Lens Manual and the Advanced Contact Lens Manual are available from the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA) at www.theclsa.com/bookstore1.htm.
A number of educational resources are available through the RGPLI site, including the RGP Lens Management Guide with information on fitting and troubleshooting spherical, bifocal and multifocal lenses, bitorics and keratoconus lens designs. In addition, a combination fluorescein pattern identification and RGP benefits/applications laminated pocket card is available with numerous fluorescein patterns, fitting pearls, guide to design changes and a useful patient guide to RGP benefits and applications. A similarly designed laminated card with applications/ benefits of RGP bifocal lenses on one side and fitting/troubleshooting on the other side will be available in the first quarter of 2002. An RGP fitting, evaluation, and problem-solving program on CD-ROM is available and a bifocal CD is forthcoming.
E-mail conferences and symposia are another source of online education. Walt Mayo's Optcom list (www.optcom.com) is currently available as an e-mail list or digest. Interesting eyecare topics, including those pertaining to RGP lenses, are the focus of the e-mail discussions. The RGPLI web site hosts a monthly online conference the second Tuesday of every month at 8:00 pm Central time. The conference has a different topic, such as bifocals, torics, problem-solving or myopia control, each month and is hosted by well-known faculty in that area.
Consumer RGP education is also available on the web. One such comprehensive eyecare education site for consumers is www.allaboutvision.com. It is an excellent source of information on RGP lenses in general, as well as contact lenses for young people and presbyopes. Likewise, the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) consumer web site (www.contactlenses.org) provides information on a wide range of RGP topics as well as a question and answer section.
Thanks to Milton Hom, OD, for his help with this article.
Dr. Bennett is an associate professor of optometry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and executive director of the RGP Lens Institute.