Internet Tools = Practice Growth
BY EDWARD S. BENNETT, OD, MSED, FAAO
Attending continuing education (CE) courses conducted by contact lens experts is arguably the most effective tool for enhancing your ability to have a successful contact lens practice. However, with the convenience of Internet-based education in combination with the many new areas of GP applications, more opportunities are being provided to gain knowledge and expertise. In addition, some of these educational resources provide the benefit of CE credit as well.
The most valuable online resource is webinar-based education. An increasing number of GP laboratories and manufacturers are utilizing narrated PowerPoint presentations accompanied by question and answer opportunities for practitioners interested in learning how to fit and troubleshoot scleral, multifocal, corneal reshaping, or other lens designs that could improve the quality of life for patients as well as enhance practice profitability. You can find a listing of laboratories and their websites on the Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI) website (www.gpli.info).
The GPLI also has monthly educational webinars on the third Tuesday of every month. Over the course of a year are webinars pertaining to clinical topics such as scleral lens fitting and care, post-surgical fitting, corneal reshaping, custom soft lens applications, GP case grand rounds, problem-solving, and contact lens practice management. Beginning in 2013, CE credit will be available for interested practitioners and will also be available for many of the archived webinars from 2011-2012.
Obviously, Internet-based GP education is not limited to webinars. Laboratories have resources such as troubleshooting guides, calculators, and online consultation. Want to become certified in corneal reshaping design? Go to www.bausch.com for Vision Shaping Treatment certification or to www.ParagonCRT.com for CRT certification.
The GPLI has numerous online education resources including online narrated PowerPoint presentations such as a four-part series pertaining to keratoconus from Dr. Christine Sindt, corneal reshaping (Craig Norman), pediatric fitting techniques (Dr. Sindt), and optimizing GP initial comfort (Dr. Ed Bennett). The GPLI also has an online case-based case grand rounds book, a clinical pocket guide, several calculators for use with spherical and toric lens designs, an interactive (i.e., “Click N’ Fit) spherical design evaluation program, and a comprehensive module (i.e., “Rx for Success) on multifocals. Forthcoming are narrated PowerPoint presentations on scleral lenses and coding and billing.
Another invaluable resource is “CLSA University” from the Contact Lens Society of America (www.clsa.info). This has a large number of specialty lens courses on virtually any topic.
For staff members there are many resources for GP education as well.Wink Productions (www.winkproductions.com) has modules to help staff members increase their contact lens expertise. They also have the capability to help laboratories provide webinars on any lens-related topic. The Scleral Lens Education Society (www.sclerallens.org) has outstanding videos on application and removal of scleral lenses. The GPLI has a DVD on care and handling that you can order through the website and also a consumer brochure on this topic available for download on the website.
A Practice Builder
Building a successful contact lens practice in which you increase the quality of life for a wide diversity of patients on an ongoing basis can be one of the—if not the—most rewarding areas of professional satisfaction in today’s practice. Online education can be an invaluable aid in enabling you to reach that goal. CLS
Dr. Bennett is assistant dean for Student Services and Alumni Relations at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry and is executive director of the GP Lens Institute. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.