Article

PRESCRIBING FOR PRESBYOPIA

RESOURCES FOR FITTING MULTIFOCAL CONTACT LENSES

In this column, I will shift gears and discuss available resources related to multifocal contact lenses. Sometimes, extra information and training can be very helpful for improving your confidence with these specialty contact lenses. Fortunately, help is available.

While They’re Still in School

It is often said that the focus of optometric training is moving away from the traditional roles, such as fitting contact lenses, toward more medically oriented roles, such as treating disease. Because there are limited hours in the academic year, exposure to some subjects may be limited. Also, resources might be aimed at the newer subject matter at the expense of other areas of study.

One potential resource is the American Academy of Optometry’s Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies, which has a program that allows schools and colleges of optometry to bring in Section Diplomates to lecture for one or two hours on topics related to contact lenses, anterior segment issues, and surgical vision correction. This program enables faculty to supplement their contact lens courses with in-depth presentations regarding, among many other topics, multifocal contact lens options, proper patient selection and education, and actual fitting pearls. Interested faculty can contact Speakers Bureau Chair Dr. Louise Sclafani at lsclafan@bsd.uchicago.edu.

The Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI) also provides free educational events to optometry schools through its schools program. The GPLI is the educational division of the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA), which represents independent GP and specialty contact lens laboratories. The GPLI funds lectures and workshops given by its advisory board members. Generally, these programs are presented as a three- to six-hour lecture and workshop combination. The GPLI also hosts an annual residents program, a three-day event that exposes contact lens residents to all aspects of GP lens prescribing, including multifocals. Contact Pam Witham at pwitham@clma.net or visit the GPLI website at www.gpli.info .

Practitioner Resources

There are also resources available to aid in multifocal contact lens prescribing for individuals already in practice. One of the best is the industry representatives. These hard-working folks are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to their companies’ multifocal designs. They know the available parameters, the best practices for succeeding with their lenses (such as following the fitting guide), and how to reach their consultation department.

Consultants are well versed in the nuances of their companies’ multifocal lenses. They can walk you through the evaluation of a challenging patient and suggest approaches to increase first-fit success.

Many companies offer in-office fitting sessions. This is particularly helpful when a new lens is launched because it gives practitioners and staff a chance to see the design in action.

A final learning opportunity is through your local GP laboratory. Many offer workshops to help practitioners get familiar with their lenses, including fitting actual patients.

What Are You Waiting For?

All of these resources can boost your confidence when prescribing contact lenses for presbyopia. Take advantage of these programs. CLS