Resources for Your GP Practice
BY EDWARD S. BENNETT, OD, MSED, FAAO
There is a learning curve with GP lenses—notably with specialty designs such as sclerals and those used for corneal reshaping. The GP Lens Institute (GPLI), the Scleral Lens Education Society (SLS), and the American Academy of Orthokeratology & Myopia Control (AAOMC) offer the necessary tools to achieve success in fitting these designs.
The GPLI (www.gpli.info) offers numerous resources to assist with specialty GP lenses, including a total of 40 archived webinars and narrated lectures. These include 10 pertaining to irregular cornea management, eight on scleral lenses, five on multifocal fitting, and four pertaining to corneal reshaping. In addition, there is an entire online module to help practitioners understand how to code and bill for these patients. Under the direction of Dr. Clarke Newman, this module includes two webinars, a FAQ, a section on common errors, a brochure on medically necessary contact lenses, and several sample letters that can be used as templates when submitting for reimbursement. Other online resources include videos, PowerPoint presentations, and calculators. Education by lens type covers bitoric/high astigmatism, corneal reshaping, keratoconus/post-surgical, presbyopia/multifocals, scleral lenses, and spherical GP lenses. Also available is a comprehensive GP multifocal module with 16 separate resources (including care and handling videos and a fee calculator), a searchable database to match a specific type of lens design with laboratories that manufacture that design, and a laboratory consultants FAQ.
The SLS (www.sclerallens.org) is a non-profit organization committed to teaching contact lens practitioners the science and art of fitting all designs of scleral contact lenses for the purpose of managing corneal irregularity and ocular surface disease. The officers include noted scleral lens experts: Dr. Jason Jedlicka, president; Dr. Muriel Schornack, vice president; Dr. Melissa Barnett Erickson, secretary; and Dr. Michael Lipson, treasurer. According to the organization, any contact lens practitioner can become a member simply by filling out an online application. Those practitioners with experience in fitting scleral lenses can apply for fellowship in the SLS, which designates them as having demonstrated a level of expertise in scleral lens fitting. Fellows are listed in the SLS directory of scleral lens fitters, which is available for patients who are seeking a scleral lens expert in their area. In addition, fellows have the opportunity to participate in SLS-sponsored events, serve on the SLS board or committees, and collaborate with other fellows in referring patients, conducting research, developing new products, and assisting in complex fit issues. Upcoming programs include a fundamentals session on Jan. 22, 2015 at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) in Las Vegas.
The AAOMC’s (www.orthokacademy.com) goal is to forward the science of orthokeratology through workshops, courses, and a fellowship program. Like the SLS, the AAOMC has both a membership and a fellowship program. Membership is open to any licensed professional who has an interest in the specialty of orthokeratology, including optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, researchers, educators, and students. The AAOMC has an open forum to discuss complex cases (headed up by Dr. Cary Herzberg, president of the education and website committees; and Dr. Bruce Williams, education committee chair), in-office promotional materials, and a referral network. Any practitioners interested in incorporating corneal reshaping in their practice would benefit from its 2015 “Vision by Design” symposium in Houston. It is also sponsoring a four-hour session at the 2015 GSLS. 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 email@example.com.