Article

READER AND INDUSTRY FORUM

MD-OD FOUNDATION OF ST. LOUIS CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

READER AND INDUSTRY FORUM

MD-OD FOUNDATION OF ST. LOUIS CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

EDWARD S. BENNETT, OD, MSED, FAAO

In 1986, several prominent eyecare practitioners (ECPs) in the St. Louis area who specialized in contact lenses and the cornea made the decision to establish an organization to serve as a venue to discuss important issues, as well as clinical management, as it pertained to contact lenses and the cornea.

Although this is not uncommon, as many ECPs are involved in regular meetings with colleagues, what makes this organization unique and special is that it represents a true collaboration between optometrists and ophthalmologists. Hence, the MD-OD Contact Lens Foundation of St. Louis was born.

Among the original founders were Jack Hartstein, MD; Frank D. Fontana, OD; Robert A. Koetting, OD; James Gordon, MD; N. Rex Ghormley, OD; Carmen F. Castellano, OD; and George M. Bohigian, MD. With the recent passing of Dr. Hartstein on March 12, 2016, this proud organization lost one of its iconic members as well as an author of several books and numerous important articles on contact lenses.

Dr. Fontana relates: “Jack Hartstein, MD, got us together 30 years ago to share our optometric and ophthalmologic knowledge in a very new and unknown field, that of improving vision with contact lenses. We were all pioneers, and we were interested in the effect on the cornea that this application would have. We did not know the answers yet.

“Dr. Hartstein noticed keratometric changes in the 1980s with hard contact lens wear, and we wanted to find out what was causing these changes,” Dr. Fontana continued.

The MD-OD Foundation of St. Louis. Front row, left to right: Deborah L. Kerber, OD; Jack Hartstein, MD; Frank Fontana, OD; and Linda M. Tsai, MD. Back row, left to right: Carmen F. Castellano, OD; Andrew J. W. Huang, MD; Gary D. Meier, OD; P. Douglas Becherer, OD; Ranjan P. Malhotra, MD; Sean P. Mulqueeny, OD; Edward S. Bennett, OD; Lawrence A. Gans, MD; Stephen A. Wexler, MD; David B. Seibel, OD; George M. Bohigian, MD; and Bruce H. Cohen, MD.

Collaboration and Cooperation

This organization meets quarterly to engage in lengthy discussions on key topics that pertain to both the cornea and contact lenses. In addition, it has sponsored several joint educational symposia. In fact, one of the first PowerPoint presentations provided at an eyecare meeting was one presented by Daniel S. Durrie, MD, at the 1995 MD-OD symposium in St. Louis.

Lawrence A. Gans, MD, has found this relationship to be especially beneficial. “It was founded on the principle of a collegial relationship between optometrists and ophthalmologists for the purpose of improving eye care for the residents in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area. We have held educational seminars in years past and continue to meet regularly to present and discuss innovations and technology of interest to both professions,” he says.

Dr. Bohigian concurs: “The MD-OD Foundation is a unique organization. The group fosters education and cross fertilization of ophthalmologists and optometrists. Areas of interest, such as contact lenses, refractive surgery, and other topics of mutual interest, are discussed in detail by leaders in the St. Louis eye community. It brings the best of both worlds together in a friendly and productive way for all.” 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. He is also clinical features editor for Contact Lens Spectrum. You can reach him at ebennett@umsl.edu.