Article Date: 4/1/2002

AOA Top 10
An AOA Top 10 List
This month we survey the highlights of the continuing education program at the upcoming AOA Convention.

BY TERRI B. GOSHKO, Senior Associate Editor

This year's educational program at the American Optometric Association's annual convention represents the AOA's biggest and best program ever, according to Jim Thimons, O.D., F.A.A.O., clinical director of Optometric Management and director of continuing education for the AOA. The convention, scheduled for June 26 to 30 in New Orleans, offers so many choices that you may wonder which courses you should attend. To help you decide, we'll describe 10 highlights of the continuing education program as listed by Dr. Thimons.

The rundown
While the convention's program covers every area of clinical care, here are some courses that you may find of special interest.

#1 New Technologies, New Solutions
(Wednesday, June 26th)

Sponsored by Allergan, this traditional opener of the continuing education program (a free CE) features world-class clinicians and educators. Todd Severin, M.D; John Wittpenn, M.D.; and Dr. Thimons will discuss the latest advances in glaucoma and glaucoma therapies, neuroprotective mechanisms, anterior segment therapy, new antibiotics, off-label applications of drugs, refractive surgery, cornea and dry eye. Part of the AOA's continuing education program for the last 4 years, this course provides an overview of the latest developments in eye care and of issues that will impact practice in the next year.

#2 Optimizing Your Clinical Practice
(Thursday, June 27th)

Bausch & Lomb will sponsor this free CE about the latest developments in contact lens technology and refractive surgery systems, and about the implications and applications of nutrition in primary care optometry. Information about extended wear lenses and refractive surgery is especially timely. Walter Choate, O.D.; Paul Karpecki, O.D.; and E. Paul, O.D., will present the course.

#3 Clinical Advances in Glaucoma Diagnosis and Therapy
(Sunday, June 30th)

For an overview of new technologies for glaucoma diagnosis and therapy, this program, sponsored by Heidelberg Engineering, is the perfect way to finish your continuing education needs at the conference. Murray Fingeret, O.D.; Chris Quinn, O.D.; and R. Nickells, Ph.D., will cover nerve fiber analysis and its role in glaucoma therapy. The course is geared toward helping you understand the role these technologies have in practice as well as their underlying science, and the potential these technologies have for application in clinical practice.

#4 Controversies in Glaucoma Therapy
(Thursday, June 27th)

Alcon will sponsor this COPE-approved course that's directed at reviewing and helping you understand controversial topics in glaucoma therapy -- such as alternative medical therapy and the role of surgery as primary treatment -- and their implications in clinical practice. Murray Fingeret, O.D., will help you organize the sea of information that's available so that you may devise a substantive structure for glaucoma therapy in your office.

#5 The Mike Larkin Memorial Practice Management Symposium
(Friday, June 28th)

This is the first of what will be an annual event named for Dr. Larkin, who died earlier in 2001. Optometric Management's Chief Optometric Editor, Neil Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., will present an overview of the most important practice management topics for today and for the coming year, such as analyzing vision plans; contact lens rebirth; electronic medical records and more. The course will challenge you and stimulate your ideas on how optometry can continue to grow and develop in a primary care setting.

#6 Refractive Surgery Today and in the Future
(Friday, June 28th)

This course, sponsored by TLC Laser Eye Centers, will improve your comfort level with state-of-the-art clinical applications and technological developments in refractive surgery. John Potter, O.D., and Lou Probst, M.D., will present the information you need to help you decide about referring your patients for this procedure.

#7 Advances in Contact Lenses for the New Millennium
(Friday, June 28th)

For the first time, the contact lens section and the AOA will come together for a single presenting lecture, with Alcon sponsorship. Joe Barr, O.D., will deliver this and subsequent annual lectures about the role of contact lenses in future practice. He'll cover extended wear, new rigid gas permeable materials and orthokeratology.

#8 Advances in the Diagnosis of Glaucoma
(Friday, June 28th)

Cutting-edge topics in glaucoma diagnosis such as blood flow technology, visual field analysis, genetics and optic nerve head analysis are the subjects of this course, sponsored by Zeiss-Humphrey Systems. These tools are accessible now, but doctors don't always understand them. Jim Thimons, O.D., and Murray Fingeret, O.D., will present this course to give you a clear perspective on these technologies and their applications for your patients.

#9 Optometrists' Guide to HIPAA
(Friday, June 28th)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act doesn't take effect until 2003, but now's the time to learn how to prepare for it. D. Mills, O.D., will present the guidelines and their impact on the optometric profession and the ophthalmic industry.

This free CE will formally present this information to the AOA as a group for the first time.

#10 A Compendium of Programs Designed to Highlight the Role of Optometry in the Examination and Care of Children
(Thursday, June 27th)

A track of four courses, rather than one single course, this series will run all day. The courses will introduce you to the fundamental skills necessary to initiate and develop your role as a clinician in a pediatric setting.

The following topics will be covered: examining the pre-school child in the primary care practice, by C. Marusich, O.D.; integrating children's vision into a primary care practice, by M. White, O.D.; managing the pre-school child in the primary care practice, by G. Erickson, O.D.; and effective ly communicating with the pediatric patient by G. Erickson, O.D., and C. Marusich, O.D.

With the current push for mandatory pediatric eye exams, this topic couldn't be more timely or relevant.

Optometric Management, Issue: April 2002