What is GSLS and why I am I here?
GSLS is the Global Specialty Lens Symposium... all about specialty contacts, and scleral lenses visibly dominate the agenda when it comes to specialty contacts these days.
I'm here for a few reasons:
- To unchain myself from my desk and phone for some sanity time.
- To see optometrists that I haven't seen in a long time or have never met at all and only know online!
- To learn as much as I can from attending classes & talks... everything from new technology developments to insurance coverage for lenses.
- To talk to manufacturers, learn about the latest product developments and convey some of our concerns and needs about what they are or aren't offering.
- To have conversations with any and every optometrist that I can, about the issues we face as a community, about our needs and issues, from the common ones reported every day on My Big Fat Scleral Lens to the overlooked specialty needs.
Who else is here?
Nearly 1,000 optometrists from all over the world!
And quite possibly, YOUR scleral lens provider!
Early morning coffee with Carol
I had the good fortune to meet up with a lovely scleral lens user from our Facebook group! No better way to get fired up to head into a conference center teeming with optometrists. It was a delightful time, too short, and I'm looking forward to keeping in touch.
Carol's experience is very much Exhibit A for some things that are getting overlooked and left behind in the course of optometry's stampede into scleral lens fitting. Parts of her story echo so many others that I have heard. She had an old RK procedure from the 90s that was fine for years but eventually went south, and she eventually got scleral lenses, but was not properly instructed on the importance of preservative-free salines - and, just as importantly, what they're called, how to recognize them, and where to find them, not to mention the fact that they aren't sold in local drugstores. So she ended up using preserved drugstore salines for a long time, and only found out that this was wrong after a friendly lens manufacturer pointed her towards our Facebook group (if I remember right).
So we talked at some length, among many other things, about how doctors fail to understand how complicated sclerals are for us patients, how many aspects of scleral lens care are are NOT intuitive to us, and how many things we do not, cannot and will not know unless the doctor has a thoughtful, thorough plan for educating and supporting us.
I am longing to get in front of as many optometrists as possible and beat this drum.
I got to meet an optometrist from our Facebook group and some of her Facebook friends just before the first session. Love her... she encouraged me so kindly when I was going through a particularly hard time last year trying to get some emotional distance from the Dry Eye Shop and find my way forward through my (ugh) business learning curve.
Anyway, we got talking about the importance of doctors being on social media, not necessarily to participate but to observe and understand what's going on with patients these days. They need to have windows into patients' heads and behaviors in this chaotic no-holds-barred self-serve information stream.
Three hour-long morning sessions on different scleral lens topics (I skipped the fourth because we had to change our room).
[gripe] There is just about no worse place for dry eye than a casino. And, true to form, I was running out the door in such a hurry yesterday afternoon that I didn't even bring a pair of sunglasses. [/gripe]