GSLS: A few final thoughts

Posted by Rebecca Petris on

I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you the "big picture" of how I felt about this meeting and my experiences here.

Doing this is fun.

First, can I just say, I loved doing this, and I have loved writing about it for you all!

I have been to an awful lot of ophthalmology, and a handful of optometry conferences in the past 15+ years. In fact, I've spoken at some too, in the distant past (like an optometry meeting in Birmingham, UK and a meeting called Aegean Cornea in Olympia, Greece, way back in the beginning of time, about vision quality and dry eye complications amongst LASIK patients). And I've blogged a lot about everything I've been to.

But I've NEVER written about a meeting in anywhere near this much detail. And that's really because no meeting has ever had SO MUCH content of such immediate interest to so many people that I know! I wasn't even able to get to all the meetings I wanted to. I attended maybe 1/3 or fewer of the scleral lens relevant meetings because so many were concurrent, but I think I made it to all of the very best ones from the standpoint of what patients want to know.

The most recent medical meeting I remember writing a lot about was the TFOS meeting (about dry eye) in Montpellier, France back in 2017... Oh, that was dreamy. I still remember the tiny little restaurant with the loveliest food where I sat with my laptop blogging. Sadly, the TFOS meetings only happen every few years, but I'm already looking forward to the one in Italy next year... then I'll be reporting back for all my dry eye friends, not specifically scleral lens. 

Anyway. I just wanted to say that I really, really enjoy this. I'm grateful to everyone who helped me get here by contributing to my GoFundMe for the event. I may be hitting you up again for more later this year :) 

I love the doctors, and I think you would too.

One of the things that I wish I could adequately convey to you all is the energy at this year's GSLS - the feeling, the excitement, and the commitment of all of these doctors to doing a really, really good job. The doctors at this meeting are not businesspeople who are indifferent to our needs. They are clinicians who care, who want to know the latest and the greatest, who are committed to continually learning from each other and from us. 

And I wish I could convey to you the feeling from the conversations with these excited, keen doctors. The buzz from the hall with all the posters (new research being presented by people attending the conference), everyone excitedly exchanging what they know, what their experience was with a particular patient (which might be YOU, you know!) where they learned something that they know someone else out there could learn from.

And... they're just such nice people too.

Scleral lenses are THE thing right now.

Science needs some time to catch up with scleral lens practice.

There are way too many things we don't know.

What's going on behind the lens, really? On the surface of the eye, further back in the cornea?

What are the safety implications and risks?

And my personal hangup: Can we please, pretty please, with sugar on top, have some SCIENCE about the solutions we're filling our lenses with? 

Tap water is out. Rinsing with saline is in.

I came into this with no context for what optometry in general was saying about tap water. But I came away with the impression that this event was rather pivotal in how it put paid to the credibility of rinsing any lenses with tap water, and certainly sclerals specifically. There was science, and there was broad agreement, that although the risk is small, it's far too serious to be able to justify ignoring. However, this leaves us with lots and lots and lots of practical issues to work out! I suspect this will continue to dominate My Big Fat Scleral Lens for some time to come.


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