Ever since the early days when Ortho-K was an uncertain art, it's been my desire to see it mainstreamed through out the vision care community. This among other things provides the practitioners of corneal reshaping obvious benefits. One of those is the broad acceptance of the procedure among our peers. In the old days and to a degree even today, it is helpful to develop a thick skin to criticism. Criticism from Ophthalmology is to be expected, where a turf battle driven by economic factors has existed - but not so much from our colleagues who should be on the same page.
Despite all the studies and all the exposure corneal reshaping now received, here in the states our specialty remains small and isolated. It may have something to do with the fact that corneal reshaping practice is not intuitive. That is, it has to be taught and requires experience. You need more than online courses to be truly successful and more importantly comfortable in this field.
In my yearly trips to ICO, I encourage the third year students to pick up the specialty and get themselves hired as associates in established private practices. I encourage them to go through the files of those same practices looking for good OK candidates.
"It's like a gold mine.", I tell them - especially since most OD practices under utilize corneal reshaping. What they ask me after that is quite revealing.
"What will happen if I fail in one of my cases? Will my fellow OD/MD have the patience with me to let me continue doing corneal reshaping?"
That's what's out there folks. Lack of confidence and coupled with inexperience, it's a hard nut to crack. That's where this academy comes in. If you haven't thought about it before, we offer you "cover". That is - a growing world wide organization promoting all things corneal reshaping, now including myopia control and corneal rehabilitation - where you can ask the questions and receive answers without feeling like your going to get cut down for it. The OAA and now the new International Academy of Orthokeratology (IAO) offer the legitimacy we all need to move forward and grow in our field. So support all of what we do by renewing your membership and attending VBD 2011 in Orlando. You won't be displeased as anyone who has attended our meetings in the past can attest. Come on down and enjoy - it's going to be outrageous!