The European Ortho-K: Challenges abound

Much of my time at GSLS this weekend was spent talking with prospective members of the new European Section of the International academy. Their was first the getting to know each other part followed by serious discussions at different times of the day scattered over three days. While we Americans have been blessed with a unified powerful profession and Ortho-K organization this has not been the case in Europe where each country may have a different level of care when it comes to eyecare.

Ortho-K in the USA has developed as a contact lens specialty especially suited for Optometric care. Some countries in Europe have very weak Optometrtic organizations and quality of education for training new Optometrists. This presents a dilemna as how can you define a standard of care if your eyecare community is unable to do so when it trains Optometric Physicians. Another dilemna is that in some countries like France it is mostly OMDs who supervise the contact lens fits. If the OMD is anti corneal reshaping which many of them are how can you even begin to address the lack of a marketplace until you change that situation.

So across the map of Europe you see major differences from country to country in basic things like health care training.The academy will not be able to solve these issues for our European colleagues. We will however succeed in our mission OK Planet. Look for more from Europe and Asia as we move closer to our historic moment in Orlando.

- Cary Herzberg OD FOAA