Emilie Langley, 2016 Scholarship Winner
Emilie is an optometrist at Mortimer Hirst Optometrists in Auckland, a specialty contact lens practice.
The CCLS scholarship appealed to me as the recipient got to choose their desired area of up-skilling and is able to organize their own clinical experience. It gave me an opportunity to taper a learning experience to my very own needs.
I had heard a lot about the Innovative bespoke contact lens designs and how successful they were in practice regarding success rate and providing contact lens options for complex corneas and prescriptions previously thought not eligible for certain contact lens treatments.The scholarship seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to learn about the Innovative contact lenses with hands on, one-on-one experience, so I applied for the scholarship and I was very fortunate to be the 2016 recipient.
I contacted Lachlan Scott-Hoy, director of Innovative Contacts and owner of two busy Innovative Eye Care Optometry practices in Adelaide, and he was more than happy to host me at his practices for a week. I was the third CCLSNZ scholarship recipient wanting to learn from him. My aim was that at the end of the scholarship I would feel comfortable enough prescribing all of the Innovative contact lens designs back in practice (ortho-k lenses for high and low myopia/hyperopia/presbyopia/astigmatism, scleral lenses and bespoke RGPs) and be able to share this knowledge with my colleagues. Lachlan was so generous with his time and knowledge that the skills I learnt from the scholarship exceeded my expectations in every way. Through this scholarship I not only learnt contact lens fitting skills from the best, I also gained another contact lens mentor and a greater support group of contacts that have the same passion as I do for contact lenses.
I would like to sincerely thank the CCLSNZ and Lachlan for providing me with this amazing opportunity. Prescribing Innovative contact lenses in practice has opened a whole other world for me in regards to contact lens fitting. It has been rewarding to be able to confidently and successfully offer contact lens options to more clients and to also refit clients who weren’t happy in their old contact lens designs into Innovative contact lens designs. I feel this scholarship has kept me motivated in the contact lens specialty and I am so grateful for this help and support along my contact lens journey.
Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to find out more about my CCLSNZ scholarship experience. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Eagle 2015 Scholarship Winner
It was an honour to be selected as the CCLS Scholarship recipient for 2015. I utilised this time to further develop my skills in custom built Ortho K contact lenses and custom build scleral contact lenses with Lachlan Scott-Hoy at Innovative Eye Care in Adelaide. I have been fitting OrthoK since 2009 with Paragon CRT and launched into Innovative contact lenses on their arrival into the marketplace. I have found that with the potential for customised contact lens design there were gaps in my deeper understanding of how the lens design worked and what was needed to optimise the correction for OrthoK in fits that were not going to plan. Also having only been fitting scleral lenses since 2014, I felt I didn’t have the depth of knowledge on what to accept as normal signs or what to alter in a complex lens design. I wanted to gain improved management skills and design skills and a better control of the software Eyespace which Lachlan had designed .
It certainly was an opportunity for personal growth observing another practitioner in action in their own space, and Lachlan was great fun to learn with. It was a challenge trying not to say too much and get in the way, especially after 10 years of practice doing it all myself. But throughout my week long stay I saw many different lens designs and strategies. I learnt several tricks with the software Eyespace. I left feeling more confident about how I tackled contact lens fitting and design alterations in custom built OrthoK and scleral lenses. I even got used to all the aussie accents, which was a bit of laugh.
I also got to check out some Aussie Battlers on the AFL pitch and taste some bang up McLaren Vale red wines to boot… who says you cant mix passion with pleasure. I would recommend to any practitioner interested in stretching their comfort zone in contact lenses to take advantage of the scholarship that the CCLS offer. It can give a breath of fresh air into your thinking about the profession that you give yourself toevery day of the week. It is a chance to slow down and think, before your put your head down to speed up!Again, Thank you to the CCLS for the opportunity.
Tracy Thompson 2014 Scholarship Winner
” A career-changing opportunity”
In 2014 I was the lucky recipient of the CCLSNZ scholarship. I spent in week working with Prof. Christine Sindt at the University of Iowa, Hospital and Clinic. The optometry and ophthalmology department in Iowa is rated as the sixth best in the USA and sees about 300-400 patients a day.Chris’s area of expertise is working with “sick” corneas and paediatric contact lens fitting. I chose to spend my time with her because of my personal interest in behavioural optometry and paediatrics.
Our morning started at 8am with “Daily Rounds” This is an open discussion held between the optometrists, interns and fellows on any current cases of interest. Then up to the clinic where I got to work alongside Chris and her team, fitting conditions I’d only ever read about. I learnt to fit sclerals, semi-sclerals and even Eyeprint prosthetics. I was fortunate enough to be a patient myself having the full prosthetic contact lens fitting experience too. My favourite patients were still the babies and kiddies of course. My youngest RGP patient was only 3 months old. It was awe-inspiring, mind-blowing work.
It wasn’t all work however. Chris was the most amazing host. When I called to ask if I could spend the week with her for the scholarship, she was so excited that she insisted I stay with her and her family. Chris has 3 wonderful children, similar in age to my own. They welcomed me as a family member. I went to school concerts, learnt to carve pumpkins and went trick or treating. Steve, (Chris’ husband) even cooked me a full Thanksgiving dinner.We took time to sight see around Iowa city and into the county where we enjoyed the traditions of Amish living and German cuisine. All in all it was the experience of a lifetime.
Most importantly it was a career changing experience for me too. I love being an optometrist and the behavioural work I do but as a mum, with three boys I felt that where I was, was all I could manage. Over the years I had taken time off for my family and even now only work part time. Perhaps I had lost the courage to push myself as an optometrist. Chris showed me that I can be the mum I want to be and at the top of my profession too. Her passion and drive for her work was intoxicating!I returned two weeks later with a new focus. I registered and completed therapeutics, went on to start fitting ortho-K and returned to fitting “cones”, sclerals and piggyback lenses, which I had long ago started sending to my colleagues. I love the optometrist I am today! I’m once again at the top of my game! Words could not explain how thankful I am to the Cornea Contact Lens Society for this career changing opportunity. It started as a fun idea and became a turning point in my career.
THANK YOU CCLS!!!
Nick Burbery, 2013 Scholarship Winner
Comments on his scholarship experience with Innovative Contact Lenses.
“For my CCLSNZ scholarship I spent 5 days at Innovative Eyecare in Adelaide in April 2014. The days either side of this time spent in wine country just happened to be fortuitous. I had a level of frustration about the limited structured knowledge I had been able to gain on my own about custom Ortho K and scleral lens fitting, both from seminars, self-directed learning or spending time with colleagues.
Early on when I started doing Ortho K and scleral lenses I had met Lachie at an Ortho K conference in the Gold Coast. He was motivated, enthusiastic and most of all, clearly knew what he was doing. His methodical approach to tricky scleral fitting and frontier Ortho K was inspiring. Fortunately we got on well and upon meeting him again, he was kind enough to offer to show me some of what he knew if I could make it to Adelaide. The CCLS council also happened to be asking for people to apply for the Scholarship and it was not a particularly onerous exercise to do so. The scholarship of $2500 covered my airfare and 5 days of accommodation in Adelaide which made it cost neutral spending time out of practice.
In my time there I sat in on fittings and followups of both Ortho K and scleral lenses, with both Lachie and his other optometrist Alex, at his main practice in central Adelaide. There were several of these appointments daily where I got to see in action just how the finess of the structured approach to fitting was applied. In between these consults I spent the rest of my time with Kendrew, the technical guru at Innovative. This is where I learnt how to design custom Ortho K lenses using the corneal maps sent to him by optometrists in NZ and Australia. Of course this was a vertical learning curve for me all round but this form of immersion got me very confident very quickly.
Admittedly Lachie and Innovative will benefit from my improved knowledge of their products and I can therefore do a better job of using their products more independently, but it’s no small sacrifice to give ones time during busy days to teach a guy from over the ditch how to fit lenses that not many people are familiar with, and for that I am very grateful.”