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Report by Dr Clare O’Donnell
9th June 2014 This year the British Contact Lens Association featured a novel Clinical Spotlight Session on Ocular Surgery as part of its Annual Clinical Conference & Exhibition. The BCLA meeting typically attracts around 1,000 delegates or so, from all over the world for a four day extravaganza on anterior eye and contact lens research. In recent years the scope of the meeting has broadened to encompass new areas of clinical practice and related research. The surgical spotlight session took place on Monday 9th June and it opened with ‘live’ phacoemulsification surgery being beamed to the delegates at the ICC in Birmingham from the Birmingham Midland Eye Centre. Prof James Wolffsohn and Prof Rajesh Aggarwal Chaired the Session and Prof Sunil Shah was the treating surgeon. A traditional, ‘live’ phacoemulsification procedure was undertaken, followed by a ‘live’ femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgical procedure. The aim was for attendees to observe the key differences in the two approaches. Interestingly a new IOL type (customised for femto-phaco) was implanted during the procedure, one of the first three such implantations in the UK. Presentations on the theoretical benefits of laser-assisted cataract surgery and advanced technology IOLs were then delivered by Prof James Wolffsohn (Aston University) and Dr Philip Buckhurst (Plymouth University). Mr Mark Wevill and Dr Clare O’Donnell gave a presentation entitled ‘Advanced Approaches to Refractive Management’. Mr Wevill provided a fascinating overview of new, emerging and futuristic refractive procedures in a fast paced and very visual presentation. Dr O’Donnell suggested that in addition to reading the literature, attending conferences and courses, it can be insightful to attend sessions shadowing surgeons in clinics and most clinics would welcome interest from community eyecare practitioners. In this way stronger links between ophthalmology and community optometrists can be fostered for patient benefit. A lively panel discussion followed with the speakers, which sparked lots of questions from the audience. Questions about what the panel believed to be the key advances in the field over the past decade, future funding models for femto-phaco surgery, multifocal IOL performance and how to tackle lack of awareness among primary care practitioners about the latest surgical advances in refractive management were key themes. All in all, this surgery session was in many ways a first for the BCLA and hopefully it will become a regular feature at this highly successful conference.