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New global academy aims to raise profile of scleral lenses

11/09/2019By Myles Hume
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Australian optometrist Mr Damon Ezekiel has become an inaugural board member of the newly established Euro & Austral-Asian Scleral Lens Academy (EASLA).

The owner of Ezekiel Eyes, a specialist contact lens and general optometry practice in Perth, Ezekiel has been appointed as the association’s inaugural educational chair. The group has been formed to promote the development and knowledge of scleral lenses – and related disciplines – to the public and eyecare professionals across Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

Italian lens designer and contact lens specialist Ms Daddi Fadel is EALSA’s first president. The board also includes vice-president Dr Elena Belousova of the Russian Academy of Medical Optics and Optometry, and Filipino optometrist Ms Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso as treasurer.

Damon Ezekie
Damon Ezekie
“If we can demystify and minimise the number of errors that optometrists are making, it’s going to make it easier for them to utilise these lenses”
Damon Ezekiel, EASLA

“We are trying to establish a scientific education group where we can teach clinical and scientific aspects of scleral lenses,” said Ezekiel, whose father Don produced the world’s first gas permeable scleral contact lens more than 35 years ago.

“There is a steep learning curve with all contact lenses, in the rigid world anyway, in particular with sclerals. So if we can demystify and minimise the number of errors that optometrists are making, it’s going to make it easier for them to utilise these lenses, which is also beneficial for patients.”

According to the association scleral lenses have had a considerable impact worldwide, sparking increased interest among eyecare professionals and wearers.  However, in many countries, there is still no scientific–educational institution that acts as a meeting point for those interested in analysing and learning about them.

Ezekiel said the association’s first formal conference is likely to be held in Manila next year, with subsequent events hosted either annually or biennially thereafter.

Meanwhile, the EASLA has joined other international associations to form another first for the niche contact lens segment – the inaugural International Summit of Specialty Contact Lenses (ISSCL).

Established by both optometrists and ophthalmologists, the event will host 42 specialist contact lens experts who will discuss a range of topics including irregular cornea and ocular surface diseases, their management with contact lenses and myopia control.

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ISSCL is a collaboration involving the EASLA, International Society of Contact Lens Specialists, of which Ezekiel is president, British Contact Lens Association, International Association of Contact Lens Educators, International Keratoconus Academy and the Scleral Lens Education Society. Two prestigious peer review journals, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye and the Journal of Contact Lens Research & Science, are also supporting the event.

It will be will be held on 8–10 November in Rome at the Aran Mantegna Hotel Convention Center.

IMAGE CAPTION: (from left) ISSCL speakers Mr Ken Pullum, principal optometrist of the scleral lens service at Moorfields Eye Hospital, and Mr Damon Ezekiel.

 

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