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Global audience tunes in as BCLA Clinical Conference goes virtual

Global audience tunes in as BCLA Clinical Conference goes virtual

Eye care professionals from around the world enjoyed 30 hours of live-streamed lectures as part of an innovative virtual Clinical Conference and Exhibition held by the BCLA.

COVID-19 guidelines meant this year’s flagship event could not be held in person, but the BCLA switched to an online platform giving presenters the chance to reach a truly global audience – with the conference programme shown to 1,000 delegates from 50 different countries across multiple time zones.

This year’s programme was dominated by the ground-breaking BCLA Contact Lens Evidence-based Academic Reports (CLEAR) – a research project sponsored by Alcon and CooperVision that will shape contact lens practice for years to come.

The report’s globally respected lead authors presented their findings in dedicated sessions across the programme, giving delegates the chance to learn the latest information in the field and highlight potential opportunities for future research.

Luke Stevens-Burt, chief executive of the BCLA, said: “We are a truly international association, as evidenced by our growing worldwide membership, and online events such as this allow our community to come together and share the latest learning around contact lenses and the anterior eye.

“Moving to a virtual platform for this year’s Clinical Conference allowed us to rethink how the whole event works and we were able to reach eye care professionals who otherwise would not have been able to join us.

“Attempting to get all the BCLA CLEAR lead authors to present their findings as part of our packed programme was ambitious to say the least but has really brought this extensive piece of research to life. It has enabled us to bring BCLA CLEAR to every single nation, benefitting both practitioners and patients around the world.”

The report was published in April in CLAE journal and distributed in hard copy to BCLA members and CLAE subscribers. It is also available as open access through the Elsevier website.

The conference also featured the BCLA award lectures.

Marta Blanco-Vazquez, a PhD student at IOBA, University of Valladolid, received the Da Vinci Award and presented her session on corneal nerve plexus in patients suffering from chronic ocular pain and dry eye disease.

Associate Professor Stephen Vincent from Queensland University of Technology was presented with the Dallos Award following his session entitled ‘Impact of short-term fenestrated scleral lens wear on intraocular pressure’.

Dr Orla Murphy, assistant lecturer at Technological University Dublin presented the Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture on Demodex Blepharitis – detection and management in clinical practice.

BCLA President Indie Grewal, who staged a live ortho-k fitting as part of the event, said: “This year’s programme was arguably our most comprehensive yet, covering practically every conceivable subject area within contact lenses and the anterior eye.

“The findings of BCLA CLEAR will determine how we practice for years to come so to have access to this information at such an early stage will stand all our delegates in good stead as we begin to adopt the recommendations contained in the research.”

The Conference also featured the coveted BCLA awards. Dr Keyur Patel was named Dry Eye Practitioner of the Year, Sabrina Sheik picked up the award for Young Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year while John Pruitt and Erich Bauman from Alcon won the Industry Award.

Andrew Jelly, Jonathan Jackson, Joanne Logan won the award for best poster while Marco Tovaglia was named the winner of the Diane Gould Photography Competition.

Delegates also enjoyed an interactive quiz held via a mobile phone app, took part in live polls during lectures and presentations while an exclusive session brought together new and existing BCLA Fellows.

Alcon were Partner Sponsors for the event while CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision were Platinum Sponsors.

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