All of us who fit contact lenses—from experts to beginners—need to find reliable resources to assist us from time to time. One such resource that I personally turn to is the Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI) website: www.gpli.info.
The GPLI is an organization that provides practitioners with educational and practice-building resources to better enable the use of GP lenses in their practice. In addition to printed materials and videos, the GPLI maintains an active website that is designed to offer useful information, advice or tips to practitioners at every skill level. In this month’s column, I will highlight a few of these valuable tools available free of charge to all providers.
For the Beginner
It takes time to become adept at fitting GP lens. To get you started, GPLI has many resources for the novice fitter—techniques to help improve their understanding and skill level.
• Click n’ Fit: The “click n’ fit” interactive tool is something I use for my students. This feature offers a case history and then allows you to choose trial lenses from a virtual fitting set and put them on the patient’s eye. You can see how the lens fits on the patient’s eye. The lesson is followed by a brief commentary on the fit of the lens, describing the positive or negative attributes of this particular lens choice for a given eye. Trial lenses are available in various diameters and base curves, allowing you to see the effect of changing various parameters. I find that this is an extremely helpful and “hands-on” way to instruct students
on GP lens fitting techniques.
• Contact Lens Clinical Pocket Guide: For smart phone users who like having a handy reference in clinic, the Contact Lens Clinical Pocket Guide is a downloadable PDF file that is designed for viewing on a phone. The guide contains the basics of GP lens fitting and also doubles as a quick reference for fitting multifocals, ortho-k lenses, keratoconus and scleral lenses. If you’re attempting a fit and struggling to recall what the outcome should be, how to resolve a problem or where to go next when the patient is just not quite satisfied with their lenses, this pocket guide can be very helpful.
Other resources for the beginner include a fluorescein pattern identification guide, GP lens fitting quizzes and links to other sites and articles that can provide more educational materials. In addition, the site houses dozens of case reports that describe real patients fitted by contact lens practitioners and how they resolved problems or fitted various types of patients, allowing you to “pick the brain” of GP lens fitting veterans.
Finally, if you do not regularly fit GP lenses and are unsure about which materials you might want to use for a particular patient, the Lenses, Materials and Solutions section offers a detailed comparison to help you make your selection.
For the Expert
Even if you have been fitting contact lenses for many years, there are always new developments to discover, or quick-access information available at your fingertips. GPLI has all of this and more. In my office, I use the website’s conversion tables almost daily. GPLI also regularly sponsors online webinars, which I find very helpful and informative to stay current with new breakthroughs in GP lens fitting, especially because they are presented on specific topics by experts in that genre of lenses. Older webinars and case reports are archived on the website for review at a later date.
The GP Eye Care Professional Locator is a courtesy tool, allowing professionals who enjoy fitting GP lenses to be listed in a directory so patients can easily find your practice when they are seeking a GP lens fitter with the expertise to properly care for them.
In addition, there are practice management videos available to help you build your GP lens practice. Need to design a toric GP lens? Use the lens calculators on the website to help you get the proper lens fit and prescription. Instructional videos for care and handling are also easily accessible and can be used to help teach staff, aid in your patient appointment, or as a tool to direct patients to for a refresher once they leave your office.
Whether a beginner or an expert, the GPLI is an organization that can help you improve your GP lens practice. The free-to-use website offers a breadth of information, from tips for improving your fitting skills to presenting GPs to your patients.