OIS@SECO In The Books

OIS@SECO In The Books

Last week we heard firsthand at OIS@SECO’s second annual event just what it means to be innovative in the field of optometry.

Leading off the company presentations, Chris Wroten, OD, joked that optometry cannot follow in the footsteps of Blockbuster Video – a truly successful company that was unable to be nimble enough to change as trends and technologies did.

“In my practice, I always try to be sure that I’m looking forward to see what’s coming up, not forgetting what’s in the past,” he said.

During an Expert Perspective discussion on dry eye, panelist Douglas K. Devries, OD, noted dry eye has “such an incredible unmet need” that it’s not surprising entrepreneurs are constantly developing newer methods or pharmaceuticals to try and address the disease.

Co-chairs Joseph Boorady, OD, FAAO; James Thimons, OD, FAAO; and Paul Karpecky, OD, FAAO, told OIS their goal has always been to bring innovation to optometry. They achieved that in dry eye, glaucoma, and collaborative care, Dr. Thimons said.

“We all had the idea for an OIS in optometry simultaneously,” Dr. Karpecky said, referring to the co-chairs. With 88% of all comprehensive eye exams performed by optometrists, “it’s important to stay in touch with the future and the innovations that will shape these patients’ lives,” Dr. Karpecky said.

“When we first started talking about OIS in optometry, what really struck me was the intersection between the providers, the industry, and the innovators,” Dr. Boorady said.

Dr. Thimons said his first OIS meeting was somewhat overwhelming, as he was constantly texting himself to follow up on some advice he had heard throughout the presentations.

“It was just so exciting, and it was just one after the other,” he said.

Looking ahead to what the co-chairs will be implementing immediately as a result of this year’s conference, Dr. Boorady said he’d already met with “several” of the early stage companies with a potential of investing. Dr. Karpecky said while his multispecialty practice is well versed in dry eye, “today’s sessions gave me some insights into future components I’ll need to include. And it made me think that way for macular degeneration as well.”

Dr. Thimons has an equally large OD referral practice, and said “we’ll be taking this back to our colleagues and teaching them what we learned here” to better practice patterns.

In summary, Dr. Karpecki said “it’s an incredible collaboration [between optometry and ophthalmology and industry] that probably doesn’t happen in other fields of medicine that’s obvious here and stood out for everyone.”

Interested in the presentations? Download them here.