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Opchat Magazine Contact Lens PagesContact Lens News, July to September 2020

IACLE introduces Online Student Trial Exam to support educators following the COVID-19 pandemic
‘The community speaks’ - first BCLA podcast goes live
New BCLA President set to make a ‘lasting first impression’ with online audience at virtual address
BCLA provides Guidance in newly published document:: Returning to Practice in Covid-19
Read Last quarter's Contact Lens Stories

IACLE introduces Online Student Trial Exam to support educators following the COVID-19 pandemic

August 2020

Craig Woods

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has launched an Online Student Trial Exam (STE) to support educators whose students are currently unable to attend their institutions in person or who want to assess students’ knowledge online.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Contact Lens Education’ survey conducted in May 2020 among IACLE Educator Members worldwide revealed:

• 71% of their institutions were currently closed to students to attend in person
• Only 24% were running exams or assessments for students to take in person
• 22% said they were not currently assessing students at all

Hosted on a new teaching online platform – IACLETOP – the Online STE is one of many additional resources IACLE is introducing under The TLC (Teach. Learn. Connect.) Initiative to support educators, students and industry at this time, and help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative also reflects IACLE’s wider move towards online delivery via IACLETOP.

The STE has previously been a 100 multiple-choice question (MCQ) assessment in paper format to help teachers gauge how their students are progressing through their contact lens curriculum. The paper-format STE will now be discontinued. Delivering the STE online means IACLE can offer a number of enhancements:

Fakhruddin Barodawala• A choice between the traditional 100 MCQ exam or a reduced STE with 50 MCQs, providing more flexibility for educators and students.
• Questions and answer options randomized, so each student gets an individual exam.
• The option to complete the STE via a smartphone app as well as on their computer.
• Online feedback for each student, either on the day or when the educator prefers.

The Online STE will be free of charge until the end of 2020 and will initially be conducted in English, with translations into Spanish, Korean, Chinese (Simplified) and Bahasa to be completed by September.

IACLE’s Executive Manager of Educational Development Professor Craig Woods, who is leading the project, explained: ‘Even if educators are teaching remotely and their students are learning from home, IACLE is able to support them with this tried, tested and trusted exam. We’re very excited to add this to our existing resources and the three institutions that have already tried it out were impressed by how easy it was to administer to their students.’

FIACLE optometrist Fakhruddin Barodawala, lecturer at SEGi University in Malaysia, was among the first to run the exam. He commented: 'IACLETOP came to the rescue just in time. The pandemic has hit everyone globally, and we were clueless on how we would conduct the STE. At SEGi University, STE is an important element of contact lens teaching as it forms a part of our summative assessment for final-year students. Both I as the educator and my students had a good learning experience.’

‘The community speaks’ - first BCLA podcast goes live

July 2020

Luke Stevens Burke-CEO BCLA
The first-ever podcast produced by the BCLA is now live – giving listeners the chance to hear from experts about the impact of COVID-19 on the contact lens profession.

Chief executive, Luke Stevens-Burt, is joined by optometrist, Sarah Farrant, to discuss the results of a BCLA survey held to better understand the feelings of those returning to practise in the contact lens field after the pandemic.

The podcast, entitled ‘The Community Speaks - attitudes and adaptations under COVID-19’, is the first in a series of short audio sessions aimed exclusively at contact lens professionals.

Mr Stevens-Burt said: “We are delighted to bring you our first podcast, kick starting a series of many more to come.

“It has been a tumultuous time for the world. As restrictions are eased across a number of countries and the return to full services imminent the BCLA held a survey to understand the emotions and considerations for those practising within these specialised areas of eye care.

“The results revealed a number of trends within the wider community, particularly thoughts on the future and the role that technology has played and will continue to play in years to come.”

Sarah Farrant
The survey results, which revealed 73 per cent of respondents were feeling positive about returning to practice, are discussed in detail in the podcast while Sarah Farrant, an independent prescribing optometrist and practice owner based in Taunton, recounts the early days of the pandemic and the impact it had on her business.

She said: “The coronavirus outbreak has been incredibly interesting and challenging. It’s been mind-blowing. I know everyone uses the word ‘unprecedented’ a lot but it’s true.

“In the early days it seemed as if time stood still. Each morning would bring a new development and things were changing by the day.

“It required a lot of adapting and a willingness to change but we soon found ourselves doing different things to make it all work, like meeting patients in car parks to hand over prescriptions through the window. We really embraced the challenge.”

Other topics, including the use of PPE in practice and comfort levels in carrying out certain procedures in a post-COVID environment, also come under the microscope in the 30 minute episode.

The podcast is available to both BCLA members and non-members. It can be accessed by clicking on the link below or via Pocket Casts and Spotify, search for ‘BCLA @ Yours Podcast’. Further platforms will be added in due course.

New BCLA President set to make a ‘lasting first impression’ with online audience at virtual address

July 2020

Indie Grewal The next President of the BCLA, Indie Grewal, will give his Presidential Address on Thursday, 10 September – with the event to be held ‘virtually’ for the first time.

Due to the ongoing concerns over COVID-19 and to avoid asking members to travel into London, the presentation will be run as an online webinar. This means overseas members of the BCLA will, for the first time, be able to ‘attend’ the Presidential Address – wherever they are in the world.

Entitled ‘Making a lasting first impression’, Indie will share his memories of attending the 1997 BCLA conference, shortly after becoming a member. That lasting impression and his longstanding membership of the BCLA has since influenced and shaped his contact lens practice.

Indie, who takes over from current President Jonathon Bench, will share the technologies we can use today to engage patients and create that lasting first impression. He will also look at the evolving contact lens market and how new technologies will add to the relationship eye care professionals have with patients.

He said: “Our return back to a new normal way of practising will also be an opportunity for many of us to see new patients, as many be unwilling to travel far or may wish to continue their desire to shop locally.

“Creating a lasting first impression has always been important when meeting someone new, never more so than today. It can take less than a second for you to judge someone and create a first impression, it’s time to make that second count.”

Registration for this eagerly anticipated event, which will follow on from the BCLA’s AGM – also being held remotely on the same day – is now open.

BCLA provides Guidance in newly published document:: Returning to Practice in Covid-19

June 2020

BCLA Post Covid Guidance

The new guidance document is available now.

As eye care professionals prepare to emerge from the enforced period of lockdown, the BCLA published guidance documents with a list of points to consider as you and your team return to practice.

In addition to these, we have just published new guidance related to the use of gloves in contact lens practice.

Returning to Practice in Covid-19: Use of gloves in contact lens practice. We will provide a link when it becomes generally available.

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