This year I had the privilege of attending the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) for the first time—and it was incredible! Getting to be in the same room as some of the greatest thinkers and innovators in the contact lens world right now was an unforgettable experience. If you’ve been debating whether you should attend, this conference has a ton to offer, whether you are a contact lens specialist or consider yourself a more general lens fitter. I first heard about GSLS about a year ago and I had been wanting to attend ever since because I love contact lenses! As a long-time contact lens wearer, I am a big fan and a huge believer in the benefits of contact lenses. I think that as optometrists, we are uniquely positioned to really maximize the full power of contact lenses and that’s what this meeting was about for me.
The conference included both education and industry events. There were 5 CE tracks to choose from: Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI), Myopia, Practice Management, Keratoconus, and Scleral Lenses, as well as breakout sessions and seminars from world leaders in various specialty lenses fields. The exhibit hall featured products and technologies from the leading companies—many of whom were giving away tons of free swag! One exhibit I loved was the Contact Lens Museum. It was a collection of old instruments, lenses, and schematics donated by doctors over many years that showcased just how far we’ve come in lens technology. As an optometry student, I loved getting to experience the wide array of lenses and options we have for our patients all at the same place. I learned so much by listening to the specialty lens talks: using scleral lenses to correct complicated refractive errors (a topic of personal significance!), how to manage contact lens wearers and address the problems they most often have, coding and billing specialty lenses, using InSight scleral lenses for dry eye, the latest innovations in multifocal contact lenses, and clinical strategies for myopia control in children using soft lenses. The evenings were filled with the magic of Las Vegas. Many industry partners host parties for the meeting attendees and the only word to describe them is awesome. I stopped by the Tangible Science and SynergEyes parties and I had the best time getting to know doctors and researchers in a more relaxed setting.
GSLS has become one of my favorite conferences because it’s a wonderful mix of education, industry, networking, and glamour. I loved making new friends and seeing old ones again. I am inspired by the great minds and kind hearts of the people in our profession every time I attend a conference and it makes me all the more excited to finish up school and join them out in the field.