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A peek into the history of the International Keratoconus Academy


Andrew Morgenstern, OD, FAAO, FNAP, gives a brief history of the International Keratoconus Academy of Eye Care Professionals.

Andrew Morgenstern, OD, FAAO, FNAP, cofounder and president of the International Keratoconus Academy, shares a brief overview of the organization, including its history, mission, and vision.


Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Andrew Morganstern, OD, FAAO, FNAP:

Hi there, I'm Andy Morgenstern. I'm an optometrist from Bethesda, Maryland; I'm also the president and cofounder of an organization called the International Keratoconus Academy of eye care professionals. We also call it IKA. IKA was founded a little over 10 years ago because of the lack of education that we found in the keratoconus space. Just to go back over a little bit of history, about 10-12 years ago, keratoconus, obviously everybody knew about it, but there were new technologies that were really coming into the United States and all around the globe.

Number one, there were some great new technologies like the Scheimpflug camera that was looking at the backside of the cornea, and letting us see earlier in the diagnosis of keratoconus; also, at the same time, coming over from Europe, was a surgical procedure called corneal cross-linking. Corneal cross-linking, as we all know now, utilizes a vitamin and some light to strengthen the cornea to stop the progression of keratoconic and other ectatic diseases. The problem was, is that we were learning so much, so fast about keratoconus through the Scheimpflug cameras and the posterior segment of the cornea, and also about corneal cross-linking, that it was actually outpacing the education system.

I founded the organization with a few folks, Barry Eiden out of Chicago, one of them, Bill Tulo, and Clark Chang. And one of the things that we wanted to do was we wanted to bring more education to the eye care community. We also did not want it to be optometry specific. We wanted ophthalmology to have just as much of a part of this as optometry does, because it is an eye disease. It's not a profession disease; it's an eye disease. And so we brought on, we asked some great ophthalmologists to be part of our organization, as well. And by doing this, we took the optometric and the ophthalmologic perspective of how to diagnose, manage, and treat the disease.

At the end of the day, we founded IKA purely on the principle to raise the level of education in the eye care community, because we knew if we raise that level of education in the eye care community that would translate down directly to improve patient care.

That's why we started IKA; that's the mission of IKA, and we continue these days to provide education through webinars, through writing papers through being at meetings like this and talking about all these other diseases that are associated with kerato-ectasia and other corneal diseases. We write, we're published in books, and we also have our own meeting. So we hope you can be a part of the organization. It's free to join, please visit our website at keratoconusacademy.com and thanks for listening to me today.

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