Last month, I had the opportunity to lecture alongside my friend and fellow Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Michael Chaglasian, OD, FAAO. We presented a two-hour glaucoma update to a wonderful audience of fellow doctors of optometry at SUNY’s Envision Conference in New York City.
I spoke on the structure-function relationship in glaucoma with respect to newer diagnostic devices and progression algorithm software as well as pressure-independent risk factors.
Dr. Chaglasian spoke on tonometry with respect to standards of care and newer devices-both for measurement in-office and at home-and contemporary means of determining the presence or absence of progression in glaucoma.
One aspect of this particular lecture that really stood out to me was the fact that we had questions-great questions-from the audience.
One person picked Dr. Chaglasian’s brain regarding newer non-contact tonometry devices, and his questions opened up into a great conversation about how we check intraocular pressure (IOP) on glaucoma patients for whom Goldmann tonometry is not possible.
Another member of the audience brought up that he had several patients with sleep apnea who also had retinal nerve fiber layer defects. This led to great dialogue concerning risk factors for glaucoma other than ocular hypertension.
I don’t know that it was just an engaging presentation on our part. I’d like to think so, but several examples come to mind of people being let’s just say less than engaged during a few of my lectures over the years. For whatever reason, however, the audience engagement was fantastic, and those two hours were as much of a conversational nature to a lecture as I have experienced as a speaker.
In a solo lecture later that same day, I was going over why it’s not a good idea to taper oral antibiotics with respect to drug resistance, and an audience member asked me why we may slowly taper doxycycline when treating meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) if we’re not supposed to taper oral antibiotics.
In the years that I have given that lecture, I have never had that question come up before. It gave me the opportunity to verbally hash through the answer and to explain that this modality of treating MGD is not geared toward killing bacteria but rather toward making use of a different property of tetracyclines. I’d never really thought that particular question through, and I’m glad someone gave me the opportunity to do that.
So, please continue to ask lecturers questions and challenge us. Many of the most productive lectures I have been a part of, both as a speaker and an audience member, have been conversational in nature. Those speaking and those listening should both embrace that concept.
Discourse, dialogue, challenge, and argumentation are all good things because they exemplify why we don’t simply do optometry-we practice it.