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Up Front: Chief Medical Editor's Page | May 2009

How Do We Learn?

Many of the procedures that I perform today—LASIK, PRK, Descemet's stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty—had not been developed when I was a resident or fellow. We surgeons must continue to learn after our training, and the wide variety of ophthalmic meetings and journals help us to continue our education.

I prefer meetings that include controversy, discussion, and entertainment, because I learn more when I am having fun. That is why I so enjoy the Aspen Invitational Refractive Symposium, a small meeting of so many of the doctors from whom I want to hear. Larger meeting like ASCRS and AAO fulfill these criteria by including courses such as the X rounds by my co-chief medical editor Eric Donnenfeld, MD, discussion courses by William Trattler, MD, and the Challenge Cup.

I often hear doctors say there are too many meetings. Maybe there aren't enough, at least not enough good ones. Ophthalmology is innovative, fast paced, and complex. We need excellent educational meetings that merit our time out of the office and travel expenses. To me, the best educational medium is live discussion, either during the session or afterward. I learn a lot when I am talking, whether I am teaching or asking questions. A well-run users' meetings is the best at live discussion—a session that leaves no questions unanswered at the end. An ideal meeting would achieve a one-on-one format for the entire audience. I do not think any meeting has fully realized that goal, but I have room in my schedule for one that does.

I also learn a lot from Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today, especially from cover series such as this issue's on therapeutics. We surgeons often concentrate more on surgical technique than on such essentials as ocular surface management and the control of inflammation and infection after the cataract procedure. These fundamentals, however, are extremely important. In this month's articles might lie the way to significantly improving our cataract surgery. Technology has advanced, but has the surgery itself? Why isn't cataract surgery more like LASIK in terms of postoperative UCVA, rapid recovery, and friendliness to patients? (Be sure to read the excellent article on the cornea and its role in cataract surgery by Kerry Solomon, MD; Eric Donnenfeld, MD; and Edward Holland, MD.)

I also particularly like this month's mini focus on ophthalmic viscosurgical devices (OVDs), which features some of the best articles on the subject that I have read. The first OVD was just coming to market when I was a resident. I remember the sales representative told us how wonderful the agent was and also how we would not have to remove it from the eye at the end of the case. I also remember observing our first patient's high pressure for 4 days and nights before we reopened the eye and irrigated out the OVD. I learned a lot from that experience, and I am still learning.

I hope you enjoy and draw as much from this issue of CRSToday as I did.

Stephen G. Slade, MD
Chief Medical Editor

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