Currently there are 125 million people around the world who wear contact lenses, a 56% increase from 80 million in 2000. THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® has contributed to this growing industry by providing education and training to eye care professionals on contact lens eye health, proper fitting instruction and discussing where contact lenses are a suitable option for vision correction (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism), which impact 43% of the global population.
From one institute in the U.S.in 2004, there are now 14 sites across four continents: Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and South America. To date, there have been over 4,000 courses taught by 257 faculty members in 30 languages to accommodate attendees from 56 countries.
“Training 100,000 eye care professionals is a remarkable milestone that shows the importance placed on continuous learning,” said Ian Davies, Head, Global Professional Education, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, in Pinewood, UK. “We could fill Wembley Stadium in London with the number that has attended. We believe our success is due to a tailored curriculum that reflects the diverse backgrounds and environments in which these eye care professionals practice around the world.”
In developed countries, the curriculum focuses on the clinical issues that may be encountered in their practice, while in developing markets, courses concentrate on contact lens knowledge and skills that may not be routinely taught to those most likely to interact with patients. In other parts of the world where prescriptions for contact lenses are not required, THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® also created specific programs so retail store managers could understand the safe, appropriate use, wear and care of contact lenses and its relevance to customers purchasing them. The core mission is to enhance patient satisfaction and encourage safe and effective contact lens wear.
Feedback from participants has confirmed its impact. Course exit surveys in 2013 showed confidence in fitting the most common spherical contact lenses grew by 18%; while confidence in fitting contact lenses for astigmatism increased 42% – all in a one or two-day course. In fact, 90% of attendees agree that they will increase the role of contact lenses in their practice as a result of the class.*
Modern tools such as electronic headgear to demonstrate eye movement and contact lens stability, mannequins to explain UV exposure to the eyes, or simulation software that provides coaching on patient communications are used in different locations to provide experiential learning.
“It has been rewarding to see THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® grow from that first group of eye care professionals sitting around a table discussing the fitting of a new type of contact lens, to the reach we have globally today,” said Phil Keefer, the retired former President of THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® who created the concept. “Those initial insights into what professionals wanted to learn and how we could develop courses that would meet those needs has served us and them well. We still have a collaborative format with outside faculty frequently teaching their peers and an environment conducive to open, frank dialogue and exchange.”
When it launched in 2004, THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® was a first-of-its-kind learning destination and has remained the only one of such magnitude sponsored by a vision care company.
About THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE®, LLC
THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE®, LLC is an innovative professional resource for eye care providers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, U.S., it also has locations in Brazil, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. These state-of-the-art facilities give participants an uncommon opportunity to experience the latest in vision diagnostic and treatment technologies through hands-on instruction, including training on contact lens fitting and prescribing.
About Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. is committed to creating life-long solutions to vision care needs. Since the ACUVUE® Brand made its debut in 1987 as the world’s first disposable soft contact lens, the company has repeatedly brought innovative, quality, and scientific advancements to the industry. Headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, U.S., the company has some 3,000 employees worldwide. For additional information, visit http://jnjvc.com.