Last April, I received an invitation to an all-expenses paid conference with the Vision Care Institute in Florida. Free airfare, hotel, and conference in the Sunshine State? Sign me up!
Fast forward a few months later. It was late August and the conference was finally here.
Along with six of my classmates, I flew to Jacksonville for two days to attend the conference with the Vision Care Institute (TVCI.) TVCI is home to Vistakon, a Johnson and Johnson company, that produces the Acuvue products that I have grown up using and now prescribe in clinic.
On the Thursday when I arrived, a driver picked me up and delivered me to the Sheraton Hotel, my home for the next two nights. After quickly checking in and receiving my welcome packet, myself and a few others took to Jax Beach for brunch and fun in the sun. With only a welcome reception on schedule for that night, we saw no reason not to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the nearby beaches in the Sunshine State.
The welcome reception began with cocktail hour snacking on coconut shrimp and empanadas while meeting some of the other 30 or so optometry students from other schools. Once the doors to the reception hall opened, we took our seats, listened to a welcome address from Dr. Millicent Knight and Dr. Charissa Lee, then helped ourselves to a plethora of food.
The morning of the conference began with breakfast at the hotel followed by a drive to the Vision Care Institute and a second breakfast. TVCI was huge, modern, and beautifully designed. Having signed their secrecy form promising not to share company details, I took a single picture outside, then said goodbye to my camera for some hours.
The conference began with a couple of lectures from optometrists on practicing in the real world and succeeding in patient care. Topics of discussions included handling the tough stuff in patient care and prescribing for presbyopic patients. We took a lunch break and got to chat with some of the ODs on an informal basis.
Following lunch, we broke up into three groups to rotate through three activities. In the first activity, we worked in pairs to fit two different presbyopic patients in the Acuvue Moist multifocals. During the second activity, we learned about the different uses for the Acuvue Define lenses and tried them on ourselves. Because of the enhancing pigment at the limbal region, the lenses are also perfect for aging patients and those with arcus. We also learned about the level of UV protection Acuvue products have in comparison to other familiar soft lenses. The last activity included a tour of the large manufacturing facilities. Seeing how much thought and engineering goes into the production of a single lens was pretty neat. The program ended with a panel and Q&A with the five optometrists that had been with us for the day: Drs. Dortheanne Roberts, Edward Wygnoik, Drew Dayton, Patricia Poma-Nowinski, and Sharokh Kapadia.
At the end of the seminar, we were taken to Seasons 52 for a fancy dinner complete with flatbread, salad, entrees, and some incredible desserts. During dinner, we were given certificates celebrating our participation and completion of the program. Each of us getting called Dr. So-and-so as we received our certificates was icing on the cake.
Beautiful palm trees and a lovely yellow house on the beach
White sandy beaches
Pretty dinner reception set up on arrival day
The Vision Care Institute
With my ICO crew at the Sheraton
Dinner at Seasons 52 on a very long table post conference
At dinner we were called doctors and received certificates for completing the program
Pina coladas at the beach at our post-conference celebration