16th International Cornea & Contact Lens Conference

Recently I attended the 16th International Cornea & Contact Lens Conference (ICCLC) in Sydney.  This is the biennial conference of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia (CCLSA) and it is without a doubt the biggest contact lens conference held in Australia.  This year there were over 320 optometrists in attendance.


One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the Kenneth W Bell Medal to Brisbane contact lens practitioner (and guru!) John Mountford.  John is probably Australia’s leading contact lens practitioner and he is also world renowned for his work in paediatric contact lens fitting, orthokeratology and the development of mini-scleral lenses.  (John’s mini-scleral lens design is the KATT lens and we have had great success with this lens in our practice.)  Over the years when I have met up with John at conferences I have invariably picked his brain about some aspect of specialty contact lens practice and he has always been happy to spend the time chatting subject to the usual consultancy fee of a glass of beer.


During the conference, the CCLSA also awarded life membership to Tony Phillips and Charles McMonnies.  These two gentlemen are absolute legends in the field of contact lens practice.  Tony Phillips is especially well known for his ‘Contact Lenses’ textbook which is now up to its 6th edition – for which I provide the chapter on toric contact lens fitting – and at an age when most people are putting up their feet and retiring, Tony is now heavily involved in the contact lens teaching program in the optometry course at Flinders University.  Charles retired from private practice about 10 years ago, however he also remains very active writing and reviewing papers and he retains a strong interest in areas such as keratoconus and dry eye.  It was only a few years back that Charles and I were co-editors of the special issue of Clinical and Experimental Optometry that was entirely devoted to keratoconus.


It was great to see these three contact lens pioneers duly recognized at the ICCLC meeting and their awards are richly deserved.