Fall / Winter 2022
Before we know it, the holidays will be here and gone - Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…and the next thing you know the new year 2022 will begin.
I’ll keep this short.
First, COVID-19 and how it is affecting opticianry, Optical Seminars, and our CE hours.
For many months during the start of the pandemic I hardly knew anyone who had been affected by it either directly or indirectly. As I write this in late August 2021 that is no longer the case. At the risk of sounding crass, they’re dropping like flies. I have suffered personal and indirect losses to the virus. This includes family, friends, colleagues, and patients. It seems everyone who attends one of our seminars has a gut-wrenching virus story to share. Just this week, two of our members passed away – one was in perfectly good health before contracting the virus; the other had some comorbidities that almost gave him no fighting chance when he got sick. Another member is in dire need of a leg amputation, but the hospital has continually cancelled the procedure. There are simply no available ICU beds, despite the fact they have been expanded by 100%.
For what it’s worth, me, my wife, and entire family have been vaccinated. I look forward to the booster shot and will get it as soon as I can. I recently saw an interview with a high-ranking medical official who was asked what messaging was most effective in getting people who are vaccine-hesitant to change their minds. His reply was, “Unfortunately, it seems like nothing works. The only time they change their minds is when a loved one gets gravely ill or dies. Then, at the patient’s urging, their family scrambles to get vaccinated as soon as they can.” Sadly, that is the case. A young woman I occasionally work with had that very experience. Here sister and brother-in-law (both in their late thirties, they have four teenaged children) were adamant anti-vaxers. Then the father caught COVID. He has been in the hospital for nearly 10 days, and his survival is still tenuous at best. His wife and four children have since been vaccinated, and not getting vaccinated is the regret of his life. His wife and sister-in-law hope for our prayers and his recovery.
While we may have to postpone and reschedule (we haven’t yet in 2021), Optical Seminars will not cancel a live event. While I had conducted three events with normal arrangements earlier this year, we are back to limiting attendance, masks, and distancing at our live events.
The Board has shown no indication it will make a similar accommodation as they did last year. As of now, the maximum out-of-classroom hours for license approval is five. If that changes, I’ll let you know.
Second, Get Involved. There are four specific things I am encouraging you to do:
Please, please, please…write the governor’s office and ask him to appoint Board members. The Board has had several vacancies for many years, and it is my opinion that it is unwise (and frankly, dangerous) to allow a Board of only three opticians to make decisions that affect over 5,000 opticians and apprentices, and nearly 22 million Floridians. By the way, three of the four current Board members’ terms ended a long, long, time ago.
Write the governor’s office and the Department of Health explaining the importance of licensing. Perhaps tell them a horror story about something that occurred regarding Internet-bought items, and some of the things that might endanger the public should opticianry ever become unlicensed. (While I have no reason to believe there is an imminent or direct threat to our licenses, I have seen a few things that give me concern.) let him know that you and your family’s support hinges on his support of our profession.
Nominate yourself or another qualified optician who is willing to serve on the Board of Opticianry to the governor’s office.
Report all unlicensed activity, or anything you might even suspect might be unlicensed activity to the Department of Health’s unlicensed activity division. You can report unlicensed activity by calling 1-877-HALT-ULA (877-425-8858), by email HALTULA@FLHEALTH.GOV or online at www.flhealthcomplaint.gov.
Third, New Classroom Courses. As of January 2021, we have more than 220 unique continuing education hours available! While I cannot say for sure, I think that is more than any other Florida education provider offers. Still, we are always trying to add new courses and whenever possible, new speakers. For this biennium, while I will be teaching most of the classes myself, I am proud that we will also have classes presented by Danielle Polite, Dr. Linda Paey, Karen Hunt, and John Zimmerman.
New courses include:
- A more comprehensive look at the art of refraction (Technical)
- Toy Box Opticianry (Technical) – You’re….. going to like this one!
- OHIO – Occupational Hygiene in Opticianry (Technical)
- Misconceptions of Blue Light Harms (Technical)
- An all-new course/approach on Florida Laws and Rules (required)
- An all-new course/approach on Medical Errors (required)
- Gas permeable contact lens fitting guide
- Myopia management with contact lenses
- When to Divorce a Lens
- Home Study: Geriatric Dispensing
- Home Study: Falling
- Home Study: Contact Lenses: Technolgy, Terminology, and Tomorrow
Fourth, Four-Year Membership. As always, we still offer a four-year membership for only $239. That’s less than $6 per credit hour and allows you to attend seminars anywhere in the state or take any home-study courses – all for no additional fee. If you have any questions, give me a call at 352-848-4222 or go to the website to sign up.
Finally, Stay Well.
Anthony Record, Director
Optical Seminars, Inc.