The UMSL College of Optometry was host to 56 contact lens educators from all of the Colleges in North America as well as 23 representatives from contact lens industry sponsors as host of the 34th Annual Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators(AOCLE) Annual Educational Workshop, held June 1 – 3.  The theme of the meeting was ““Scleral Lenses: The Good, The Bad, The Technology.” Guest lecturers included renown scleral lens innovators Drs. Christine Sindt and Jason Jedlicka.  Attendees had the opportunity to participate in workshops pertaining to scleral lens evaluation and fitting.  A highlight of the workshop was a tour of the new UMSL Patient Care Center.

The organizing committee consisted of Drs. Julie DeKinder, Vinita Henry, Ed Bennett, and Beth Henderson with Dr. DeKinder doing a wonderful job as Chair of the committee.  And she was very pleased to have this opportunity as she relates: “It was an honor to host the AOCLE at UMSL.  Having the opportunity to showcase our new facility, as well as, the many highlights of St. Louis with other educators from across the country was a truly rewarding experience.”  The attendees were very impressed as well.  Dr. Susan Kovacich, AOCLE Chair commented: “I wanted to thank you for one of the best AOCLE workshops that I have attended. You all (Julie, Vinita, Ed, Beth) went above and beyond to provide an excellent learning experience for our attendees. I have heard many wonderful comments about the workshop and both members and sponsors seemed very pleased with the event.

All in all, it was a very impressive effort by all of you to provide us with a top notch event. Other schools have their work cut out for them to come even close to the 2017 AOCLE Workshop. Congratulations to everyone!” Dr.  Charissa Lee, Director of Education for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., North America (JJVCI) agreed.  “You guys did a fantastic job hosting the AOCLE this year! .  .  . this is one of the best meetings that we attend, and we are proud to be a sponsor for AOCLE. Thank you for the recognition and for all of the Thank You notes your students send to us. We are always overwhelmed with the gratitude from UMSL. Your new clinic also looks fabulous! Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to support you and your students.”

Drs. Bennett, Henderson, DeKinder, & Henry


The attendees were also able to visit many St. Louis landmarks such as the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, the Arch, and tour the Anheuser-Busch brewery. Likewise, they were able to dine at Zia’s on the Hill and Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard.  The meeting concluded with entertainment, including a trivia contest organized by Dr. Henry and a skit including former UMSL faculty member Dr. Bruce Morgan interviewing “Vinita Henry” (played by Ed Bennett).

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