He is one of Australia’s leading eye surgeons, and now NewVision Clinics founder Dr Noel Alpins has been awarded the opportunity to present a distinctive Australian lecture.
Dr Alpins was an invited guest lecturer at the 49th Annual Scientific Congress of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), taking place at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in October, where he was asked to present the Sir Norman Gregg Lecture.
This opportunity is by invite from the college and one recipient annually only has the opportunity to present the lecture to their ophthalmic colleagues. Dr Alpins earned this privilege after 22 years of surgical experience which has seen him develop new techniques and methods for the treatment of astigmatism that are now being adopted worldwide.
“The Sir Norman Gregg Lecture is a once-a-year presentation at the annual scientific conference by a speaker who has made innovative and significant contributions to ophthalmology,” he said.
“The lecture covers a topic that has clinical relevance and may cover some facets of work not previously published.”
“Sir Norman Gregg was the ophthalmologist who in 1941 made the connection between congenital cataracts and rubella infection in a mother in the first trimester of pregnancy, that’s what he was renowned for.”
“It is an honour to be one of the privileged few over the years to be invited to give this lecture.”
A new method to measure astigmatism
Dr Alpins spoke on three key points in his lecture.
The first discussion point was his new method for measuring astigmatism, which is more effective than previous techniques.
Dr Alpins released a research paper on A New Method of Quantifying Corneal Topographic Astigmatism CorT in 2012, before developing a more advanced technique for total corneal power in 2015.
He explained how this technique is more reliable than previous measures because it eliminates much of the variability.
“This method is the closest we can get to the gold standard which refractive cylinder in glasses,” Dr Alpins said.”It is a number that you can depend on, the only number you need for corneal astigmatism.”
“The technique that preceded it, simK (simulated keratometry), has a lot of variability and it has been the standard since corneal topography was introduced in the 1980s as an advancement on manual keratometry
“Rather than using one ring of data, CorT uses all the rings and taking a vectorial average by taking advantage of all the data you get more consistency in the numbers in the presence of any irregularity which is common.”
Vector Planning® to treat astigmatism
In treating astigmatism through surgery, Dr Alpins said that glasses—rather than the corneal shape—were most often used as the primary basis for measurements for treatment.
Which is why he developed Vector Planning®, so he could actually combine the corneal shape with the spectacle parameters. It is the corneal shape that is the primary cause of any astigmatism.
“Vector Planning® brings the corneal shape into the treatment plan and it eliminates the anomaly between the differing corneal shape and the spectacles so that one paradigm can operate effectively.
“By doing that, we end up with less astigmatism on the cornea and consequently better vision.
“I described it in a paper in 1997 and I have been using it in my practice ever since. You get less corneal astigmatism and a better visual outcome as has been shown in recent studies overseas.”
Leading the world: publication in international journals
Dr Alpins also discussed his publication in cataract and refractive surgery journals, which have set the standard for analysing astigmatism for all other international submissions when examining astigmatic outcomes.
Dr Alpins has published scientific papers in international journals since then. His methods of astigmatism analysis are now the benchmark for authors who need to be followed by other authors who submit scientific research for publication.
“They have become the standard for astigmatism assessment for eye surgery,” he said. “It’s a huge privilege, it’s really personally gratifying that they’ve been adopted in this way.”
Dr Alpins said it was a humbling experience to present the Gregg Lecture in front of 1000, professional colleagues including refractive and cataract surgeons, glaucoma surgeons,retinal specialists as well as industry professionals
“The response was very favourable, from colleagues and also the organisers who invited me,” he said. “They were very pleased with the content, there was a lot of general interest in the subject.”
Dr Alpins recently launched his book Practical Astigmatism: Planning and Analysis, which is a compendium of his research and innovations to date is available from New York Publisher SLACK Incorporated at healio.com
Contact NewVision Clinics on 1800 20 20 20 to begin your journey towards excellent vision.
BYLINE: Josh Alston