1990’s In 1991 the AOCLE first sent a representative to the annual meeting of the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) in Europe. Chris Snyder (UAB), as the Vice-Chair, was the first AOCLE representative, attending the 1991 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. An official representative was not sent to the 1992 meeting in Bordeaux, France, but Gina Sorbara (Waterloo), a member of both organizations acted as a liaison for the AOCLE. The Vice- Chairs attending meetings were Jan Jurkus (ICO) in 1993 in Prague, Yugoslavia; Lisa Badowski (TOSU) in 1994 in Terrassa, Spain; Lisa Badowski (TOSU) in 1995 in Munich, Germany. Although a representative was to attend the 1996 meeting in Seville, Spain, schedule complications prevented participation. At its annual meeting in 1992, the AOCLE passed a resolution inviting four representatives of the IACLE to attend its annual workshops. A joint workshop with IACLE (The First World Congress on Contact Lens Education), was held in 1994 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
In 1993, under the leadership of Chris Snyder (UAB), the first mid-year meeting of the Executive Committee was held at Chicago’s O’Hare Hilton. Attending this meeting were the four officers (Chris Snyder, Jan Jurkus, Lisa Badowski, Les Caplan), plus the newsletter editor/communications officer (Bill Edmonson), Ed Bennett (Video Special Project) and Howard Purcell, as a representative of the newly added member to AOCLE, the Southeastern University College of Optometry, later to become NOVA Southeastern. Four important action items came out of this meeting, all of which have played a significant role on the future of the association. An initial Mission Statement was recommended, which was presented and approved at the 1993 Annual Meeting. A revised Mission Statement was adopted at the 1995 annual meeting. Chris Snyder suggested that a Workshop Handbook be developed and although the minutes state that “little response was generated”, the acceptance of the next action item led to the formulation of a handbook document. This third recommendation was to invite the past, current and following year’s workshop leaders to attend the mid-year Executive Committee meeting and its meeting just prior to the annual meeting. The result of this action made for a much improved workshop planning process. The last action item to come out of the meeting was to have yearly midyear meetings of the Executive Committee. The second mid-year Executive Committee meeting was held in Jacksonville, Florida in February 1993, under the sponsorship of Vistakon in conjunction with their annual contact lens educators meeting. Vistakon has sponsored the Executive Committee’s midyear meeting until 1999.
In April, 1992, Chris Snyder (UAB), as Vice-Chair, put together the first AOCLE Newsletter. At the 1992 annual meeting, as the incoming Chair, he appointed Bill Edmondson (NSU) to be the first official Editor of the Newsletter. Etty Bitton (Montreal) began assisting Bill in 1994 and became his co-editor with the Spring 1995 issue. The newsletter has grown in size and content and has become a valuable and readily available resource for not only contact lens educators but other educators, administrators and industry people. The Fall 1996 Issue (#10) had a distribution of well over 200 copies and contained information on the association’s workshops and annual meetings, contact lens residencies, job opportunities, industry information (programs and products), web sites, internet addresses, membership addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, listing of industry resources and other informative articles.
At the 1996 annual business meeting in Orlando, the members approved a pilot program for contact lens faculty development. The grant is for the purpose of encouraging faculty and program development for the association’s member institutions, to enhance contact lens experience of students in the classroom and the clinic, and to increase the use of AOCLE members as a resource for institutions other than their own.
Many contact lens and solution manufacturers have been strong supporters of the AOCLE over the years. Some pharmaceutical companies, laser companies, and contact lens institutes have intermittently supported the association. A list of the years of sponsorship for the annual AOCLE workshop is included and a special mention needs to be made for long time sponsorship from B&L, Ciba, and Alcon.