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Optometry Students Exhibit Astounding Prowess at Custom Stable Cup Competition

Custom Stable Cup WinnersMichigan College of Optometry students (from left to right) Kaitlyn Arnold, of Jackson, Michigan; Stephanie Slifka, of Chesterland, Ohio; and Peter Lawrence, of Gibraltar, Michigan, are joined by Professor Josh Lotoczky. The group shows off the Custom Stable Cup, received at the American Academy of Optometry's 2019 gathering in Orlando, Florida. The Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University team won the trophy and two $500 scholarships for their efforts in assessing patients using a scleral contact lens.

Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry students literally excelled at the eye test, taking home top honors in the Custom Stable Cup Competition, part of the American Academy of Optometry in Orlando, Florida.

MCO Professor of Optometry Josh Lotoczky is a Fellow of the Academy and explained that 25 schools across the U.S. are eligible to compete in this event, which requires assessments while working with a scleral contact lens.

“This is a specialty ridged contact lens that forms a tear reservoir between it and the eye,” Lotoczky said. “The student then uses a biomicroscope to examine the patient in order to figure out the thickness of the tear reservoir.”

After recording their estimate, Lotoczky said verification of the thickness comes about by scanning with a device called an Optical Coherence Tomographer.

“This instrument is essentially an ultrasound that uses light instead of sound,” Lotoczky said. “The measurements are extremely precise. The difference between the student guess and the OCT are then compared, with a school’s results comprising the score.”

Around 10 students from the MCO in their second, third and fourth years of study took part, and their average error or disparity between the estimate and OCT reading was six microns. The second-through fourth-place schools were from the State University of New York College of Optometry, in New York City (83 microns); Pacific University School of Optometry, in Forest Grove, Oregon (110 microns); and Ohio State University in Columbus (119 microns).

“I think it is notable that six microns is six thousandths of a millimeter,” Lotoczky said. “To have an average error for a group of around 100 microns is impressive, to have six microns like the MCO students is almost unbelievable.”

Lotoczky said the MCO has the right to display the Custom Stable Cup trophy until Academy 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee, which is set for Oct. 7-10. Two $500 scholarships awarded to the MCO team went to recipients chosen at random from that group.

Industry sponsors for the Custom Stable Cup include Valley Contax, Optovue, Contamac, TelScreen, and Menicon.