Roger F. Steinert, MD


November 05, 2012

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Hello. I am Dr. Roger Steinert, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology and Director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California, Irvine. On behalf of Medscape, I am pleased to have an opportunity to go over some of the highlights that we anticipate for the upcoming American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting in Chicago.

The meeting is preceded by the subspecialty meetings that have been increasing the annual draw for subspecialists in retina, glaucoma, cornea, and cataract and refractive surgery. This covers the waterfront, when adding in specialty meetings in oculoplastics, the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) meeting, the Cornea Society meeting for the cornea specialists, and numerous other subspecialty meetings, such as the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS). On Thursday is the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit; for those who are interested in technological innovations, I strongly suggest that you check that meeting out at the Marriott Hotel.

The AAO meeting gets under way in earnest on Sunday, and of course begins with the traditional opening session, when the Laureate Award will be presented to Dr. Steve Ryan, who for many years was first the Chair and then the President of the Doheny Eye Institute, and then for 14 years served with distinction as the dean of the medical school at the University of Southern California. He continues to this day as the President of the Doheny Eye Institute, but also has been an enormous national figure in advocating for funding for research for ophthalmology. This richly deserved Laureate Award will honor and recognize that achievement.

The Jackson Memorial Lecture will be given this year by Dr. Joan Miller, who has been a pioneer in therapy for prevention of the destruction of the retina through macular degeneration.

On Sunday are many other interesting symposia. I am going to touch on a few of these here. There is a corneal stem cell symposium held jointly with the AAO and the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO), which is the joint sponsoring group for this annual meeting. That begins at 10:30 in the morning. One of the hot topics in ophthalmology right now is corneal crosslinking, so there is a symposium on that between 2:00 and 3:30 on Sunday.

On Monday there is the very popular Spotlight on Cataracts emphasizing management of complications. It is video-based and very dynamic. For those of you who haven't taken this in and have an interest in cataract surgery, it is a must-attend session, and you won't want to miss it. It is chaired this year by Dr. David Chang. This is wrapped up with the Charles D. Kelman Innovator Lecture, this year being given by Dr. Jack Holladay; his topic is the perfect intraocular lens calculation. That should be very interesting.

That is followed between 2:00 and 4:00 by a symposium continuing on the theme of "Cataract Monday," sponsored by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), dealing with new technology and specifically the femtosecond laser and its relation to refractive cataract surgery.

There is also a joint symposium with APAO and the AAO on "Ethnic Variations in Glaucoma: Prevalence, Detection, Treatment, and Outcomes." That is also taking place Monday at 8:30.

The Late-Breakers Symposium -- the latest news and innovation -- will be at 2:00.

There is also a spotlight on pseudoexfoliation that cataract and glaucoma surgeons would be interested in, and that starts at 4:15.

Tuesday there is a joint APAO/AAO symposium on "Management of Diabetic Retinopathy Management: East-West Perspectives."

There is also an ocular imaging symposium at 10:15 on Tuesday.

That is the main, core programming, but if you haven't ever taken it in, it's worth trying out the Academy Cafe. The program will have many different topics. It is the structure of the Academy Cafe that makes it interesting, which is a panel discussion, with the audience sitting in very comfortable chairs. There is free coffee, and you can sit there and text your questions to the panel. They will begin a discussion on whatever the topic is, you text your questions using your smartphone, and the moderator will see those questions and introduce them into the discussion, so it's somewhat interactive.

New this year is the Learning Lounge, a variation in a different setting that involves small-group interactive discussions. It's something you may find interesting. Be sure to consult your program at the meeting so you can see what looks interesting, and pop into either the Academy Cafe or the Learning Lounge and take advantage of learning opportunities that are different from conventional didactic lectures.

Finally, I was particularly interested this year by some of the offerings in the Technology Pavilion. Technology is becoming an increasing challenge for us, and this is a chance to get over the hump with some of those challenges and to learn from the experts. One topic at the Technology Pavilion is electronic medical records, certainly a hot-button issue as we enter into increasing implementation of electronic medical records and meaningful use, but it isn't limited to that. If you have questions about PowerPoint, or if you are trying to get better video for your operating room, you can get answers to all of those questions. In addition to the PowerPoint update, there is information about smartphones and about the new International Classification of Disease-10 (ICD-10) codes that are scheduled to be implemented over the next couple of years and which have everyone confused and concerned, wondering how we are going to handle the complexity of the enormous increase in the number of diagnostic codes. The Technology Pavilion this year has a really interesting range of offerings.

Chicago is a city with great food, with a lot to do in addition to the AAO meeting at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

This is Dr. Roger Steinert for Medscape. Thanks for listening, and don't hesitate to send your comments. Have a great Academy.