Roger F. Steinert, MD


October 13, 2014

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This is Dr Roger Steinert, chair of ophthalmology and director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California, Irvine. I would like to spend a few moments giving you my personal sense of some of the highlights at the upcoming American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in Chicago.

The pre-program at the Academy has become the highlight of the meeting with the so-called "subspecialty days." These have greatly expanded over the years. I was surprised at how expansive and comprehensive these sessions have become. They started with refractive subspecialty day (actually 2 days) and then retina was added many years ago. Now the subspecialty days include sessions in cornea, glaucoma, ocular oncology and pathology, oculofacial plastic surgery, and pediatric ophthalmology. There's retina, of course, and also uveitis. Refractive surgery has a completely separate e-poster session. One-day sessions are held on Saturday, and 2-day sessions are held on Friday and Saturday.

Preceding those sessions, for those of you with an entrepreneurial or investigator bent, is the Ophthalmic Innovations Summit. This is not, strictly speaking, an Academy event. It is organized by Emmett Cunningham and Bill Link and has become extremely popular. You can find it on the website and register. That is on Thursday before the Academy and is packed full of presentations on new technologies, innovations, and where the industry may be going. If this is of interest to you, there is really no session like it.

With respect to the main meeting, this year there will be presentations called "Across the Pond," because this year's meeting is in conjunction with the European Society of Ophthalmology. There will be symposia in retina, cornea, and cataract/anterior segment, all separate symposia spread throughout the program on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, for the exploration of technologies, techniques, and procedures that have evolved on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you are a cataract surgeon, you don't want to miss the spotlight session on Monday morning on the latest in cataracts and cataract complications. This has become one of the most heavily attended sessions of the Academy. The format that has been used for the past few years is highly popular. A huge amount of work is done by Dr David Chang to make this possible. There are video cases, typically with two or three related presentations, and comments by a panel of experts. Dr Chang will present approximately eight cases in the course of the morning, and the session ends with the Charles Kelman Lecture, which this year is delivered by Dr Randy Olson from the University of Utah, Moran Eye Center.

If you are staying through Tuesday (which is highly recommended), I would like to draw your attention to something that is new this year, organized by Dr Amar Agarwal, called the Ophthalmic Premier League. He has put together four teams of four ophthalmologists each. These teams will compete by showing their most challenging cataract case through video, and the audience will vote on the video that is both the most educational and the most entertaining. That is a session you won't want to miss on Tuesday morning if you are still in Chicago.

These are just a few of the highlights; there are many more. The Academy has a phenomenal exhibit floor, and there are lots of informational sessions on such topics as electronic medical records and coding, along with hundreds of other subjects presented in courses, special sessions, and skills-transfer sessions.

If you go to the Academy website, you can find the details of the program in advance. There is a short meeting guide, with apps for tablets and smartphones, so there is no shortage of ways to get detailed information on the meeting.

Finally, they are now offering the program on demand, as well as a virtual program, so you can see some of the programs, though certainly not all of them. I estimate that, given the volume of what takes place at the Academy, 1% to 3% of the meeting is available by that route, but it will feature some of the real highlights. If you are not able to make it to Chicago, you can go to the site and download video and audio of those special sessions.

On behalf of Medscape, this is Dr Roger Steinert. Thank you very much for listening.


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