Neil Osterweil

June 23, 2016

BOSTON — Iconic astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, a passionate advocate for science education and exploration, will take the stage during the opening general session of Optometry's Meeting by the American Optometric Association (AOA).

On July 21, 1969, Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first humans to set foot on the moon.

Aldrin's talk promises to be an auspicious beginning to 5 days of clinical education, professional enrichment and updates on the latest technology.

"Our motto this year is Learn, Lead, and Connect," John Coble, OD, chair of the AOA Meetings Center Executive Committee, told Medscape Medical News.

"We have top-notch continuing education so you can learn, and the 'lead' part of that is our House of Delegates, where we set the path for the future of our profession." Dr Coble explained.

"Optometry's Meeting is the most unique meeting we have because it's where the leadership of the profession assembles," said AOA President Steven Loomis, OD. "We'll have the president of every state association, the president-elect of every state association, the full board of trustees of the AOA, and the leadership of virtually every major organization in optometry in attendance."

Some of the issues the House of Delegates will tackle include online technology for refractions, online dispensing of contact lenses, and a public awareness campaign focusing on eye health known as Think About Your Eyes, Dr Loomis told Medscape Medical News.

Ocular Pharmacology

One of the main events of the meeting will be a series of ocular pharmacology courses, which focus on treatment options for ocular infections and ocular inflammation and on current trends in the medical management of eye disease.

This year, the theme of the popular OD Talks, inspired by TED Talks, is Through a Patient's Eyes. The session will feature Sue Barry, PhD, author of Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions; Clark Elliott, PhD, author of The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back; and Daniel Kish, a blind man who learned to navigate through the world using a form of echolocation.

Hands-on workshops on everything from ocular coherence tomography to the nuances of billing and coding will provide ample opportunities for participants to sharpen their skills and master new ones.

The Best of 2016 poster discussion session will highlight abstracts that are particularly noteworthy, timely, and clinically relevant. This will be followed immediately by the scientific poster session.

"We've really pushed our poster sessions to be topnotch, very critical of how things are, and with more emphasis on clinically related topics, in addition to research," Dr Coble said.

The Contact Lens and Cornea Section Recognition Event will be held after the opening general session. It will honor recipients of the Dr Donald R. Korb Award of Excellence, the CLCS Achievement Award, the Dr Rodger Kame Award, the Luminary Award for Distinguished Practice, and the 2015 Legends Awards.

Luminaries of the optometric profession will be recognized when the class of 2016 is inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame.

During the 25th Optometry Student Bowl, students from 23 schools and colleges of optometry match wits and skills to try to win $1000, a crystal trophy, and a year's worth of bragging rights.

Other highlights will include a Buck-a-Beer night, featuring cheap beer and snacks, alumni receptions for schools and colleges of optometry, the Optometry Cares 5K run/walk, and a gala celebration of optometry, featuring an evening of Broadway entertainment.

All of this will take place in the days leading up to the fourth of July, which the host city, Boston, celebrates in spectacular fashion.

There will be free festivities on the Charles River Esplanade, where Conductor Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in an iconic concert, culminating in a performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, a stirring rendition of The Stars and Stripes Forever, and stunning fireworks over the Charles River.

What better way to unwind after a meeting than spending a day in Boston, one of the nation's most walkable cities, and the birthplace of the American War for Independence.


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