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Young Ophthalmologists
Something for Everyone: A Resident Reports on Her First Annual Meeting
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I laid back in my seat, hoping for a long-awaited nap after the excitement of my first Academy meeting. However, the older gentleman sitting next to me noticed my Academy swag and stole away my nap with what ended up being a hearty discussion on ophthalmology across the generations.

He told me he started his practice in Oklahoma more than 30 years ago and had never missed an Academy meeting since 1974. It was wonderful to hear how the meeting had changed over the years and what kept him coming back every year. He recalled smaller Academy meetings in different cities and remarked how he found that every year he learned something new. He said that the Academy had something for everyone, from the lectures to the exhibit hall to the social networking.

My own reflections from the meeting were mixed. It was easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed amid the crowds of ophthalmologists — many of whom seemed to be on missions to save the sight of the world with their incredible research and presentations. However, these fleeting moments of inadequacy were superseded by the boundless energy and enjoyment of meeting up with old friends from residency, fellowship interviews and meeting countless others during the evening social events.

Guiding lights included the sessions directed toward young ophthalmologists and the chance to relax among fellow residents at the YO Lounge. Highlights of the young ophthalmologist session on Sunday included panels moderated by the crowd-pleasing, enthusiastic William Lloyd, MD (known to many from the UT San Antonio Review Course). 

Janice Law, MD, address 2013 YO Program attendees
Janice Law, MD, addresses 2013 YO Program attendees

Janice Law, MD, shocked the crowd with the 38 percent combined fail rate for all takers of the ophthalmology written boards and orals, but she noted the more promising 75 percent pass rate for first-time written qualifying exam takers. She also shared pertinent tips and resources for making the first time count, including focusing on trusted resources such as the original Basic & Clinical Science Course series, the Yanoff atlas, Ophthalmology Buzzwords and the Osler course for passing the oral boards.

One definite takeaway for me was the need for me to go purchase a website domain that could travel with me wherever my career takes me — advice shared by Randall Wong, MD, during his session on online marketing. GoDaddy is soon to be my friend.

I also found the YO Program address by Paul Sternberg, MD, highly memorable. The Academy president spoke about leadership, reinforcing the principles of integrity, transparency, respect and credibility. He reminded the room full of aspiring young ophthalmologists to be selective and to do what you love — important words to remember as we embark on careers full of opportunities, distractions and future Academy meetings.

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About the author: Roma Patel, MD, MBA, is a third-year resident at University of California Davis Eye Center. Originally from Delaware, she completed her undergraduate degree at Rice University and then medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Patel will become a member of the Academy’s YO Committee effective Jan 1. Roma Patel, MD, MBA
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