We Re-created, Reconvened and Reconnected
After COVID canceled our in-person meeting in Las
Vegas and we pivoted to an all-virtual AAO 2020, we were thrilled to reconvene for AAO
2021 both in New Orleans and online.
It was a prime opportunity to re-create the event, revising meeting dates to minimize
time away from practices, reducing the number of simultaneous programs to allow more
networking time, eliminating the instruction course pass to allow more flexibility, and
continuing the virtual option for those unable to join us in person.
The Opening Session was moved to Friday evening. We said goodbye to our current CEO, David
W. Parke II, MD; honored our 2020 and 2021 Laureate and other Academy award winners; and concluded
the session with the Jackson Memorial Lecture by Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD.
We had a first-ever Closing Session on Monday. 2021 Academy President Tamara R.
Fountain, MD, passed the gavel to 2022 President Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, who gave
an acceptance speech focused
on past, present, future and how to get involved. We welcomed incoming CEO Stephen D. McLeod, MD; and we listened to a
discussion between Michael F. Chiang, MD, director of the National Eye Institute,
and Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and
David F. Chang, MD's Cataract Spotlight, now in its 20th year, proved once again the value of audience interaction with expert panels discussing specific cases. That was the most-watched
session both live and online, with the Opening Session, Infectious Disease in Neuro-Ophthalmology: It's
Not Just COVID-19, Hot Topics 2021, and Retina Subspecialty Day Section IV: Medical
Retina and Chorioretinal Vascular Disease rounding out the top 5 most-watched sessions in the virtual meeting platform.
More than 10,000 came to New Orleans to reconnect with friends and
colleagues in sessions and events, and to visit the 305 companies in the exhibit hall. More
than 4,600 attendees (and counting) joined virtually. All professional attendees have access to
AAO 2021 content on the virtual meeting
platform until Feb. 14, 2022, then in Your Virtual Products
from Feb. 15 to Aug. 1, 2022.