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  • Tips for AAO 2023—Dr. Higginbotham: “Know Your Key Sessions and Reconnect”

    A headshot of Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

    Eve Higginbotham SM, MD, ML, is a glaucoma specialist who has practiced ophthalmology over the last several years in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. She is currently transitioning back to the Atlanta region where she hopes to reconnect with colleagues at Emory and work with residents at Grady Hospital. Dr. Higginbotham will deliver this year’s Jackson Memorial Lecture at Saturday’s Opening Session.

    My first annual meeting—Atlanta in 1990. What really impressed me the most about the AAO was the size of the meeting. It was impressive to see so many ophthalmologists assembled in one location, particularly given that we are such a small subspecialty compared with other disciplines. The expanse of the exhibit floor also made a lasting impression, given the scope of the technology that was displayed and the exhibits.

    My top tip for getting the most out of the meeting—know your key sessions. One of the most important pieces of advice is to plan ahead and ensure that you have a general idea of the key sessions you may wish to attend. As a glaucoma specialist, I am always prioritizing the free paper sessions and the posters, since these sessions and presentations represent what may be on the horizon regarding new approaches to treatment or testing. I also make sure I know which evening sessions and events I wish to attend to be sure I am able to reconnect with friends and colleagues whom I have known over the years. 

    How the meeting has changed—it is more condensed. The annual meeting has changed significantly over the years. It once extended from the weekend to Thursday but now is more compressed, and there are pros and cons to this shorter time frame. The biggest advantage is that practicing ophthalmologists can return home more quickly to see patients. For example, the addition of Subspecialty Day meetings provides the option of attending the meeting just during the weekend. The downside of this is that there is less time to meet with colleagues, and there are fewer opportunities to integrate educational opportunities across disciplines.

    My meeting strategy has evolved—my schedule is more targeted. I believe everyone is much busier than 20 years ago and thus the Academy has tried to meet the needs of members by making the annual meeting’s program shorter and more dense. Accordingly, my approach to the annual meeting has become more targeted, and I have reduced expectations for catching up with colleagues and friends—but seeing old friends and colleagues is always a highlight for me. 

    This content is excerpted from the Friday/Saturday edition of AAO 2023 News, the newspaper distributed at the convention center.

    Read more news about Subspecialty Day and AAO 2023.