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    Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is!

    The annual “Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is!” conference, developed by Robert H. Osher, MD, and managed by the Academy, updates ophthalmologists on the latest in cataract technique, technology, and science in an unorthodox yet practical way. It features lectures, video presentations, and more than 100 vendor exhibits. Attendees can get hands-on practice with new technology and techniques in 23 different wet labs, including the Anterior Vitrectomy and Iris Reconstruction labs.

    “I am extremely proud of the faculty because I handpick the most experienced surgeons who are also the best teachers. My charter surgeons have been with me for 5 years: Richard Mackool, MD, Warren Hill, MD, Ike K. Ahmed, MD, and Michael Snyder, MD. The International Guest of Honor is Abhay Vasavada, MD, of India. They are supplemented by a terrific group of expanded faculty of senior and younger surgeons,” said Dr. Osher.

    The conference and related preliminary events take place Jan. 13-17, 2016, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Fla. On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the day before the official kickoff, there is a session on neuroophthalmology, followed by a dinner meeting called “Wednesday Night at the Movies,” in which Dr. Osher shares videos from his collection as editor of the Video Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Thursday morning features a symposium on corneal disease and cataract surgery, followed by glaucoma and retina updates. At noon, the exhibit opens for attendees to peruse. The conference officially begins at 1 p.m. and at 2 p.m. new technology “showdowns” begin, which compare and contrast phaco machines, microscopes, presbyopia-correcting and toric IOLs, and femto lasers.

    The program includes sessions such as Complication Management: Saving the Day, Everyday Challenging Cases: Sky’s the Limit!, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: OMIC’s Top Ten Cataract Claims, The Posterior Cornea–Missing Link?, and Essential Business Strategies. In addition, on Friday at 11:15 a.m. George O. Waring IV, MD, will give the Waring Memorial Lecture, Refractive Lens Surgery, in memory of his father, George O. Waring III, MD, FACS.

    The days are long, running from 7 a.m. to after 10 p.m. Dr. Osher said, “We wanted to go in a different direction with this meeting so surgeons can have access to cutting-edge clinical applications.”

    For registration, program information, and more, visit www.cstellingitlikeitis.com.

    Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is
    Speaking Freely. Because Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is! does not offer CME credits, Dr. Osher said, “This meeting allows surgeons to teach—and ask questions—without restriction. This totally candid interchange of useful information will help surgeons gain knowledge and confidence.”

    Fireworks Safety Campaign Wins National Honors

    The Bulldog Reporter, a leading media relations trade organization, recognized the Academy’s 2015 fireworks safety campaign with 2 Gold-Level Bulldog Awards. The campaign featured stories of children who suffered vision loss and eye damage as a result of fireworks accidents. The Academy created an animated family-friendly video that aired on TV stations nationwide and on YouTube, and conducted a national survey on fireworks injuries and safety. The survey showed that nearly one-third of Americans have been injured or know someone injured by fireworks. Nearly 200 news stories referencing the campaign appeared in outlets such as CBS News, USAtoday.com, and the Chicago Tribune. The Academy thanks Ali R. Djalilian, MD, Jane C. Edmond, MD, Philip R. Rizzuto, MD, Veeral Shah, MD, and Anne Sumers, MD, for their time and dedication to educating the public on the dangers of fireworks.

    Fireworks: The Blinding Truth
    Award-Winning Campaign. To view the “Fireworks: The Blinding Truth” video, data from the survey, patient photos, and other materials from this campaign, visit www.aao.org.


    Codequest 2016 Is Coming to a Town Near You

    Register for the Academy and AAOE’s ophthalmology-specific coding seminar for accurate, up-to-date instruction from the Academy’s coding experts. This 4-hour seminar will cover new and updated coding rules and requirements, top reasons for ICD-10 denials, examples of coding best practices, and more. Go online to find out when Codequest is coming to your state—and be sure to attend.

    To register, and to see a schedule of Codequest’s upcoming locations, visit www.aao.org/codequest.

    PQRS and Coding Webinars

    Attend an Academy practice management webinar and learn new skills to improve efficiency and productivity in your practice. From compliance to coding, these hour-long webinars offer expert instruction on a wide array of topics. On Dec. 8, view PQRS Reporting Changes for 2016. On Jan. 12, the popular annual Ophthalmology Coding Update will take place.

    To register for upcoming events or order recordings of past presentations, visit www.aao.org/aaoewebinars.

    2016 Focal Points

    2016 Focal Points: More than 130 topics. Focal Points is an Academy periodical that provides clear, concise, and credible information applicable to daily practice. Each issue tackles a specific topic and discusses diagnosis, treatment, and the latest standards of care.

    Subscribe to Focal Points Digital for a new topic every month, plus access to the digital archive of more than 130 topics. All issues are downloadable, printable, and searchable.

    Print subscribers get all the benefits of Focal Points Digital, plus 12 print issues from January to December 2016.

    To see topics coming up in 2016 and to subscribe, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints.


    Consider a Gift to the Foundation

    This is the perfect time of year to make a meaningful gift in honor or memory of a mentor, colleague, or family member. Your tax-deductible donation will help fund Academy programs, including the ONE Network, the IRIS Registry, and EyeCare America.

    To donate, visit www.aao.org/foundation.

    Renew Your Academy Membership for 2016

    By now you should have received your membership renewal packet in the mail. Respond immediately so that you can continue to take full advantage of all the benefits of Academy membership. To ensure uninterrupted benefits, your Academy membership must be paid by June 1. To renew your membership online, visit www.aao.org/member-services and click “Renew.” Or renew by mail, fax, or phone.

    For more information, call Member Services at 415-561-8581, or send an email to member_services@aao.org.

    International Blindness Prevention Award

    Established in 1992, the International Blindness Prevention Award is presented at the Academy’s annual meeting to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or restoration of sight. The deadline for 2016 nominations is Jan. 30.

    To submit a nomination, visit www.aao.org/about/awards/blindnessprevention.

    Nominate a Colleague for the Laureate Award

    The Academy is accepting nominations through Feb. 1 for the 2016 Laureate Recognition Award. This award recognizes an outstanding ophthalmologist whose significant scientific contribution to the field has shaped modern ophthalmology.

    To submit a nomination, visit www.aao.org/laureate and select “Nominations.”

    PQRS Deadline—Enter All of Your Data by Jan. 15

    For practices without electronic health records (EHRs), the IRIS Registry Web portal provides a convenient way to participate in the 2015 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)—but the clock is ticking. You have until Jan. 15 to enter your data into the portal, and you must already have met all the earlier deadlines (most recently, the Dec. 1 deadline for submitting your data release consent form).

    The Jan. 15 deadline does not apply to practices that integrated their EHR with the IRIS Registry clinical database—their data are automatically transmitted to the IRIS Registry throughout the year.

    If you missed the deadline to sign up with the IRIS Registry for 2015 PQRS reporting, you should consider reopens next spring. signing up for 2016. Submit your registration paperwork now to be at the front of the queue when registration

    For more information on the IRIS Registry and PQRS, visit www.aao.org/iris-registry and www.aao.org/pqrs.


    Medicare’s New Physician Payment Program

    The Academy is in talks with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help shape the agency’s next-generation quality-based physician payment program: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS was part of the legislation repealing the sustainable growth rate formula. New bonuses and penalties will go into effect in 2019, but they will be based on performance in 2017. Under MIPS, doctors will see payment adjustments based on a composite score that will be drawn from 4 categories:

    • Quality/outcome measurements
    • Resource use
    • Clinical practice improvement activities
    • Meaningful use of electronic health records

    The Academy’s MIPS Strategic Summit. In August, a roomful of Academy leaders and policy experts gathered at the Academy’s Washington, D.C., office to identify the specialty’s needs and goals as they relate to MIPS—and to develop a basic strategy for addressing and, where necessary, contesting the regulations. The participants, including Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD, brainstormed how the program could impact ophthalmologists. They considered every angle, such as how physicians qualify and what unique problems might arise. Central to most of these conversations was the role the Academy’s IRIS Registry could play in helping doctors succeed under MIPS. Ophthalmologists deserve the opportunity to use the IRIS Registry to qualify in as many ways as possible under the program. The group decided that this will be the Academy’s core message to CMS over the next several months.

    More action from the Academy. In October, the Academy began holding meetings with stakeholders, including medical groups, industry, and academia, to understand emerging issues and develop a strategy for when the CMS begins gathering information. CMS began its rulemaking in 2015 and must finalize it in 2016, so it is critical to respond quickly to CMS when it requests information. Academy Medical Director of Health Policy William L. Rich III, MD, and Catherine Cohen, Academy Vice President of Governmental Affairs, continue to meet regularly with key medical specialties and state medical society leaders.

    The coming year will be as important for Medicare policy as any in the previous decade. The Academy stands ready to face any challenges that CMS policies bring, and it will continue to seek to understand MIPS and communicate with members and federal agencies such as CMS on how MIPS and other programs will change the way our members care for patients.


    2015 Best Original Papers

    Congratulations to the authors of the Best Original Papers at AAO 2015. The winning papers were selected by the panels in each of the paper sessions.

    To view the Best Original Papers abstracts, go to www.aao.org/best_papers.

    AAO Meetings on Demand

    Be sure to check out AAO Meetings on Demand for cutting-edge information presented during Subspecialty Day sessions and AAO 2015 events. Save when you buy the complete package: full-motion videos of all 6 Subspecialty Day meetings plus highlights from AAO 2015. Or purchase only the Subspecialty Day meetings you are most interested in. Some courses may not be available or may be available only in audio form, contingent upon the extent of recording permission granted by the presenter. AAO Meetings on Demand does not provide CME credit.

    Visit www.aao.org/ondemand.

    AAO 2015 Archives

    Visit the Meeting Archives to download course handout PDFs, find scientific posters, watch Videos on Demand, view syllabi from Subspecialty Day, check out AAO TV, and more.

    For more information, visit www.aao.org/aao-archives.

    AAO 2016: Innovate

    Join us in Chicago for AAO 2016, held in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. The meeting will take place Oct. 15-18 at McCormick Place. It will be preceded by Subspecialty Day, Oct. 14-15.

    For more information, visit www.aao.org/2016. 

    2016 Abstract Deadlines

    To present at AAO 2016, you must submit abstracts online. The abstract submitter for instruction courses and new Skills Transfer labs opens Dec. 10, 2015, and closes Jan. 12, 2016.

    To submit, visit www.aao.org/presentercentral.

    Claim Las Vegas CME Credits by Jan. 13

    CME credits earned at AAO 2015 and/ or Subspecialty Day must be reported by Jan. 13, 2016. As a service to members only, the Academy maintains a transcript of Academy-sponsored CME credits earned, provided that the member reports those credits to the Academy. Transcripts, including annual meeting credits entered onsite, will be available beginning Dec. 10, 2015. Members may also report credits earned through other CME providers so that their record is available on a single transcript.

    Claim your CME credits online at www.aao.org/cme.



    Mark A. Greiner, MD
    Dr. Greiner

    The Cornea Society awarded Mark A. Greiner, MD, the 2015 Cornea Society/Richard C. Troutman, MD, DSc (HON) Prize during the Cornea Society/Eye Bank Association of America Fall Educational Symposium on Nov. 13. The award includes a $5,000 honorarium from the Troutman Endowment. It is bestowed annually by the society for the paper published in Cornea during the previous year that was judged to be most outstanding and innovative and was authored by an investigator 40 years of age or younger. The paper was titled Diabetes Mellitus Increases Risk of Unsuccessful Graft Preparation in Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty: A Multicenter Study. Dr. Greiner said, “I am extremely grateful to the Cornea Society and Dr. Troutman for the honor of receiving this prestigious award. To have been recognized for this important collaborative work, amongst the outstanding work of my peers, is truly humbling. I am looking forward with great enthusiasm to participating in the studies that will come from this work, and continuing to pursue innovations in keratoplasty and eye banking.”

    Lynn K. Gordon, MD, PhD
    Dr. Gordon

    Lynn K. Gordon, MD, PhD, was selected to receive the 2015 Women in Ophthalmology (WIO)/Suzanne Véronneau-Troutman Award. The award was presented to Dr. Gordon during AAO 2015 in Las Vegas. It recognizes the ophthalmologist who has done the most in the preceding year to promote the role of women in ophthalmology, and includes a $1,000 honorarium from the Troutman Endowment. Dr. Gordon said, “I am so grateful to be the 2015 recipient of the Suzanne Véronneau-Troutman Award from Women in Ophthalmology (WIO). Dr. Véronneau-Troutman is a role model for all ophthalmologists—she is a trailblazer and a philanthropist. Participation in WIO over many years was and continues to be pivotal to my own academic and career trajectory. It is an honor to be recognized for my efforts in inclusive ness, to follow in the footsteps of many women and men who have supported WIO over many years, and to be listed alongside the past recipients of this award.”

    Olivier Richoz, MD
    Dr. Richoz

    The International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS) awarded Olivier Richoz, MD, the 24th Annual Richard C. Troutman, MD, DSc (HON) Prize during the ISRS Awards ceremony on Nov. 13. This prize recognizes the scientific merit of a young author publishing in the Journal of Refractive Surgery and includes a $5,000 honorarium from the Troutman Endowment. Dr. Richoz said, “I am very grateful and pleased to receive this award. Dr. Troutman’s achievements are a great inspiration—in particular, his long career of innovation and generous teaching. He is a great role model for me. I hope that our work on collagen cross-linking technology will lead to advances in treatment of infectious keratitis and scleral ectasias, improving the quality of life for our patients.”