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  • AAO 2015 Showcases Latest in Vision Research and Innovation

    American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting highlights breakthroughs in blindness, advancing role of big data in improving patient care

    SAN FRANCISCO – Oct. 27, 2015 – Thousands of eye physicians and surgeons will descend on Las Vegas next month to attend AAO 2015, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 119th annual meeting. The world's premiere showcase for vision research, innovation and education takes place Nov. 13-17 at the Sands Expo/Venetian.

    This year’s program features the latest scientific breakthroughs in medical and surgical eye care. Major topics and events include:

    The Big Data Revolution and the IRIS® Registry

    Several events at the conference will examine data science and its impact on eye care. Academy President-Elect William L. Rich, III, M.D., will report on the first-year progress of the Academy’s IRIS Registry. The IRIS Registry is the country’s only comprehensive registry of eye diseases and conditions. More than 10,000 physicians nationwide now use this tool to benchmark quality of care.

    Anne L. Coleman, M.D., Ph.D., will give attendees a first glimpse at initial insights on cataract surgery outcomes from the IRIS Registry. Dr. Coleman is a renowned ophthalmology researcher and professor at UCLA. She will present the data during the Jackson Memorial Lecture. Considered to be the premier lectureship in ophthalmology, her speech takes place at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 15. Other sessions will address how ophthalmologists can use the IRIS Registry to improve patient care while also meeting Medicare reporting requirements.

    Skyrocketing Rates of Nearsightedness

    Nearsightedness affects 40 percent the U.S. population. It also impacts up to 90 percent of youth in developed Asian countries. Two symposia will explore this growing global health issue. Top researchers will present data on emerging treatments and leading theories on prevention. The Academy will hold one session in partnership with the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists. The other will be held with the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

    Advances in Lazy Eye Treatment  

    One symposium will explore how collaborative research has advanced the treatment of lazy eye and other childhood vision problems. This is a joint session between the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry.

    Nanotechnology: Fighting Eye Disease with Microscopic Particles

    A joint symposium between the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association of Ophthalmic Oncologists and Pathologists will address the use of nanotechnology in eye care. Ophthalmologists can now treat common eye disease by injecting microscopic particles into the eye. These evolving therapies could prevent vision loss in some diseases and restore sight in others.

    Breakthroughs in Blindness: Gene Therapy and Bionic Eyes

    Diseases that damage the retina and optic are challenging for protecting and restoring vision. Various papers, posters and courses will cover the latest developments in overcoming these barriers. This includes gene therapy and prosthetic retinal implants that can simulate vision in blind patients.

    Ebola Epidemic: In the Eyes of Survivors 

    It has been over a year since Ebola broke out in West Africa. More than 26,000 people have survived, but remain at risk for a blinding eye condition called uveitis. One such survivor is American physician Ian Crozier, M.D. He will join John Fankhauser, M.D., founder of an Ebola survivors clinic in Liberia, to discuss long-term treatment strategies.

    The New Medicare Payment System

    Experts will discuss what physicians and practice managers need to know to stay on top of the forthcoming changes to Medicare payments, incentives and penalties. A special session will cover Medicare’s new merit-based incentive payment system and other payment changes for 2016 and beyond. The Physician Quality Reporting System and the value-based modifier will also be discussed.

    Watching Washington: Key Updates from the Federal Government 

    Several sessions will focus on government activities in the eye care field. U.S. Food and Drug Administration representatives will answer attendees’ questions about regulating and approving drugs and devices. A separate session will feature representatives from the Association of Veterans Affairs Ophthalmologists and the Society of Military Ophthalmologists. They will discuss how the U.S. Department of Defense's robust refractive surgery is impacting military readiness. They will also highlight innovative approaches to expanding access to veterans' eye care services.

    Pivotal Discoveries in Eye Care History

    The Academy’s Museum of Vision will debut its new exhibit, "Great Thinkers and Great Insights in Ophthalmology." This display features eye physicians and surgeons responsible for seminal changes in their field. Visitors can learn how eye injuries caused by airplane shrapnel in World War II led to the invention of the intraocular lens.

    “The Academy provides its member eye physicians and surgeons with innovative and collaborative educational opportunities year round,” said David W. Parke II, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “All these programs converge in one pinnacle event that is our annual meeting. I look forward to seeing our members share knowledge to strengthen our collective resources in the fight against preventable blindness.”

    Known as the place "Where all of Ophthalmology Meets,"™ the Academy’s annual meeting is the world’s largest conference for eye physicians and surgeons. To view a list of events that may be of media interest to media, visit

    Media Registration

    The Academy provides free access to credentialed members of the media. Registration for the media is now open and can be accessed at For more information about the meeting, including a searchable program, visit

    Mobile Meeting Guide

    This guide can help attendees plan their schedule in advance. Available at, it contains complete Subspecialty Day and AAO 2015 program information.

    Virtual Meeting

    This free online component will stream a total of 20 selected hours of educational content live Nov. 13-17. Learn more and sign up at

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, serving more than 32,000 members worldwide. The Academy's mission is to advance the lifelong learning and professional interests of ophthalmologists to ensure that the public can obtain the best possible eye care. For more information, visit 

    The Academy is also a leading provider of eye care information to the public. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit EyeSmart or OjosSanos to learn more.