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  • Innovation in Medical and Surgical Eye Care Takes Center Stage at AAO 2016

    Advances in treatment, new practice management strategies highlights of global ophthalmology conference

    CHICAGO – Chicago will become the global epicenter of the latest discoveries in ophthalmology this week as thousands of eye physicians and surgeons attend AAO 2016, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 120th annual meeting. The world's largest showcase for vision research and innovation will be held in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology on Oct. 14-18 at McCormick Place. 

    More than 25,000 are expected to attend the Academy’s annual meeting, making it one of the largest medical meetings in the United States. It features more than 350 instruction courses, 56 surgical skills labs, 51 symposia and 585 exhibitors, collectively addressing all aspects of the ophthalmic profession. 

    Highlights include:

    Progress in the precision of cataract and LASIK surgery

    Professor and Allen, Mosbacher and Law Chair of the Baylor College of Medicine Ophthalmology Department Douglas E. Koch, M.D., will discuss how new technology has great potential to improve the precision of cataract and LASIK surgery during the Jackson Memorial Lecture, the premiere lectureship in ophthalmology. Dr. Koch will describe innovations such as intraocular lenses whose optical power can be modified postoperatively. 

    Surgical alternatives to reading glasses

    Surgical treatments for presbyopia, the blurred near vision people often get starting around age 40, will be the focus of two named lectures. Julian D. Stevens, D.O., Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, will discuss corneal inlays during the Whitney G. Sampson Lecture. Dean of the College of Medicine at University of Illinois Dimitri T. Azar, M.D., will deliver the Castroviejo Lecture where he will review recent advancements in the field such as the development of the Google/Verily smart accommodating intraocular lenses. 

    Zika and trachoma

    The visual impacts of infectious diseases will be covered at different events at AAO 2016. Representatives from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and ophthalmologists from Brazil and the United States will examine how Zika affects babies born to infected mothers. In a separate session, Thomas M. Lietman, M.D. will deliver the Jones/Smolin Lecture, describing the efforts underway in sub-Saharan Africa to eradicate trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness.

    Saving eyes on the battlefield and at home

    Col. Robert A. Mazzoli, M.D., former consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, will highlight the role military ophthalmologists have played in improving care for injured military personnel and how the lessons of battlefield care can be adapted to peacetime practice. In a separate session, representatives from the Association of Veterans Affairs Ophthalmologists and the Society of Military Ophthalmologists will highlight innovative approaches to expanding access to veterans' eye care services through residency programs. 

    The IRIS® Registry: Measuring value and improving quality

    Several talks will focus on the Academy’s IRIS ® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), the world’s largest real-time database of ophthalmic patient outcomes. As the focus of healthcare shifts from volume to value, the IRIS Registry is helping ophthalmologists track, report and improve quality performance, evaluate patient outcomes and perform simple analytics. 

    Medicare and the FDA

    Several sessions will focus on new policies that promise to impact eye care and access to quality physician-led treatments. Medicare is set to implement a sweeping new physician payment system focused on the value of care instead of volume of service. Academy’s physician leaders and health policy experts will discuss what this means to ophthalmology and its patients. In another session, U.S. Food and Drug Administration representatives will answer attendees' questions about preserving access to sight-saving medications and the ophthalmic device approval process. 

    X-ray technology uncovers true colors in 19th Century art

    Francesca Casadio, PhD., will deliver the Michael F. Marmor, M.D. Lecture in Ophthalmology and the Arts. The A.W. Mellon Senior Conservation Scientist with The Art Institute of Chicago will discuss how she used technology such as Macro X-ray Fluorescence Spectometry to uncover the original color of Van Gogh’s bedroom.

     “The Academy’s annual meeting continues to be a beacon for our profession,” said Jonathan B. Rubenstein, M.D., secretary of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting. “No other meeting in the world provides the wide breadth of content and numerous opportunities to meet and interact with local and international colleagues. I look forward to seeing the many developments that will be presented at AAO 2016 that promise to advance our profession’s efforts to fight eye disease and promote global eye health.”

    The Academy provides free access to credentialed members of the media. Learn more at For more information about the meeting, visit                                                                                                               

    A searchable program is available at Selected hours of educational content will be streamed live Oct. 14-18. Learn more and sign up at

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest membership association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 ophthalmologists, we are passionate about protecting sight and fighting preventable blindness. For more than 120 years, we have been educators, innovators and advocates for the public and our profession to ensure the highest-quality medical and surgical eye care. Our EyeSmart® program is a preeminent source of eye health information for the public and empowers people to preserve their vision. For more information, visit