• Quality of Care, Global Education Highlight 117th Annual Meeting of American Academy of Ophthalmology

    New Orleans hosts world's largest conference of eye physicians and surgeons

    NEW ORLEANS — Improving the quality of care for patients suffering from eye diseases and injuries is the focus of the more than 25,000 eye physicians, surgeons and industry representatives from 123 countries who will gather at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans for the world's largest ophthalmology conference. The 117th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology features 600 scientific presentations, 256 instruction courses and numerous exhibits showcasing the latest advances in ophthalmic devices, imaging and other technologies.

    The conference also includes course days for cornea, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, oculofacial plastic surgery, pediatric ophthalmology, refractive surgery and retina subspecialists. In addition, attendees will see the launch of several Academy-developed software, web and multimedia tools designed to help ophthalmologists around the world continuously improve patient care and safety.

    Highlights of the meeting include:

    Academy Unveils Clinical Outcomes Database
    The IRIS® Registry Intelligent Research in Sight – the nation's first comprehensive eye disease database – will be the focus of a panel discussion during the conference's opening session as well as being featured in seminars and demonstrations highlighting its capabilities to improve the quality of care ophthalmologists provide to their patients. It is a centralized collection and reporting tool that processes data from electronic health records EHR to enable ophthalmologists to statistically analyze their own care, compare it to that of their peers and pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

    Academy Launches Newly Designed Clinical Education Website
    The Academy is showcasing a new version of its online resource for clinical education, the Ophthalmic News and Education® Network. Serving the educational needs of more than 30,000 physicians each month from across the globe, the ONE® Network is the world's largest online source of peer-reviewed, high-quality news and education for ophthalmologists. The newly revamped ONE Network includes improvements in search optimization, responsive design for mobile compatibility, intuitive navigation, a multimedia library and a host of other features that will enhance the user experience through easier, faster access to the ever-expanding wealth of content in support of their lifelong learning. It now provides more than 50 interactive cases and courses, full-text access to nine leading journals, self-assessment questions, practice guidelines in eight languages and thousands of videos and clinical images.

    New Clinical Resource for Global Ophthalmologists
    The Academy is debuting a new clinical resource for ophthalmologists who provide eye care in developing countries. The Global Ophthalmology Guide is an open-access resource, located on the ONE Network®, for region-based treatment and management information on a variety of topics and diseases in underserved and low-resource environments. Through the Global Ophthalmology Guide, physicians can access reference charts, tables, algorithms and images; watch surgical demo videos and series; and prepare for overseas work with online CME courses that review critical issues in global eye health.

    Practice Management Resources for Significant Medical Coding Changes
    The scheduled transition to ICD-10-CM is the biggest change happening to medical coding in over 30 years. The new coding system – implementation of which takes effect Oct. 1, 2014 – classifies health care visits and diagnoses in 70,000 ways, versus the previous system's 14,500 options. Specific and targeted ICD-10-CM for Ophthalmology courses, sessions and resources will be provided to physicians and practice management professionals.

    Video Resources to Enhance Patient Informed Consent Process
    The Academy will showcase a new informed consent video product line that can be used to enhance the patient informed-consent process, support EHR meaningful use attestation and mitigate malpractice risk. The Retina Informed Consent Video Collection is a downloadable collection of 21 short and informative five-minute videos on common retinal conditions that can be used in an EHR or patient portal, practice web site and for in-office or chair-side patient education. Each video focuses on a specific treatment option for a type of retinal disease and uses high-quality animations to present an overview of the condition and the benefits, complications, risks and alternatives associated with the treatment option.

    Outstanding Individuals in Ophthalmology to be Honored
    The Academy will recognize the contributions and achievements of several of its members. They include:

    • The Laureate Award, which is the Academy's highest honor and conferred upon individuals who distinguish themselves and the profession by making exceptional scientific contributions toward preventing blindness and restoring sight worldwide, will be presented to Daniel Albert, M.D., M.S., the Frederick Allison Davis Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director of the Eye Pathology Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
    • The Jackson Memorial Lecture Award will be presented to Mark S. Blumenkranz, M.D., H.J. Smead Professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Stanford University. Dr. Blumenkranz will receive the honor and deliver this year's Jackson Memorial Lecture titled "The History and Evolution of Lasers in Ophthalmology: A Review of the Interactions Between Physicians, Patients and Photons."
    • The Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award recognizes Academy members for contributions in charitable activities, care of the indigent and community service performed above and beyond the typical duties of an ophthalmologist. This year's recipients are Mario R. Angi, M.D., president of the Christian Blind Mission in Italy, and Gullapalli N. Rao, M.D., founder of the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in India and chairman/CEO of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
    • The International Blindness Prevention Award, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or restoration of sight worldwide, will be presented to Mohammad Daud Khan, M.D., chairman of Comprehensive Health and Education Forum International.

    Museum of Vision® Exhibit Explores Link Between Science-Fiction and Innovation
    The Museum of Vision, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, debuts its new exhibit, "Extreme Vision: Science Fiction or Truth," which explores how science fiction predicts modern innovation. Did H.G. Wells predict the ophthalmic ruby laser in his 1898 novel War of the Worlds or was it Superman's heat vision?  The exhibit features photovoltaic retinal prosthesis proto-types – which are currently being developed at Stanford University. Visitors can also learn about the vision implants that were first explored in a 1952 science fiction novel and later utilized by some well-known sci-fi heroes such as The Six Million Dollar Man and Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    Select Annual Meeting Sessions Available Live and On Demand Online
    The Academy is offering a free online component to the Annual Meeting, allowing member physicians the ability to participate in some of the sessions live from New Orleans. The AAO Virtual Meeting provides access to:

    • Live and recorded sessions from the Annual Meeting and Subspecialty Day
    • A Networking Lounge to engage with colleagues around the world
    • Online access to Annual Meeting posters and videos
    • The Virtual Exhibition showcasing the latest in ophthalmic technologies

    "The American Academy of Ophthalmology's Annual Meeting is the biggest, single-most important learning opportunity for eye physicians and surgeons worldwide," said Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "It is thrilling for the Academy to once again be the epicenter of global ophthalmic education and to lead the continual advancement and innovation of eye care."

    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 — Eye M.D.s — with more than 32,000 members worldwide.  Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. 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.