• The AAO 2015 Primer: Where, When and What’s the Cost?

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    For five days this November, tens of thousands of ophthalmologists from around the world will convene in Las Vegas for AAO 2015. Unprecedented in size and scope, this year’s annual meeting is THE opportunity to master new skills, get inspired by the latest research and, best of all, connect with your peers. 

    For both first-timers and seasoned veterans alike, planning for the event can be a bit overwhelming. But never fear — YO Info has you covered. Over the next few months, we’ll help you plan the perfect meeting experience, from finding the best sessions to tracking down the best eats and drinks. Here, we kick things off with a few of the basics to get you started.

    A Host City Like No Other

    Whether it’s the more than 40,000 hotel rooms inside lavish resorts or the hundreds of dining and entertainment options within a 10-minute walk, past annual meetings in Las Vegas have always proved hugely popular — and this year is no exception. Based on the number of abstract submissions and early registration totals, AAO 2015 is on pace to break the 30,000-attendee barrier, with significant representation from all over the globe.

    And while the glitz and glamour of the world’s entertainment capital truly is a draw for ophthalmologists of all stripes, there’s more to Las Vegas than you might think! It’s also home to many offbeat experiences — The Neon Museum, The Mob Museum and the Pinball Hall of Fame — as well as some of the nation’s most popular outdoor attractions, including Red Rock Canyon, the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon National Park.

    Save the Date

    The actual AAO 2015 festivities kick off at the Sands Expo/Venetian on Nov. 13 with six Subspecialty Day meetings and continue with the annual meeting proper, Nov. 14 to 17. That might seem ages away, but it all happens sooner than you think. Both registration and housing are now open — don’t delay. Early registration closes Aug. 5, and a lot of the more popular hotels — Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Wynn Las Vegas — sell out quickly. The Venetian and Palazzo, adjacent to Sands Expo, are already sold out for most dates. You’ll also save on airfare the sooner you book.

    Priced for YOs

    Concerned about the cost? Registration for AAO 2015 is free for all Academy members. If you aren’t yet a member, you’re in luck. Now is the perfect time to join. Membership is free for U.S. and Canadian ophthalmologists in training and available at a discounted rate for international ophthalmologists in training and ophthalmologists in their first two years of practice. Members in training also save up to $175 on the Academy Plus course pass, which provides unlimited access to more than 350 instruction courses.

    For those events not covered by the course pass, advance tickets can result in big savings — they can also guarantee you seating for some of the more popular events, like Breakfast With the Experts roundtables. These morning events combine buffet-style breakfast with informal, small-group discussion led by experts. Seating is very limited. Buying tickets in advance can save you 25 percent.

    Whatever you decide to attend, start with the online Program Search. It lets you plan your schedule by adding individual events to a personal calendar that you can print or download. Search by special interest “Endorsed by Young Ophthalmologist Committee” to find a listing of suggested courses for YOs.

    Stay Tuned

    There’s much more meeting coverage to come. Visit www.aao.org/yo and check back with YO Info for tips on a fun night out in Las Vegas. Watch out for the YO virtual brochure which will detail what you can expect from the YO Program, the Global YO Reception, YO Lounge networking events and other events tailored just for YOs like you.

    Be sure to watch the Academy’s website in the upcoming months for the AAO Virtual Meeting, the Mobile Meeting Guide and details about the exhibit hall, the largest display of ophthalmic technology in the world.

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    About the author: Mike Mott is a former assistant editor for EyeNet Magazine and contributing writer for YO Info.