Thousands of eye physicians and surgeons this week will convene in Chicago to attend AAO 2018, the American Academy of Ophthalmology's 122nd annual meeting. This gathering is an opportunity to hear global leaders in medical and surgical eye care discuss issues affecting patients' lives, from the true potential of artificial intelligence and telemedicine to the latest on gene and cell therapy treatments for blinding eye diseases. This international ophthalmology summit takes place Oct. 27-30, at McCormick Place in Chicago.
More than 25,000 physicians and industry professionals are expected to attend, making it one of the largest medical meetings in the world. It features more than 300 instruction courses, more than 100 hours of lectures and discussions on cutting-edge science and new ideas on the business aspects of managing a medical practice, eight specialized learning tracks for physicians who specialize in treating specific parts of the eye, and 535 exhibitors showcasing the latest pharmaceuticals, devices, and technologies for improving patient care.
Chicago Native and Internationally Acclaimed Photographer to Give Keynote Lecture
Since accomplished ophthalmologist Howard Schatz, M.D., switched from medicine to photography mid-way through his career, he has published 20 books. His most recent, Caught in the Act: Actors Acting, explores the creative process of 85 notable actors and actresses. His editorial work includes the covers of Time, Sports Illustrated, Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. His work has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox Sports Network, and the Discovery Channel. His fine art is exhibited in museums and photography galleries internationally. For his first career, Dr. Schatz studied at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He later worked as a retina specialist in San Francisco. Dr. Schatz will give the Michael F. Marmor Lecture in Ophthalmology and the Arts; Monday, 2-3:15 p.m.
What's New in Gene and Cell Therapy Treatments
Eye disease is at the forefront of futuristic treatments, such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy. While progress in this field has been frustratingly slow for other parts of the body, eye research is leading the way. This year, blind patients have experienced vision for the first time, thanks to advances in gene therapy for inherited retinal disease. A panel of international experts will provide updates on the current state and future possibilities of gene and stem cell therapy. Retinal Frontiers: Updates in Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy; Sunday, 2-4:15 p.m.
Leading Expert on Age-related Macular Degeneration to Give Keynote Lecture
Philip Rosenfeld, M.D., helped develop revolutionary drugs to prevent blindness in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss. He was the lead clinical investigator in developing Lucentis, the first treatment to significantly improve vision in patients with wet AMD. Dr. Rosenfeld also pioneered the off-label use of Avastin to treat wet AMD. He will discuss his experience during the Jackson Memorial Lecture: Lessons Learned from Avastin and OCT: The Great, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; Sunday, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Improving Patient Care Through the Power of Technology
There are many opportunities to learn how new technologies are transforming patient care:
* Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Healthcare: Get insight on how artificial intelligence will change the practice of medicine and improve patient care. Press Conference Sunday, 11 a.m.
* There's an app for That, but is it Useful?: There are 160,000+ health and medical phone apps available. Learn which apps physicians say can help patients. Press Conference Sunday, 11 a.m.
* Telemedicine in Ophthalmology: Improving Care for Underserved Patient Populations and Reducing Health-Care Costs: Learn how telemedicine will increase access to healthcare, while reducing costs. Monday, 2-3:30 p.m.
* High-Tech for Low Vision: Many more assistive technologies are now available for patients with low vision. Learn which devices serve patients the best. Saturday, 10-11 a.m.
Increasing Diversity in Medicine
Medicine has a diversity problem. African Americans make up 12.8 percent of the general population, but only 2 percent of ophthalmologists. Hispanic and Latino Americans make up 16.3 percent of the population, but only 4.6 percent of ophthalmologists. One of the ways the Academy is working to attract under-represented minorities to a career in ophthalmology is through the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program. This year, the program selected 25 minority applicants, two of which are from Chicago, to participate in a two-day, hands-on program during AAO 2018.
Helping Physicians Communicate Better With Patients
Recognizing the needs and concerns of all patients helps ophthalmologists deliver the best care possible. This special session highlights how to better communicate with four different patient groups: the elderly with mild dementia, immigrants who speak little English, transgender patients, and children with disabilities. Communicating With Patients Who Are Different Than You Are; Sunday, 12:45-1:45 p.m.
Museum Exhibit: When the Cure was Worse Than the Disease
This year's Museum of Vision exhibit delves into the strange world of early ophthalmic medicine, a time when mercury was the remedy of choice for syphilis. Eight volumes from the museum's rare book library will be on display, including the oldest, published in 1583. This book is the first extensively illustrated book for any surgical specialty. Together the text and images present an astonishing record of the practice of ophthalmology during the Renaissance period. Only registered media are invited to view the exhibit; Saturday, 3-4 p.m.
"Both the art and science of ophthalmology will take center stage this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology," said Maria M. Aaron, M.D., Secretary for the Annual Meeting. "There is no other conference in the world that provides this range of clinical education, research, and practice management advancements that continue to advance our specialty and help physicians navigate their practice and improve the quality of care they provide to patients each day."