2016 Conference Highlights
Optometry's Meeting® Opening General Session
The 2016 Optometry's Meeting® lifted off Wednesday, June 29, with the Opening General Session, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. The event launched with the recognition of the recipients of AOA's annual awards. Keynote speaker and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface on July 21, 1969, shared his story with attendees and inspired them to "dream higher."
"I consider myself a global statesman for space and have been doing my best to move things forward," Aldrin said. "People ask me all the time: Why do we need to go to Mars? Or, why do we even need a space program? Because by venturing into space, we improve life for everyone here on Earth. The scientific advancements and innovations that come from space-based research create products and technology that we use in our daily lives."
OD TALKS - Through a Patient's Eyes
The patient side of the examination chair was explored at the OD Talks - inspired by the popular TED Talks. This year three special presentations focused on vision therapy to reorganize the brain, brain plasticity, and sight through echolocation.
Featured speakers included Sue Barry, Ph.D., author of Fixing My Gaze; A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions; Clark Elliott, Ph.D., author of The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back; and Daniel Kish, president of World Access for the Blind, who learned to "see" using aform of echolocation. Enjoy their fascinating presentations again or view them for the first time.
LEARN was the order of the day - actually every day - as CE kicked off on Wednesday with three ocular pharmacology courses presented by Ron Melton, O.D., and Randall Thomas, O.D., followed by the OD Talks.
CE offered new formats with Education in the Round and Expert Perspectives in the Fast Lane and continued two popular formats, Pardon the Objection and OD Crossfire. Hands-on workshops filled fast for ODs, Paraoptometrics, and Students. The Scientific Poster Session saw a record number of participants. Optometry's Meeting® concluded on Sunday with seven hours of courses.
One of the highlights for all attendees was the Exhibit Hall. There were booths and vendors for every business and topic imaginable. Whether you are a practicing optometrist, a student, or a paraoptometric, there were products and services to learn about and exhibitors to connect with who can help you provide quality patient care.
The excitement started with the Ribbon Cutting sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. and continued with Buck-a-Beer & Game Night, OD Money to Burn raffles, Donuts and Coffee, and the Big Trip Giveaway.
VARILUX® OPTOMETRY STUDENT BOWL™ XXV
A raucous crowd cheered Michigan College of Optometry on to victory in the 25th annual Varilux® Optometry Student BowlTM, sponsored by Essilor, as optometry student Evan Andrews won $1,000 and the coveted crystal trophy.
Southern College of Optometry took home the "Spirit Award" for most energetic and outlandish representation and will create next year's rules video. The highly competitive, high-speed test of optometric intellect is one of the highlights of Optometry's Meeting®, attracting cheering students and optometrist alums alike. Relive the excitement of this fierce competition!
House of Delegates
Amid a fanfare of state optometric association flags, the 119th session of the House of Delegates was called to order. Delegates were informed of state legislative and regulatory challenges in the previous year. Those challenges revolved around the advent of disruptive technologies, harmful business practices implemented by vision plans and some online contact lens retailers, and scope of practice measures. The AOA Federal Relations Committee noted a multi-pronged approach to fighting illegal contact lens sales. The AOA Third Party Center noted crucial work to further level the playing field for doctors of optometry, including meetings to solidify optometry's fair inclusion in health care provisions. New attacks against optometry have one common denominator, AOA President Steven A. Loomis, O.D., pointed out to delegates: "The value of care we provide." He added, "Optometry may be the object of the attack, but it is our patients who become the casualties."
The AOA Congress concluded with Dr. Andrea Thau's inaugural address, followed by the election and official swearing-in ceremony of the 2016-17 AOA Board of Trustees.
OPTOMETRY CARES® 5K RUN/WALK
Scenic Castle Island, with the historic, 19th Century-era bulwarks of Fort Independence, was the site of The Optometry Cares®-The AOA Foundation 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by The Vision Council and Transitions®. Click here for more information about Optometry Cares® - The AOA Foundation and the charitable efforts relating to eye health and vision care that participation in the 5K supports.
This year's top female runners included, Kimberly Budri, O.D., of Massachusetts; Felicia Slate, of Michigan; and Jennifer Nguyen, of New York. Top male runners included: Nathan Morrow, of Indiana; Ryan Proulx, of New Hampshire; and John Fischer, of California.
A CELEBRATION OF OPTOMETRY
Talk about ending on a high note - Optometry's Meeting® concluded with a stirring "Broadway to Boston" performance during A Celebration of Optometry, sponsored by HOYA. Cinderella stars Laura Osnes and Jeff Pew-playing the parts of Ella and Topher, respectively, on Broadway - headlined an evening that brought the magical, melodious glamour of New York's playhouses to The Hub.
Joined by the Boston Children's Chorus and the Hot Brass Band, New York music director Steven Mitchell brought together the ensemble for some Broadway classics, as well as the first-ever performance of "The Optometric Song of Eye Diseases."