More than 5,800 optometrists, students, eye care professionals and vision scientists attended this year’s American Academy of Optometry (AAO) meeting, making it the best-attended in AAO history. Three hundred hours of CE, 250 exhibitors and numerous social functions were likely responsible for such record-breaking attendance numbers.
Dominick Maino, O.D., M.Ed., authored one of the most interesting (and timely) posters, which summarized the ocular and systemic side effects of the newly termed “3D Vision Syndrome.” Dr. Maino’s poster detailed a case of a patient who experienced severe nausea, headache and blurred vision after watching “Avatar” in 3D. Initially, she was diagnosed with diplopia, convergence insufficiency and accommodative instability. But, a series of vision therapy treatments prescribed by Dr. Maino enabled her to permanently enjoy 3D content without experiencing any of the aforementioned side effects.
Research & Product Presentations
The latest research and product offerings were introduced during the annual press conference:
• Long-time smokers were found to be three times more likely to have the long anterior zonule (LAZ) clinical trait, a finding that has been associated with both macular degeneration and glaucoma. However, body mass index, diabetes and hypertension do not increase the risk for development of the LAZ trait, according to research by Daniel K. Roberts, O.D., Ph.D.
Still, there is some good news for smokers: nicotine neither protects nor harms glaucoma patients.
• In another study, Nicola Anstice, B.Optom, Ph.D., and associates found that dual-focus contact lenses slowed myopia progression by 50% in half of the children in the study.
• One additional study that was conducted by optometry students, Jordan Jones and Jessica Carson, indicated that many optometrists do not effectively disinfect tonometer tips, which can spread infections in patients. Alcohol swabs, though effective, still fall short of government standards.
• Product announcements included: the FDA’s approval of SynergEyes’ Duette silicone hydrogel hybrid lens; the release of Spectralis Asymmetry Analysis software from Heidelberg Engineering, which measures regional thickness patterns of retinal ganglion cells; and the launch of a new multipurpose solution from Abbott Medical Optics, RevitaLens OcuTec MPS.
Rick Weisbarth, O.D., unveiled the new Merton C. Flom Leadership InSight courses. Dr. Flom’s daughter, Roanne Flom, O.D., accepted a plaque in memory of her father.
The Academy meeting would not be complete without the Awards Ceremony, which celebrated the best and the brightest in education, research and vision science. This year’s award recipients were:
• Prentice Medal: Earl L. Smith, III, O.D., Ph.D.
• Fry Award: Nathan Efron, Ph.D., D.S.c.
• Borish Award: Alex R. Bowers, Ph.D., M.C.Optom.
• International Award: Kovin S. Naidoo, O.D., M.P.H.
• Feinbloom Award: Joan A. Stelmack, O.D., M.P.H.
• Koch Medal: Thomas F. Freddo, O.D., Ph.D.
• Clay Award: Birgit Lackner, M.D., Gerald Schidinger, M.D., Stefan Pieh, M.D., Martin A. Funovics, M.D., Christian Skorpik, M.D.
• Harris Award: Richard E. Meetz, O.D., M.S.
New Officers & Fellows
Karla Zadnik, O.D., Ph.D., was named the new AAO president for the next two years. The other newly-elected AAO leaders are president-elect Bernard J. Dolan, O.D., M.S.; secretary-treasurer Brett G. Bence, O.D.; immediate past-president Mark Eger, O.D.; and members at-large, Barbara Caffery, O.D., Ph.D., Michael G. Harris, O.D., J.D., M.S., Timothy T. McMahon, O.D., and Joseph P. Shovlin, O.D.
Additionally this year, the AAO family grew by 212 new inductees.