SECO 2009s Eyeway to the Future may have reached the final finish line, but for the approximately 8,000 attendees who came to Atlanta for the annual Congress in March, the experience is far from over.

The SECO team once again delivered a world-class Congress on March 4-8 this year, offering optometric professionals unique courses and cutting-edge programs that are not available at any other meeting. This years theme, Eyeway to the Future, was featured throughout the Congress, including cleverly titled courses, such as Navigating Through Neuro Track, The High Octane Nutrition Track, The Cadillac Practice Track and the Take the Highway Track. With 150 hours of education and more than 90 total courses that provided the latest information including new technologies and therapies, SECO 2009 ensured optometrists will be prepared for the future no matter what awaits them on the road ahead.
In case you missed them, heres a sampling of this years outstanding courses and special sessions.

Incoming SECO President Jonathan Shrewsbury, O.D., and outgoing SECO President Wilburn Lord, Jr., O.D., shared official ribbon cutting duties during the grand opening of Optometrys Marketplace, which was open four additional hours this year.
Optometrists were able to receive helpful tips on how to steer clear of legal hassles during Nuts & Bolts, Part 1. In Nuts & Bolts, Part 2, attendees received valuable information on how to communicate effectively with patients, including those with special needs. And, the Retina Rally offered O.D.s important updates on the diagnosis and management of the posterior segment.

A sneak peak of new and exciting technologies and advanced therapies was unveiled during The Road Ahead Special Session, which highlighted diagnostic tests, therapies and surgical procedures for corneal disease, vision therapy and glaucoma. Optometrists were also able to gain valuable insight into new advancements in refractive surgery in GPS: Guide to Premium Surgery.

Other memorable sessions included Get in the Drivers Seat with Glaucoma, which included expert tips on how to integrate glaucoma into a primary care practice, and Cruisin Through Co-Management, another stellar special session, where interactive cell phone polling was rolled out for the first time at any major eye meeting! Capping off SECO 2009 was optometrys dynamic duo, Melton and Thomas, who took attendees to their Final Destination as they helped the audience Turbo-Charge Your Treatment regimens. 

Of course, SECO always offers something for everyone. For Allied Ophthalmic Professionals, SECO 2009 featured 10 all-new educational tracks and more than 200 hours of continuing education courses to choose from, including the Tune-Up Track, Thunder Road Track, High Performance Assisting Track and Looking on Down the Road Track. A special reception for Allied Ophthalmic Professionals was held for the first time ever, allowing staff members to network and socialize after a busy day in the classroom.

Additionally, SECO delivered an unparalled experience for students and residents, including the Approaching Your Destination Track that featured insightful courses, such as Crash Test Dummies and Legal Issues Facing the New Graduate. Residents also had the chance to present cases in the Rear View Mirror course.

From the many courses, to the multimedia posters, to the new Management and Business Academy, SECO 2009 offered attendees valuable information that will have an indelible impact on their practices. SECO 2009 also featured forums on such hot topics as joint board certification, and insight on the new continuing education guidelines that are currently being formulated.

Dr. Shrewsbury and Dr. Lord, Jr. pose with Grace Dewers, O.D., the lucky winner of the SECO Grand Prize Drive Away: a new 2009 Ford Mustang Coupe Deluxe.
The educational offerings are, of course, just one of the reasons SECO provides such a unique experience for attendees. Optometrys Marketplace was also a crowd favorite where optometric professionals received a first-hand look at the latest technology, equipment and products available on the market. This year, Optometrys Marketplace was open for four additional hours, which meant more time for eye-care professionals to take in the latest trends and products in eyewear, in addition to breakthrough technologies, all displayed in one of the largest exhibit halls in optometry, spanning 70,000 square feet. This years approximately 300 exhibitors were all eager to share information about their products and services with the many attendees. One lucky attendee, Grace Dewers, O.D., who is currently stationed at the Wiesbaden Health Clinic in Germany, won the big prize: a 2009 Ford Mustang Coupe Deluxe.

Of course, each annual Congress represents a changing of the guard of new leadership. During SECO 2009, outgoing SECO President Wilburn Lord, Jr., O.D., highlighted some of the many accomplishments SECO achieved during the past year. Some of these important strides included SECO continuing its mission to provide education worldwide and also to provide education online.

Case in point: SECO is the first optometric entity to provide podcasts, and in fact, SECO had more than 9,700 downloads during the past year alone.

Dr. Lord handed over the reins during SECO 2009 to new president Jonathan Shrewsbury, O.D., who was officially sworn in during the annual Congress. During the House of Delegates meeting, Dr. Shrewsbury outlined SECOs continued plans for excellence in the coming year, with new and continued initiatives, including increased international education opportunities, supporting the ophthalmic industry, bolstering optometry schools and sustaining state support.

Whether SECO is looked upon as merely a trade show, only an educational show, just a social gathering or a total optometric experience, the truth is that it really is in the eye of the attendee. Its not a meeting for members only, but a meeting where all are welcome, everyone is made to feel at home and all participants benefits from a true effort to provide nothing but the best, Dr. Shrewsbury said during the annual House of Delegates meeting.

Attendees also took advantage of the many social and networking opportunities available at SECO 2009. Start Your Engines was the memorable kick-off event. Road Trip offered attendees the chance to jump on the Fur Bus and rock out with the wildly popular Bad Habits, who celebrated their 10th anniversary at SECO.

The Winners Circle party held at the Georgia Aquarium featured American Idol alum Kellie Pickler, who entertained guests during this exclusive evening.

While it is true that SECO 2009 is officially over, dont forget: its never too early to start thinking about SECO 2010! And SECO is a bit earlier next year! Mark your calendars for Feb. 10 to Feb. 14, when SECO will launch the next unforgettable Congress in Atlanta. SECO 2010 will feature the theme Embracing the Generations. As we head toward a new decade, SECO will once again create a world-class meeting that will continue to embrace doctors from practice through retirement and every level of care.

On behalf of the entire Continuing Education Committee, I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta during SECO 2010!




Paul C. Ajamian, O.D., F.A.A.O.

General Chairman of the SECO CE Committee

Vol. No: 146:04Issue: 4/15/2009