Jim Thimons, O.D., spoke at the six-hour review for board certification meeting.
SECO 2011 may be over, but the education that the record-breaking crowd of more than 9,000 attendees took home with them will resonate long into their futures.

Held from March 2 to 6, 2011 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta (in much better weather than last year), SECO once again delivered a stellar lineup of over 400 hours of continuing education.

SECO 2011 lived up to this year’s theme: “CE to the Next Degree” by offering educational programs, symposiums and courses designed to elevate the skills of the optometric practitioner and staff, and take their practice to the next level. Course topics were comprehensive and addressed every aspect of eye care, literally from A to Z…from amblyopia to zeathanthin, from lasers to Lucentis, from coding to contacts to the latest in femtosecond cataract surgery.

In addition to world-class CE, SECO offered attendees the opportunity to enjoy Optometry’s Marketplace, which featured approximately 275 of the industry’s leading companies and the latest ophthalmic equipment, products and services.

Attendees also networked with old and new friends during the more than 50 social and affiliate functions at the Marriott Marquis hotel, which ranged from alumni receptions to SECO’s Saturday night blockbuster party.

Some highlights from this year’s Congress included:
• SECO Award Winners: U.S. Senator John Boozman received the optometrist of the South award, SECO’s highest honor. In addition, Lori Donovan, O.D., was honored with SECO’s

Young Optometrist of the South award and Lynn Lawrence, CMSgt (Ret.), CPOT, ABOC, was named Paraoptometric of the South. And, finally, the President’s Award was bestowed upon G. Robert Crosby, O.D.  

• Stellar Educational Offerings: Optometrists attending SECO 2011 had access to 10 all-new educational tracks, including three sold-out board certification review courses. More than 90 classes were conducted by the world’s leading optometry experts, along with 15 hours of free continuing education with seven Special Sessions.

SECO’s innovative Symposium Series also returned this year with an impressive line-up of new educational opportunities. SECO 2011 and its Diamond and Platinum Partners assembled complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner events to packed audiences, designed to share the latest developments in optometric products and services.

Outgoing SECO president Ron Bannister, O.D., and incoming president Neil Draisin, O.D., FCOVD, along with other SECO colleagues, cut the ribbon to open Optometry’s

• Innovative AOP and Student Education Programs: The AOP (Allied Ophthalmic Professional) program included five all-new educational tracks, multiple workshops, and more than 200 hours of continuing education courses for assistants, JCHAPO and opticians. A special Student Track was designed to equip those about to enter the profession to take on the challenges of modern day practice.

• SECO passes presidential torch: Outgoing SECO President Ron Bannister, O.D., passed the torch to incoming President Neil Draisin, O.D., FCOVD, during the House of Delegates meeting. Dr. Bannister highlighted some of the many accomplishments achieved during the past year, including SECO’s recent award from the United Kingdom’s Association of Optometrists recognizing a body or institution that had made a significant impact on the advancement of optometry within the U.K. SECO also continues to promote technology, and Dr. Bannister cited several examples, including the availability of more than 100 e-posters at SECO 2011, an increase in podcasting (which was first introduced at SECO 2009), and many of SECO’s online educational courses have now been translated into Spanish. SECO also continued to provide support for each of its member states in the form of $3,500 grants for continuing education of states’ members and ancillary staff.

• Vision from new president: Dr. Draisin congratulated the Kentucky Optometric Association for achieving its recent expansion in scope of practice, which was done largely through the grassroots efforts of dedicated optometrists, both young and old. SECO has been an integral part of providing education that has led to legislation over the past 40 years.

• Saturday Night Party: SECO always serves up incredible entertainment for its Saturday night party, and this year was no exception. This year, country megastar Sara Evans wowed the crowd at the Marriott Marquis.

Of course, now that SECO 2011 has officially ended, SECO is already working on creating another exceptional Congress for 2012. Next year’s SECO International event will be held here in Atlanta from February 29 through March 4.

We look forward to seeing you then!