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23,000 attend AAO, MEACO joint meeting


About 23,000 people attended this year?s American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting in Chicago, according to the organization.

Chicago-About 23,000 people attended this year’s American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting in Chicago, according to the organization.

The number represents a decrease from attendance at last year’s meeting in San Francisco, which was about 26,000, but an increase from 2007 and 2008, when attendance was about 22,000 for each meeting and the meetings were held in New Orleans and Atlanta, respectively, according to the AAO. The total includes domestic and international physicians, other health professionals, spouses, guests, and exhibitors.

This year’s annual meeting was held Oct. 16 to 19 in conjunction with the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO). It was the AAO’s first joint meeting with MEACO and the first time that a subspecialty day dedicated to oculofacial plastic surgery was held at the meeting.

The meeting included more than 500 instruction courses, 93 skills transfer courses, 165 breakfast-with-the-experts roundtables, 43 free symposia and spotlight sessions, and more than 2,000 scientific presentations.

“The meeting provides a tremendous opportunity for members from all over the world to gather and learn about the latest advances in ophthalmology,” said David W. Parke II, MD, the AAO’s chief executive officer. “The turnout was exceptional and the energy generated from the sessions was outstanding.”

The opening session for this year’s meeting featured addresses by Abdulaziz I. Alrajhi, MD, president of MEACO, and Douglas A. Jabs, MD, MBA, an expert in inflammatory eye disease who delivered the Jackson Memorial Lecture.  The opening session also included the presentation of the 2010 Laureate Recognition Award, the AAO’s highest honor, to Bradley R. Straatsma, MD, acclaimed as a pioneer in the study of peripheral retinal disease, investigations of tumors, and research on ophthalmic conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and cataract.

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