By Beth Thomas Hertz
Now in its eighth year, the “Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is!” meeting has again had to move to a larger facility to accommodate the increasing number of attendees and exhibitors. The meeting was held first in Sarasota, FL, and then in Naples, FL, in earlier years, but the 2018 edition, set for Jan. 17 to 21, will be held at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island.
This is the first time the meeting-organized by cataract surgeon Robert H. Osher, MD, course director and professor of ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati-will be held directly on a beach.
“It’s a beautiful, rustic venue with amazing meeting facilities and we will again be delivering intense, useful clinical information in an innovative and entertaining format,” said Dr. Osher, who is also medical director emeritus of the Cincinnati Eye Institute and editor of the Video Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. “It is no surprise that we have sold out each of our seven previous meetings given an ‘all-star’ faculty providing the highest-quality uncensored education at an affordable price.”
The meeting was launched in large part due to a desire to offer “unfiltered” information about technology and medications, which is not possible when continuing medical education (CME) credits are offered. By not having CME, this meeting allows the faculty to provide their honest impressions, allowing attendees to leave with greatly enhanced skill and knowledge, Dr. Osher said.
Meeting attendance has grown each year, with just under 600 ophthalmologists and 113 exhibitors attending last year. Dr. Osher is expecting a large crowd yet again this year and he is particularly proud of the faculty that he has assembled, a mix of many returning renown speakers and a few new ones.
The group includes Samuel Masket, MD, and Alan Crandall, MD, who will be honored for their career achievements.
The meeting always features a prominent international guest and this year it will be Ehud Assia, MD, of Israel, who is the inventor of several notable technologies, including an anchor for zonular weakness and a pupil expander, commonly known as the APX.
“He’s a very innovative and experienced surgeon,” Dr. Osher said.
Other notable returning faculty members include Douglas Koch, MD, Warren Hill, MD, Richard McCool, MD, Lisa Arbisser, MD, William Fishkind, MD, Ike Ahmed, MD, Michael Snyder, MD, George Waring IV, MD, Deepinder Dhaliwal, MD, Steve Safran, MD, and Robert Weinstock, MD. Newly added faculty include Marguerite McDonald, MD, Thomas Oetting, MD, and Mark Blecher, MD.
“I have tried to continuously re-infuse the meeting with young outstanding teachers, in addition to our perennial faculty, in order to bring new opinions, new life, and new blood,” Dr. Osher said.
The entire faculty is committed to education, he said, noting this is one of the few meetings that provide abundant opportunities for attendees to interact with faculty between sessions and during evening and other social events, as well as in the wet labs.
Although the meeting official begins on Thursday, Jan. 18, Dr. Osher offers a “bonus” afternoon on Wednesday, Jan. 17, with subspecialty updates on oculoplastics, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular oncology, and uveitis. These events are followed with a light dinner and a “Ladies’ Night” at which several noted female faculty members will speak.
“This day is offered at no extra fee,” he said. “It’s a value-added gift to anyone who wants to spend an extra day in Florida.”
Subspecialty events continue Thursday morning, with retina, cornea, glaucoma, and refractive sessions, as well as an update on risk management from the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Co. that can result in insurance discounts for attendees.
The meeting officially opens at 2 p.m. Thursday, with “An Afternoon of Technology.” Dr. Osher called this one of the biggest highlights of the meeting, featuring “showdowns” in which new technologies are compared by experienced experts.
“We are the only meeting that gives you head-to-head-to-head comparisons by surgeons,” he said.
Technology that will be reviewed includes phaco machines, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery devices, posterior corneal astigmatism assessment tools, toric alignment technology, and femtosecond lasers for cataract surgery. Thursday also will bring a keynote lecture by Dr. Crandall on “Career Lessons,” as well as an evening Q&A, “Old Friends.”
On Friday, “the academics get strong,” according to Dr. Osher. Sessions will focus on routine phaco techniques, challenging cases, favorite instrumentation, and the most difficult cases imaginable.
Dr. Masket will deliver a keynote address, “Feeling Positive About Negative Dysphoria.”
Friday afternoon includes the wet labs, an aspect of the course that Dr. Osher said is always popular. More than 30 wet labs will be offered at the meeting, and they are “guaranteed to raise your skill and outcomes,” he said.
A session on ergonomics and 3-D surgery also will be offered Friday.
Friday evening will bring a choice of three symposia, followed by another interactive session, “Late Night with the Experts,” starting at 10 p.m.
“These intimate late-night settings are a chance to drink a beer and interact with the faculty,” Dr. Osher said. “It’s a chance to get some wonderful casual, but useful education.”
Saturday will bring a focus on managing complications, including intraoperative and postoperative problems, rescuing emergencies, and complications related to anesthesia.
Dr. Assia will give a keynote lecture on the topic of “Innovative Solutions to Challenging Cases.”
More wet labs will be offered Saturday afternoon, and several groups will give presentations Saturday evening.
The meeting will wind down Sunday morning with a half-day session on “IOL Selection: Triumphs and Tragedies,” and refractive surprises.
“Topics such as how to change lens powers and figure out IOL challenges and how to calculate exchanges and select IOLs after refractive surgery will be covered,” Dr. Osher said.
The meeting will end with something Dr. Osher said has proven valuable-each faculty member providing his or her single best “pearl” to help cataract surgeons improve their outcomes in the OR the following week.
The fee to attend this year’s meeting is $750 if registration is completed between Oct. 31 and Dec. 31. Most meals are included.
An onsite registration fee is available after that, as space allows. Residents and fellows can receive a discounted rate of $300.
Special hotel room rates are available at the Ritz Carlton, Omni, and Marriott. For more information, go to the meeting website (www.cstellingitlikeitis.com).