Strong attendance seen at AAO and SOE joint meeting

November 17, 2008

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2008 joint meeting with the European Society of Ophthalmology, held in Atlanta Nov. 8 to 11, featured strong attendance numbers. Preliminary figures for attendance at the meeting were approximately 22,000, and attendance at the Subspecialty Day events Nov. 7 and 8 totaled more than 6,200.

Atlanta-The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2008 joint meeting with the European Society of Ophthalmology, held in Atlanta Nov. 8 to 11, featured strong attendance numbers. Preliminary figures for attendance at the meeting were approximately 22,000, and attendance at the Subspecialty Day events Nov. 7 and 8 totaled more than 6,200.

“This meeting was a huge success by all measures,” said H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, AAO’s executive vice president. “It was a great opportunity for members to meet with colleagues and to learn about the latest advances in ophthalmic care and research.”

Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president of the Institute of Medicine, delivered the meeting’s keynote address. In his address, “Seeing the Future of Health Care,” Dr. Fineberg said that health care in America is the “most expensive system in the world, but it fails to live up to expectations.”

America, however, is facing a demographic transition that significantly will increase the demand for care, particularly ophthalmic care.

“Ophthalmology is in the crosshairs of this demographic transition and the demand for services and cost of health care in the United States,” Dr. Fineberg said. "We are facing challenging times, but ophthalmology has an opportunity not only to play a part in the solution but to be an exemplar.” The key, he said, is to “relentlessly focus on increasing the value of what we do for patients-a combination of improving performance and outcomes and decreasing costs. Getting more for every dollar spent.”

“Dr. Fineberg's remarks underscore the challenge that the [AAO] and its members face in the coming years with the projected explosion in age-related eye diseases,” Dr. Hoskins said. “That's why the [AAO] has undertaken an effort that we call Eye on Efficiency, to help practices meet those demands in the future.”

The opening session on Nov. 9 featured the presentation of the 2008 Laureate Recognition Award, the AAO’s highest honor, to Alan C. Bird, MD. Dr. Bird is one of the world’s experts on the treatment of retinal vascular disease and genetic and degenerative retinal disorders.

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