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AAO Day Two: I’ve Got You Under My Skin

In the wee small hours of the morning, while the whole wide world is fast asleep, you lie awake and think about the conference… and never even think of counting sheep.

Well how could anyone be thinking of sheeping or any other ovine creature when there’s an exciting ophthalmological conference going on? Day two of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO 2020 Virtual) might be in the wee small hours or in the late evenings for most of us, but nothing could stop us from enjoying another day of ophthalmological excellence.

Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum, you came along and everything’s startin’ to hum.

Still, it’s a real good bet, the best is yet to come… And there’s also day three to look forward to too!

Communication is king, now more than ever, and understanding how to connect with patients and express empathy is something we can all learn from. The early starters on day two would have been able to check out Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and The Value of Connecting, a series of two symposia. The two sections were aimed at examining the skills that define transformative leaders; those who push boundaries and inspire enthusiastic support from their peers and staff.

Communicating in the coronavirus era

In fact, communication is not just king, it’s changing everyday thanks to the coronavirus and how understanding how this affects patients and clinicians alike is crucial. Led by instructor Maureen Waddle and Dr. Robert Melendez, the attendees examined three core issues. Firstly, understanding how EQ positively impacts management, staff dynamics and practice performance, secondly, how to learn to apply EQ strategies to improve quality of care and patient experiences. Finally, they discussed the right tools required to incorporate EQ into practice culture.

Another interesting session, another reward for those who could tune in early, was Amblyopia Outcomes through Clinical Trials and Practice Measurement: Room for Improvement. This presentation was given by Dr. Michael X. Repka, a professor of ophthalmology at John Hopkins University, and was part of the Jackson Memorial Lecture series. The lectures in this series are an annual highlight of the AAO.

Dr. Repka is internationally recognized for his contributions in the fields of pediatric ophthalmology, strabismus, retinopathy of prematurity and pediatric neuro-ophthalmology. His presentation on amblyopia was fascinating and insightful, even to a layman, and set a great foundation for proceedings on day two. Kudos to Dr. Repka for his research, and also for identifying room for improvement in treating this condition.

I’ve got eyes, I’ve got the best eyes, they’re yuuuge…

Now obviously, we at the Media MICE team only really care to focus on eye care; if it ain’t optic, ophthalmic or optometric we don’t focus on it. However, it has not escaped our notice that a wee election took place in America recently, and neither has it escaped the notice of the AAO. No surprise then that the academy decided to organize a press conference entitled Academy Press Conference: Federal Affairs.

AAO Day Two: I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Everyone needs to have their eyes checked.

The conference was focused on what the academy described as the “unconscionable impact of the proposed medicare physician fee schedule” and what the incoming Biden administration means for American ophthalmology. According to Dr. David Glasser, American ophthalmology is set to be hit by a 10.6% cut in medicare funding early next year. He reported that the AAO is continuing to fight these potential budget cuts in healthcare funding.

Chords and cataracts

A notable feature of AAO 2020 Virtual was that the on demand posters, presentations etc could be sorted by the total number of views. As of the second day of the conference the two most viewed pieces of content were focused on cataracts. The second most viewed was the brief and somewhat intriguingly titled Chord Mu, by renowned Indian ophthalmologist Dr. Amar Agarwal of Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital.

The doctor presented his views on chord mu, the two dimensional displacement of the entrance pupil center from the subject-fixated coaxially sighted corneal light reflex. Dr. Agarwal described the “new view that Chord mu is what we need to learn and understand. It is what will help us master implantation of any intraocular lens, especially the more complex IOLs.” The production values in Dr Agarwal’s video were highly developed and informative, so if you’re looking for a deep dive into chord mu and cataracts, this is a great choice.

AAO Day Two: I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Cataract surgery has come in leaps and bounds over the last 40 years.

Doing it my our way

The most viewed video of the day was Mission: Improving Instrumentation During Cataract Surgery, an engaging watch that was created by Dr. Robert H. Osher of the Cincinnati Eye Institute. His presentation tracked one surgeon’s attempt to respond to evolutionary changes with modifications in instrument design. The overall aim, in addition to advancing surgical development, was also to improve patient outcomes and safety.

In his video, Dr. Osher showcased a number of surgical devices designed by himself, with a number of applications in cataract surgery. Some of the surgical footage is truly outstanding in this video, so our metaphorical hats are off to Dr. Osher, and we also appreciated his comprehensive view of cataract surgery over the last 40 years. Dr. Osher offers great insight into his long career, and his video is well worth a watch.

Day two was awesome, and day three of the AAO 2020 Virtual promises to be even more insightful and exciting. Get ready for another day of unforgettable ophthalmology as well as a performance by magician and member of the internationally renowned duo Penn & Teller, Penn Jillette, who will take the stage for us all to enjoy. 

As Ol’ Blue Eyes said, “now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain. My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain, I’ve lived a life that’s full….” Until tomorrow!

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