ASCRS 2024 Day One Round up 02

Subspecialty Day, ASCRS 50th Anniversary Celebrations and an Earthquake in Boston: ASCRS 2024 Day One Round-up

The 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS 2024) has officially begun. 

It was an action-packed Day One as the educational program kicked off with Subspecialty Day, a cake was cut to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the society—and an extremely rare (and fortunately harmless) East Coast earthquake gently shook the host venue Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Subspecialty Day, ASCRS 50th Anniversary Celebrations and an Earthquake in Boston: ASCRS 2024 Day One Round-up
Session attendees look on in the Exhibition Hall

The 4.8 magnitude temblor, which struck New Jersey at 10:10am, joined a Nor’easter ice, rain and snowstorm leading up to the conference and the solar eclipse on ASCRS 2024’s Monday denouement on the list of freak natural occurrences surrounding the conference. 

But the biggest news on Day One, of course, was the commencement of a weekend packed with educational, scientific and industry knowledge and content. It’s April 5, 2024 (or 6, depending on which side of the globe you are right now), and we’re running down the best of the ophthalmic action here in case you missed it. 

Scientific program starts strong

As expected for a society of this stature and magnitude, the educational program was marked by the presence of some titans of American ophthalmology. 

Subspecialty Day was split into Glaucoma Day, Cornea Day and Refractive Day, with names like Drs. Nathan Radcliffe (glaucoma), Marjan Farid (cornea) and new ASCRS President Dr. Vance Thompson among the many luminaries serving as instructors. 

One of the defining characteristics of the ASCRS is the mentorship available for young surgeons, embodied by ASCRS 2024’s YES (young eye surgeons) program. These sessions run throughout the conference, with the first round of YES skills transfer labs running parallel to Subspecialty Day. They covered everything from the Yamane technique to masterclasses in Phaco, DALK, DMEK/DSAEK and more over the course of the morning. 

ASCRS Tap Room an early favorite

The ASCRS Tap Room, located in the Exhibition Hall, was positively abuzz off the bat—and it had little to do with the local beer and wine on offer there (though maybe just a little). After the Subspecialty Day and YES skills transfer sessions broke for lunch, the exhibition hall opened its doors at noon, with a large throng of doctors flocking straight to the Tap Room to chow down. 

It was in the Tap Room that ASCRS President Dr. Vance Thompson officially celebrated the Society’s 50th birthday with a ceremonial cake cutting and impromptu gathering of ASCRS’s biggest names. 

This was immediately followed by ASCRS pioneers Drs. Douglas Koch, Samuel Masket, Richard Lindstrom and Robert Osher telling a story about the Society’s early days to an enraptured crowd in the fireside chat-like Indelible Memories & Amazing Stories: Recollections From the Early Days

It was then time for the skills transfer labs and Subspecialty Day sessions to fire up again, but the Tap Room wasn’t done working its magic. Your reporter found himself gravitating towards this corner of the Exhibition Hall to hear a variety of moving short talks, including updates on critical work in low-resource clinics in East Africa, Micronesia and more.

Subspecialty Day, ASCRS 50th Anniversary Celebrations and an Earthquake in Boston: ASCRS 2024 Day One Round-up
Dr. Sila Bal presents her work in Micronesia

Inspiration at the Opening Ceremony and party time

The action all came to a head at the day’s marquee session on the breathtaking, rainbow-colored Main Stage—the Opening Session & Reception: 50th Anniversary and more… It was standing room only as delegates were treated to an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and an overall festive official kickoff to the Annual Meeting. 

Subspecialty Day, ASCRS 50th Anniversary Celebrations and an Earthquake in Boston: ASCRS 2024 Day One Round-up
ASCRS pioneers discuss past and present at the Opening Session

This also happens to be our highlight session, so don’t forget to read our in-depth coverage of this event and all of its momentous happenings. 

After the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony it was time to party on at the ASCRS’s Party for a Purpose. This event, currently ongoing as we go to press, is being hosted at Boston’s swanky OMNI Hotel and benefits the ASCRS Foundation, including its lead initiative, Operation Sight. 

Themed ‘Party Like it’s 1974’ to commemorate the ASCRS’s founding 50 years ago, the soiree promises to be the talk of the conference for those not too hungover to brave another brisk Boston morning on Day Two. Speaking of which, that’s a wrap for Day One, and we’ll see you tomorrow for another day of ASCRS 2024 action!

Editor’s Note: The 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS 2024) is being held from 5 to 8 April in Boston, Massachusetts. Reporting for this story took place during the event.

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