February 2019


Early look at upcoming ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting

Eric Donnenfeld, MD

Edward Holland, MD

EyeWorld Chief Medical Editor Eric Donnenfeld, MD, and ASCRS Program Chair Edward Holland, MD, discuss what attendees can expect in San Diego

Dr. Donnenfeld: Edward Holland is an ASCRS past president and current program chair for the Annual Meeting, which he has run for the last several years. For me, the Annual Meeting is one of the highlights of the year. It’s an extraordinary meeting, and Ed, you do an amazing job running it. How did you first get interested in chairing the program?

Dr. Holland: As I was finishing up my term as president, Roger Steinert, MD, who did a phenomenal job as program chair for many years, was looking for a replacement. I had a long history in education, and I chaired the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting for 6 years. Roger asked if I wanted to do it and I accepted this wonderful opportunity.

Dr. Donnenfeld: What are some of the highlights of the Annual Meeting and what should people look for when they attend?

Dr. Holland: First of all, if you are an anterior segment surgeon of any type, this is the best meeting for you. I don’t think you can go to a single meeting and see what we consider the essential information that you need to know about your subspecialty surgery or get the most innovative, cutting-edge, breakthrough techniques that you would want to learn. The ASCRS Annual Meeting delivers it all to you.
We also bring in new ideas every year. There are a couple of new things we’re doing this year. We will have an expanded wet lab for young eye surgeons, which will include cataract/refractive, cornea, and glaucoma stations, with an outstanding teaching staff. Terry Kim, MD, and Sam Garg, MD, will be running these labs. In addition, we’ve expanded what we call our Essentials Track. The ASCRS Essentials sessions are organized to make sure attendees understand the critical concepts they need to be current in their surgery. We have Essentials sessions in refractive cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina for the cataract surgeons, IOL calculations, astigmatism management, cornea, and crosslinking. We have a new session we call the ASCRS Top Gun Phaco Essentials symposium, moderated by David Chang, MD. This session will be exciting, fun, and filled with the latest pearls in cataract surgery.
We have also expanded our instructional courses, which are always a big part of our meeting. This year 40% of the courses will be new, so it will be a refreshing change to help bring new ideas. We’ve expanded our Skills Transfer labs as they are always in high demand.
New this year is an exciting program called the Winning Pitch Challenge, co-moderated by Vance Thompson, MD, and myself. In this session, attendees present innovative ideas and new technology to a panel of judges. We will be awarding a $10,000 cash prize to the best innovative idea.
Finally, we are presenting Season 2 of The Voice of Ophthalmology where contestants present controversial topics and expert “coaches” help them make their case to the audience. What’s new for Season 2 is that we asked our members to submit videos and the contestants will be selected from these auditions. Last year we had a standing room only crowd for this exciting session, and we expect the same this year.

Dr. Donnenfeld: So wherever you are in your career, there is something at the ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting that you can take back home with you and become a better ophthalmologist.
Tell me about the Honored Guests this year who are very special.

Dr. Holland: We are pleased to recognize Andrew Maxwell, MD, PhD, and Donald Serafano, MD, as the David A. Karcher Honored Guests for 2019. These outstanding ophthalmologists are being honored for their years of teaching and service with ASCRS.
Our Special Guest this year is Hal Kushner, MD, Col. (Ret.). Many of our members may have seen the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam, and Dr. Kushner was featured numerous times throughout that nine-part series. He is a true American hero and went on to become an ophthalmologist. He is a long-standing ASCRS member and outstanding doctor so we wanted to bring his story to our Opening General Session. It’s a remarkable story for a remarkable human being.

Dr. Donnenfeld: I couldn’t agree more. I am looking forward to hearing from Dr. Kushner and our Honored Guests. We also have some special annual lectures. Can you talk about those?

Dr. Holland: This year’s Binkhorst Lecture will be given by Stephen Pflugfelder, MD, from Baylor University. He’s a world-renowned expert in ocular surface disease and dry eye and has advanced the field tremendously in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye.
Then we have our annual Lecture on Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Sunday Summit. We select a medical or technology-related talk given by someone other than an ophthalmologist, and this year we are proud and honored to have John Medina, PhD, who is a best-selling author of numerous books on the brain and how it functions. We can expect a fascinating lecture.
One of our favorite sessions of the meeting is the ASCRS Innovators General Session, which features the Kelman Innovator’s Award. This year’s recipient is Ron Kurtz, MD, for his outstanding work in lasers in ophthalmology. The session will also include five innovative talks on fascinating topics in new technology in cornea, refractive, cataract and glaucoma surgery. It’s always a fascinating session.
We wrap up our meeting with one of the sessions that you, Eric, moderate and have run for years. It’s called the Best of ASCRS 2019, and this is where you and a few EyeWorld Editorial Board members pick the best presentations from throughout the meeting. I don’t know how they do this but in a short period of time they choose and summarize the best papers from the meeting and they are presented to an expert panel for discussion and debate. This session gives a synopsis of the best of the week and is always one of the highest rated sessions of the meeting.

Dr. Donnenfeld: Thanks, Ed. I want to again thank you for all your contributions to ASCRS and to ophthalmology in general. The ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting is the most important meeting in the world for anterior segment surgeons and certainly a meeting that every anterior segment surgeon should go to. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in San Diego this May.

Editors’ note: This is an edited transcript of a conversation between Dr. Donnenfeld and Dr. Holland in January 2019.

Contact information

: ericdonnenfeld@gmail.com
Holland: eholland@holprovision.com

Early look at upcoming ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting Early look at upcoming ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting
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