As all the world begins to return to a semblance of normalcy, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery will host its 2021 ASCRS and ASOA Annual Meeting, July 23-27 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This year’s ASCRS annual meeting will showcase the latest in clinical techniques, unveil the latest industry trends and innovations, and offer a chance to network with peers.
According to ASCRS Executive Director Steve Speares, when attendees convene for the annual meeting, it will have been 26 months since the last in-person ASCRS meeting. “This meeting will be the first major ophthalmology society meeting to take place in person since the pandemic began,” he said.
“This return to live meetings is truly historic and we are excited to kick it off.” Speares pointed out that this year’s program, as in years past, features robust and focused anterior segment education.
Specific highlights within the program include a keynote speech from Scott Gottlieb, MD, former head of the FDA and an authority on COVID-19; the inaugural Lindstrom Lecture, established to acknowledge Richard Lindstrom, MD; and several other named lectures, including the Binkhorst Lecture, delivered by Richard Lewis, MD; and the Charles D. Kelman Innovator’s Lecture, delivered by Stephen Slade, MD, which are always insightful presentations honoring deserving individuals.
“Other program features of interest include a government relations symposium with Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD, and a symposium discussing implicit bias in ophthalmology,” Speares said.
“Of course, there is so much more to the program. Our goal is for attendees to bring back pearls and knowledge that they can start using in their practice right away.” The meeting also is bringing plenty of changes, including the time of year and location.
“In general, much about the 2021 ASCRS annual meeting is different,” Speares said. “How could it not be after the past year? Our meeting is taking place at a different time of year (next year it will return to a spring meeting) and in a different location.
Las Vegas is not usually on our meeting circuit.” As in years past, Speares said there are additions to the programming. “There will be a symposium that discusses the role race plays in delivering equitable eye care to underserved patients,” he said.
“The Lindstrom Lecture is new this year, honoring the 40-plus years of contributions Dr. Lindstrom has had to ASCRS and ophthalmology as a whole.” Speares added that ASCRS, never one to shy away from a bit of humor and good pun, will offer a symposium called “The Refractive Bachelor(ette) in 20/ Happy Paradise,” moderated by David Chang, MD.
“What hasn’t changed is our focus on delivering concentrated, high-quality education of direct relevance to anterior segment surgeons,” he added. SAFETY FIRST Speares said the meeting will follow the latest guidance from the CDC and will be in compliance with state and local regulations.
“As such, at this time, fully vaccinated attendees will not be required to wear a mask, though we will have masks available for those who wish to wear them,” he said.
“As of June 1, Las Vegas is allowing full occupancy, so meeting rooms will be set without explicit social distancing.” In terms of highlight lectures, this year’s Steinert Refractive Lecture during ASCRS Refractive Day will be delivered by Marguerite B. McDonald, MD, and the Stephen A. Obstbaum, MD, Honored Lecture during ASCRS Glaucoma Day will be a panel discussion, featuring a panel of past ASCRS glaucoma leadership.
Speares said ASCRS officials remain realistic about attendance expectations. “The world is just beginning to emerge from a crippling pandemic and we certainly expect there will be reticence on the part of some surgeons to attend a large meeting,” he said.
Speares added that ASCRS officials acknowledge that many friends from outside the country will not be able to get to the United States this summer. “However, our early registration numbers are very encouraging, but what is even more encouraging is the enthusiasm with which attendees look forward to being back in a face-to-face setting,” he said.
Attendees can attend the Best of ASCRS, a session that spotlights the best papers from the 2021 meeting. They also will have the opportunity to learn up to 37 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit from content covering a wide range of surgery and disease management topics.
The program also will feature roundtable discussions with leading experts on a range of anterior segment surgery topics. Another highlight is the ASCRS Subspecialty Day, which includes Cornea Day, Refractive Day, and Glaucoma Day, all on Friday, July 23.
Speares noted that Subspecialty Day is a great way for attendees of the ASCRS annual meeting to maximize their time to get the most value from the whole meeting experience. “Subspecialty Day is such a concentrated deep dive, with three concurrent programs running for cornea, refractive, and glaucoma,” he said.
“Subspecialty Day attendees can park it for the day in one of these programs, or can go in and out of Cornea Day, Refractive Day, and Glaucoma Day programming, tailoring their day to their specific interests.” Leon Herndon, MD, ASCRS Glaucoma Clinical Committee chairman, will lead a panel discussion focusing on the role race plays in delivering equitable eye care to underserved patients.
This year’s meeting will mark the debut of the ASCRS Tap Room, located in the Exhibit Hall. “This will be a watering hole for casual conversations, meetings with peers, and some educational industry presentations,” Speares said.
The “Ophthalmology Quicksand Chronicles” podcast, hosted by Nicole Fram, MD, and Elizabeth Yeu, MD, which has been widely popular, will broadcast two live episodes from the Tap Room on Saturday and Sunday. Fram and Yeu will interview guests about their most interesting surgeries and the lessons they learned from them.
Friday, July 23 Young Eye Surgeons (YES) Skills Transfer Labs offer hands-on skill transfer labs exclusively for residents, fellows, and ophthalmologists who are in their first 5 years of practice. Separate registration is required for this program.
ASCRS Subspecialty Day will feature Refractive, Glaucoma, and Cornea days. During Glaucoma Day, physicians can learn skills to improve patient outcomes with guidance for glaucoma treatment.
Glaucoma Day is sponsored by the ASCRS Glaucoma Clinical Committee and features presentations from speakers, case studies, discussions, and videos of some of the latest surgical techniques.
Refractive Day, which is sponsored by the ASCRS Refractive Surgery Committee, offers a detailed program to enrich skills and deepen understanding of a range of refractive techniques.
This program is a wide-ranging overview of advancements in refractive surgery, providing innovative techniques and new surgical technologies that will help surgeons improve outcomes for their patients.
Cornea Day, sponsored by the ASCRS Cornea Clinical Committee, features programming on challenging cornea cases, anterior and posterior lamellar surgery, controversies, and management of severe ocular surface diseases.
It will highlight cataract and refractive surgery, including case and video presentations. The session also will take a deep dive into where the cornea field has been and where it is going. Saturday, July 24 The ASCRS Opening General Session will feature a conversation with the incoming president.
The ASCRS Binkhorst Lecture will feature Richard A. Lewis, MD, the former director of glaucoma at the University of California, Davis. In 1988, he cofounded Sacramento Eye Consultants in Sacramento, California.
In addition to his clinical practice, Lewis is actively involved in clinical research in national and international trials in anterior segment disease and glaucoma therapy. The Binkhorst Lecture and medal were established in 1975 in honor of IOL pioneer Cornelius D. Binkhorst, MD.
The 2021 David A. Karcher Honored Guest Award honors luminaries who have invested in a lifetime of service to ASCRS. Recipients’ clinical, research and/ or educational commitments bring a diverse perspective to ophthalmology and have impacted the profession and ultimately patient care.
The 2021 David A. Karcher Honored Guests are Peter Laibson, MD, and Stephen Brint, MD. ASCRS Foundation update and the presentation of the 2021 Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award. Endowed by a gift from David and Victoria Chang, the ASCRS Foundation’s Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award was established to recognize humanitarian work in the area of cataract blindness.
The award is given annually to an individual for their inspirational accomplishments in the US or international charitable eye care, with a focus on cataract blindness. The recipient is recognized each year at the ASCRS Annual Meeting, and a $50,000 prize is awarded in their honor to a charitable ophthalmology organization of their choice.
The ASCRS Foundation renamed its highest honor, the Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award, in recognition of Alan S. Crandall, MD, for his exemplary life and commitment to charitable service. Geoff Tabin, MD, and Sanduk Ruit, MD, are the 2021 Chang-Crandall Humanitarian co-awardees, in recognition of their 25-year dedication to humanitarian work in some of the most impoverished areas of the Himalayas and sub-Saharan Africa.
ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame Ceremony. The ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame was created by ASCRS to recognize ophthalmic pioneers whose contributions to the profession have shaped the way modern ophthalmology is practiced.
The physicians who are selected for this honor are chosen by their peers—more than 30,000 ophthalmologists in the United States and abroad. Roundtables: Meet the Experts. Physicians can kick off the annual meeting by attending 1 of the roundtable discussions with the experts.
No preregistration is required, though seating and selection of topics/experts will be on a first-come first-serve basis. Attendance for this session is limited to ASCRS MD/Ph.D. registrations only.
Skills Transfer Labs offer an opportunity for a handson learning experience for physicians. Attendees must be registered for the meeting to attend Skills Transfer Sessions, which are open to physicians only.
An additional registration is required for each Skills Transfer Session. Registrations can be made online or by phone through Convention Data Services: domestic 800-748-5064 or international 508-743-0538.
Sunday, July 25 Keynote address Gottlieb will offer the keynote address during ASCRS. As the former head of the FDA and a leading authority on COVID-19, he will offer a unique perspective to ASCRS attendees.
Gottlieb’s work focuses on advancing public health through developing and implementing innovative approaches to improving medical outcomes, reshaping health care delivery, and expanding consumer choice and safety.
Under Gottlieb’s leadership, the FDA advanced new frameworks for the modern, safe, and effective oversight of gene therapies, cell-based regenerative medicines, targeted drugs, and digital health devices.
The agency implemented reforms to standardize drug reviews and make historic improvements of postmarket data collection and the use of real world evidence.
It promoted policies to reduce death and disease from tobacco, improve food innovation and safety, and aggressively confront addiction crises.
In the Room Where it Happens This session will feature US Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, an ophthalmologist who will discuss legislative issues that can impact practices nationwide. During this session, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, attendees will learn why it is important to be in the room where it happens.
Miller-Meeks will be joined by Government Relations Committee members and ASCRS’ Nancy McCann to discuss the legislative process. Sunday’s session will also feature Meet the Expert roundtables and Skills Transfer Labs.
Monday, July 26 Stephen Slade, MD, will present the Charles D. Kelman, MD Innovator’s Lecture, titled “My Journey Through Clinical Trials in Ophthalmology.”
This lecture honors the work of individuals whose creativity has benefited ophthalmologists and their patients. ASCRS Film Festival will showcase winning scientific films during a reception and ceremony Monday evening.
According to ASCRS, submitted films are judged and awards are given to the top films in each category, with an overall grand prize winner. In addition, all submitted films are available to view at the Poster Pavilion kiosks onsite during the annual meeting.
They also will be available on the ASCRS website year-round. Monday’s session will also feature Meet the Expert roundtables and Skills Transfer Labs.
Tuesday, July 27 The Best of ASCRS General Session will highlight some of the most important and interesting papers presented at the 2021 ASCRS Annual Meeting from among the “Best Paper of Session” winners.
ASCRS Poster Pavilion will display election posters, scientific films, and ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame videos will be available for on-demand viewing at the kiosks.
The American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the 2021 ASCRS Annual Meeting.
The session provides an educational experience for every position in a practice, from managers to administrators. ASOA offers educational opportunities for attendees to advance personally and professionally. It allows professionals to enrich their skills with professional knowledge.