2016 American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting – Harvard Ophthalmology Highlights

November 2, 2016

On October 15-18, 2016 (with subspecialty days from October 14-15), the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons met in Chicago for the 2016 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting. Harvard Ophthalmology was well-represented, with more than 40 faculty members presenting lectures; moderating sessions; and instructing workshops, laboratory sessions, and courses on subspecialty topics. At the annual Harvard Ophthalmology Alumni Reception, held Sunday, nearly 200 alumni, friends, faculty, and trainees gathered for an evening of networking, socializing, and celebrating at Smith & Wollensky.

Academy Interviews: Louis Pasquale and Dean Eliott

The Academy featured members of Harvard Ophthalmology in their press of the meeting through interviews and lecture recaps.

Louis PasqualeAs the 2016 American Glaucoma Society Subspecialty Day Lecturer, Louis R. Pasquale, MD, presented Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Redefined. He was also interviewed by the Academy on the same topic, and made the case that the term “primary open-angle glaucoma” (POAG) should be redefined to more accurately describe the disease. According to Dr. Pasquale, his experience has shown that POAG may actually be several diseases, therefore stratifying the condition into different subtypes, each with associated risk factors. Redefining the term could help optimize patient care. 

Dean EliottOn Friday at Retina Subspecialty Day, Dean Eliott, MD, gave a lecture entitled, Therapies for Macular and Retinal Vascular Disease, in which he discussed therapies for hemorrhagic occlusive retinal vasculitis (HORV). He described a case of HORV in a patient who underwent uneventful cataract surgery, but shortly after her vision began to deteriorate. He summarized what we know about this rare and devastating condition, which is linked to the use of intracameral vancomycin.

Named Lectures from Harvard Ophthalmology Alumni: Dimitri T. Azar and Roger F. Steinert

Roger SteinertOn Monday, alumnus Roger F. Steinert, MD, presented the 2016 Charles D. Kelman Lecture, Cataract/Refractive Surgery: The Next Big Thing? This lecture is named for Charles D. Kelman, MD, a pioneer and innovator in cataract surgery, and is given by surgeons who improve cataract surgery through education or innovation.

On Sunday, alumnus Dimitri T. Azar, MD, presented the 2016 Castroviejo Lecture, Surgical Treatment of Presbyopia: The Journey from Corneal Refractive Surgery to Smart Intraocular Lenses. This lecture is named for Ramon Catroviejo, MD, the father of modern corneal transplant surgery and the inspiration for the founding of the Cornea Society. It is given by an outstanding individual in the field of cornea and anterior segment of the eye.

Top Tweet from @hmseye during #aao2016

Suzanne Freitag, MD, presented a lecture entitled Endoscopic Approach to Orbital Surgery on Saturday. She is one of the few surgeons skilled in endoscopic orbital surgery. This talk came just after Mass. Eye and Ear launched the Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery, which is co-directed by Dr. Freitag. This multidisciplinary Center is made up of world-renowned specialists to provide collaborative and innovative surgical care, and provides minimally invasive, state-of-the-art care for patients with thyroid eye disease and tumors in the eye socket. Learn more about the center here [link].

AAO Honors and Awards

Dr. Jurkunas, far right, at the Harvard Ophthalmology reception
Several faculty and alumni were honored at the 2016 AAO annual meeting. Among them, Ula Jurkunus, MD, a clinician scientist at Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Ophthalmology received a 2016 AAO Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to vision research, education, and service. A cornea and refractive surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Jurkunas also conducts basic science research on Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy and stem cell transplantation at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear. Nine Harvard Ophthalmology alumni also received prestigious honors:
  • Matthew D. Davis, MD - Laureate Recognition Award
  • Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD - Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award/Achievement Award
  • James V. Aquavella, MD - Life Achievement Honor Award
  • Scheffer C.G. Tseng, MD, PhD - Life Achievement Honor Award
  • David M. Hinkle, MD - Achievement Award
  • Dasa Gangadhar, MD - Secretariat Award
  • Kathryn A. Colby, MD, PhD - Secretariat Award
  • Glenn C. Cockerham, MD - Secretariat Award
  • Joan M. O'Brien, MD -  Secretariat Award

Other Awards: Deborah Pavan-Langston, First Person to Receive Cornea Triple Crown

Dr. Pavan-Langston, second from right, at the Harvard Ophthalmology reception
As the recipient of the 2016 Dohlman Award, Harvard Ophthalmology alumna and former faculty member, Deborah Pavan-Langston, MD, is the first person to receive the three highest awards in the field of cornea: the Castroviejo Medal, the Thygeson Award, and the Dohlman Award. Dr. Pavan-Langston received this award at the Fall Educational Symposium, which is held the Friday prior to the AAO meeting and co-hosted by the Cornea Society and the Eye Bank Association. The Dohlman Award is given each year to recognize teaching excellence in the field of cornea and external disease recognizes and lifetime contributions to the profession.