Optometry's Meeting opened with a warm welcome, award winners and an inspiring story. Awards were presented to:
Optometrist of the Year: David Redman, O.D., of California.
Young Optometrist of the Year: Matthew Jones, O.D., of Arkansas.
Paraoptometric of the Year: Carol Lovell, CPOT, CPOC, of Wyoming.
Optometry Educator of the Year: Mark Swanson, O.D., of Alabama.
Distinguished Service: Joseph Mallinger, O.D., of California.
Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision, the Opening General Session featured keynote speaker Aron Ralston, whose story of being trapped between two boulders in a remote location for more than five days inspired the movie "127 Hours." Attendees left with a true appreciation for the power of the human spirit and the value of relationships to overcome life's challenges, no matter how large or daunting one's "boulder" may be.
LEARN was the order of the day-actually, every day-as CE kicked off on Wednesday morning and concluded on Sunday afternoon. Optometry's Meeting offered over 200 hours of continuing education over five days.
Participants experienced new topics, including the latest recommendations from AOA's evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, traumatic brain injuries, advanced surgical procedures and laser surgery. Hands-on workshops were offered to students and paraoptometrics as well as doctors of optometry. The scientific poster sessions were digital with state-of-the art technology. Back by popular demand were the CE After Dark series on Friday night until midnight (yes, midnight!), Education in the Round and the Pardon the Objection series.
Amid a fanfare of state optometric association flags, the 121st session of the House of Delegates was called to order on Thursday, June 21. In his year-in-review address, AOA President Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., told delegates that we should feel proud of the achievements we've met this year, but unprecedented challenges remain with threats to the profession and patient access to care on various fronts. "We'll fight to make sure nothing stands between the care you provide and the patients who need that care," Dr. Quinn said.
New AOA President Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., of Alabama, and other members of the AOA Board of Trustees were sworn into office Saturday, June 23, after trustee elections. "We have a lot to do, but optometry has always been ready to take it all on," Dr. Pierce said in his inaugural address, which focused on the AOA's future. "We aren't letting the barriers get in our way-we are taking them on and identifying new strategies to enhance our ability to deliver the medically recognized standard of care we all learned and are trained to provide."
One of the highlights for all attendees was the Exhibit Hall. There were booths and vendors for every business and topic imaginable. Whether you were a practicing optometrist, a student, or a paraoptometric, there were products and services to learn about and exhibitors to connect with who can help you provide quality patient care.
The excitement started with the Ribbon Cutting ceremony, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision, that officially opened the Exhibit Hall. The excitement continued as participants enjoyed the International Wine and Cheese Tasting, Hike the Hall, the AOSA 50th Anniversary Celebration, breakfast and lunch networking breaks, Microbrew Mania, raffles and prize drawings and much more! Thank you to all our exhibitors and especially to the sponsors of exhibit hall special events: Allergan, AOAExcel, Bausch + Lomb, ClearVision Optical, CooperVision, Costa Sunglasses, Essilor, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Signet Armorlite and Transitions.
A raucous crowd cheered Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry on to victory in the 27th annual Essilor Optometry Student Bowl, as optometry student David Hurd won $1,000 and the coveted crystal trophy. Southern California College of Optometry took home the "Spirit Award" for most energetic and outlandish representation and will create next year's rules video. The highly competitive, high-speed test of optometric intellect is one of the highlights of Optometry's Meeting, attracting cheering students and optometrist alums alike. Click here to relive the excitement.
The beautiful University of Colorado Denver Auraria Campus was the scenic backdrop for the Optometry Cares annual 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by MyEyeDr and The Vision Council. In addition to enjoying a fun way to support Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation, some less leisurely participants compete for the medals and glory. Click here for the 5K results.
The Celebration of Optometry, sponsored by Hoya Vision Care, concluded a very successful Optometry's Meeting. Comedian Howie Mandel kept everyone laughing until the end-and notice the new glasses he's sporting, thanks to his optometrist! Following the hilarity, participants and their guests partied and danced until midnight.