2014 AECOS Winter Symposium: Meeting Highlights

In February, the American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery (AECOS) held its annual Winter Meeting in Aspen, Colorado. The meeting commenced with the presentation of the 2014 Dulaney Award, commemorating David Dulaney, MD, and his many contributions to the field of ophthalmology. Dr. Dulaney’s three children shared a slideshow presentation memorializing their father and his legacy in the ophthalmic community. Stephen Slade, MD, then presented the Dulaney Award to deserving recipients Marguerite McDonald, MD, and Randy Alexander.

This year’s agenda encompassed a range of noteworthy presentations, of interest to physicians and industry alike. It kicked off with the Innovators Session and a first-quarter report on Obamacare by lobbyist Jeffrey Kimbell, followed by Dwight Moxie, of Allergan Senior Counsel, speaking on FDA regulation. Next, attendees received expert insight into regulatory trends, malpractice traps, and noncovered billing practices by Judy Gordon, DVM; Allison Shuren, Esq.; and Alan Reider, Esq., respectively. The session also featured an industry panel, during which Laurent Attias (Alcon); Jeff Castillo (Abbott Medical Optics); Bill Link, PhD; and Baldo Sforzolini, MD, (Bausch + Lomb) discussed a number of hot topics, including investments in health care, innovations both domestic and abroad, and physician-industry relationships.

The Modern Practice Session began with a keynote address by retina specialist David Brown, MD, who provided an overview of the posterior capsule and pearls for comanagement between anterior and posterior segment surgeons. Next, several surgeons—both early and recent adopters—described their experiences with femtosecond laser cataract surgery, covering surgical outcomes, business models, mobile femtosecond lasers, and more. John Berdahl, MD, described how glaucoma surgery will dramatically improve over the next 10 years with MIGS, while John Sheppard, MD, described becoming a Dry Eye Center for Excellence. Panelists Erik Mertens, MD; William Trattler, MD; Robert Weinstock, MD; and William Wiley, MD, sat down to discuss current femtosecond laser cataract techniques and challenges, highlighting both US and European experiences. The session closed with The Coleman Show, during which Stephen Coleman, MD, interviewed the influential Herbert Kaufman, MD.

In the New Technologies Session, keynote speaker Jim Mazzo discussed what strategics want to buy and what they don’t. Following his address, speakers shared their experiences with a range of new devices and procedures, including dropless cataract surgery a click–fee-free excimer laser, scleral and pharmacologic cures for presbyopia, and more, while a panel of regulatory experts, industry leaders, and venture capitalists ranked them “yes,” “no,” or “too early to tell.” Another noteworthy panel of the session was the Young Ophthalmologists Panel, during which John Berdahl, MD; Christopher Starr, MD; George Waring IV, MD; and Dr. Wiley fielded a number of questions related to their experiences, their practice, and the future of ophthalmology, posed by Drs. Steven Dell and Slade.

The Presbyopia and Premium IOLs Session began with Dr. McDonald’s keynote address on patient selection for experts, followed by Shareef Mahdavi’s overview of the demographics of presbyopia in the United States. On the clinical side, Dr. Vukich described FDA progress with a small-aperture implant, while Jeffrey Whitman, MD, described final FDA results with a profocal shape-changing inlay. Calvin Roberts, MD, evaluated which premium IOL material is best, and Stephen Brint, MD, weighed in on the value of intraoperative aberrometry. A panel of European experts Arthur Cummings, MD; John Kanellopoulos, MD; Dr. Mertens; and Matthias Maus, MD, described the many IOL choices available to them (and coveted by their US colleagues). A lively discussion of ectasia and corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) followed, featuring a panel and keynote address on state-of-the-art CXL techniques by Dr. Kanellopoulos.

The LASIK/PRK/Astigmatism Session began with Anita Nevyas-Wallace, MD, describing a novel architecture for femto arcuate incisions. Michael Raizman, MD, discussed his experience with the ReSure Sealant (Ocular Therapeutix), reporting that in 94.1% of cases the sealant was rated “easy” or “very easy” to use. Other key highlights included Dr. Cummings’ comparison of wavefront-optimized versus topography-guided LASIK and Dr. Stephen Klyce’s description of why Placido topography continues to be the most sensitive detector of keratoconus suspect. In Dr. Dell’s “lessons learned” in a large series of LASIK cases, he compared the safety of contact lenses versus LASIK, revealing that 22.6% of patients report having been told they have a contact lens-related infection. To conclude, Mark Rosenberg gave an update on electronic medical records (EMR), offering pearls for choosing an EMR company and implementing the system and posing some thought-provoking questions to the attendees regarding their current positions on EMR use.