I would like to extend a sincere thank you to every one of our members who has helped the American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery grow faster than we could have anticipated in its first 2 years. I was honored to be the first president of ACOS, and I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on how far our organization has come.
Just 2 short years ago, at the Aspen Invitational Refractive Symposium [AIRS] in 2010, a few leaders in the ophthalmic community collaborated to create an organization that would connect forward-thinking ophthalmologists with innovators of health care technologies of the purpose of advancing vision care and improving patients’ quality of life. Since that first exploratory meeting, the broad support for ACOS from industry along with the commitment of driven ophthalmologists has helped us realize this society’s mission.
ACOS has grown to an outstanding group of more than 200 American members, and it is now expanding into Europe. The initial annual meeting in 2011 quickly grew into four meetings in 2012. In addition to the program in Aspen, Colorado, ACOS hosts a summer meeting in Deer Valley, Utah, as well as a Fall Summit meeting. To demonstrate our commitment to our European members, ACOS also held a meeting in Cannes, France, this past summer, at which educational content was presented by both US and European members and attendees.
My fellow board members and I are especially proud that ACOs initiated and is sponsoring an FDA investigational study on accelerated corneal collagen crosslinking. This trial is being conducted in up to 100 clinical centers across the United States–a first for an ophthalmic society and of huge benefit to our patients. Within the clinical trial, we are now able to offer this treatment to individuals with keratoconus or corneal ectasia after refractive surgery via the KXL System (Avedro) and proprietary riboflavin for accelerated crosslinking.
Another area of focus of ACOS is femtosecond laser technology for cataract surgery. Since this technology emerged, the issue of billing and reimbursement has become one of the most pressing questions physicians have had. Until recently, many physicians have been waiting for clarification on this issue; many ACOS members have been among the first to use femtosecond laser technology for cataract surgery in the United States. ACOS leaders and executive committee members pursued clarification directly from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) until the recent issuance of guidance on how physicians may charge for services under CMS guidelines when using a femtosecond laser for cataract surgery.
The future of ACOs is bright. We continue to work to provide our members with high-quality meetings, to grow our partnership in Europe, and to achieve an even broader initiative with FDA.
Finally, as this year draws to a close, I am especially proud that Steven Dell, MD, will take my place as the 2013-2014 ACOS President. Dr. Dell is one of the founding members of this organization, and he is fully committed to continuing our success. All of us in the ACOS leadership are dedicated to making sure you continue to be proud to be affiliated with this professional society.
Best regards and Happy Holidays,
Stephen G. Slade, MD