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Innovations | May 2002

ASCRS 2002 Preview (Part 1)

The world of cataract and refractive surgery comes into focus in Philadelphia.

This year's annual ASCRS meeting, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 1st through the 5th, promises to be one of the best ever, offering the latest techniques and innovations in anterior segment surgery, hands-on skills training, computer labs, and extensive practice management, clinical, and surgical staff programs. This is the first year that Philadelphia has been selected for a meeting location. The City of Brotherly Love was chosen because of its excellent transportation, nightlife, and historical as well as cultural attractions.

Saturday, June 1, marks the beginning of the scientific sessions, with the ASCRS Opening General Session at 10:00 AM in Ballroom A/B of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Manus Kraff, MD, will welcome attendees and provide an overview of important Symposium information. The session will also feature speeches by incoming ASCRS president Marguerite B. McDonald, MD, who will describe her vision for the Society's future, and outgoing president I. Howard Fine, MD, who will review recent accomplishments.

There will also be a presentation on the newly established ASCRS Foundation, which is forging a three-faceted program to address the challenges of ophthalmology's future. The Foundation will support research in new eyecare technologies and outcomes measurement so that improvements in patient care can lead to medical, governmental, and public acceptance of new procedures. It will also back public education and awareness efforts associated with refractive surgery and reimbursement issues surrounding cataract surgery. Finally, the Foundation will contribute to a charitable eyecare fund to help meet the needs of pediatric cataract patients in developing nations.

Developing trends in refractive surgery will be the topic of five presentations on practice patterns, IOLs, and the ophthalmic market. The first will be the eagerly anticipated results of the annual study conducted by David Leaming, MD, titled ?Practice Styles and Preferences of the US ASCRS Members.? Richard Duffey, MD, and Kerry Solomon, MD, will present their studies on refractive surgery, Nick Mamalis, MD, will report on foldable IOLs requiring explantation or secondary intervention, and Kenneth Taylor, MD, will look at the health of the ophthalmic market.

On Monday at 10:00 AM, David J. Apple, MD, will give the innovator's lecture, “The Future of Ophthalmic Biodevices: The Scene Is Shifting.” Six other former innovator award recipients will also give lectures during the session. This year, the general reception opening the Symposium and Congress has been replaced by the Eye & Buy Showcase on Monday, June 3, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, which will be a great opportunity to see exhibitors' latest offerings in medical and business solutions.

Among the new features and highlights of this year's Symposium are the Hall of Fame Presentation, which will take place during the ASCRS Opening General Session on Saturday, and the ASOA's launch of its new computer-based Certified Ophthalmic Executive exam on Friday, June 7, at Sylvan Prometric Systems in Philadelphia. The first William J. Rose, Jr, Pinnacle Award for excellence in billing practices and compliance with government regulation will be presented during the ASOA Opening General Session on Saturday.

This year's Hallway Controversies Symposium will debate several provocative issues, including a moratorium on LASIK surgery, the idea that physicians should be allowed to have a financial interest in technology, and the notion that LASEK will overtake LASIK. Among the topics to be examined in the Glaucoma Symposium are “Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty: Re-treating the meshwork,” a review of scleral bands for the treatment of glaucoma, and an update on aquaflow and deep sclerectomy.

Each year, the Society receives about 1,000 abstracts. The program committee, chaired by Manus Kraff, MD, found numerous noteworthy cataract submissions, including articles discussing each of the following: new, foldable acrylic IOLs that can be inserted into a 1- to 1.5-mm incision; dysphotopsia as related to the edge finish of IOLs, and the edge finish of IOLs as related to posterior capsular opacification; and modifications of a new IOL to create negative spherical aberrations on the IOL's surface to neutralize the positive spherical aberration of the human cornea. Another group of papers examines two types of accommodating IOLs, one of which may be adjusted for power after it is implanted in the human eye.

There are several groups of abstracts looking at new innovations in phacoemulsification techniques and technology. For example, one of these discusses a software modification with the use of a burst-mode technology, which significantly decreases the chance of heating the wound edge and reducing the incidence of corneal burns. Another group examines technology developments and discusses the effectiveness of several different lasers to perform phacoemulsification.

Concerning refractive surgery, there are abstracts that compare and contrast the differences between LASIK and LASEK, while some compare and contrast LASEK and PRK and question whether or not there are actually any advantages of one over the other. Further subjects explored include the advantages and disadvantages of a superior versus a nasal hinge flap in LASIK.

Several physicians will examine a number of new microkeratomes that are now available. Other researchers will consider complications of LASIK, their etiology, treatment, and prevention. These complications include DLK, ectasia, post-operative infections, and prevention of post-operative corneal haze using mitomycin C. Status reports on the three forms of phakic IOLs: angle supported, iris fixated, and posterior chamber, will be also presented, and this year the Society has a substantially large number of papers concerning Wavefront technology for the purpose of producing customized corneal ablations. Finally, for fun, food, and entertainment, be sure to attend the various evening receptions.

This year's ASCRS/ASOA Annual Symposium and Congress will occupy the facilities of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Lowes and Marriott Hotels. To help visitors find information and the locations of various events, this year's badges, program sections, and facility signs have been color-coded.

The physicians' program track is marked in blue, and most physician-tracked events are scheduled for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The administrative track is in burgundy, with most of those events scheduled for the Lowes Hotel. The Marriott Hotel is the location for the majority of clinical- and surgical-tracked events, which are coded green.

John Ciccone is Director of Communications for ASCRS/ASOA. He may be reached at (703) 788-5761; Jciccone@ascrs.org
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