2021 Scientific Program Papers and Posters

The Academy's Scientific Program Committee invites you to participate in the educational program at Academy 2021 Boston by submitting scientific abstracts for consideration. Academy 2021 Boston will take place November 3-6, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The Academy’s Scientific Program offers scientists, educators, and clinicians the opportunity to exchange the latest information in optometry and vision science in two formats, research paper presentations and scientific posters. The Scientific Program is open to everyone and it is not required that you be an Academy member.

Submission Deadline

The abstract submission window will be open from Saturday, May 1 at 8 AM ET to Monday, May 31 at 5 PM ET. 

Due to the large number of submissions, late submissions will NOT be considered. Due to the sometime fickle nature of computer and online systems, we strongly suggest that you plan ahead and not wait until the deadline to submit your abstract(s). If you have any questions or difficulty with the online abstract submission process, please contact Christina Velasquez at 321-319-4865 or ChristinaV@aaoptom.org

Submission Guidelines

If cutting and pasting from a word editing program or website, please first paste the text in Notepad or a similar program. This step will remove any HTML tags prior to pasting in this text editor.  When reporting standard deviations a space is required between the “+” symbol and the numeral (Example: 2.1 + 0.05).

  1. Abstract submissions will only be accepted through this website from May 1 through May 31, 2021, 5:00 PM ET.
  2. Abstracts can be submitted under the following three categories:

    - Scientific Program Research Abstracts - Original scientific research. (See Sample Scientific Abstract)

    - Scientific Program Case Report Abstracts - Case report or case series. (See Sample Case Report Abstract)

    - Academy Information Abstracts - Only information posters related to AAO Section/SIG activities, or graduate and residency programs should be considered under this category. (See Sample Academy Information Abstract)

  3. Abstract submissions can include supporting figures and images. Image file sizes must be restricted to 1 MB and images can be uploaded in GIF, PNG, TIFF, TIF, JPG, or JPEG formats. Submission of an accompanying image is highly recommended for case report submissions. 
  4. Abstract character count limit including title is 3,000 (includes spaces, but not author names and affiliations).
  5. Authors are permitted a maximum of two first-author presentations within the scientific program. Any combination of paper or poster presentations are permitted, however, no more than two first-author submissions will be accepted. There is no limit to the number of co-authored submissions, e.g. authors may be listed as second, third or other position on any number of submissions.
  6. The primary author's CV is required to be uploaded at the time of abstract submission.
  7. Authors presenting their work at the Annual Meeting MUST be registered for the meeting.
  8. The first author is solely responsible for presentation of accepted abstracts at the date and time assigned by the Scientific Program Committee. Co-authors, substitutes, or multiple presenters are not permitted.
  9. First authors may be scheduled to present a paper or poster presentation any time from 8:00 AM on Wednesday, November 3 to 6:00 PM on Saturday, November 6. Authors should not submit to the scientific program unless they can commit to be present when assigned.
  10. Substitute presenter approval requests will only be considered in cases of illness, family emergency, change of employment, or inability to obtain a visa. The request must be submitted to Christina Velasquez by the First Author by 2 pm the day before the scheduled presentation. The substitute presenter must be one of the co-authors and registered for the annual meeting. Failure to obtain prior permission will result in cancellation of the presentation and loss of privileges for the first author to submit abstracts or proposals to subsequent AAO annual meeting programs.
  11. Ethical and Regulatory Requirements for Research and Case Reports:
    • Research involving human subjects must have been conducted in accordance with the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki and with adherence to any applicable national and local human subjects research requirements. Consistent with the National Institutes of Health guidelines, if the number of human subjects in the study exceeds three, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be obtained. The authors cannot automatically assume that certain studies are exempt from IRB review. Only an IRB can determine if a specific study fulfills the exempt status.
    • Research involving the use of animals must be conducted in accordance with international standards for animal treatment and care (e.g. the Society of Neurosciences and ARVO statements on the use of animals in research) as well as any applicable regulatory requirements. If the work submitted involves the use of animals, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval must have been obtained.
    • Failure to confirm to the above ethical standards may result in loss of privileges for all listed authors to submit abstracts or proposals to subsequent AAO annual meeting programs.
  12. Copyright Assignment: authors are required to transfer the copyright for their submitted abstract to the American Academy of Optometry. First authors must provide assurance that all coauthors agree to the copyright transfer terms.
  13. Conflict of Interest Disclosure: the first author is responsible for disclosing any conflict of interest on behalf of all listed authors as defined in the Scientific Program Committee's Statement on Conflicts of Interest. Any conflict of interest must also be disclosed at the time of presentation; this applies to both scientific paper and poster presentations.

Major Abstract Evaluation Criteria

Research Abstracts

  • The level of scientific or clinical novelty

  • The methodological soundness

  • Quantitative description of the results

  • Statistical analysis for significance of results

  • Are conclusions supported by results

  • Adherence to submission instructions and ethical standards

  • Language and grammar

Case Reports

  • The level of clinical novelty

  • Completeness of case work-up to support the proposed diagnosis

  • Sufficient author involvement in the examination, diagnosis and/or management of the case

  • Adherence to submission instructions and ethical standards

  • Language and grammar

  • Submissions of previously published copyrighted material (e.g. ARVO abstracts or journal articles) will not be accepted.
  • Submissions may be rejected if the author(s) have failed to make scheduled presentations at previous meetings.

Student Travel Fellowships

Students, please consider applying to receive a Student Travel Fellowship once your abstract is accepted. These $750 awards are available to optometry students, optometric residents, and students in vision science graduate programs who have a paper or poster accepted in the AAO Scientific Program. The Research Committee hopes to ensure the broadest awareness of the program among eligible student researchers. The highly successful fellowship program was created to promote the research aims of the Academy and to infuse a mix of young members into the Academy. 


If you have questions about the submission process or experience technical difficulties, please contact Christina Velasquez.

The Scientific Program submission window is now closed. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Christina Velasquez, Education Manager

Tips for Preparing Your Submission

This presentation provides useful advice and instructions for authors planning and preparing scientific abstracts. To listen to this presentation, click HERE.

Listen to a recording from the Academy 2012 Phoenix abstract writing workshop. You can download the accompanying handout HERE

Guidelines for preparing scientific poster presentations can be found HERE.

Guidelines for preparing scientific paper presentations can be found HERE.