Academy 2020 Moves Online to Create an Innovative Virtual Meeting Experience as the COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

Published August 12, 2020

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Academy 2020 Moves Online to Create an Innovative Virtual Meeting Experience as the COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

Considering the health and well-being of attendees, the American Academy of Optometry decided to move this year’s annual meeting online to a robust platform that will include research, continuing education, sessions and attendee interaction.

ORLANDO, Florida, August 12, 2020– As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the American Academy of Optometry’s (AAO) continued focus on the health and well-being of its constituents, the organization today announced that Academy 2020 Nashville will be held entirely as a virtual meeting renamed Academy 2020 At Home.

“We listened to our stakeholders and watched the national health situation very carefully including the impact on Nashville, and we absolutely believe this is the best decision for everyone,” said Academy Chief Executive Officer Peter Scott. “While we’re disappointed that we can’t hold this show in person, I’m extremely excited to announce that we’ve found a dynamic and robust online platform that will be able to deliver an unbelievably innovative experience.”

Academy 2020 At Home will offer “live” COPE continuing education (CE) approval, speaker coordination and a broad, insightful experience for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. In this new format, the Academy will be able to deliver nearly 300 hours of continuing education (CE) and participants will be able to earn up to 80 hours of CE credits. In a traditional in-person meeting, attendees were limited to 34 hours of CE credits.

The Academy’s annual meeting attracts the world’s leading optometrists, scientists, vision care professionals, students, support personnel and media, and this year’s event will feature cutting edge education, the latest scientific research and a virtual exhibit hall. Because Nashville is “the Music City” and features some of the world’s most renowned artisans, restaurants and culture, the Academy is bringing these elements to the virtual experience. Scott says, “We’ve worked really hard to make this event exciting, engaging and educational as well as entertaining. We may not be able to go to a Honky Tonk on Broadway this year, but we’re definitely working to bring that feel to our attendees’ own living rooms.”

Academy 2020 At Home will be available October 7-22 during select periods. The broadcast schedule is currently in development and will be available soon so participants can begin to customize and plan their virtual experience. Registration is now open and the cost is $435 for members and $795 for non-members. Those who have already registered will automatically receive a link to the event, and people who do not wish to participate can request a full refund.

This year’s virtual meeting will feature an important Plenary Session entitled Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Practice, looking at how standards of care and diagnostic standards have changed significantly over the past several years, and the impacts of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and other common ailments on patient care moving forward. The Academy will also host a special symposium on diversity, equity and inclusion. This event co-presented by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and the National Optometric Association (NOA) will promote a basic understanding of the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in optometric education and clinical practice.

Additional headlining virtual events include an exciting look into the near future of optometry during the 2020 Monroe J. Hirsch Research Symposium. Participants will offer insight on how robotics and smart technology are increasingly important in optometry. Leading researchers will discuss the coming use of socially assistive robotics for patients in need of vision rehabilitation, and potential impacts on in-office appointments. They will also discuss autonomous vehicles which offer significant potential to increase the independence of people with visual impairment. For a deeper look into the future, they’ll dive into the growing science of optometric issues in space, with a presentation by U.S. Navy Captain Tyson Brunstetter, OD, PhD, FAAO, from the Space and Occupational Medicine Branch at NASA Johnson Space Center. He’ll discuss astronaut cases of Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) and what that means for space travel and the health effects of long-duration spaceflight.

Academy Board President Dr. Barbara Caffery said, “Academy 2020 At Home is going to be a fantastic event, designed to bring exciting and interactive experiences to participants in the safety of their own homes or offices. As always, the Academy will provide the very best clinical and scientific knowledge, as only the Academy can do. Attendees will leave with the information needed to excel in the changing world of optometry. We will continue to inspire excellence in optometric practice.”

For more information, or to register for Academy 2020 At Home, please visit www.academymeeting.org.

About the American Academy of Optometry
The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) inspires excellence in optometric practice by fostering research and disseminating knowledge in vision science through its journal, Optometry and Vision Science, and the continuing education presented at its annual meeting. Fellows of the Academy are committed to the premise that learning is a lifelong obligation of a professional, as is the commitment to expand the profession’s knowledge base through ongoing fellowship and exchange. For more information, visit the website: www.aaopt.org.