AAO returns to San Francisco for annual meeting this November


Academy’s program will take place in San Francisco, California, 3-6 November 2023, before returning to Chicago, Illinois in 2024

Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco, California, with the skyline visible in the background. Image credit: ©Shambhala – stock.adobe.com

AAO is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, with a global community of 32,000 medical doctors. Image credit: ©Shambhala – stock.adobe.com

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) will commence its AAO 2023 meeting November 3-6, 2023, at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. AAO is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, with a global community of 32,000 medical doctors.

According to its website, the AAO, which evolved as part of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology (AAOO) founded in 1896, was incorporated as an independent organization in 1979 when the AAOO was divided into separate academies for each specialty. Since 1896, AAO has held an annual meeting. Now, AAO brings together more than 14,000 ophthalmologists and health professionals from around the world for days of learning and networking. Approximately 5000 presenters teach sessions, labs, and courses on 30 topics.

The organization continues to tweak the new meeting schedule that was rolled out in 2021, according to Debra Rosencrance, vice president of meetings and exhibits at AAO.

“The opening session has moved to Saturday, November 4 from 9 am to 10:30 am, and there will be no closing session,” she told Ophthalmology Times.

There are several other programs and events that attendees can look forward to during the meeting this year.

“The cataract spotlight on Monday morning…will [highlight] top 5 pearls from the leading cataract surgeons regarding complicated phacoemulsification/IOL cases,” Rosencrance said. “This year’s session, moderated by David Chang, [MD], and Surendra Basil, [MBBS], is sure to be a popular session.”

Moreover, Rosencrance pointed out that there will be many events centered on this year’s hot topic: artificial intelligence. “There are posters, instruction courses, and entire symposia dedicated to how artificial intelligence may change the practice of ophthalmology,” she said.

Attendees at this year’s AAO meeting can also network with industry experts, listen to talks by key opinion leaders, explore the latest technology, learn about new drugs and devices, test new equipment, and connect with AAO.

Subspecialty Day always proves to be a popular event, and this year promises to be no exception. In retina, Emily Chew, MD, will deliver the Charles L. Schepens MD Lecture on Macular Telangiectasia Type 2.

“There are also numerous clinical trial updates, including TEASE, PROTON, ARCHER, and GLOW,” Rosencrance said.

In cornea, some hot topics include corneal stem cell regeneration, automation, and synthetic endothelial replacement. Additionally, glaucoma will feature Ike Ahmed, MD, whose presentation is titled “Emerging Functional Outcomes With Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery Studies.”

Rosencrance also pointed out that there will be several interesting events that attendees can mark on their calendars. “There is the Orbital: Gold Rush event on Sunday night at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, an iconic San Francisco hotel with some of the best views of downtown,” Rosencrance said. “It’s not a meeting event, but I think all attendees should go see the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye while they are in town.”

The newest exhibit, “Doctor and Detective: History of Ophthalmic Diagnostics,” will be viewable in the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye at Moscone West.

For international attendees, the AAO meeting always offers a wide range of areas of interest.

“AAO 2023 is the largest ophthalmic place in the world and is always popular with international attendees,” Rosencrance said. “The international lounge is always a good place to relax and network with other colleagues.”

Rosencrance said holding the meeting in San Francisco is like a “home game” for AAO.

“Our office is near Fisherman’s Wharf, so having a meeting here is very special to the staff,” she said. “We get to show off all our favorite parts of the city. But San Francisco also has what our attendees like—great restaurants, beautiful hotels, and fabulous views—and the best basketball team in the [National Basketball Association].”

Rosencrance added that there are the usual measurements that gauge the success of the event during any given year.

“There are the usual metrics of attendance, number of exhibitors, etc, but also how much engagement there is on the expo floor and in the meeting rooms,” she said.

Attendees can stop by the Academy Resource Center in Moscone West to browse products in clinical education, coding, practice management, and patient education, as well as receive a professional headshot (complements of AAO).

The Learning Lounge located in Moscone West will allow members to enjoy informal group discussions facilitated by key opinion leaders, with new topics beginning every 30 minutes. Additionally, the Poster Theater, which is also located in Moscone West, will allow members to meet presenters and attend moderated poster presentations led by mentors and colleagues.

In the Showcase Theater at Moscone North, attendees will be able to hear about the latest on products and services during Industry Showcases. Enjoy longer-format, 30-minute sessions and faster paced, 18-minute TED Talks.

Subspeciality Days

Over the course of AAO 2023, 7 subspeciality day meetings will take place.

Friday, November 3

Saturday, November 4


The opening lecture of AAO 2023 will feature lectures from AAO leadership and recognize award winners. The 2023 Laureate Award will be presented to H. Dunbar Hoskins, Jr, MD. Eve J. Higginbotham, SM, MD, ML will deliver the 80th Annual Edward Jackson Memorial Lecture, “Striving Toward Better Eye Health Beyond Our Waiting Rooms.”

Skills Transfer

Attendees can perfect their technique and learn new skills at one of the 30 didactic lectures and 50 labs that make up the Skills Transfer Program. Skill Transfer labs require the purchase of a separate lab ticket, of which 75% sold out at AAO 2022.

Take a break

Those who are looking to take a break and relax can head to the EyePlay Experience in Moscone South. Some of the fun events at the EyePlay Experience include:

  • Comfort animal pet program
  • Free seated massage
  • Fun Zone games
  • Tech Bar
  • Community service project
  • Photo op area

For those unable to attend in person, AAO is once again offering virtual options, which include:

  • Annual meeting course and session highlights recorded in San Francisco
  • Annual meeting content (on-demand only) developed specifically for the online platform
  • Videos and posters

AAO 2024 will take place October 18-21,2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

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