By Rae Huang
Hundreds of optometrists, students, and vision science researchers gathered at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA for the annual American Academy of Optometry (AAO) meeting October 12-15, 2011. For optometry students interested in vision science research, the Academy meeting is a happy medium between networking based meetings like Optometry’s Meeting and more research oriented meetings such as ARVO.
There was always something to do at the Academy meeting, from the crack of dawn to the wee hours of the night. Daily poster sessions and presentations enlightened attendees with all the new optometric research findings, while nightly social events provided both entertainment and a chance to network with students, doctors, and scientists alike. The Academy meeting was both a great opportunity to learn about all areas of optometric research, as well as a great chance to network with the doctors and scientists that are the experts in those areas.
The American Academy of Optometry is organized into several sections or special interest groups, including:
- Binocular vision
- Perception & pediatrics
- Contact Lenses & refractive technologies
- Low Vision
- Optometric education
- Primary Care
- Public Heath & Environmental Vision
- Vision Science
No matter what section of optometric research or clinical specialty you are interested in, there are AAO fellows and diplomates there to advise and mentor you into becoming a future doctor/scientist in that area. Each section holds its own meetings and social events as well, which are a great way to meet people in your specialty group of interest, or simply to learn more about certain specialties. No matter what specialty group meeting you decide to attend, the members will encourage you to pursue a residency in that field, as well as take the steps to become a future AAO fellow, before moving on to pursue diplomate status in that specialty section.
Overall, the Academy meeting is a great educational experience, offering us the chance to see just how many choices we have after we graduate and how many opportunities there are for us to excel in the field of optometry.
By: Rae Huang