By: Rae Huang SUNY Optometry 2013
For any aspiring OD/MS student or any optometry student interested in scientific research, the annual ARVO meeting is a must.
What is ARVO? ARVO is the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, an association that throws an annual meeting where researchers from all around the world who study all aspects of the eye and vision gather to present their research. ARVO is the largest and most respected eye and vision research organization in the world and includes more than 12,600 members from over 80 countries. It pretty much unites all eye and vision researchers from all around the world so that they can share their ideas and collaborate with one another.
How do you get into ARVO? First, become an ARVO member, which you can do at their website www.arvo.org. Second, register for their annual meeting. If you have done a research project that year, you can submit your abstract to ARVO, which almost always accepts student abstracts. Then you can actually present a poster at ARVO along with the best and brightest in eye and vision research. Most optometry schools will help you pay for your ARVO membership ($100), registration ($160), and give you travel money if you are presenting a poster at ARVO.
What do you do at ARVO? Once you are at the meeting, the first thing you should do is check in and grab the schedule booklet, which contains a list of all the posters and when they are presenting, as well as a schedule for lectures and classes that you can attend. Go through the booklet and make your own schedule of which posters you want to see and what lectures and classes you want to attend. Having a schedule will make the meeting seem a lot less overwhelming, but you could also schedule some time to just wander and browse the hundreds of posters and booths in the exhibition hall as well. Feel free to talk to people at their posters. The people at ARVO are usually very friendly and love to talk about their research. You might even make a few friends. There are also social events in the evenings, like the ARVO social, where people can socialize over food and drinks. Those are always fun to go to.
And of course there is the beach. For the past umpteen years the ARVO meeting has been in Ft. Lauderdale right next to the beach so it is common for researchers to take a break from the meeting and head to the beach! But after next year the meeting is going to start moving around every year to different locations, like Seattle in 2013, Orlando in 2014, and Denver in 2014, so breaks from the meeting will have to start involving other forms of site-seeing. I definitely recommend scheduling in a little time to relax and explore whatever city the meeting is in.
All in all, I enjoyed my time at ARVO and definitely plan to return in future years. It’s a great meeting to go to if you are an optometry student interested in eye or vision research!
-Rae Huang, SUNY Optometry 2013
Image Credit – ARVO Filckr Feed