2021 Annual Symposium

New Time – New Place – New Year

NOAO 70th Annual Symposium

Going Global: Adventures in Retina, Oculoplastics, and Anterior Segment

The 70th Annual Symposium will be held April 15-18, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113!

Participants will learn from the brightest ophthalmologists from around the country on the topics of Retina, Oculoplastics, and Anterior Segment.

2021 Confirmed Faculty Speakers

Natalie Afshari, M.D., F.A.C.S., Shiley Eye Institute, San Diego, CA
Alon Kahana, M.D., Ph.D., Consultants in Ophthalmic & Facial Plastic Surgery, Livonia, MI
Ilya Leyngold, M.D., Duke Department of Ophthalmology, Durham, NC
Christopher Riemann, M.D., Cincinnati Eye Institute, Cincinnati, OH
Richard F. Spaide, M.D., Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York, New York, NY

More speakers coming soon!

Program Highlights:

  • AMD – Current management
  • Combined Cataract Glaucoma Surgery
  • MIGS update
  • Commonly misdiagnosed macular conditions
  • Genetics and Inherited Retinal Disease
  • Heads up surgery
  • IOL dislocations/exchange/sclerosis fixation
  • Latest advances in vitreoretinal surgery
  • Medical retina: What’s in the pipeline?
  • New techniques and technology in anterior segment surgery
  • Orbital Decompression Surgery: Surgical Tips and Pearls
  • OCT update
  • Presbyopia Correction
  • Principles and Techniques for Corneal Neurotization Surgery
  • The Many Uses of 5-Fluorouracil in Oculoplastic Surgery
  • Trauma update
  • Advances in the treatment of thyroid eye disease
  • Update on the newest IOLs and novel techniques for IOLS
  • Vascular Tumors
  • What am I doing wrong here?  Learning from tough cataract cases
  • What’s new with Fuchs Dystrophy
  • When to use PRK, LASIK, or SMILE
  • Innovation session

Intimate Roundtables, question & answer sessions, hands-on workshops, and much more!

Hotel Information Click here to reserve your room at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans Hotel  (601 Loyola Ave  New Orleans, LA) or call either (877) 803-7534 (toll-free) or (504) 561-1234 and ask for the room block under the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology. Rooms are $189 (single) and $214 (double) per night, and it is recommended that reservations should be made well in advance, as there will be limited room availability after April 2, 2020.

Register Here

If you are an NOAO member, please log in and visit your member page to register. Otherwise, please register by clicking the button below.

Cancellation Policy Due to the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be waiving cancellation fees for the 2021 Annual Symposium.

Assumption of the Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19 The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. As a result, federal, state, and local governments and federal and state health agencies recommend social distancing and have, in many locations, prohibited the congregation of groups of people.

The New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology (“Organization”) will put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19; however, the Organization cannot guarantee that you will not become infected with COVID-19. Further, attending an in-person educational conference could increase your risk and of contracting COVID-19.

Should developments in the COVID-19 pandemic require changes to or the cancellation of the 2021 Annual Symposium, registrants will be provided virtual access at no additional cost.

Speaker Biographies

Natalie Afshari, MD, FACS is a highly-skilled clinician, cataract surgeon, and research scientist that is currently Chief of Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the Shiley Eye Institute. She received her medical degree from Stanford University and her residency and fellowship training at Harvard University. Prior to her current appointment, she was Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Centers of Excellence at the Duke University Eye Center. Her achievements in cornea & refractive surgery and patient care have been widely recognized by several organizations including news sources, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. She has also been awarded several honors including the prestigious Research to Prevent Blindness Award and the Heed Foundation Ophthalmic Award. In addition to her professional acknowledgments, Dr. Afshari’s research has been published extensively in both medical journals and textbooks. She is the co-editor of a two-volume Cornea Book “Principles and Practice of Cornea”. While her textbook chapters focus on clinical skills, her journal articles report her innovations and findings in research. Additionally, Dr. Afshari performs a sight-restoring procedure using keratoprosthesis, a synthetic plastic-based artificial cornea that has been featured nationally on television news programs.

In her clinical practice, Dr. Afshari specializes in cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, endothelial keratoplasty, collagen cross-linking and Intacs for keratoconus, laser refractive surgery, including LASIK, LASEK/Advanced Surface Ablation, PRK, PTK, and treating surgical and medical diseases of the cornea. Dr. Afshari is also a recognized expert in corneal transplantation and refractive surgery and has successfully treated many complex cases referred to her by other leading surgeons.

When not researching or practicing, Dr. Afshari donates her time and surgical expertise as an international volunteer. She has traveled to West Africa, Central America, and Mexico to help patients who might otherwise go untreated.


Alon Kahana, MD, Ph.D. was born in Ramat Gan, Israel, and grew up in Connecticut. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at Brandeis University, graduating Summa Cum Laude and with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Dr. Kahana received his MD (with Honors) as well as a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his residency in ophthalmology and a prestigious ASOPRS fellowship in oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Wisconsin under the preceptorship of Dr. Mark Lucarelli. He simultaneously completed a facial cosmetic surgery fellowship under the preceptorship of Dr. Brad Lemke. Dr. Kahana’s fellowship thesis won the prestigious Marvin Quickert Award from the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS).

In 2007, Dr. Kahana was recruited to the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, where he rose up the ranks to become tenured faculty, with an international reputation in orbital surgery – particularly thyroid eye disease – and pediatric oculoplastics – particularly blepharophimosis and congenital ptosis. He has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, multiple book chapters and reviews, and has given >100 lectures throughout the United States and internationally, including several endowed lectures and visiting professorships. He has served in numerous leadership positions, including as President of the North American Society of Academic Orbital Surgeons (NASAOS) and Chair of the Thesis Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee for ASOPRS. He is also a Program Director for his own ASOPRS fellowship.

Dr. Kahana’s research has been awarded grants from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, as well as philanthropic organizations and industry. Dr. Kahana was awarded career development and physician awards from Research to Prevent Blindness and has run a major prospective clinical trial on the treatment of advanced orbital and periocular basal cell carcinoma. While moving his clinical practice to Consultants in Ophthalmic & Facial Plastic Surgery (COFPS), Dr. Kahana will maintain his lab and continue his research efforts.

Dr. Kahana is a noted educator and has won resident teaching awards at both the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin. 


Ilya Leyngold, MD specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids, orbit, lacrimal system, and face. At the age of 13, Dr. Leyngold and his family moved to the US from Moscow, Russia. After finishing high school in Jacksonville, FL, he received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Florida State University. He then attended medical school at Johns Hopkins University where he earned multiple research and clinical awards, including the nomination for the most outstanding medical student in his graduating class to enter The Wilmer Eye Residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. After completing a 1-year internship at the University of Maryland and 3 years of residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital he was selected for one of the countries most prestigious oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgery fellowship positions certified by The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) with a world-renowned eyelid and facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard L. Anderson in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to accepting a faculty position at The Duke Eye Center, Dr.Leyngold served as the director of Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa.

Dr.Leyngold has published numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of oculoplastic and facial plastic surgery. He also teaches and lectures nationally on eyelid, orbital, facial reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery. He has been selected as The America’s Top Ophthalmologist by Consumer’s Research Council and featured in The South Tampa Magazine as one of the top 10 professionals in the Tampa Bay Area.


Christopher Riemann, MD obtained his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from John Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering in February 1989. After a six-month period as a Chesapeake Research Foundation Fellow at the National Institute on Aging, he attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. While in medical school, Dr. Riemann performed independent research as a National Institutes of Health Medical Student Research Fellow (1990) as well as an American Heart Association Research Fellow (1991-92). He received a Maryland Senatorial Scholarship in 1991 and served as the Vice President of the University of Maryland Chapter of the American Medical Student Association. Dr. Riemann obtained his medical doctoral degree in the Spring of 1994. Subsequently, he undertook a transitional internship at York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, and completed Residency training in Ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. He then continued his training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation as a vitreoretinal surgery Fellow where he developed expertise in both the medical and surgical management of retinal disorders.

Dr. Riemann is a member of the ASRS, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Ohio State Medical Association, Cincinnati Academy of Medicine, Cincinnati Ophthalmology Society, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. His original research in the fields of Ophthalmology, Cardiology, and Endocrinology has been published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and has been presented at national scientific meetings.  He has several patents for innovative surgical technologies and enjoys sharing his passion for the blend of engineering and medicine.

In collaboration with the other Retinal Surgeons at Cincinnati Eye Institute, Dr. Riemann is a principal investigator or co-investigator for many phase two and phase three FDA trials.

Dr. Riemann specializes in medical and surgical vitreoretinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, retinopathy of prematurity, vascular diseases of the retina, uveitis, histoplasmosis, complications of anterior segment surgery, endoscopic posterior segment surgery, and ocular trauma.


Richard Spaide, MD specializes in diseases of the retina and vitreous. His particular interests include retinal surgery, macular degeneration, macular holes, macular pucker, diabetic retinopathy, and intraocular inflammation. He has published more than 300 articles and 50 book chapters and 9 books about the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases. He has given lectures around the world.

He has a remarkable number of “firsts” in retinal diseases including the development of autofluorescence imaging using a fundus camera and the first practical method to image deeper structures in the eye with optical coherence tomography. These imaging methods now are used around the world. He has described many new findings and diseases of the eye and helped develop many novel treatments. He has developed numerous surgical instruments that were named after him and holds patents for ophthalmic inventions.

He is the recipient of the Richard and Hilda Rosenthal Foundation Award in the Visual Sciences, the Senior Honor Award from the American Society of Retinal Surgeons, and the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Opthalmology and the Prix Soubrane de la Recherche en Ophthalmologie, Award of Merit from the Retina Society, the Henkind Award, Coscas Award, Nataraja Pillai Award, W. Richard Green MD Award, George Theodossiadis Award, Founders Award, American Society of Retinal Surgeons, Life Achievement Honor Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Simon Gratz Award, Thomas Jefferson University.

Dr. Spaide was chosen as the 2016 recipient of the Roger H. Johnson Macular Degeneration Award. This is given every 2 years to an individual making a substantial contribution to the understanding, diagnosis, or treatment of macular degeneration, and is one of the most prestigious awards in macular degeneration research.

Dr. Spaide is on medical boards of a number of institutions and has been mentioned in multiple Who’s Who and Best Doctors lists. He is a past executive editor of the American Journal of Ophthalmology and is currently associate editor of the journal Retina. He is on the editorial board of numerous journals.


“I thought it was one of the MOST WONDERFUL meetings in the world! GREAT information, lots of fun and learning and GREAT attendees.” – Kathleen Digre, Salt Lake City, Utah

“Covers clinically significant subjects, nice group size, good facility, and of course, NOLA.” anonymous, 2016 Symposium

“Excellent conference with three areas of interest, updates and new technologies discussed, 20 hours of CME credit.” -anonymous, 2016 Symposium

“Overall, one of the best meetings as far as content and speakers, a very good learning environment.” -anonymous, 2016 Symposium

“Quality of lectures, ability to personally interact with the experts” – anonymous, 2016 Symposium

“Another phenomenal meeting sponsored by the NOAO!!” – anonymous attendee, 2015 Symposium

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