2020 Annual Symposium

The 69th Annual Symposium will be held January 31st – February 2nd, 2020 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

Participants will learn from the brightest ophthalmologists from around the country on the topics of Cataract, Refractive Surgery, Uveitis, and Retina.

To download our complete 2020 Program, click here.

Program Highlights:

    • Astigmatism Management
    • Building on 2019 – MIGS update
    • Clinical trials in uveitis
    • Handling Unhappy refractive surgery patients
    • Hot topics in keratoplasty
    • How to diagnose the patient with uveitis
    • Latest advances in vitreoretinal surgery
    • Medical retina: what’s in the pipeline?
    • New techniques and technology in anterior segment surgery
    • Ocular allergies
    • Presbyopia Correction
    • Treatment of Uveitis
    • Uveitis evaluation and update
    • Update on the newest IOLs and novel techniques for IOLS
    • What am I doing wrong here?  Learning from tough cataract cases
    • What’s new in dry eye?
    • When to use PRK, LASIK or SMILE
    • Innovation session

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


The following workshops are available at no charge to attendees of the 2020 Annual Symposium:

Friday, January 31, 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Confessions from the Trenches — Panel Discussion with 3 Veteran Practice Administrators
Moderator: Jeffery Daigrepont
Panel: Mary Sue Jacka, Jennifer Rispo-Maguire and Thomas P. Spiers
For the first time, NOAO has assembled a panel of three (3) veteran practice administrators from successful
practices who will share their confessions and secrets for running a thriving ophthalmology practice.
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Jeffery Daigrepont, which will also include an active audience
participation dialog. The exchange will include firsthand information on a range of topics related to
strategies for improving practice performance, leveraging technology, enhancing patient care, strategies
for combating cuts in Medicare and other reimbursement challenges. The panel members will also be
asked to share their thoughts on what every physician needs to know but might be afraid to ask.

Duty to Patients: Beginning, Ending, and Obligations
Instructor: Michelle Pineda, MBA 
OMIC insureds earn a 10% discount on their OMIC premium if they are current, paid members of the
ALAO, LAEPS, and MAEPS. A one-time 10% discount will apply for current NOAO members. OMIC insureds
who are not a member of these state societies will receive a 5% discount on their OMIC policy upon renewal.
Determining whether a doctor-patient relationship exists is an important issue in medical professional
liability cases as this relationship creates a duty to care for the patient. If there is no relationship, there can
be no malpractice. In most situations, establishing this relationship is clear cut though in some cases the
existence of a relationship is ambiguous and can even result in a claim being filed when the physician has
not examined the patient. A lack of understanding of this relationship has resulted in professional liability
claims and, in some cases, patient harm.

Saturday, February 1, 5:15 – 6:15 PM

Ransomware: How We Survived a Breach in our Practice
Instructor: Jeffery Daigrepont, Jennifer Rispo-Maguire 
The threat of ransomware to ophthalmic practices is on the rise. Join practice administrator Jen Rispo as she
shares what happened when her practice recently became infected with Crypto locker. Ms. Rispo will relate how it
happened, how the situation was addressed, and what it took to get her practice up and running again. Together
with cybersecurity expert Jeffery Daigrepont, they will provide recommendations on best practices to reduce
ransomware breaches, how to educate staff to keep them vigilant, and what your recovery plan should include.

Practice Efficiency and Increasing Conversion Rates for Advanced Technology IOLs
Instructor: Dr. Stephen Scoper 
Cataract surgery has evolved into a refractive surgery that offers patients advanced options and technology. As
the benefits to patients are substantial, these premium services also provide financial gain for ophthalmology
practices. Specifically, the high-tech cataract surgical options will enable practices to help compensate for the
losses from decreases in reimbursement from private insurance and Medicare. Dr. Scoper will discuss his
experience in getting more patients to choose premium IOLS and how it can work in your practice.

Please register in advance for the workshops listed above. There are limited seats available.

Hotel InformationHotel Accommodations:   Click here to reserve your room at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel  (500 Canal Street  New Orleans, LA), or call (888) 627-7033 and ask for the room block under the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology. Rooms are $219 per night and it is recommended that reservations should be made well in advance, as there will be limited room availability after December 31, 2019.

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

Register Here


2020 Confirmed Faculty Speakers

Nisha Acharya, M.D., Francis I. Proctor Foundation at University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Anita Agarwal, M.D., West Coast Retina, San Francisco, CA
Rosa Braga-Mele, M.D., University of Toronto, Toronto, CA
Massimo Busin, M.D., University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ITL
Janet Davis, M.D., Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL
Terrence O’Brien, M.D., Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Narsing Rao, M.D., Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Carl Regillo, M.D., Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Stephen Scoper, M.D., Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA
John Vukich, M.D., Davis Duerh Dean Eye Care Whitewater, Whitewater, WI

Speaker Biographies

Nisha Acharya, MD is the Director of the Uveitis and Ocular Inflammatory Disease Service and the Uveitis Fellowship at the F.I. Proctor Foundation. Her clinical expertise is the diagnosis and management of patients with infectious and inflammatory eye diseases. She is experienced with the latest treatments for uveitis, including treatment with new immunomodulatory drugs and biologic therapies. Dr. Acharya’s research focuses on the design and implementation of clinical trials to determine the optimal treatment for these conditions. Current projects include clinical trials comparing treatments for uveitis and uveitic-macular edema, and epidemiological studies on ocular inflammatory diseases.



Anita Agarwal, MD is a Vitreoretinal consultant at West Coast Retina and adjoint professor of ophthalmology at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute. Dr. Agarwal specializes in medical and surgical diseases of the retina and uvea and has a special interest in uncommon and inherited retinal diseases. She received her medical degree from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, India, and ophthalmology residency and fellowship training in both India and the US. Her clinical interests include a variety of infectious, inflammatory, degenerative, and dystrophic medical retinal disorders and surgical vitreoretinal disorders. She is a member of the Macula Society and the Retina Society and has been recognized as one of America’s best doctors, Castle Connely’s top doctors, and top ophthalmologists. She is the recipient of the 2014 J. Donald Gass Medal for outstanding contributions in the study of Macular Diseases awarded by the Macula Society and the 2015 Optic UK Lecture Medal awarded by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, UK. She has delivered many named lectures and has also received honor awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Retina Specialists. She is the author of the Fifth Edition of the Gass’ Atlas of Macular Disease, and she has co-authored landmark research papers on the genetics of macular degeneration. She serves on the editorial boards of several journals: Ophthalmology, Retina Cases and Brief Reports, and American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports.


Rosa Braga-Mele, MD is a Professor of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of Ottawa Medical School. She then completed her residency at the University of Toronto. She went on to complete her Masters Degree in Higher Education with areas of specialty in curriculum development and patient-physician communication skills. She has a special interest in Professionalism including biomedical ethics and communication issues and has published papers and given symposia in these areas. She is Director of Professionalism and Bio-Medical Ethics for the Department of Ophthalmology at U of T.

Dr. Braga-Mele is a cataract specialist and educator who speaks frequently at both the national and international level on advanced surgical techniques and innovations in the area of phacoemulsification surgery and complicated cataract cases and IOL development. She was voted by her peers as one of the top 50 opinion leaders in cataract and refractive surgery. She has over 150 published abstracts and papers. She has also been involved in clinical trials pertaining to wavefront IOL’s and multifocal IOL’s and phacoemulsification surgery.

Dr. Braga-Mele serves as the Chair of the Education Clinical Committee (2015–present) for the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) and is a member of the Governing Board and Program Committee for ASCRS. She was Chair of the Cataract Clinical Committee for ASCRS from 2011–2015. She was an active member of the AAO Special Programs Committee from 2007–2011, and in 2015–2016 was part of the AAO Cataract Preferred Practice Patterns Committee. She was also the chairperson for the cataract section of the Canadian Ophthalmology Society (COS) meeting for 2004, 2005 and 2006. She sat on the executive committee and was a board member for the Canadian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery as chairperson for the annual meeting for the years 2003 and 2004. She is Cataract Section Editor for EyeWorld and is on the editorial board of other ophthalmic publications.

She was the inaugural Research Director at the Kensington Eye Institute in Toronto from 2007–2012. She was appointed Cataract Director at the Kensington Eye Institute in May 2013.

She is involved in the resident surgical teaching curriculum development and implementation at the University of Toronto. She has won multiple teaching awards both at the undergraduate and resident levels for her teaching and mentorship abilities including the Silver Needle award in 2003, 2007 and 2012 for best resident surgical teacher. She was given the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Achievement Award in 2007 for distinguished volunteer service and the AAO Secretariat Award in 2012 for special contributions to the Academy and ophthalmology out of proportion to others and making a difference in her efforts. She has recently been awarded the AAO Senior Achievement Award in 2013 for volunteer services.


Massimo Busin, MD has been the director of the corneal physiopathology unit of Ospedali Privati ​​Forlì,  based at Villa Igea, since January 1987. Dr. Busin specialized in ophthalmology at the Eye Clinic of the University of Ferrara in July 1984. From July of 1984 to June of 1986, he was a Cornea Fellow at the Louisiana State University Eye Clinic, directed by Prof. Herbert E. Kaufman. In 1985 he moved to Bonn, Germany at the University Ophthalmology Clinic; he acquired Free Education in 1989 and then became a University Professor in 1991.

In 1995, he moved to Forlì as head of the ophthalmology department of Forlì Private Hospitals. Since then, he has carried out numerous consultations at hospitals in Italy and abroad.

Professor Busin is also a lecturer at the Postgraduate School of Ophthalmology at the University of Milan, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Louisiana State University in New Orleans, and director of the Postgraduate School of Ophthalmology at the University of Ferrara. 
The clinical research activity, developed above all in the field of corneal transplantation, has distinguished itself nationally and internationally: Dr. Busin has developed new surgical techniques adopted all over the world and the results have been the subject of numerous publications in the world magazines with the highest scientific “impact factor”.

Professor Busin is the author of 106 articles, 21 book chapters, and a book. He was Associate Editor for Europe of the journal “Journal of Refractive Surgery” until 1997 and is currently a regular reviewer for all the major ophthalmologic journals, including “Ophthalmology”, “American Journal of Ophthalmology”, “Archives of Ophthalmology”,”British Journal of Ophthalmology”, “Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery”, etc.

Since 1984 Professor Busin has participated in over 400 worldwide conferences as an invited speaker. He received from the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology) the “Honor Award” in 1993, the “Senior Achievement Award” in 2003 and the “Life Achievement Award” in 2013. The SOI Italian Ophthalmological Society awarded him the Medal of Gold “Master of Ophthalmology” in 2012. In 2013, Prof. Busin held the prestigious “Chancellor Lecture in Neurosciences and Ophthalmology” at the LSU Eye Center in New Orleans, which in previous years was also held by two Nobel Prize-winning scientists. He has also received numerous awards both for videos and for lectures held at international meetings, including the AAO, ESCRS, DOC, ASCRS, etc.
Professor Busin was President of SITRAC (Italian Cornea Transplantation Society) from 2010 to 2013 and is currently Vice-President.


Janet Davis, MD received a medical degree with high honors in 1981 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed a residency in ophthalmology in 1986. She was a fellow in vitreoretinal diseases at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Medical School from 1986 to 1987 and joined the National Eye Institute Laboratory of Immunology as a Senior Staff Fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Nussenblatt in 1987. She returned to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 1989 as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and was promoted to Professor of Ophthalmology in 2000. With Dr. William Culbertson, she instituted a Uveitis Section at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 1994 and in 1997 initiated a consultative uveitis clinic for the resident physicians at BPEI. In addition to a clinical practice in uveitis and ocular infections, she also sees patients with medical and surgical vitreoretinal disorders and conducts clinical research.

Dr. Davis’s academic interests are infectious and inflammatory diseases of the eye, with an emphasis on diagnostic procedures and clinical management of uveitis, including the surgical management of uveitic complications. She is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Retina Society, Macula Society, American Uveitis Society (past president), International Uveitis Study Group, and International Ocular Inflammation Society. Since 2006 she has been a Director of the American Board of Ophthalmology.  She is a reviewer for several academic journals and an Executive Editor for the American Journal of Ophthalmology. She has published 28 book chapters, 145 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and made numerous presentations. She has been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, ARVO Silver Fellow, and listed in Best Doctors, America’s Top Ophthalmologists, and Florida Super Doctors.


Terrence O’ Brien, MD is an ophthalmologist practicing in Miami, FL. Before joining the team at the acclaimed Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Terrence O’Brien served as Director of Ocular Infectious Diseases at The Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He was also the founder of the Eye Microbiology Lab at Wilmer Eye Institute.

As an expert in the fields of refractive surgery and ocular infectious diseases, Dr. O’Brien is an internationally renowned physician, researcher, and educator. He has treated many prominent individuals including congressmen, professional athletes, and media personalities. Dr. O’Brien is recognized as an exceptional surgeon, with clinical specialties in cataracts and intraocular lens, laser vision correction, corneal and external diseases, ocular infectious diseases and corneal transplant surgery.

Dr. O’Brien’s significant contributions to the field of ophthalmology began in his early 20s when he helped to create several types of antibiotics in eye drop form. Since then, he had led the way as a top researcher in refractive surgery techniques, the avoidance and management of complications of refractive surgery, ocular infectious diseases, ocular microbiology, and corneal transplant surgery research. Dr. O’Brien has written many publications, including articles in the Journal of Cataract Refraction Surgery, Ophthalmology, Cornea, and the International Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology. He was the Past President of the Ocular Microbiology & Immunology Group, on the Executive Boards of the International Conference of Eye Infections, and an active member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. Additionally, Dr. O’Brien is a senior assistant editor of the esteemed Journal of Refractive Surgery and past Editor-In-Chief of Contemporary Ophthalmology.


Narsing Rao, MD is involved in the treatment of inflammatory ocular diseases affecting the uveal tract, vitreous, retina, and sclera. Dr. Rao has published over 440 peer-reviewed papers in clinical and basic science findings. He has received numerous honors and awards for his research endeavors on ocular inflammatory diseases from Research to Prevent Blindness and the National Institute of Health. He delivered several named lectures, both nationally and internationally, including visiting professorships at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, University of Paris, France, Moorefields Eye Institute, London, University of Rome, Italy, Tokyo Medical University, Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, and University of Sydney, Australia.

For his outstanding contributions to ophthalmology, he was awarded the Lorenz E. Zimmerman medal from American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Ramon L. Font medal from Pan American Society of Ophthalmology, the International Ocular Inflammation Society Award, and received an award from European Vision and Eye Research Association in 2006. Dr. Rao was also the recipient of the prestigious Bietti Medal from the International Council of Ophthalmology.

In the past 25 years, Dr. Rao has focused on clinical and basic research on oxidative stress-mediated retinal damage in intraocular inflammation/uveitis. Dr. Rao has had several successful NEI-funded R01 grants since 1985 and has worked on many projects with high relevance to public health.


Carl D. Regillo, MD is Chief of the Retina Service at Wills Eye Hospital. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, completed his internship in internal medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and performed his ophthalmology residency and a two-year vitreoretinal fellowship at Wills Eye.

After formal training, he served four years in the military as a vitreoretinal surgeon stationed at the San Diego Naval Medical Center. There he was Co-Director of the medical center’s Retina Service, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego, recipient of a Naval Commendation Medal and the Ophthalmology Department’s annual teaching award. In 1998, he returned to Philadelphia to join Mid Atlantic Retina, formerly Retinovitreous Associates, and the Retina Service of Wills Eye. Dr. Regillo is currently Director of the Retina Service and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine. He is the former Director of the Retina Research Unit and Principal Investigator of several major international clinical trials investigating new forms of treatment for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and a variety of other retinal conditions. He was the Chairman of the Wills Eye Hospital Institutional Review Board and the American Academy’s Basic and Clinical Science Course (BCSC) Retina Section committee. He also was the Wills Retina Fellowship Program Director.

Dr. Regillo has authored over 100 scientific papers, lectured nationally and abroad, and has published five major textbooks in the field. He has run several instructional courses at the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting and is a recipient of the Academy’s Achievement and Senior Achievement Awards in addition to the Secretariat Award. He is Board Certified in Ophthalmology and is an oral board examiner for graduating ophthalmologists. Dr. Regillo has sat on the editorial board for the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Review of Ophthalmology, Current Opinion in Ophthalmology, Ocular Surgery News, Retinal Physician, Retina Today, and Retina Times. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, The Retina Society, The Macula Society, The American Society of Retina Specialists, Society of Heed Fellows, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology, and Greater Philadelphia Ophthalmologic Society of which he was past-President. He has been listed through the years as a retina “Top Doc” in Philadelphia Magazine, South Jersey Magazine and Main Line Today.


Stephen Scoper, MD is a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologist who specializes in cataract surgery, LASIK, and all other areas of refractive surgery. He is considered an expert in Advanced Technology Intraocular Lens for cataract surgery and LASIK.

Dr. Scoper is the Vice President of Virginia Eye Consultants and continues the practice’s mission of providing comprehensive eye care utilizing the latest advancements in vision technology. His expertise is recognized worldwide, and other physicians often refer their complex refractive surgery cases to him. 

In addition to his work at VEC, Dr. Scoper is an associate professor of ophthalmology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. He is passionate about treating patients, as well as teaching others and conducting research – all qualities that set VEC apart from other eye care practices. When patients choose VEC, they receive care from eye care specialists like Dr. Scoper who are the top of their field.

As of recently, Dr. Scoper acted as lead investigator for a new medication to treat glaucoma. He presented results from the study at the European Glaucoma Conference in Berlin. Dr. Scoper is also one of 10 physicians who are investigating a new intraocular lens material to be used in refractive surgery.

Before becoming the respected ophthalmologist he is today, Dr. Scoper graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and trained in a residency in ophthalmology at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans. He completed a fellowship at the prestigious Dean McGee Eye Institute at the University of Oklahoma, where he trained under some of the top surgeons in the U.S. to study corneal and refractive surgery.

Following his fellowship training, Dr. Scoper joined the University of Virginia Department of Ophthalmology as an assistant professor of ophthalmology, cornea, and external disease. He was also the director of resident physician education. Dr. Scoper then joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee, directing the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service. 


John Vukich, MD received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine and completed his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary. He is an associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Department of Ophthalmology and practices at Davis Duehr Dean in Madison, Wisconsin. He has served as principal investigator on 16 phase-III clinical device trials and has served on the regulatory team for several novel ophthalmic devices leading to FDA approval. Dr. Vukich currently is the Director of the Refractive Surgery Service at Dean Clinic.

Dr. Vukich’s academic accomplishments include multiple publications in the peer-reviewed and trade literature, which include journal articles, textbook chapters, and scientific abstracts. Dr. Vukich has delivered over 300 invited lectures, papers and courses both nationally and internationally. He has been the recipient of the Achievement Award and the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). His clinical and research work has earned him numerous honors. Dr. Vukich is continually listed in Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Ophthalmologists. He has also been voted by his peers as one of the “135 Leading Ophthalmologists in America” by Becker’s ASC Review, as well as one of the “Top 50 Opinion Leaders” by Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today.

Dr. Vukich serves as President of the American European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery, (AECOS), on the Governing Board for the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) as Chair of the Refractive Clinical Committee and on the Annual Program Committee for the AAO. He has been inducted into the International Intra-Ocular Implant Club. Dr. Vukich has served on the Editorial Board and as an Associate Editor for several peer-reviewed journals and trade publications, including the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Ocular Surgery News, Eyeworld and Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today.


“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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