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.

Online registration has now closed. You may still register onsite.

To download the 2021 Annual Symposium Program, click here.


2021 Confirmed Faculty Speakers

Gary W. Abrams, M.D.,  Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
David M. Brown, M.D., Retina Consultants of Texas, Houston, TX
Natalie Afshari, M.D., F.A.C.S., Shiley Eye Institute, San Diego, CA
Steve Charles, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S., Charles Retina Institute, Germantown, TN
Seenu Hariprasad, M.D., University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Alon Kahana, M.D., Ph.D., Consultants in Ophthalmic & Facial Plastic Surgery, Livonia, MI
Ilya Leyngold, M.D., Duke Department of Ophthalmology, Durham, NC
J. Bradley Randleman, M.D., Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland, OH
Christopher Riemann, M.D., Cincinnati Eye Institute, Cincinnati, OH
Richard F. Spaide, M.D., Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York, New York, NY
Karl G. Stonecipher, M.D., TLC Laser Eye Center Greensboro, Greensboro, NC


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!


Workshop Information

Thursday, April 15, 4:30-5:30 PM (Empire Ballroom A+B)

Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Patient Care
Instructor: Jeffery Daigrepont, Coker Group
Join us at this workshop where Jeffery Daigrepont from the Coker Group will return to present the history, uses in healthcare and ophthalmology, the ethics, how to implement, and the role of the technician when using artificial intelligence.

Thursday, April 15, 5:45-6:45 PM (Empire Ballroom A+B)

Documentation: Strategies to Minimize Risk
Instructor: Michelle Pineda, MBA, OMIC
The importance of documentation is underscored in this OMIC Risk Management course. Using actual OMIC closed claims, we hope to illustrate where the lack of documentation or incomplete documentation negatively impacted the defense of the claim. Recommendations on documentation are also provided to mitigate future liability risk. 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 members of these state societies will receive a 5% discount on their OMIC policy upon renewal.


Industry-Sponsored Lunches

Friday, April 16, 12:45 PM

Tepezza: The First and Only FDA-Approved Treatment for Thyroid Eye Disease- Horizon Therapeutics
Speaker: Jennifer Murdock
Room: Elite B
This program will provide an overview of Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) and a review of the pathophysiology, describe the mechanism and action of TEPEZZA, present clinical data and a real-world case report highlighting the efficacy and safety of TEPEZZA, and describe how to administer, monitor, and manage potential adverse reactions for TEPEZZA.

Saturday, April 17, 12:30 PM

Lunch sponsored by Alcon
Stay tuned for more information!

Click here to sign up for workshops and industry lunches


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 NOAO. 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.

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.


David M. Brown, MD is a world-renown Medical and Surgical Retina Specialist and clinical trial specialist. He is the only Texas Medical and Surgical Retina Specialist elected to all three retina honor societies (Retina Society, Macula Society, and Club Jules Gonin). He is a 5th generation native Texan (from Deer Park, Texas) and he has pioneered research and is a thought leader in the areas of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion. With more than 300 scientific papers and abstracts written on related topics, Dr. Brown has been a continuous election as one of the “Best Doctors in America” from 2007 – 2018 and has received the honor as one of the “Texas Super Docs” from 2009 – 2018. Dr. Brown serves as the consultant retina specialist for NASA for all ongoing and long-term space flight astronauts.

Graduating with highest honors from Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Brown completed ophthalmology and retina training at the top-ranked University of Iowa, where he was a Thomas Heed Fellow, a Hermann-Knapp Fellow, and was awarded the Ron Michels Fellowship award presented to the top retinal surgery fellow in the U.S. Currently, Dr. Brown is the director of the Greater Houston Retina Research Center and he is a clinical professor of Ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Vice-Chair for research at the Blanton Eye Institute at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Brown’s surgical interests are focused on the treatment and research of macular conditions such as macular hole, macular pucker, and age-related macular degeneration and he has developed subretinal gene therapy techniques used for AMD and inherited retinal dystrophies.


Steve Charles, MD has developed many of the techniques and devices used by vitreoretinal surgeons worldwide.  He has performed over 38,000 vitreoretinal surgeries, lectured in 51 countries and operated in 25, delivered 20 named lectures, and well over 2000 speaking trips. He authored a leading textbook in the field which is now in the 5th edition and in 6 languages and authored over 174 articles in the medical literature and over 50 book chapters.  He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and International College of Surgeons and a member of the Retina Society, Macular Society, American Society of Retinal Specialists, Club Jules Gonin, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, American Academy of Ophthalmology,  and the Dowling Society.  He served on the Board of Governors of the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research.  He has received the Laureate honor from the AAO, gave the Schepens lecture at the Retina Society and the Kelman lecture at the ASCRS, received the Wacker Medal from the Club Jules Gonin, the first Founders Medal from the Vitreous Society, was inducted into the University of Miami School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association Hall of Fame, and was named by Ocular Surgery News as one of the top ten innovators in the past 25 years.   He is consistently listed in Best Doctors in America and Becker’s Top 34 Ophthalmologists in America. He is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee. 

After four years in engineering school, he completed medical school at the University of Miami Leonard Miller School of Medicine. He did research all four medical school years at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. After a medical internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, he completed a residency at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute followed by a two-year Clinical Associate appointment at the National Eye Institute (NIH); focused on vitreoretinal surgery, angiogenesis research, and medical device engineering.

He is a mechanical and electrical engineer and has well over 100 issued or pending patents. He is a consultant for Alcon Laboratories and the principal architect of the Alcon Accurus and Alcon Constellation Vision System.

He is the Founder of MicroDexterity Systems, which developed robots for dexterity enhancement for minimally invasive knee and hip replacement, spine surgery, and skull base neurosurgery. Stryker, Inc. acquired MicroDexterity Systems, in December 2009. He is a cofounder, systems engineer, and Chairman of CamPlex Inc, developing advanced visualization technology for MIS spine, neurosurgery, and trans-oral approaches to head and neck cancer. Dr. Charles is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Opsis, developing stem cell-derived outer retinal replacement.  Dr. Charles was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs; a Memphis-based organization.

Steve Charles is an Airline Transport Pilot, Multi-Engine, Instrument rated pilot with Type Ratings in Citation 500, 560, 650, Falcon 50, and Sabre 65 jets, and currently owns and flies a Sabre 65.


Seenu Hariprasad, MD is an internationally recognized vitreoretinal surgeon specializing in the diseases and surgery of the retina, vitreous, and macula.

Since joining the University of Chicago Medicine in 2005, Dr. Hariprasad has gained a reputation as a leading specialist in various vitreoretinal disorders, including AMD, diabetic eye disease, intraocular infection, and RVO. He has been recognized for bringing more effective and efficient sutureless microincisional vitrectomy techniques to the medical center.

Dr. Hariprasad’s clinical research has contributed to the understanding and use of new medications to combat a wide variety of vitreoretinal disorders. He has served as principal or sub-investigator in more than 45 national and international clinical trials evaluating various medications, sustained drug-delivery devices, and surgical innovations to treat a variety of diseases, such as AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and RVO.

His work has led to nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications, meeting abstracts and textbook chapters. He has presented more than 150 individual lectures in cities around the world. Dr. Hariprasad’s recently published textbook, Management of Retinal Vein Occlusion: Current Concepts, is one of only a small number of textbooks dedicated to this disease.

He has also been awarded numerous honors, including an AAO Achievement Award and an ASRS Honor Achievement Award, and has been named a top doctor in publications such as US News & World Report and Chicago Magazine.


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.


J. Bradley Randleman, MD is a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Cole Eye Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland Ohio. He was previously Professor of Ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Director of the Cornea & Refractive Surgery Service at the USC Roski Eye Institute in Los Angeles, California, and the Hughes Professor of Ophthalmology at Emory University and Director of the Cornea Section at the Emory Eye Center. A widely respected cornea specialist, his areas of expertise include corneal and intraocular refractive surgical procedures including LASIK and premium laser-assisted cataract and IOL surgery, complicated cataract surgery, and the management of corneal ectatic disorders. His primary research focuses on the identification and management of corneal ectatic diseases including keratoconus and postoperative ectasia after LASIK, and the avoidance, diagnosis, and management of refractive surgical complications. He was awarded multiple grants, including an R01 from the NIH to evaluate corneal biomechanical analysis using Brillouin Microscopy.

Dr. Randleman received his BA degree from Columbia College at Columbia University in New York City, his M.D. degree from Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Lubbock, Texas, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society in his junior year, followed by his ophthalmology residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Randleman joined the Emory faculty and served as Assistant Residency Director for two years while also completing a fellowship in Cornea/External Disease and Refractive Surgery at Emory University. He served as Director of the Emory Corneal Fellowship program until taking over as Director of the Cornea Service in 2010 and was named the Hughes Professor of Ophthalmology in 2016.

Dr. Randleman has been awarded the Claus Dohlman Fellow Award, the inaugural Binkhorst Young Ophthalmologist Award from the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the Kritzinger Memorial Award, Founder’s Award, and the Inaugural Recognition Award from the International Society of Refractive Surgery, and the Secretariat Award, Achievement Award, and Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Randleman has served as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Refractive Surgery since 2011. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications in leading ophthalmology journals in addition to 40 book chapters on refractive surgery evaluation, corneal cross-linking, and management of complications with IOLs, and has authored four textbooks, Collagen Cross-Linking and Corneal Cross-Linking 2nd Edition, which he co-edited on Farhad Hafezi, MD, Ph.D., Refractive Surgery: An Interactive Case-Based Approach, and Intraocular Lens Surgery: Selection, Complications, and Complex Cases.


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.


Karl G. Stonecipher, MD Medical Director of TLC Greensboro, has practiced ophthalmology in North Carolina for more than a decade. His refractive experience dates back to 1987, and he has performed more than 77,000 procedures. Dr. Stonecipher has been certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology since 1992.

Dr. Stonecipher, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, completed his residency in Ophthalmology at Tulane University. Dr. Stonecipher received a fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery at the McGee Eye Institute with J. James Rowsey, MD.

Dr. Stonecipher’s memberships include the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the International Society for Refractive Surgeons, and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Stonecipher has over 100 abstracts, articles, and book chapters published nationally and internationally and speaks both nationally and internationally on refractive, cataract, presbyopic, and corneal surgery. He is currently involved in multiple FDA trials for the study of the Cornea, Cataract, Presbyopic, and Refractive Surgery. Today, he is registered with Who’s Who in Ophthalmology and picked as one of America’s Top Ophthalmologists. He was an Intralase pioneer, a Global Ambassador to Wavelight and LaserACE, and has been voted by his colleagues as one of the top 50 ophthalmologists.


“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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