What is the American Academy of Optometry?
The American Academy of Optometry is a national optometric organization focused on the promotion of the art and science of vision care. As a new graduate, I have found this conference to be the most beneficial in terms of my clinical understanding and learning. The goal of the Academy of Optometry is to provide the most current vision science research that will influence our daily clinical experience. The annual convention offers over 300 hours of lectures, workshops, symposia, and lecture/poster presentations.
The American Academy of Optometry holds an annual convention in a different city every year in either October or November. The Annual Meeting is open to optometrists, vision scientists, ophthalmologists, students, and anyone else who may be interested in optometric continuing education and research. The meeting provides education for all members of the primary eye care team. A list of future conference locations is listed below:
- Academy 2014 Denver: November 12-15, 2014
- Academy 2015 New Orleans: October 7-10, 2015
- Academy 2016 Anaheim: November 9-12, 2016
- Academy 2017 Boston: October 4-7, 2017
- Academy 2018 San Francisco: November 14-17, 2018
- Academy 2019 Philadelphia: November 6-9, 2019
Tips for Academy Denver 2014
Make sure you are registered for the convention.
Once you are registered you can figure out your travel plans to Denver. There is a discount to travel from the Denver airport into the city. The convention center is about 45 minutes away from the airport so plan your trip accordingly.
The Academy has an mobile app EyeMap to help you organize your convention schedule. I recommend making a list of the CE courses you are interested in taking beforehand using the program guide provided, you will get a hard copy of this when you register at the convention.
If this is your first time attending Academy, I would definitely give the Guide for First Time Participants a quick read. Denver is an amazing city and there plenty to do. Here are some recommendations for Things to Do in Denver while at AAO.
Social events at Academy:
Attendee Exhibit Hall Welcome Reception
- Wednesday, 5:00-7:30pm
- This is the big social event to start off the convention where you can get food and drinks.
- Friday, 9:00pm
- This Australian themed party offers live music, food, and plenty of drinks including Fosters beer.
- Friday, 7:30pm-9:30pm
- Most of the optometry schools have a social hour/reunion in reserved rooms in the convention center or in the adjacent hotels. I recommend contacting your alumni chair to find out the schedule and location specific to your alma mater.
Annual Fellowship Banquet
- Saturday, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- The final event celebrates the achievement of the Academy and individually recognizes new fellows and diplomates. This is a black tie optional event that requires prior registration.
Benefits as a New Graduate
New graduates can apply to become Fellows of the Academy.
The letters “FAAO” (Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry) after an optometrist, scientist or other qualified person’s name signify to colleagues and patients that rigorous qualifications for Fellowship have been met.
A major benefit to applying to the Academy is that the registration fee to the annual convention is only $50. This allows you to take as much CE as you can fit across the four days. This easily is one of the cheapest education options around for obtaining CE. The Academy prides itself on staying current with the latest in optometric education and offers just about every optometric topic available. There are also SIGs or “Special Interest Groups” that brings together like-minded individuals passionate that are passionate to a specific field of optometry. This is an amazing opportunity to stay in contact with other clinicians throughout the year to help you develop your own professional network.