June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Ophthalmology in a virtual world: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on specialty conferences
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gabriella Schmuter
    The City College of New York CUNY School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
  • Lisa M. Nijm
    Ophthalmology, Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Natasha N. Kolomeyer
    Ophthalmology, Wills Eye Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Jeremiah Tao
    Ophthalmology, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, Irvine, California, United States
  • Prem S. Subramanian
    Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Terry Kim
    Ophthalmology, Duke University Department of Ophthalmology, Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • Aleksandra V Rachitskaya
    Ophthalmology, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Janice C. Law
    Ophthalmology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
  • Andrea A. Tooley
    Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic Minnesota, Rochester, Minnesota, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Gabriella Schmuter None; Lisa Nijm None; Natasha Kolomeyer None; Jeremiah Tao None; Prem Subramanian None; Terry Kim None; Aleksandra Rachitskaya None; Janice Law None; Andrea Tooley None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 2814 – A0144. doi:
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      Gabriella Schmuter, Lisa M. Nijm, Natasha N. Kolomeyer, Jeremiah Tao, Prem S. Subramanian, Terry Kim, Aleksandra V Rachitskaya, Janice C. Law, Andrea A. Tooley; Ophthalmology in a virtual world: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on specialty conferences. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):2814 – A0144.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented cancellation or alteration of healthcare events and medical conferences around the world. Many ophthalmology conferences transitioned to virtual interfaces, and the impact of this transition on the ophthalmology community is unclear. The authors wish to objectively define the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on subspecialty ophthalmology conferences.

Methods : This study included data from the following five ophthalmology conferences from 2019, 2020, and 2021, as available: American Glaucoma Society (AGS), American Society of Ophthalmic and Plastic Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS), American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS), and Women in Ophthalmology (WIO). Data requested from organizations included the following, as available: Number of total conference attendees, number of attendees stratified by level of training, number of attendees stratified by identified gender, and number of research abstracts or presentations (submitted and/or accepted). This study has been approved by the City University of New York Institutional Review Board.

Results : In our study, 60% of organizations demonstrated an increase in number of attendees when using a virtual interface compared to their in-person events. 80% of organizations demonstrated a marked increase in attendance by trainees on their virtual interfaces. 60% of organizations displayed a decrease in number of submitted abstracts when using a virtual interface. 40% of organizations experienced an increase in number of accepted posters and presentations through a virtual platform.

Conclusions : Virtual conference interfaces have the potential to increase overall attendance and research participation within the ophthalmology community. Organizations should consider a hybrid model that incorporates aspects of both virtual and in-person interfaces to potentially maximize attendance, outreach, dissemination of information, opportunity, and minimize costs.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.


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