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A Spect-Ocular Course of Events

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The 2023 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s (ARVO) Annual Meeting took place in April in New Orleans, Louisiana. For readers unable to attend (or those of us who simply want to relive this year’s conference), we pulled together a whistle-stop tour of some of the key moments.

To set the scene, this year’s theme was “The Beauty of Diversity in Science and Nature,” so we saw researchers, clinician-scientists, and industry leaders from across the globe exploring the mechanistic diversity in ocular disease, while embracing and celebrating the diversity, backgrounds, and perspectives of the people who make up the field.

Even before the proceedings officially began, there was plenty to keep those ready to get started occupied, with Day Zero of the ARVO week playing host to eight education courses, after which early bird attendees were given the opportunity to don their finest flapper dresses and evening attire whilst attending the “Roaring 20s” themed Foundation Gala.

Amongst the buzz of ARVO’s signature poster sessions and mini symposiums were this year’s Special Sessions, the first of which, “Representation Matters: The Value of Diversity and Inclusion in Vision Research,” took place on Day One. In this session, key figures in the eye and vision sciences, including Power List 2023 members Michael F. Chiang, Mariya Moosajee, and Stephanie Watson, presented the steps that they took to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in both research and clinical trials, and why DEIA is something that should be a focus of everyone in the eyecare field moving forward.

AI was another key topic of discussion at this year’s conference, with many sessions and big names in the industry – including Daniel S. W. Ting who led multiple sessions – setting aside time to present new data and discuss the current place and future of such developing technologies.

The crossover between diversity and advances in technology came through the mini symposium “Seeing Diversity Through the Human Eyes by Computer Vision.” Moderated by 2023 Power Lister Emily Y. Chew and others, this session shared the latest advances in the use of computer vision for the screening and risk stratification of a range of systemic disorders.

As the proceedings drew to a close – the final networking and social event a karaoke night in the French Quarter (at which the winner of this year’s “ARVO’s Got Talent,” retinal cell biologist and amateur clarinettist Gail Seigel, was announced) – all eyes turned towards next year’s conference, which is set to take place in the Emerald City – Seattle, Washington.

As with all ARVO events, we couldn’t possibly hope to cover even a small fraction of what transpired in a short article; however, we can say that ARVO 2023 was a honeypot for research breakthroughs and scientific achievements, so this is not the last you’ll hear from us. The event may be over, but the discussions have only just begun…

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About the Author
Jed Boye

Associate Editor, The Ophthalmologist

I have always been fascinated by stories. During my biomedical sciences degree, though I enjoyed wet lab sessions, I was truly in my element when sitting down to write up my results and find the stories within the data. Working at Texere gives me the opportunity to delve into a plethora of interesting stories, sharing them with a wide audience as I go.

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