The 18th Annual Controversies in Modern Eye Care meeting: How it all began

Optometry Times JournalMarch digital edition 2024
Volume 16
Issue 03

Neda Shamie, MD, delves into the evolution of the Controversies in Modern Eye Care meeting, while highlighting what distinguishes it from other conferences.

Bringing together leaders in optometry and ophthalmology for insightful discussions, the 18th Annual Controversies in Modern Eye Care meeting will take place at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City in California on May 4, 2024.

Arjan Hura, MD, Robert Maloney, MD, and Neda Shamie, MD, from the Maloney-Shamie Vision Institute in Los Angeles are the program cochairs of the meeting.

Shamie recently spoke with Optometry Times® and Ophthalmology Times® Eye Care Group Editorial Director Sheryl Stevenson to discuss the growth and importance of the 18th Annual Controversies in Modern Eye Care meeting, emphasizing its role in facilitating collaborative expertise between optometrists and ophthalmologists for advanced patient care.

This is the first in a series of interviews with Shamie.

To learn more about or to register for the 18th Annual Controversies in Modern Eye Care meeting, click here.

Video Transcript

Editor's note - This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Sheryl Stevenson:
We are here today with Dr. Neda Shamie, who is one of the program cochairs of the Controversies in Modern Eye Care meeting. So welcome. So glad to see you again.

Neda Shamie, MD:
Thank you so much for having me.

What can you tell us about the origin of the meeting? I'd love to hear about it.

Yeah, of course! Controversies in Modern Eye Care started about 18 years ago by Dr. Robert Maloney, who's my partner in our practice. He started the practice about 25 years ago and right about then was when really collaborative care with optometry was being recognized and he was one of the first people to really optimize that collaborative care model in his practice.

Our practice is really focused on surgical care of patients. Being in Los Angeles, patients come in from somewhat of a distance and it made sense to partner with optometrists to really offer the patients the highest level of able to offer the patients to have that advanced surgical care...and yet stay within their own regional and local eye doctor who knows them best. And so Dr. Maloney felt that there was an opportunity to really expand the knowledge base and empower the optometric network with the right knowledge needed to offer that kind of high level collaborative care. And that's kind of how the model of this meeting came about. He started it 18 years ago. It was very small when it started. And maybe at most, like a couple of dozen optometrists came to it. And really the subject matter was about perioperative or surgical patient care and issues around that topic.

That's a fantastic history. I love that. And why is this meeting so important today? In today's times?


Yeah, absolutely. Great question. I joined the practice about 6 years ago. And by then this meeting had become large enough where we had upwards of 300 to 400 optometrists from the region and actually as far away as San Diego or even some optometrists from Las Vegas who had come to this meeting.

And I think, really, the success of this meeting stems from the quality of the programming we offer the optometric community. There's a lot of wonderful meetings out there...a lot of meetings that offer continuing education to optometrists, but usually they're not focused on surgical topics.

And now more and more advanced technology is entering the surgical decision making and really that conversation is becoming more complex. And so much of that complex conversation really starts in the optometrist's practice where the patient feels a sense of confidence in their optometrist. They trust their optometrist who knows them very well. It's really important for the optometrist to be able to start that conversation, being empowered with the knowledge base to really be able to guide the patient in that decision making, whether it's cataract surgery, lens choices, glaucoma with MIGS, dry eye management perioperatively, or refractive surgical choices—all of that.

So this meeting was unique from other meetings, because it's run by the program directors being surgical ophthalmologists, and really understanding what is required to offer the most empowered collaborative care for patients...the most collaborative knowledge base to really be able to take care of those patients. So our entire meeting is really based on that premise. And that, I think, is why it's so successful.

Now, I should say about 2 years ago, the meeting got to a size that it was hard for us as a practice to manage. After all, our day job is to take care of patients and do surgery and it's not really to run meetings. And the meeting became so successful, that we felt that we couldn't hold up the standards that we wanted to if we were to hold it under our umbrella. And so we partnered with MJH [Life Sciences] and MJH has taken on the responsibility of really maximizing the potential of this meeting. But to keep the same feel of the meeting, we have stayed on as program directors.

I think this has been a wonderful partnership, where we focus on the quality of the curriculum that's being developed for the program, the programmatics of it, who is going to be lecturing, what topics will be covered. And MJH is taking care of getting the meeting done right and really kind of the logistics behind the meeting. And as a result, I'm hoping that it's going to become even better than ever before.

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