Department Highlights from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Meeting in November, 2015

Marilyn T. Miller, MD2015 Orbital Gala Honoree: Marilyn T. Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is a distinguished pediatric ophthalmologist and a force in global ophthalmology who has dedicated more than 25 years to patient care, ophthalmology training and education in the developing world. In 2012 Dr. Miller received the AAO International Blindness Prevention Award, one of many accolades she has received.


Dimitri Azar, MD, DirectorDimitri Azar, MD, MBA receives the AAO Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2016 Castroviejo Medal

At the Cornea Day meeting on November 14, 2015 Dr. Dimitri Azar was awarded the 2016 Castroviejo Medal which is Cornea Society’s highest honor.  Each year at the AAO’s Cornea Subspecialty Day an individual is recognized for exceptional contributions to knowledge and research in the field of cornea, external disease and refractive surgery.  The award is named for Ramon Castroviejo, MD, the ophthalmologist who performed the world’s first successful human cornea transplant and inspired those who founded the Cornea Society.

As the recipient or the 2016 Castroviejo Medal, Dr. Azar will present the Castroviejo Lecture at the next Cornea Day meeting on October 15, 2016.


The FEMTOEDUCATORS Group Holds its Initial Meeting

As one of the leaders in this effort our department organized and hosted the meeting which was held on November 15, 2015.

The Femtoeducators Group is composed of academic faculty from different teaching institutions who have taken the initiative to introduce femtosecond laser cataract surgery in the ophthalmic surgical curriculum at their institution.

The inaugural meeting was received with great enthusiasm by an international group of surgeons/educators from the premier institutions in the US, Europe and Latin America.

The topics discussed where:
1. Safety during training
2. Timing of introduction of femtocataract technology in the curriculum
3. Barriers to getting started
4. Future of femto in teaching regular cataract surgery: Enough data to support use as a teaching tool?

The collaborative effort of this group has already made significant progress in establishing recommendations within the industry as well as within the training programs that have either incorporated the technology or are looking to get started.

The department wishes to thank  Jose de la Cruz, MD  for taking on a leading role in this effort.

Elmer Tu, MDElmer Tu, MD receives Second Secretariat Award

The Secretariat Award recognizes members and non-members for special contributions to the Academy and ophthalmology outside the scope of the current Achievement Awards program.  This year the secretaries for quality care, knowledge base development, online and clinical education chose to recognize Dr. Tu for teaching the AAO Maintenance of Certification Course for the past several years.

The department congratulates the following recipients of the AAO Achievement Award:

Ahmad Aref

Ahmad A. Aref, MD

 Soledad Cortina

M. Soledad Cortina, MD

 Jose de la Cruz

Jose de la Cruz, MD


The Annual Alumni Reception at the AAO Meeting was a great success!

Photos from the Reception

On Sunday, November 16, we welcomed over 100 alumni, faculty and friends once again at our annual Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Alumni Reception at the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This year we traveled to Las Vegas and heard from Department Head, Mark I. Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA, share updates and news from the department. Dr. Rosenblatt spoke on the updated resident surgical curriculum, completion of the Cless Family Ophthalmic Surgical and Training Simulation Center, research updates, faculty updates and recruitment news. Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA, spoke of the proud accomplishments of the department over the last year, including our strong research program, and Joseph Garber, MD, Res’ 97, announced the establishment of a Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Alumni Council.

Thank you to all our alumni and friends who attended the event. We look forward to seeing you back in Chicago at the AAO in 2016! If you are interested in learning more about giving opportunities or participating in the alumni council please contact Lauren Hughes at or 312-996-4715.