Key Takeaways from the ARVO 2024 Annual Meeting – the Vision Science Community Gathers

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) holds an annual meeting that serves as the main forum for the vision science community to gather, exchange ideas, and present new findings and their potential impacts. It is an intense multi-day event that fills attendees’ minds with promising developments and information while also serving as a source of inspiration as they return to their research and clinical practices.

This May, the 2024 Annual Meeting was held in Seattle, and after taking some time to absorb the whirlwind of activity and insights, three elements stand out:

1. ARVO is back!

The pandemic changed the face of many conferences and meetings, and ARVO was no exception. This year, the annual meeting returned to pre-pandemic levels of attendance and participation, and the energy and enthusiasm were palpable. The number of abstract presentations and scientific research presentations rebounded, and I was very proud of the large showing by my colleagues and fellow vision scientists from Doheny Eye Institute and UCLA; Doheny contributed 67 papers and posters among a total of 155 from UCLA.

In addition to the many new learning opportunities, there were a number of opportunities for forging collaborations and networking. Growing connections within the scientific community is essential to expanding our thinking and considering new methods of achieving outcomes to benefit all.

2. Tech innovations are driving progress.

Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic in almost every industry in recent years. In vision science, we’re seeing many developments in AI that have the potential to enhance assessments and diagnoses, as well as to quantify disease features precisely, something previously thought not possible.

Additionally, incredible gains are being made in genetic science and gene-based therapies. The recent groundbreaking FDA approval for a gene-editing approach to addressing sickle cell anemia, which can affect the eye, opens the door to other patient trials and new gene-based therapeutics.

In parallel with these advances in genetic and molecular therapies, significant progress is happening in high-resolution diagnostic technologies. For example, my colleagues at Doheny and UCLA demonstrated, for the first time, visualization of metabolic processes in individual retinal cells in the living eye.

Exciting innovation in the tech space inspires the ARVO 2025 Annual Meeting, which has the theme of “i3: Imagining Innovation and Intelligence in Vision Science.”

3. We need to communicate.

The closing keynote speech focused on a topic that some don’t readily associate with the scientific community: communication. The vision science community is producing incredible work and results, and while we are adept at sharing technical information with vision science colleagues, we cannot necessarily take the same approach with other audiences.

Communication needs to be tailored to reach various stakeholder groups, from the general public to policymakers to government and philanthropic organizations that hold the keys to funding. Advocacy is one of the pillars of ARVO’s five-year strategic plan, developed in 2023. We can only grow advocacy for our cause if we can clearly communicate its impact and importance.

Start planning for 2025.

ARVO 2025 Annual Meeting will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 4-8, and as the newly appointed president of ARVO, I am already deep into the planning stages. If the 2024 meeting is anything to go by, our 2025 gathering will offer compelling content and unparalleled opportunities for collaboration and engagement. I invite all members of the vision science community to join me!


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SriniVas Sadda MD
SriniVas Sadda MD
SriniVas R. Sadda, MD, is the Director of Artificial Intelligence and Imaging Research, Doheny Eye Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Geffen School of Medicine. He received his MD from Johns Hopkins University, where he also completed ophthalmology residency and neuro-ophthalmology and medical retina fellowships (Wilmer Eye Institute).
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