BLOG: ASCRS goes online: I just couldn’t
I’m sure it was great. ASCRS online, that is. Were you there? Of course you were. I just couldn’t.
I feel badly. It boggles the mind, thinking about what Terry Kim and all the folks behind the scenes at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery did to pull this off. Still, the prospect of “up to 18 hours of CME credit” just filled me with dread. Lash myself to my chair and stare at my laptop after 8 weeks of lockdown? I’d rather refract an aerospace engineer who measures his PD to three decimal places.
My friends will doubtless scold me for not jumping on. Kevin Everett from Michigan and Gary Wörtz from Ophthalmology off the Grid jumped all over me on Twitter. “It’s great. You hang out in your sweats drinking coffee in the comfort of your own home!” No flights! No hotels! Normally that would be an incredibly attractive scenario. Right about now, I’d relish a grumpy TSA agent wanding my new hip. Might even hug him.
It was fantastic, I’m sure. How could it not be? Pretty much everyone else was there. Stalwarts like the Steves, Dell and Slade, doubtless dropped knowledge bombs on all of my fellow LASIK surgeons. Steve Schallhorn surely led a seminar in which all 11 of his ophthalmologist offspring offered insights that can only be generated at family dinners. Eric Donnenfeld, Nick Mamalis and Ed Holland were all there I’m sure, proving that the ASCRS “old guard” can handle this Zoom stuff, too. To get in the spirit of the meeting, my young friend Bindu Manne of Ocular Therapeutix even stayed up past bedtime on Friday night so she could be exhausted when the meeting started.
I just couldn’t.
For sure I missed some really special stuff. Deepinder Dhaliwal was simply brilliant discussing whatever because, well, Deep is always brilliant. Mitch Jackson gets the “line of the meeting award,” right up with Preeya Gupta’s 2016 award for “meibomian gland constipation.” When he heard that he would be on a virtual panel with Kendall Donaldson, he told her, “We’re all good; I put on cologne for the occasion.” As of press time, there is still no word regarding his choice of sweatpants or shorts. Memo to Tim Cook at Apple: “swipe and sniff” on the next iPad. Really. With all of these virtual conferences, it’s gonna be a thing.
I know ASCRS online was great, and I know I should have signed up, logged on and took a drink from the firehose of knowledge that is our annual meeting. After so many weeks spent doing nothing but logging on, I just couldn’t make myself do it. I might regret my decision when I scramble to get my 100 hours of CME next licensing cycle, but for now, not logging on was the right decision. The sun was out in northeast Ohio. You can’t believe how orange the Baltimore orioles are this year. There was a new “Gray Man” novel next to my favorite chair just waiting to be opened. Sasha, my little Aussie ball of angst, wanted to take me for a walk.
This year I traded virtual cologne for the sweet smell of freshly cut grass.
Disclosure: White reports he is a consultant to Allergan, Shire, Sun, Kala, Ocular Science, Rendia, TearLab, Eyevance and Omeros; is a speaker for Shire, Allergan, Omeros and Sun; and has an ownership interest in Ocular Science and Eyevance.