Keynote Lecture Saturday

Every year brings developments of particular interest to the world of ophthalmology. Eminent experts explore these topics in their 30-minute keynote lectures.

Keynote Speaker: Dimitri Azar (San Francisco, USA)

von Graefe Saal 11:45 - 12:15 28.09.2019
Keynote Lecture Sa13
Google and the Eye - Convergence of Data Technology and Ophthalmology

The role of technology has become increasingly important in Medicine and Ophthalmology. We are now in an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), nanofabrication and technological pervasiveness. This is a notable change from medical practice since the Flexner report, over 100 years ago, which has established the biomedical model of education and training as an enduring basis of US medical education. Technology companies are at a stage where they can help academic departments to enhance the biomedical-centric model to better incorporate the growing convergence of medicine with engineering, physical sciences, AI and computational science.

Concomitant with the expanding applications of AI in Ophthalmology, which will be summarized in this presentation, there is an ongoing hardware movement from the milli- and micro- to the nano-scales. Technology companies are capable of applying their vast hardware expertise to medical applications to enable preventive medicine and personalized therapies at home and in the clinic. Today’s sensor, battery and multilayered conformal coating technologies, also summarized in this presentation, herald a future of omnipresence of miniaturized electronics in, and on, the eye for untold number of eye disorders. The technological innovations that will result from this trans-disciplinary convergence in ophthalmology will enable increasingly effective and affordable eye care in urban and rural settings worldwide.

This presentation will emphasize several important implications for the future of eye care, including the impact of AI on the education of medical students and ophthalmology residents and fellows. The new knowledge base will only serve as a foundation to facilitate interpretation of data. The humanistic elements of medicine, including professionalism, communication, empathy, respect and compassion, will need to be actively taught in the formal- and hidden curriculum- at all levels of training.

Dimitri T. Azar is Senior Director of Ophthalmic Innovations at Alphabet Inc.’s research organization Verily Life Sciences. The former Google X unit has been an independent Alphabet subsidiary since 2015.

Dimitri Azar completed his training in ophthalmology at the American University Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1986. He continued his education with clinical and research fellowships at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Between 2003 and 2006, Dimitri Azar was Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. In 2006, he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, a position he held until 2011. From 2011 until 2018, he served as Dean of the department. Dimitri Azar has won numerous awards and accolades and is a member of several supervisory boards, including that of Novartis International AG. He is also a music lover and Richard Wagner aficionado.