Heart of America Eye Care Congress

February 12-14, 2021
Westin Crown Center
Kansas City, Missouri

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Heart 2021 Conference - 60 years!

Welcome to the Heart of America Eye Care Conference 60th Anniversary Diamond event! We are planning to have a hybrid event, February 12-14, 2021. Registration will open November 1, 2020 for either in-person or virtual attendance. In person attendance will be on a first-come first-serve basis so sign up for our Early Bird pricing before December 31! Classrooms may be capped at 50% capacity to proactively allow for social distancing.

Should local regulations limit the number of attendees beyond the cap at any time, your registration could be converted to a virtual registration depending on when you register. If you feel more comfortable learning from home, you may register to take COPE-approved courses virtually. Thank you for your patience with us during this crazy time. Looking forward to seeing you in person or at least in spirit at the Heart!

HoAECC 2019 Conference

Exhibit Hall Experience

Camaraderie - Education - Innovation

Optometrists and paraoptometrics are invited to visit with over 100 Exhibitors and to enter to win door prizes valued at over $15,000 in the Heart Exhibit Hall. Join colleagues in the Exhibit Hall and enjoy refreshments, cocktails, the Scavenger Hunt and The Heart Craft Beer Tour. There is always something exciting happening in the Exhibit Hall!

A Special Thanks to Our Corporate Sponsors

HOAECC Sponsors

Thank you from the Heart!

Message From the President

Wes Garton, OD, FAAO

Wes Garton, OD, FAAO,
HOAECC President

Thank you for another great year at the 2020 Heart of America Eye Care Congress! For the past 59 years, the Heart of America Eye Care Congress has been one of the country's premier optometric meetings, delivering high quality continuing education from nationally renowned speakers. The "Heart" meeting continues to evolve with the optometric profession. Our mandate for continuing education originally concentrated on the development and application of contact lenses. Today however, the Heart's scope of optometric continuing education is at the forefront of our profession and encompasses all specialties including ocular surface disease, glaucoma, retinal disease, specialty contact lenses, pediatrics, practice management and more.

This year we presented the Dr. Frank Fontana Memorial Scholarship to Nick Holzman, a third-year student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry.  This scholarship was established last year as a collaborative effort between the Heart and VSP.  It is open to third and fourth year optometry students who will be judged in four areas in which Dr. Fontana excelled: 1) clinical performance; 2) empathetic patient care; 3) ability and interest to adopt modern technologies; and 4) a strong interest in developing and participating in the optometric community.  The scholarship recipient will receive $4,250 in scholarship money and a $750 travel grant to attend Heart of America's Eye Care Congress Conference in 2021.

We again enjoyed robust attendance this year with optometrists, residents, paraoptometrics and students gathering from across the United States.  Paraoptometrics acquired education accredited by the American Optometric Association's Commission on Paraoptometric Certification.  As always, the Exhibit Hall was bustling as over 100 exhibitors showcased the latest in pharmaceuticals, technology, fashion, practice management software and more.  In addition to bringing vendors and practices together, the Exhibit Hall again hosted the ever-popular Annual Heart of America Craft Beer Tour Friday evening. It was a huge hit, as was our Presidential Gala Saturday evening.

The Heart proudly partners with the America Academy of Optometry and our Interactive Scientific Poster Session this year showcased the next generation of eye care professionals with 93 exceptional scientific posters presented.  This was the fourth Heart of America meeting in which first authors presenting a scientific poster were awarded 10 points towards earning their American Academy of Optometry Fellowship.  Also, the Heart proudly hosted the Best of the American Academy of Optometry, which featured highlights from the 2019 Academy in Orlando.  We will again offer these Academy events at the Heart in 2021.

The year 2021 will be a signature year for Optometry and for the Heart of America Eye Care Congress.  You are invited to join the camaraderie, education and innovation at the 60th Annual Heart of America Eye Care Congress February 12-14, 2021 at the Westin Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center to acquire some of the finest continuing education from nationally renowned speakers.  Our meeting will be the perfect event for you to reconnect with friends and to network to grow your practice.

We look forward to seeing you again in Kansas City in 2021.  Please contact any member of the HOAECC Board of Directors if we can assist you in any way.

Respectfully from the Heart,
Wes Garton, OD, FAAO
President, Heart of America Eye Care Congress

2020 HOAECC Conference