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A STEP FORWARD The 12th AMD and Retina Congress covered the whole spectrum of retinopathy

The 12th AMD and Retina Congress in Prague, Czech Republic took a significant step forward, demonstrating how international collaboration and exchange among ophthalmologists can facilitate therapeutic advancements. More than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries attended the meeting which featured 23 plenary presentations, 20 case studies and six meet-the-expert-sessions. Panel discussions and a poster exhibition were also included in the programme. The first session was chaired by Prof Anat Loewenstein from the Tel Aviv Medical Center and Prof Frank Holz from the University of Bonn.

They reviewed therapeutic approaches to the treatment of retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and the evidence for intravitreal aflibercept which has the potential to offer new treatment options for patients with RVO. A second session focused on surgical treatment of macular diseases and was chaired by Prof Anselm Kampik from the Ludwig Maximillians University in Munich and Prof Michael Georgopoulos from the Medical University of Vienna and the Vienna Medical Hospital. During this session, the Faculty discussed the role of surgical treatments in the management of patients with diabetic macular edema (DME). An additional focus was on the challenges and impact of cataract surgery in patients with AMD and diabetic retinopathy.

“Expanding the role of anti-VEGF therapy in ocular disease: examining the evidence,” was the title of the session led by Prof Leonidas Zografos, chairman at the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of the University of Lausanne and Prof Gabriel Coscas from the Creteil University Eye Clinic at the University of Paris XII. The session covered a controversial issue: the role of anti-VEGF therapy in the field of ocular tumours. With 366 million people worldwide predicted to have diabetes by 2030, the treatment of diabetic retinopathy is a key clinical challenge, and was the subject of the session chaired by Prof Paul Mitchell from the University of Sydney and Dr Susan B Bressler from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Leading retina specialists discussed a new system for the classification of DME. This system facilitates innovative treatment paradigms that minimise the risk of moderate visual loss, including the approval of the anti- VEGF agent ranibizumab. In a roundtable discussion a faculty of experts addressed a variety of topics on the management of DME, ranging from the role of widefield angiography and OCT, to systemic management.

Neovascular AMD
A further session discussed the management of neovascular AMD; Prof Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth from the University of Vienna, and Prof Marco Zarbin from the New Jersey Medical School in Newark NJ, US, chaired this session and 12 specialists presented various interactive clinical cases including recalcitrant vascularised PED, and the treatment of PCV in the anti-VEGF era. In the final session, two scientists from the Oakland University in Royal Oak, MI, US, Prof Antonio Capone Jr, clinical professor of biomedical sciences and Dr George Williams, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology highlighted the disorders of the vitreomacular interface. This session also explored whether pharmacological vitreolysis has the potential to induce total posterior vitreous detachment without the need for surgery.

As well as an exciting Scientific Programme, the humanitarian award, XOVA, was an integral part of the congress. XOVA is an award programme led by international eye care specialists and sponsored by Novartis Pharma and Alcon. XOVA provides funding (in the form of a grant) to non-profit initiatives that are expected to have a significant impact on unmet needs in ophthalmology. Last but not least 13 graduates were awarded with their Diplome Specialist Superior (DiSSO) for passing ESASO’s five module programme successfully this year. Two will start consecutively their ESASO Fellowships in Vienna, Austria and the US.

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