The 11th International AMD and Retina Congress organised by ESASO in November 2011 highlighted a number of key topics that generated a lively debate at the congress. The congress was attended by 1,168 delegates from 47 countries and was one of the most successful meetings organised by the society to date.
The Organising Committee for the meeting was Prof Borja Corcóstegui, Prof Francesco Bandello and Dr Giuseppe Guarnaccia.
“There have been many topics of interest during the meeting,” said Prof Corcóstegui. “The highlights included Prof Cunha-Vaz’s talk on macular edema classification, Dr Pablo Aceta’s session on glycemic compensation, Prof Gabrielle Lang’s talk about the extension of non-perfusion areas and Dr David Pelayes’ talk about cataract surgery. The “Meet the Expert Session” covered well-known aspects about AMD, but also looked at the economic aspects such as how to optimise, in a safe way, intraocular injections. Other issues covered in this session were presented by Prof Corcóstegui and Dr Capone, including the Leber-Coats disease and the Familiar Exudative Vitreo retinopathy. Alternative forms of treatment for AMD were also discussed and Prof Leonidas Zografos’ talk about how to evaluate progression of AMD and Dr Bressler’s talk about measure of the retinal pigment epithelium atrophy were especially interesting.
In another session Dr Falcomatà discussed the complications of angioid streaks and Dr Navarro explained the current concept of macular idiopathic telangiectasia. Dr Capone also discussed anti-VEGF treatment in paediatric ophthalmic diseases. Also of interest was Prof Gaudric’s presentation on vitreomacular adhesion syndromes and Dr Querques’ talk about vitelliform macular alterations.
“In my opinion, the meeting succeeded in explaining on a very practical base the advances and news in AMD and other macular diseases, including of course, all advances in macular medical treatment,” said Prof Corcóstegui. Prof Bandello said that one of the reasons for the success of the meeting was the new format they had established for a number of special sessions. Under this format there were two short presentations made by experts in the field which opened topics for discussion. These were followed by presentations by between five to seven panellists based on case studies which looked at the topics focusing on the initial two presentations. At the end of these presentations, all the panellists were invited to make comments and the discussion was then opened up to delegates attending the session.
Prof Bandello said it was also important to mention the XOVA awards sponsored by Novartis, which were presented at the congress.
XOVA provides funding for non-profit initiatives expected to have a positive impact on unmet needs in ophthalmology. Eligible projects must have a clear impact on the quality of ophthalmic care and must have long-term viability and sustainability. “These awards are very important,” said Prof Bandello, “because they reward people doing work in the developing world.”
Challenges ahead Following the success of the Lisbon meeting, the Organising Committee is now focusing on next year’s meeting.
“We have to keep on searching for advances in both macular age-related degeneration and medical retina in general, so that all the delegates that attended the meeting in Lisbon can be able to join us in Prague and keep learning and exchange concepts with their colleagues from the 47 different countries that attended the last meeting,” said Prof Corcóstegui.
“I think that ESASO has the task of assuring, through these types of congresses, that eye specialists are continuously kept informed of the latest developments, thus making them acquire the practical knowledge necessary to make their activity suitable for the clinical needs of their patients,” said Dr Guarnaccia. “The remarkable success of our AMD meeting is due to the organisational structure which granted an effective interaction between speakers and audience, simply by participation,” he said.