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Euretina 2014

Mark attended and lectured at the “Euretina” 2014 meeting in London recently. Held at the ExCel Centre, this is one of the world’s largest congresses devoted to retinal disorders. The aim is to allow specialists with an interest in retinal disorders to share clinical experience, research ideas, and keep up to date with this rapidly expanding field. Over 5000 delegates attended.

As an invited speaker was Mark was able to meet with associates and colleagues as far flung as Australia and Canada, as well as Europe.
Mark says: “Enormous progress has been made in the treatment of retinal disorders in the last few years. Our treatments have been revolutionized by medicines injected into the eye. The principal treatments involve medicines that block a protein called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – this protein is one factor that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow under or within the retina and leak fluid. Injection therapy, which is painless, now allows successful treatment in many patients with wet macular degeneration, diabetic macular swelling (oedema) and retinal vein thrombosis. Early therapies required frequent injections (monthly) but newer anti-VEGF drugs have been developed to reduce the frequency of injections so it is much less burdensome for the patient.”

Mark also attended interesting presentations of other emerging therapies such as gene therapy and retinal implants. However these treatments, although promising, are still in their infancy.


Femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery evening

Thank you to all the optmometrists and allied health professionals who came to Mark’s lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine.  The subject of the lecture was “Femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery – Is it worth the hype?”.  This generated a huge amount of interest as it’s a relatively recent technological advance in cataract surgery (there are only 2 machines in the UK), and Mark is one of the few consultants using this new technique regularly in the UK.  The general agreement was that yes, it probably is worth the hype!

The lecture was followed by a wine tasting with Ray O’Connor, our wine expert, giving everyone a chance to mingle and discuss patients, practices…and wine.


Greek Odyssey

The Moorfields Macula Course is one of the most prestigious ophthalmic events, and attracts attendees from all over Europe , who come to learn about the latest developments on retinal disorders.  For the first time the course was held in Thessaloniki,  Greece, with excellent participation from local and regional ophthalmologists.  One of my interests is ocular inflammatory disease (uveitis) and I gave 2 lectures  (“Diagnostic Testing”, and “Clinical features of uveitis and how to avoid the pitfalls”).

The lectures were very well received, and the meeting allowed a large number of prominent British consultants to make links with the local ophthalmologists, exchange ideas and compare the issues we face…..

In between lecturing,  many of us visited the world famous tomb of Philip II (Alexander the Great’s father, at nearby Vergina), which is the only intact and undisturbed tomb ever found in Greece.  Quite amazing!


The Missing 50%…..

The Moorfields International Glaucoma Symposium was held recently in London.  A whole session was devoted to the “missing 50%”. In essence, study after study has shown that at least 50% of patients with the commonest type of glaucoma are undetected in the community. This applies to all the developed world.  Elsewhere (e.g. in Africa) it may approach 70%. Why is this important?

Well, the hidden 50% or more of patients who have undetected glaucoma are at increased risk of losing vision, as their disease is untreated. Early glaucoma is usually symptom-free, and the question is how we detect these individuals in the community.  The key message is that all individuals should be encouraged to see their optician (optometrist) on a yearly basis as they can easily test for glaucoma.  Men are particularly bad at attending!

Public health campaigns, radio campaigns, and community screening programs in high risk communities may also play a role.

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