The recent advances in the fight against retinal diseases were presented at the International Congress of ESASO
The 14th Retina Academy Congress – organized by the European Advanced Ophthalmology Studies Faculty (ESASO) of Lugano University in Switzerland – was held for the first time in Istanbul. During the Conference where almost 1000 ophthalmologists from 46 different countries brought together, it was shared the actual researches on macular edema due to diabetes and the age-related macular degeneration which is also called as “yellow spot disease” by regular people. The latest technological developments about gene and stem cell therapy for degenerative retinal diseases were given in details. The 14th Retina Academy Congress – organized by the European Advanced Ophthalmology Studies Faculty (ESASO) – was held on 13-15 November 2014 in Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Centre. During the Conference where almost 1000 ophthalmologists from 46 different countries brought together; the recent findings and innovations related to retina diseases and the relevant studies were discussed.
“SERIOUS INFORMATION ON DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT WAS TRANSFERRED”
The Congress was opened with an opening session where the latest treatments of diabetic macular edema (DME) examined. Diabetic macular edema is an eye disease due to diabetes which limits to sight skills and effects almost 30% of the patients who suffer from diabetes for at least 20 years. The leading experts including Dr. Neil Bressler from John Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute (USA) shared the latest evidence of long-term efficacy and safety of anti-VEGF drug treatment which is used in treatment of macular edema due to diabetes and the age-related macular degeneration which is also called as “yellow spot disease” by regular people. Prof. Dr. Bora Eldem – Scientific Committee member of the Congress, President of Turkish Society of Ophthalmology and Head of Department of Ophthalmology at Ankara Hacettepe University – expressed his opinion about the Congress and shared some important information. Prof. Dr. Bora Eldem said: “Especially age-related macular degeneration cases which are detected increasingly more in Turkish society due to aging of the population; diabetes which is detected in %14 of our a total of 76 million population and the relevant eye complications are very serious problems. We would like to thank to ESASO on behalf of Turkish doctors as they gave us a chance to talk about these problems in this meeting held in Istanbul and provided a significant contribution to increase the knowledge on diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases.
YELLOW SPOT DISEASE
Prof. Dr. Bora Eldem stated that; age-related macular degeneration (yellow spot disease) is an important social problem and he said: “The disease is the most common cause of blindness for the people older than 50 years of age. The prevalence of age kind of this disease which causes serious blindness is 1%. When the person suffers from this disease; such person’s dependency on others increases as well as experiencing some problems such as hip fractures and depression. As a result of these; yellow spot disease causes important medical and socio-economic problems. In recent years, some significant improvements have been achieved in the methods of diagnosis of the disease and also achieved some significant progress on the treatment after the introduction of anti-VEGF drugs”.
382 MILLION DIABETICS
Prof. Dr. Emin Özmert – from Vehbi Koç Eye Hospital of Ankara University School of Medicine – drew attention to a social problem: the eye problems related to diabetes. Prof. Dr. Emin Özmert said: “there are 382 million diabetics in the world and this number will be doubled in the next 20 years”. He also said: “macular edema due to diabetes is one of the most important causes of blindness in young active population. There are 75.000 cases in our country. In recent years, significant developments have been achieved in diagnosis and treatment of this social problem.” The Congress continued with evaluation of evidences obtained from the LUMINOUS study; an observation study performed on 30.000 patients who get anti-VEGF treatment at “real conditions” in clinical practice. The report is considered as the biggest ongoing study in the field of medical retina and recently obtained important results were presented in the congress by the key researchers involved in the study. The validity of results in clinical practice was discussed. One of the important parts of the meeting was the debate about the latest technology stem cell and gene therapies for retinal degenerative diseases. Prof. Dr. Marco Zarbin from Rutgers University in USA gave an opening speech about this debate. It was assessed the future of developing new gene-based treatments as a result of identification many genes and their functions.
Francesco Bandello – ESASO Congress President and Board Member, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology of Milano Vita-Salute San Raffaele University – expressed his opinion about the Congress and he said: “international cooperation and information sharing among participants has critical importance in order to facilitate the discussion of recent advances in therapy for providing optimal care to patients. This meeting has played a central role in determination of ophthalmology training and the highest standards in clinical practice. We thank our speakers for the information they shared with us”. Then, XOVA ‘Excellent in Ophthalmology Vision Awards’ were given to winners. XOVA is a global award program which is sponsored by Novartis and leaded by international ophthalmologists and it provides finance for the studies aiming to solve basic social problems on ophthalmology without having any profit purposes.