The Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS), now in its 36th year, is just around the corner, and this time, the Reed Messe in Vienna, Austria, will be hosting the event.
From the 22nd until the 26th September, a variety of symposia, poster sessions, instructional courses and workshops will showcase the latest advancements in ophthalmology, alongside a daily exhibition providing delegates with information on new technologies.
It is becoming something of an expectation that the ESCRS takes place in some of the most interesting cities in Europe, and this year is no exception, with the beautiful Vienna providing attendees with impressive sight-seeing opportunities when they venture out from the congress.
In Ophthalmology Times Europe’s exclusive preview of the ESCRS, we have asked two of our respected Editorial Advisory Board members, Professor Jorge L. Alió, chairman of ophthalmology at Vissum in Alikante, Spain, and Dr Albert Augustin, professor of ophthalmology and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Klinikum Karlsruhe, Germany, to provide their input on the sessions. Read on to find out more!
Saturday 22nd September
Clinical Research Symposia
The first symposium on Saturday will be on the topic of myopia. Chairpersons Prof. Oliver Findl of Austria and Dr Rudy Nuijts from the Netherlands will host presentations that will delve into epidemiology, genetics, biological mechanisms and scleral cross-linking, among other subject areas. Dr Augustin notes the “very high quality of the moderators and speakers” in this session, which he believes will guarantee high-level science and clinical relevance.
Prof. Alió also comments on the topic: “Myopia is one of the top topics today, worldwide, due to the emergence of an immense increase in the epidemiology of this problem. Myopia should not be considered always to be a disease but rather only in exceptional cases. However, it draws the attention of society because it limits the activities of those people who cannot use spectacles (including security forces, and port and professional dedications); it has a mysterious genetic background; and it has no treatment other than the correction of the refractive error by refractive surgery. This symposium promises to be one of the most interesting as myopia affects, in Europe, over 30% of the population and in other countries like Israel and the Far East, over 50%.”
‘Measuring Near and Intermediate Quality of Vision’ will be the theme of the second morning/early afternoon symposium, which will be chaired by Dr Béatrice Cochener from France and Dr Nino Hirnschall, Austria. Topics discussed will include assessing reading patterns, and methods for quantifying various factors such as halos and accommodation, all of which are “very important for your daily clinical routine”, remarks Dr Augustin.
Prof. Alió notes that “most studies on visual outcomes have been focused on refraction and best corrected visual acuity”, explaining that quality of vision also relates to a person’s perception about their vision: “These psychological issues are still difficult to measure and are the subject of this symposium.” He believes this will be a leading topic in the future: “As a surgeon, I consider most important the adequate quality than the quantity of vision because nobody complains about quantity but we have many patients with J1 20/20 syndrome who have good vision but feel negative about their perception of visual quality.”
Dr Thomas Kohnen of Germany and Prof. David Spalton, the UK, will chair the afternoon’s ‘Blue Sky Lens Research’ symposium, featuring a variety of topics from femto lentotomy to stem cell regeneration of the lens. When considering cataracts, Prof. Alió remarks that preventative measures or even therapies could become important in the future “both to delay the appearance of this problem, avoid surgery, or, more importantly, lead to preservation of accommodation for a longer period of time”. The final series of talks will be on ‘Femtosecond Surgery’, from 3.30pm, hosted by Dr Guy Kleinmann of Israel and Dr Mario Nubile, Italy. Overall, Dr Augustin believes this symposium will touch on many interesting clinical topics.
Like last year, a series of free-to-attend instructional courses will be offered throughout ESCRS, beginning on Saturday 22nd September; it is not necessary to register for these. Catering for all levels, from basic to intermediate and advanced, the courses aim to inform attendees about all manner of surgical techniques, including microsurgical suturing techniques; vitrectomy and IOL implantation; glaucoma surgery; corneal cross-linking; and phacoemulsification.
Dr Augustin highly recommends attending as many courses as possible, pointing out the importance of learning from experts in the field, improving skills and avoiding mistakes. Also emphasising the attractiveness of this “very diverse programme” is Prof. Alió, who advises choosing three or four of the courses according to the topics and directors, in order to find specialised tracks that might improve continuous medical education of each doctor on a particular topic.