Recap: European Society of Ophthalmology turns Prague into the ‘focal point’ of eye care

Feature
Article
Ophthalmology Times EuropeOphthalmology Times Europe July/August 2023
Volume 19
Issue 06
Pages: 28

The 2023 SOE meeting featured symposia, awards and a spotlight on young ophthalmologists

A photo of the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.  Image credit: ©TTstudio – stock.adobe.com

The conference, which ran from 15 June through 17 June, featured scientific sessions and 3 keynote lectures. Image credit: ©TTstudio – stock.adobe.com

Earlier this summer, the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE) held its annual meeting in Prague, Czech Republic. The conference, which ran from 15 June through 17 June, featured a world-class scientific programme.

In a press statement prior to the meeting, Wagih Aclimandos, MBChB, FRCS, president, European Society of Ophthalmology, and consultant ophthalmic surgeon at King’s College Hospital, London, spoke to the impressive agenda at the multispecialty in-person meeting. He said that SOE made Prague “the focal point of European ophthalmology,” thanks to scientific sessions and 3 keynote lectures.

The team at Ophthalmology Times Europe was proud to cover SOE 2023. Christiana Dinah, BSc, MBBS, MRes, FRCOphth, Director, research and development, North West London Clinical Research Network, brought her presentation, titled Geographic Atrophy: A Mixed Method Study, to SOE. In conversation with David Hutton of Ophthalmology Times she explained why the study is so timely for ophthalmologists and patients.

“Very recently, in February, we’ve had the approval by the FDA of pegcetacoplan, or the brand name SYFOVRE,” Dr Dinah explained. “What our group wanted to demonstrate was to understand how acceptable these treatments—not just pegcetacoplan, but any complement inhibitor delivered by intravitual injections—how acceptable are they to our patients.”

Tetsuro Oshika, MD, PhD, shed light on How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Be Used Caring for Patients in Japan. He is president of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society, president-elect of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, and professor/chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, in Tsukuba, Japan. In his presentation, Dr Oshika demonstrated that in some cases, normal retinal examinations lack accuracy and appear to show normal results. When AI is applied to those same normal-appearing retinas, early disease states become apparent in 91.1% of the cases. Clinical application of AI can also extend the accessibility of eye care. For example, in one project Dr Oshika discussed, patients used AI-enabled smartphones to monitor their eyes at home. Data was assessed by an AI system and transmitted to clinicians, allowing patients to receive urgent consultations when necessary.

Nicholas J Volpe, MD, chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, called the subject of his presentation a “very hot topic” for ophthalmologists. He spoke about Optic Neuropathy Versus Maculopathy. “I think we’re really armed with great tools as ophthalmologists now to distinguish these patients,” Dr Volpe said. He spoke to the revolutionary nature of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in assessing retina problems versus optic nerve problems.

Jorge L. Alió, MD, PhD, FEBOphth, professor and chairman of Ophthalmology, and Ffunder of Vissum Miranza, Alicante, Spain, shared his Pearls for Challenging Cataract Cases. In scenarios where a cataract and corneal opacity present, clinicians question if cataract surgery and corneal graft surgery should be performed simultaneously. “Careful evaluation of these cases is mandatory,” Dr Alió said. “In many of these cases, corneal grafting is ultimately not needed, which saves time and inconvenience for patients and the medical community.” He detailed surgical recommendations including toric IOL implantation and endoillumination, and emphasised that in many cases, corneal grafting is unnecessary. “Surgeons can benefit from endoillumination procedures to improve surgical visualization, capsular staining, and microinstruments to perform these cases successfully,” Dr Alió said.

Ala Moshiri, MD, PhD, discussed Current Treatment Options for Diabetic Macular Oedema. In a conversation with Sheryl Stevenson, Group Editorial Director of MJH Life Sciences’ Eye Care Network, Dr Moshiri detailed new therapies. “In the anti-VEGF era, we’ve learned a lot,” he said. “We have in our hands, in our arsenal or tool box, several different drugs, all of which are effective.” Dr Moshiri addressed questions such as how frequently ophthalmologists should be treating patients, the duration of treatment, and treatment differences dependent on presenting visual acuity.

Panayiota Founti, PhD, FEBO, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and training director, Glaucoma Service Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK, explored the wide range of New Surgeries in the Glaucoma Market. “To be able to meet the demands of this expanding base in terms of surgical management, we would need procedures which are relatively quick, largely effective and overall safe,” she told Hattie Hayes, editor of Ophthalmology Times Europe. “But at the same time, they need to be cost-effective because glaucoma care needs to be delivered within sustainable health care systems,” Dr Founti said. “And, of course, all of that needs to be backed up by the corresponding evidence.”

This year’s SOE had a strong emphasis on young ophthalmologists (YO), and provided a number of opportunities for emerging professionals to hone their skills and establish contacts. The YO Lounge was open daily during the congress and reserved for their exclusive use. Attendees were also welcome to attend informal sessions and specific lunchtime sessions targeting young ophthalmologists.

Several attendees were awarded special recognition at the meeting.2 Matteo Piovella, MD, Italy, Global Center for Ophthalmology in Monza (Milan), Italy, received the Helmholtz Medal. This prize is awarded every 4 years to the European ophthalmologist who has done much for the society and for ophthalmology.

The Charamis Medal, given by the Hellenic Ophthalmological Society, is given to a European ophthalmologist for the greatest achievement in the field of ophthalmic surgery. Lucio Buratto, MD, cataract and refractive surgery, director of Centro Ambrosiano Oftalmico in Milan, Italy, was awarded the medal.

Finally, the Professor Dr Harold Henkes Foundation presented the Henkes Medal, awarded for Leadership in Ophthalmology. The award was given to Stefan Seregard, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and collected on his behalf by Bo Philipson.

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