Who could ignore the biggest news story of the last few weeks - the European approval of Lucentis? Whether you are a retina specialist or not, it would have been virtually impossible to miss this announcement. In fact, the press coverage received by this approval has been quite incredible. Certainly in the UK, we have seen headlines splashed across the pages of many of the major national newspapers. The entry of Lucentis into Europe marks a significant milestone in the treatment of wet AMD. This agent has actually been shown to improve vision in wet AMD sufferers; something that has never been done before. Now all wet AMD sufferers are eligible for treatment, which means retinologists now need to question how they will cope with the sudden surge of patients. Time will tell but we do hope to provide you with a guide on how to manage your clinic and patients in the new era of wet AMD therapy in upcoming issues.
Elsewhere, we ask whether phakic IOLs have significantly impacted the refractive surgery market. Many would think not. Although certain firms are pouring resources into R&D in the hope of developing a lens that offers refractive perfection with minimal complications, the new generation of IOLs have still failed to penetrate the refractive correction market in any big way. This may be owing to residual cynicism from earlier years when the older models proved more hassle than they were worth, it could be down to surgeon choice where it is felt that laser correction is a far simpler procedure, or it may simply be because patients don't want to receive an IOL implant and would favour the laser over the lens. Either way, it is difficult to predict, how this market will evolve. We take a look at some of the models available today and seek the opinions of frequent users of phakic IOLs to shed some light on the issue.
Also in this issue, Igor Kozak, MD writes a very interesting account of the subtle structural changes that can now be viewed in AIDS sufferers, which leads to the development and progression of HIV retinopathy. Meanwhile, a team in Germany and the UK inform us of a specific European training programme, established in 2004 to boost research and development in Europe through the investment in our young ophthalmologists - the future of our industry.