Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surgical simulator demonstration wins ESCRS Video Competition

The overall winning entry of this year’s ESCRS Video competition was a presentation by Jansuke Akura MD Japan, titled “KITARO, Handy Surgical Simulator for Dry Lab and Wet Lab”. Dr Akura’s video described the KITARO system and illustrated its potential as a tool for teaching phacoemulsification surgery. The design of the surgical simulator allows students to practise instrument manipulation at the desk prior to wet lab instruction. It also provides a useful alternative to porcine eyes for practising phacoemulsification in the wet lab.

Dr Akura is pictured above receiving his award from ESCR President Dr Paul Rosen and incoming President Dr Jose Guell.


ESCRS President Dr Paul Rosen says society will continue to grow

Significant investments in education and support for trainee doctors, joint meetings with sister ophthalmologic societies and the successful launch of the online European Registry of Quality Outcomes for Cataract and Refractive Surgery (EUREQUO) are all elements of ESCRS’s continuing commitment to meet the changing needs of surgeons and patients, ESCRS President Paul Rosen FRCS, FRCOpth, told delegates at the opening ceremony of the XXVII Congress in Barcelona.
To address the requirements of a changing membership base and establish clear policies on issues such as education and engagement with emerging and developing markets, the ESCRS Board last year led a review of the society’s structure and strategy.
“As a result of this exercise,” said Dr Rosen, “the new committees have this year begun working with new aims and goals which will, I hope, enable the ESCRS to continue to grow and to successfully meet the needs and expectations of its members. This includes significant investment in education, including e-learning opportunities and support for trainee doctors, especially from emerging European markets,” he said.

ESCRS declares 2010 European Year of LASIK

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the first LASIK surgeries, ESCRS has designated 2010 as the European Year of LASIK. Approximately 3.5 million LASIK surgeries are performed every year for the correction of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
The European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, the leading professional society for European refractive surgeons is uniquely placed to lead this celebration, said ESCRS President Paul Rosen.
LASIK pioneer Ioannis Pallikaris, past ESCRS President and Binkhorst Medal lecturer at this year ESCRS Congress in Barcelona, will highlight European Year of LASIK with an Anniversary Congress in Crete, Greece in July 2010.
The ‘father’ of modern LASIK, Greek ophthalmologist Ioannis Pallikaris MD, PhD, said that the decision of the ESCRS to designate 2010 as the Year of LASIK is an important recognition of the significance of LASIK in the history of ophthalmology.
"I am very pleased that the ESCRS has designated 2010 as the Year of LASIK. This was something I have been in favour of for some time now and I fully support this initiative to celebrate what was essentially a European breakthrough,” said Dr Pallikaris.
Dr Pallikaris, who was the first surgeon to use the hinged flap technique in 1990, said that 2010 is a particularly opportune time to mark this important event.
“In July next year we will be holding the 10th Aegean Cornea Meeting and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Vardinoyiannion Eye Institute of Crete (VEIC), and it is fitting that these events coincide with the 20th anniversary of the first LASIK procedure here in Crete. This will be an opportunity for ophthalmologists and researchers to take stock of the past, present and future of LASIK in particular and developments in anterior segment surgery in general. I think we should see this Year of LASIK as an opportunity to recognise and celebrate what was essentially a European breakthrough and I have no doubt that the ESCRS will play an active role in promoting the Year and helping to raise awareness about this achievement,” he said.

* Dr Pallikaris is pictured above at the Binkhorst Medal presentation with Dr Paul Rosen

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dr Kaladevi Ranganathan of India wins EuroTimes John Henahan prize

This year’s recipient of the John Henahan Prize is Indian ophthalmologist, Kaladevi Ranganathan MD.

The prize is named in honour of the founding editor of EuroTimes, who edited the magazine from 1996 to 2001. The competition is open to ophthalmologists under 40 years of age and the prize is awarded to the author of the winning essay on a given theme.

Dr Ranganathan’s entry, "Judgement comes from experience", concerned her experience with the case of a six-year-old girl who very nearly had a disabling and stigmatising loss of vision in one eye following a fireworks accident, but who through timely and resourceful intervention now has normal vision and a good quality of life.

Dr Emanuel Rosen, chairman ESCRS Publications Committee, said the the standard of the entries for the 2009 EuroTimes John Henahan Prize was if anything even higher than the impressive 2008 entries and all the authors should be congratulated on their efforts.

"The prize will not only bring satisfaction to the winner and credit to all the contributors but may enhance all their prospects of pursuing a medical writing aspect to their future careers. We look to their further contributions to EuroTimes and the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery,"

Dr Rosen, who is pictured above presenting Dr Ranganathan with her prize.

Thousands of delegates gathered in Barcelona, Spain this week for the XXVII Congress of the ESCRS.

This year’s congress, which also incorporated the World Congress of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (WCPOS), was held in the CCIB Congress Centre in the vibrant capital of Catalonia.

The event attracted a record number of delegates with over 5,500 delegates attending the ESCRS congress and over 900 delegats at the WCPOS Congress.

WCPOS and ESCRS bring the best people together in one room

This year’s ESCRS meeting in Barcelona offers an unprecedented opportunity for ophthalmologists from around the world to avail of interactive learning with their paediatric specialist colleagues. The meeting marks a first, collaboration with paediatric ophthalmology in the form of the first World Congress of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (WCPOS).

This is a lively time in the field of paediatric ophthalmology, with important new studies in many key areas including genetics, strabismus, retina, cataract and refractive surgery. The WCPOS meeting highlights controversies and innovations in the field that will be of interest to specialists and general ophthalmologists alike.

“The idea of putting the best people together in one room to talk about paediatric ophthalmology was irresistible. This is the beginning of what we hope will be regular opportunities for people to get together and talk. By getting together we can communicate with each other, take the skills and techniques that the adult [ophthalmologists] have, and the information that the paediatric specialists have, put those together and end up with something even better,” David Granet MD, director of the Ratner Clinic, University of California, San Diego, and co-director of WCPOS, told EuroTimes.

Dr Ken Nischal, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Moorfields Eye Hospital (Hon) and co-director of WCPOS concurred.

“We all have strengths in different areas. Refractive surgeons are very good at refractive surgery, but in the child, it’s the visual rehabilitation after the refractive surgery that contributes to the success of the operation that the refractive surgeon has performed,” said Dr Nischal. “By increasing communications or links with paediatric ophthalmologists, who are good at visual rehabilitation in children, the refractive surgeons can increase the outcome or success of their own procedures,” he said.

The WCPOS offers a full menu of scientific sessions, keynote lectures, instructional courses, and satellite symposia over its two-day run. While planning the programme Dr Granet and Dr Nischal were careful to invite speakers from around the world in order to provide the widest possible perspective on current issues in the field. As a result the conference, with registrations far exceeding expectations, should prove to be an excellent gauge of trends and current and future concerns in paediatric ophthalmology.

“We’re very excited by the level of freedom that the ESCRS has given us to be able to have controversies, case presentations and discussions - every manner of learning experience - at the conference. We’re giving moderators the freedom to run sessions the way they would want to experience them if they were in the audience. We’re going beyond the format of just getting up and talking at people for 10 minutes, we’re making it more dynamic and interactive. We have experts from every region moderating the sessions. What we are doing has never been done before,” noted Dr Granet.

Research papers and posters are only a small part of what’s on offer. In addition to hundreds of free papers, lectures and posters there are three simultaneous tracks of instructional courses each day. These cover all areas of the field, including strabismus techniques, controversies in nystagmus, amblyopia, genetic disease, uveitis and beyond. The meeting was organised so that common areas of interest wouldn't conflict in the schedule, allowing attendees to visit both lectures and courses of interest.

The duties of ‘adult’ ophthalmologists and paediatric specialists overlap in different ways in different parts of the world, creating some controversies. Those controversies were discussed on Saturday in a joint symposium of the ESCRS/WCPOS on Paediatric Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

“We wanted to get the best people from both worlds together. To me the controversy is not that controversial because the people who can do this are the ones who should be doing it. There is no doubt that the paediatric people know the paediatric side better and the cataract people know the cataract side better. But there is a way to communicate better, and that is what this is about. We might not talk so much about where we disagree or differ, but actually where we can get together. We want to find the common ground, and help each other develop the skills, so that the child ends up with the best possible care,” said Dr Granet.

One area that is of great interest to both paediatric and adult ophthalmologists is refractive surgery. Refractive surgery is still considered something of a taboo on the paediatric side of ophthalmology, but that is changing. For example, early clinical experience indicates that laser refractive surgery can be very useful in correcting higher order aberrations in children for whom no other options exist. Laser refractive surgery is also finding a place in the treatment of high refractive errors, amblyopia and anisometropia.

“We may wake up in 15 years and find that refractive surgery is the standard of care in paediatric ophthalmology. The problem is getting from where we are to where we need to go. We need to talk to refractive surgeons who are very comfortable with refractive surgery, and get them together with paediatric surgeons who are uncomfortable with refractive surgery. We’re worried about these kids who will have to live with this for 70 years. We are worried that once we open that door that there will be a stampede of parents running through the door who want their 11-year-old kids to get rid of their glasses for mild myopia. We want to avoid lasering anyone too frequently, too young and in the wrong settings,” emphasised Dr Granet.

* Dr Granet and Dr Nischal are pictured above at the opening ceremony of WCPOS