A volley of questions from audience members during Ophthalmology Updates! two-day conference in Sydney over the weekend has illuminated areas where there is debate on the best way to treat and manage patients.
A question from an ophthalmologist concerning a 10-year-old patient with congenital toxoplasmosis who presented with a new lesion generated discussion with presenter Professor Justine Smith, and Chair Professor Peter McCluskey, on potential treatment options, while a case study from neuro-ophthalmologist Professor Celia Chen highlighted the complexities of diagnosing idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), a condition she described as on the rise.
Interactive audience participation, a hallmark of the event, also shaped discussion, with presenter Associate Professor Michael Lawless polling audience members on their most commonly used intraocular lens during his lecture on the nuances of IOL technologies.
For event convenor Professor Adrian Fung, the opportunity to ask questions is highly valued by delegates, with 200 people attending this year’s event.
“The field of ophthalmology – and the subspecialities within it – changes fast. Treatment options have changed since Ophthalmology Updates! first started in 2016,” Fung said.
“This event is an opportunity to learn from each other and share our real world experiences. There is a lot of discussion on areas where there’s room for debate on the best way to manage patients.”
Fung said the conference model includes revision of a ‘common’ condition across a range of subspecialities, as well as exploration of a ‘frontier’ topic on a topical subject.
“With speakers presenting the newest data in their field, the event provides a yearly concentrated overview from experts on the latest diagnostic techniques and treatments across a range of subspecialties,” Fung said.
At this year’s conference, this included a promising neoadjuvant therapy (Darovasertib; NADOM trial) that has the potential to save eyes with uveal melanoma from enucleation, as shared by ocular oncologist Dr Li-Anne Lim, as well as a new drug (intravitreal methotrexate; GUARD trial) to treat proliferative vitreoretinopathy, as explained by vitreoretinal surgeon, Dr Mali Okada.
Professor Robyn Guymer described emerging treatments for geographic atrophy as “the dawn of a new era”, with two treatments now FDA-approved (SYFOVRE from Apellis, and IZERVAY from Iveric Bio), but warned of real-world incidences of retinal vasculitis which were not reported in the clinical studies.
The presentations also highlighted the challenges facing some treatments and devices, including port delivery systems, with the implant currently voluntarily recalled in the US.
Questions flowed across both days, ranging from the merits of taking one biopsy or two in cases of suspected cicatrising conjunctivitis, to whether to offer surgery to patients with myopic traction maculopathy and foveal detachment alone. On several occasions, the speaker responded, “That’s a good question!”.
In a non-clinical session of the conference, guest speaker Dr Norman Swan discussed the relationship between medicine and the media, focusing on how COVID and The Voice referendum have been handled, or mishandled, by the media.