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Prague: Battleground in the fight against retinal diseases
12th International AMD and Retina Congress in Prague, 2-3 Nov 2012

Switzerland (ots)

ESASO, the European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology, has opened the 12th AMD and Retina Congress in Prague. Following on from the 11th congress in Lisbon, which covered the whole spectrum of retinopathy, this year's meeting in the Czech Republic takes a significant step forward, demonstrating how international collaboration and exchange among ophthalmologists can facilitate therapeutic advancements. ESASO expects around 1000 delegates from 40 countries. Twenty-three plenary presentations are planned with 20 case studies, six meet-the-expert-sessions as well as panel discussions and a poster exhibition.

The first session, will be chaired by Prof. Anat Loewenstein from the Tel Aviv Medical Center and Prof. Frank Holz from the University of Bonn, who will review therapeutic approaches to the treatment of retinal vein occlusion (RVO). In particular, this session will discuss the evidence for intravitreous aflibercept which has the potential to offer new treatment options for patients with RVO.

A second session focuses on surgical treatment of macular diseases and will be chaired by Prof. Anselm Kampik from the Ludwig Maximillians University in Munich and Michael Georgopoulos from the Medical University of Vienna and the Vienna Medical Hospital. During this session, the Faculty will discuss the role of surgical treatments in the management of patients with diabetic macular edema (DME). An additional focus will be the challenges and impact of cataract surgery in patients with AMD and diabetic retinopathy.

Expanding the role of anti-VEGF therapy in ocular disease: examining the evidence, is the title of the session to be led by Prof. Leonidas Zografos, Chairman at the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of the University of Lausanne and Prof. Gabriel Coscas from the Créteil University Eye Clinic at the University of Paris XII. The session will cover a controversial issue: the role of anti-VEGF therapy in the field of ocular tumours.

With 366 million people worldwide predicted to have diabetes by 2030, the treatment of diabetic retinopathy is a key clinical challenge, and will be the subject of the session chaired by Prof. Paul Michell from the University of Sydney and Dr. Susan B. Bressler from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Leading retina specialists will discuss a new system for the classification of DME. This system facilitates innovative treatment paradigms that minimise the risk of moderate visual loss, including the approval of the anti-VEGF agent ranibizumab. In a roundtable discussion a faculty of experts will address a variety of topics on the management of DME, ranging from the role of wide-field angiography and OCT, to systemic management.

A further session is devoted to the management of neovascular AMD; Prof. Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth from the University of Vienna and Marco Zarbin from the New Jersey Medical School in Newark NJ, USA will Chair this session and 12 specialists will present various interactive clinical cases including recalcitrant vascularized PED, and the treatment of PCV in the anti-VEGF era.

In the final session, two scientists from the Oakland University in Royal Oak, MI, USA, Prof. Antonio Capone Jr., Clinical Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Dr. George Williams, Chair of the department of Ophthalmology will lead a session highlighting the disorders of the vitreomacular interface. One of the topics in this session will be to explore whether pharmacological vitreolysis has the potential to induce total posterior vitreous detachment without the need for surgery.

Beside this engaging scientific programme, the humanitarian award, XOVA, will be an integral part of the congress. XOVA is an award program led by international eye care specialists and sponsored by Novartis Pharma and Alcon. XOVA provides funding (in the form of a grant) to non-profit initiatives that are expected to have a significant impact on unmet needs in ophthalmology. The 2012 XOVA award will be presented during the congress.

The ESASO Organising Committee of the 12th International AMD and Retina Congress in Prague Giuseppe Guarnaccia is President of the ESASO Foundation and Director III of the Surgery Department at the BMM Hospital, Reggio Calabria. Borja Corcóstegui, Professor and Member of the ESASO Foundation Board, Founder and Director of the Instituto de Microcirurgia Ocular (IMO), Barcelona. Francesco Bandello, Professor and Member of the ESASO Founding Board, is Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Vita-Salute Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Milan.

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