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American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, Nov. 10-13, 2007

American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting

The American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting took place Nov. 10-13 in New Orleans, attracting more than 23,000 attendees from around the world. Topics included advances in the treatment of vascular-related eye diseases such as "wet" age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, developments in corneal surgery, and the academy's new Get Eye Smart public education campaign.

"The major findings this year were related to the continued hegemony of the use of anti-angiogenic agents bevacizumab and ranibizumab in age-related macular degeneration," said Jose S. Pulido, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., a clinical correspondent for the academy. "Also in the forefront is the possible future use of anti-inflammatory agents including anti-complement agents in treating age-related macular degeneration. As for diabetic retinopathy, again the complementary use of anti-angiogenic agents to the use of laser photocoagulation was an important aspect of the meeting."

One of the hottest topics at the meeting, according to Andrew Iwach, M.D., of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, secretary of communications for the academy, was the academy's Get Eye Smart campaign, which was launched July 31. The campaign is based on an academy-sponsored survey of 1,200 Americans. "It showed that over 90 percent of the subjects didn't know their risk factors for eye disease, despite the fact that 50 percent of us will develop at least one of the five major age-related eye diseases if we live long enough," Iwach said. "When we asked them about their biggest health concerns, they were more worried about weight loss and back pain than about the possible loss of their vision."

As a result of the study, the academy issued new guidelines recommending baseline eye-disease screenings starting at age 40 for people with no signs or risk factors for eye disease and regular screenings for people of any age with eye symptoms or risk factors such as a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

"These new guidelines are particularly helpful for internists, family practitioners and ob-gyns," Iwach said. "We're developing partnerships with them to increase patient awareness that regular eye screenings are just as important as regular screenings for cancers of the colon, breast and cervix."

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Physician's Briefing
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