Preceeding the AAO, retina specialists have a 2 day meeting of their own. It’s a time for me to take classes or instructional courses on subjects related to my sub-specialty of retinal disease. Other sub-specialists (cornea, pediatic ophthalmology, glaucoma) do the same. Our meeting is focused on all things retina…naturally.
Not much new information was presented during the sub specialty meeting. This may be due to the fact that either not much is happening in the retina world, or, the dissemination of new information is easily achieved due to the Internet. Probably a bit of both.
I did not hear about any new treatment for macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, but there was some further buzz that Iluvien is getting closer to FDA approval, perhaps by December.
The treatments using anti-VEGF (injections such as Avastin and Lucentis) continue to be the best for wet macular degeneration. More evidence that the two drugs work equally well was supported. Even more evidence supports the notion that this is the preferred mode of treatment for wet macular degeneration and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
In a nutshell, in one form or another, these medications will be around for the foreseeable future.
To me, this is the biggest development in retinal diseases. I spoke with several representatives of the pharmaceutical company (Alimera Sciences) and they are all excited. They should be.
Iluvien is represents a new era in eye treatments. Ozurdex was approved last year, and, it too, is a sustained release drug delivery system. Both release steroid drugs inside the eye for a predictable length of time. The concept is fascinating.
Sure, it will likely be used to treat diabetic retinopathy, but it endorses this new age. Few eye doctors understand the impact of this new era. Better treatments for eye disease will evolve simply because we can get the drugs into the eye and treat disease for months at a time.
What Does This Mean?
We are doing a great job at sharing information. I am happy we didn’t “miss” anything, and that, overall, we are doing a pretty good job at keeping current with this web site.
Retinal diseases have traditionally been difficult to treat due to the blood brain barrier, that is, it’s really hard to get drugs into the inside of the eye. With intraocular injections and injectable drug delivery systems, we are doing quite well, thank you.
The subspecialty day preceding the AAO is a great way for me to make sure I am up to date and gives me the opportunity to explore areas in that interest me.
It’s called continuing medical education. It is the best way that I can go back to school. To maintain my medical license I need 50 hours of continuing education per year. We are really never done with school.