Caroline Helwick

November 02, 2012

CHICAGO — The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) will partner with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology to hold their 4th Joint Meeting November 10-13, 2012, in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting will offer more than 280 instructional courses, nearly 100 skills transfer labs, 50 symposia and "Spotlight Sessions," and hundreds of scientific papers and posters.

Attendees will hear emerging research and enjoy debates on a variety of "hot topics" in ophthalmology, according to AAO members involved in meeting planning.

"There are exciting new developments in virtually every subspecialty within ophthalmology right now, from minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) to laser trabeculoplasty for glaucoma to anti-VEGF agents for macular degeneration," said Thomas W. Samuelson, MD, the AAO's associate secretary for the Skills Transfer Advisory Committee, who is with Minnesota Eye Consultants in Minneapolis.

Glaucoma and Cataract Hot Topics

Dr. Samuelson is also cochair of Glaucoma Subspecialty Day and chair of the Spotlight Session on Pseudoexfoliation. The 4 Spotlight Sessions at the meeting revolve around areas of high interest to ophthalmologists, giving attendees an in-depth and interactive experience.

At Glaucoma Subspecialty Day and in the Spotlight Session, surgical challenges will be the focus, including the different MIGS procedures and how they apply to different cases, the utility of the new ocular stent that was approved last summer for glaucoma, the science behind who might develop aggressive disease, the management of surgical complications, and many other issues of importance, he said.

"Subspecialty day will be terrific," Dr. Samuelson predicted. "For the glaucoma session alone we have more than 1100 physicians enrolled, which is a growth over previous years."

David F. Chang, MD, clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, will cochair the AAO's Spotlight on Cataracts session for the eleventh consecutive year. He said the focus of his session, which will involve 40 speakers and panelists, will be on cataract complications.

"Seven different video cases will illustrate the management of intraoperative or postoperative complications. Experts will present several rapid-fire didactic presentations that are relevant to each case. The audience members will then use electronic voting pads to make clinical management decisions, after which recommendations will be made by a rotating panel of experts who, like the audience, have never before seen the case," he said.

The cases will cover the management of refractive power surprise; the unhappy multifocal intraocular lens patient; mature white, brunescent, and traumatic cataracts; and capsulorrhexis and posterior capsular tears. Original papers in the cataract session will address a host of issues related to intraocular lenses.

Retina Session Will Feature Pivotal Trial Updates

The Retina/Vitreous Original Paper Session will truly be a heavy hitter at the meeting, according to John T. Thompson, MD, a Maryland ophthalmologist who is chair of the Committee for Retina, Vitreous and Intraocular Inflammation, Uveitis. "We selected 20 papers from 600 submissions, so these are the cream of the crop," he said.

"There have been several major randomized controlled trials over the past few years, and this year we have reporting for multiyear follow-up for some of them," said Dr. Thompson, who will chair the abstract session.

Attendees will hear results from pivotal trials evaluating ranibizumab in patients with diabetic macular edema, including the 36-month results from the phase 3 Study of Ranibizumab Injection in Subjects With Clinically Significant Macular Edema With Center Involvement Secondary to Diabetes Mellitus (RIDE) and Study of Ranibizumab Injection in Subjects With Clinically Significant Macular Edema With Center Involvement Secondary to Diabetes Mellitus (RISE) trials, the 1-year results of the Ranibizumab for Edema of the Macula in Diabetes: Protocol 3 with High Dose (READ 3) trial, and the 36-month extension phase of the Efficacy and Safety of Ranibizumab (Intravitreal Injections) in Patients With Visual Impairment Due to Diabetic Macular Edema (RESTORE) trial.

The studies will show significant benefit for ranibizumab vs no treatment or rescue laser treatment (the previous standard of care), which supports the drug as a new standard of care in this disease, Dr. Thompson said.

Aflibercept (vascular endothelial growth factor trap) will also be in the news as investigators report 1-year results of the phase 3 Evaluation of Repeated Intravitreal administration of VEGF Trap-Eye In Central retinal vein occlusion: Utility and Safety (COPERNICUS) study in central retinal vein occlusion and the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor VEGF Trap-Eye: Investigation of Efficacy and Safety in Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (VIEW 1) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Trap-Eye: Investigation of Efficacy and Safety in Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (VIEW 2) studies of aflibercept in neovascular macular degeneration, he noted.

"Data will show that the benefit of aflibercept is maintained even over 2 years, and this is longer-term data than we have had before and it is for the entire data set of over 1000 eyes. This is an important finding," Dr. Thompson said.

"For central vein occlusion, we will hear that aflibercept clearly provides benefit over no treatment. The diseases are different, but the same drug helps to decrease the leaking from blood vessels, and it works for both conditions," he added.

Other important clinical trial data reported at the meeting will come from the Multicenter Uveitis Steroid Treatment Trial (MUST) and the Sirolimus as Therapeutic Approach to Uveitis (SAVE) trial.

"The refractive surgery session will offer an abundance of new information on LASIK, including a comparison with contact lenses, factors related to late myopic regression, and a comparison of speed of recovery with various lasers," according to session chair Karl G. Stonecipher, MD, from the Laser Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. The session will also include a review of 5500 cases of corneal inlay implantation for the treatment of presbyopia.

Among the scientific posters of merit are a study of hyaluronic acid gel plugs in the treatment of dry eyes, the 18-year follow-up of excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy, and a comparison of wavefront-optimized vs wavefront-guided photorefractive keratectomy.

Dr. Samuelson reports receiving consulting and lecture fees from or having an equity interest in Abbott Medical Optics; AcuMEMS; Alcon Laboratories, Inc; Allergan, Inc; AqueSys; Endo Optiks, Inc; Glaukos Corporation; Ivantis; Merck & Co; Ocular Surgery News; QLT Phototherapeutics, Inc; Santen Pharmaceutical, Inc; and SLACK, Inc. Dr. Chang reports receiving fees for consulting or advising or for holding patents or royalties from Advanced Medical Optics; Alcon Laboratories, Inc; Allergan, Inc; Calhoun Vision, Inc; Eyemaginations, Inc; Hoya; ISTA Pharmaceuticals; LensAR; RevitalVision; SLACK, Inc; and Transcend Medical. Dr. Thompson reports grant support from Genentech and Regeneron. Dr. Stonecipher received fees for consulting or lecturing, grant support, or has equity interest in Abbott Medical Optics; Alcon; Allergan; Bausch & Lomb; Endure Medical Systems; ISYA Pharmaceuticals; LaserACE; Nexis; Nidek; OASIS Medical, Inc; Refocus Group, Inc; STAAR Surgical; and TLC Laser Eye Centers.

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2012 Annual Meeting. November 10-13, 2012; Chicago, Illinois.