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I Never Say No To Paris

Especially When The City Hosts The Euretina Congress

Leigh Spielberg

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019

When one is asked, “Would you like to go to Paris to …?” the answer should always be “Yes,” regardless of how the question ends. It shouldn’t matter what it is you’ll be doing there, just say “Yes”.

It is thus with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I am attending the 19th annual EURETINA Congress in France’s capital city. The conference, which I have attended yearly since I was in training, continues to grow. Since I first became actively involved in EURETINA in 2009, the number of participants has grown from 1,700 to more than 5,000 today. More important than sheer numbers, however, it continues to diversify and become more responsive to the highly specific needs of both general retina specialists and the super-specialist members of the society.

As my own vitreoretinal surgery practice grows, I’m beginning to appreciate the importance of staying up to date with what my medical retina colleagues are doing. And so, starting with the topics of broadest interest, I am looking forward to several moments in particular. The Opening Ceremony & EURETINA Lecture, “Diabetic Retinopathy Today”, presented by Francesco Bandello, certainly brought me up to speed regarding DR.

As a vitreoretinal surgeon with a significant focus on vitreomacular pathology, I depend on OCT imaging for nearly everything I do. My experience with OCT angiography, however, is still limited, and I would like to know how it could help me in my practice. I was very interested by the Instructional Course 1, “OCT Angiography: How to Understand What We See”.

It seems like vitreoretinal surgical topics are garnering more attention these days. This might have something to do with the recent EURETINA presidency of one of my surgical mentors, Professor Jan van Meurs of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital. Or maybe it’s because the indications for vitreoretinal surgery have greatly expanded due to the vast technological improvements. For example, we now safely treat early epiretinal membranes before significant visual loss and irreversible outer retinal changes have occurred. Submacular hemorrhages can obtain highly satisfactory visual results after subretinal injection of rTPA.

Speaking of which, this year’s Gisbert Richard Lecture will be given by Grazia Pertile of Italy (Keynote Lecture, today, 15:00, Grand Amphitheatre) on “Surgery in Exudative AMD: Functional & Physiopathological Implications”. Presentations like these will hopefully foster more and closer collaboration between medical and surgical retina specialists regarding which patients to refer for surgery, and when they might best be referred.

I consider it one of my tasks as a VR surgeon to make sure that my medical retina colleagues are up to date regarding how and when to refer. That moment can be crucial in cases of submacular haemorrhages, including those caused by pathologic myopia. It is thus with great interest that I’ll attend today’s Kreissig Lecture, also in the Grand Amphitheatre (11:00), when Jost Jonas will discuss “Myopia: Epidemiology, Histology & Clinics”.

But it’s not only the big lectures that have caught my interest. The instructional courses, with their topical focus, are sometimes where I learn the most useful tips, tricks and insights that I can take home with me. The interaction with the presenters and the audience can be priceless.

But when I’m not in the conference hall, I’ll be out and about in the city. Whether on a motorcycle or on foot, I’ve never said “No” to Paris.

Dr Leigh Spielberg is a vitreoretinal and cataract surgeon at Ghent University, Belgium