Landmark ESCRS PREMED study – editorial from Dr Rudy Nuijts
The ability of the ESCRS to fund, design and guide PREMED shows the great talent and perserverance in the society
It is almost five years since the ESCRS PREMED study, the PREvention of Macular EDema after cataract surgery, was launched by the ESCRS. The study involved the recruitment of cataract patients at over 13 surgical clinics across the EU, including centres in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands.
The research question to address was to design a study that would provide evidence for the best approach to prevent cystoid macular oedema after cataract surgery in diabetic and non-diabetic patients.
Finally, after five years of study we are able to finish our inclusion and the results of this landmark study will be presented at the XXXV Congress of the ESCRS next year in Lisbon. The ability of the ESCRS to fund, design and guide a project like this underscores the great talent and perseverance that is present in the current ESCRS society.
We learned tremendously from the differences that exist among European countries in rules that apply to drug regulation, and in the variability of national authorities’ judgements of research protocols. On a micro-scale, the PREMED study convinced me of how much profit we as medical doctors could encounter from EU harmonisation of MEC regulations in this respect. I have to compliment the research teams and all participating centres for their never-ending efforts and spirit, despite these hurdles, to finish this study.
The present ESCRS Congress in Copenhagen promises to be another record-breaking event in terms of the number of attendees from all around the world. The ESCRS annual meeting has evolved into one of the most important ophthalmological meetings in the world.
The combination of solid scientific presentations with the introduction of exciting innovations has skyrocketed attendance numbers to over 8,000 in recent years. This year exciting innovations on new accommodating IOLs, corneal and lenticular stem cell technology for creation of intrastromal implants and preventive therapies for cataract formation, sustained release drug delivery devices, MIGS, and potential advantages of newer refractive laser technology, will provide interesting topics for anyone.
Certainly, the discussion will continue on the value of big data for healthcare decision-makers, the pros and cons of FLACS, and the added value of more precision in diagnostics (e.g. intraoperative HR-OCT, aberrometry) when planning our procedures.
One key component in all these new developments is our dependence on government decisions for implementation of these innovations into our routine healthcare. Only by facilitating well-designed clinical trials that generate solid results will healthcare decision-makers be convinced to implement (costly) changes into our system. The ESCRS takes its responsibility in this respect by annually awarding Clinical Research Awards to find solutions to unanswered ophthalmological scientific questions.
Finally, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to the next ESCRS Winter Meeting, in my hometown of Maastricht, on 10–12 February 2017. This will be the first time that the Winter Meeting returns from its successful Eastern European endeavours to Western Europe. As a sign of European solidarity on a micro-scale, the BSCRS (Begian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons) and the NIOIC (the Netherlands IntraOcular Implant Club) will co-organise this meeting with the ESCRS. The date and venue are unique since it will be exactly 25 years since the Maastricht Treaty was signed.
From the bottom of my heart, and for all who firmly believe in the European dream, I invite you to share this special occasion in Maastricht with the ESCRS.