Retinal Disease Highlights From the 2010 AAO Meeting
October 28, 2010
Many of us just returned from the largest ophthalmic “trade show” in the world. The American Academy of Ophthalmology convened in Chicago last week. This meeting was combined with the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO). Perhaps 40 K attended the meeting.
I also attended the 2 day retinal subspecialty meeting which preceded the larger AAO meeting. Thus, I had 5 days to expand my knowledge.
Most of the congress was focused on technology, especially electronic medical records. Few discoveries were revealed. This may be for two reasons: there is nothing really new going on right now, and/or, the Internet allows such rapid sharing of information, that it is impossible to “wow” anyone at this meeting. Probably both are true.
With regard to retinal disease, my particular specialty, there is little new, but lots to be excited about.
Avastin and Lucentis continue to be the mainstays of treatment for wet macular degeneration. There is evidence that the two drugs are similar in clinical efficacy…a notion I support. It is likely that these types of drugs will be delivered with a sustained release system, thus, obviating the need for repeated intraocular injections.
Ozurdex is now indicated for the treatment of uveitis. It was originally FDA approved for the treatment of RVO only. By itself, not earth-shattering, but does make sense clinically. Sustained release steroids for chronic intraocular inflammation. Sounds much better.
The highlight of the meeting is the potential for Iluvien to be FDA approved soon. Iluvien is similar to Ozurdex in that both are injectable intraocular sustained release systems. Iluvien will be a sustained release system that delivers intraocular steroids for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. While this is a particularly promising development for patients with diabetic retinopathy, this has larger implications for eye treatment overall.
What Does This Mean? Illuvien is likely to be the second FDA approved intraocular drug delivery system. This will be a significant endorsement of drug delivery to the eye. We are entering a new era of pharmaceutical therapeutics; sustained release inside the eye. For now, we are focused on retinal disease. But soon, very soon, devices will emerge promising better therapeutics for almost any eye condition.
Just think, glaucoma may be treated by such a device.
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