(IGR 9-2 September, 2007)
Looking Back at the World Glaucoma Congress Singapore
With trepidation, I entered the cabin of a sparkling Singapore Airlines jet and
wondered how anyone could withstand seventeen hours of continuous flight. You might
already have surmised that I was returning home to San Diego after having attended
and participated in the second World Glaucoma Congress in Singapore. It was only
a few days earlier that I also wondered whether the meeting could match the extraordinarily
successful inaugural Congress that was held two years earlier in Vienna.
The initial concept for the World Glaucoma Congress was that it would bring together
each of the glaucoma constituencies that comprise the global glaucoma enterprise
including the glaucoma specialist, generalist, industry and patients. Under the
auspices of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA), formerly known as the Association
of International Glaucoma Societies, the second World Glaucoma Congress in Singapore
had undergone meticulous planning over eighteen months. The governing group of the
WGA had decided to risk bringing the second Congress to Asia, a venue that had not
had previously an international glaucoma meeting of this scope and nature. The program
committee was committed to have a meeting that was both comprehensive and inclusive.
Not only was the didactic program formulated to provide authoritative lectures relating
to the basic science and clinical practice of glaucoma, but more than 55 courses
that emphasized the application of this information to clinical practice also were
embedded within the program. The program emphasized the disparity of resources available
for glaucoma care throughout the world, as well as the higher prevalence in Asia
of angle closure compared with open angle glaucoma. Finally, the program also recognized
the unique opportunity for networking among the attendees and had embedded within
it several social events to facilitate this throughout the week.
So I am at 13000 meters with nothing but time, and I begin to recapitulate some
of the week's events.
The Congress had an inspiring opening on Wednesday July 18 with the convening
of the Global Assembly (chaired by WGA President Ivan Goldberg),
a group that had representatives from each of the 70 Member societies of the
WGA. There was the addition of two society members (Singapore and African Society
of Glaucoma) since the Vienna Congress, and once again it was impressive to
bring this global community together.
The Global Assembly was followed by a lunch symposium, one of four
that was organized daily throughout the meeting by our most vital Industry members
(Alcon, Pfizer, Allergan and Merck).
This was followed by the first of many scientific sessions that
were conducted throughout the mornings and afternoons until the meeting concluded
July 21 late on Saturday afternoon. Parallel scientific sessions were introduced
to the Congress for the first time, as it was judged important to provide something
for everyone, both the generalist and the specialist.
An impressive Opening Session provided lectures by Singaporean guest
speakers Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth
and Sports from Singapore, Kishore Mabhubani, Former Ambassador of Singapore
to the UN and President of the General Assembly, on 'The greatest Asian century'
and Edison Liu, President of the Genome Institute of Singapore on 'Genomics
and the conduct of contemporary medicine'. These lectures were state of the
art and highly inspiring.
Guests of Honor (Yoshiaki Kitazawa, Arthur Lim, Por T. Hung and Anthony Molteno)
were presented by (Robert N. Weinreb, Dennis Lam, Makoto Araie and Erik Greve
respectively), and the 2006 WGA-Award prize was awarded to Yeni Yücel and Neeru
Gupta, and Terete Borrás (presented by Roger Hitchings and Robert N. Weinreb,
Twenty-four symposia/debates hosted expert discussions on important
issues in glaucoma thereby providing the participant with a diverse and balanced
view of essential developments in glaucoma. Reports on many of the debates will
appear in IGR.
Stimulating posters were displayed throughout the Congress and attracted
some of the finest work in glaucoma. Although the didactic program did not schedule
free papers, and this poster demarche provided the best opportunity to report
numerous innovative and timely ideas.
A highlight of the Congress was the presentation of the recently completed
IOP Consensus Report (James Brandt, Ted Garway-Heath and Makoto Araie),
as well as updates on each of the earlier consensus reports including Diagnosis,
Open Angle Glaucoma Surgery and Angle Closure and Angle Closure Glaucoma. A
meeting also was held with member societies on promulgation of the
The WGA committee on 'Surgical guidelines on reporting and publishing' (chaired
by Tarek Shaarawy, Franz Grehn and Mark Sherwood) discussed there conclusions
for future uniformity in reporting and publishing on surgical subjects. Evaluation
by the WGA member Glaucoma Societies and other experts will be the next step
before general implementation.
The logistics of the meeting were flawless. Not surprising, as the program and
social events had the diacritical imprint and bravura of glaucoma's own impresario,
Erik Greve, working in concert with Caroline Geijssen, WGA Executive Vice President,
and Mariska van der Veen, WGA executive manager with her talented team from the
WGA Meeting Office. But most of all, it is important to acknowledge and thank the
faculty of 190 leading glaucoma experts, who lectured and taught, and traveled to
Singapore from throughout the world to participate.
By any measure, the meeting was an unequivocal success, and all who attended
already are looking forward to the third World Glaucoma Congress that will be held
in Boston, July 8-11, 2009.
Robert N. Weinreb
|Promulgation was the special topic of a Symposium at the WGC. As
part of the promulgation strategy, the World Glaucoma Association offered
a set of all four WGA Consensus Books to a representative of each of
the 70 national and regional Glaucoma Societies.
|The WGA acknowledges the
unrestricted educational grants from its:
|Glaucoma Industry Members
|Associate Glaucoma Industry Members
Carl Zeiss Meditec
|Supporting Glaucoma Industry
Haag Streit Group – Ellex – NeoMedix – Optonol – Otsuka –
Santen Japan – Senju – Ziemer Opthalmic Systems