International Glaucoma Review

The Journal for the World Glaucoma Association

 
Robert N. Weinreb

Dear Reader,

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, respectively).

  • 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 consensus reports.

  • 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

Alcon
Allergan
MSD
Pfizer

Associate Glaucoma Industry Members

AMO
Carl Zeiss Meditec
Heidelberg Engineering
Oculus

Supporting Glaucoma Industry Members

Haag Streit Group – Ellex – NeoMedix – Optonol – Otsuka – Santen Japan – Senju – Ziemer Opthalmic Systems

 

 

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