A Perspective on the ARVO Vision Science Meeting
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 9:04AM
Ocular Research Symposia Foundation in ARVO, Conference, Dr. Jerry Chader

by Dr. Jerry Chader, Professor and Chief Scientific Officer of the Doheny Retina Institute, University of Southern California Medical School, ORSF Medical Director

The annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (ARVO) took place in Seattle, WA from May 5-9, 2013. With around 10,000 participants, most presenting talks and posters, it represents the largest congregation of basic scientists and clinicians doing vision research in the world. For me, it is a very exciting (and tiring!) week trying to learn all the latest in how eye tissues function, how eye diseases develop and what new therapies will soon become available to halt or reverse the progression of vision loss.

The meeting encompasses all tissues of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina). I found the retina sessions were the most important and exciting since retinal diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy account for most of the yet untreated vision loss and blindness in Americans. Although much basic research was reported, it is heartening to see that, over the last few years, there is increasing emphasis on reports on translational work from the laboratory bench to the clinic, leading to human clinical trials. Thus, new drugs, new surgical techniques, new prosthetic devices and new methods of drug delivery were in the forefront of the scientific presentations. Also, new techniques of stem cell and transplantation biology were presented that could restore vision in the future to many with severe retinal or corneal disease. Following are just a few examples of groundbreaking work reported at the ARVO meeting:

This ARVO meeting was also exciting in that the National Eye Institute continued its challenge to the vision research community to identify “Audacious Goals in Vision Research and Blindness Rehabilitation." This call generated great interest with many researchers identifying important goals for future research such as

1) finding a way to turn back the aging process in the eye (the subject of our next ORSF symposium!)

2) increased study on Regenerative Medicine (stem cells) and Optobiobics to restore vision and

3) the use of Neuroregeneration to restore functional vision through axon regeneration in patients with conditions such as traumatic optic neuropathy or glaucoma.

These and many others will be the “audacious goals” for the 2014 ARVO meeting next year in Orlando, FL. Hopefully this will all ultimately lead to preventions, treatments and cures for all ocular diseases.

Article originally appeared on Ocular Research Symposia Foundation (http://theorsf.org/).
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