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Newsletter - 2007, Volume 10, Number 1

Table of Contents


AOI Message from President Peter G. Watson

The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI) has from its inception in 1976 brought together the best of the established university-based clinicians, teachers and researchers in order to maintain excellence in education and the practice of ophthalmology.

As most of the recent advances in ophthalmology have been in the retina and posterior segment of the eye the current membership is heavily weighted in that direction. The Academia is aware of this and has agreed to an increase in membership which should, in time, allow most sub-specialties to be represented so that the expertise of the Academicians can be made available to those who need it over the whole spectrum of ophthalmology.

All the members of the Academia are fully active clinically, in research and teaching in their home countries and many also work away from their home base teaching trainers, trainees, fellows and other personnel. Some have fellows working with them from other countries as part of the ICO Fellowship scheme. Two of these ICO fellows are supported by the Academia.

During the past year, following inquiries by Professor Francesco Bandello among the Academicians, several initiatives were taken to allow the expertise available within the Academia to be more readily available to colleagues, congresses and organizations. It has always been a tradition of the AOI to have its own scientific session when it meets. This includes the Academia Oration which is usually given by someone whose expertise is outside ophthalmology. This year Professor Zilla of the University of Cape Town spoke on "Tissue Engineering in Cardiac Surgery," giving us new information which could be used in several lines of ophthalmic research.

In addition, the Academia Lecture is given at a major meeting and AOI symposia are organized at national and international congresses. During the past year Academicians have been giving an AOI lecture at meetings where they are prime speakers. We hope and expect that many more congresses will ask the Academicians to participate and give these lectures which will undoubtedly enhance the value of the meeting for the participants.

The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis exists to help ophthalmologists and all interested in education to promote learning and contribute their expertise wherever it is required. They have only to ask.


Peter G. Watson

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XXXIII AOI Meeting — Cape Town, South Africa — March, 2007

Cape Town from the sea with
Table Mountain in the background
The XXXIII Meeting of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis met in Cape Town, South Africa, in conjunction with the meeting of the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa (OSSA). The evening prior to the formal AOI meeting, members and their guests were among those treated to a very festive Welcoming Reception with entertainment by an award-winning high school choral ensemble. The following day, the AOI Membership Committee and the Executive Committee met to plan for the next day's Business Meeting which would take place at the Arabella Sheraton Hotel. On the evening prior to our Business Meeting, the OSSA hosted a delightful dinner at the Groot Constantia Wine Estate. The oldest wine estate in the Cape - having been in existence for over 300 years - it is a national monument and our members and guests had the opportunity to tour the manor house and to see exhibits. Dinner followed in Simon's Restaurant on the estate.

A brief Extraordinary General Assembly took place first thing the next morning, March 24th. It was followed by the Business Meeting at which 32 Members were in attendance. During his report, President Peter Watson thanked Prof. Anthony Murray for attending to every detail of our meeting. He and others thanked the OSSA, its staff and members for all of the hospitality being shown to our members and their guests. Reports were also presented by the Secretary-General, Prof. Lichter, and by the Treasurer, Prof. Gloor (read in his absence by Prof. Verdaguer). The following newly inducted Members of the Academia received from President Shimizu their AOI certificates and medals: Professors Enrique Graue (Chair XXXVI), Professor Tatsuro Ishibashi (Chair LIX), and Professor Marie-José Tassignon (Chair L). The Academia's continuing support of two IFOS/ICO Fellowships was also noted.

Following our Special Scientific Session, Members, and our guests and OSSA officers traveled to the Radisson Hotel where we enjoyed festive entertainment by a minstrel band during cocktails seaside. A pleasant buffet lunch was then held inside the restaurant.

After lunch, we enjoyed a pleasant bus tour of the city through Camps Bay, Kloof Neck and up to Signal Hill for a chance to experience the spectacular sights of the Cape. A drive through downtown and old neighborhood regions gave us a fine taste of the city.

That evening, during cocktails at the Arabella Sheraton we were entertained by a School for the Blind musical group. A festive gala banquet followed during which long distance runner, Bruce Fordice, an athlete hero in South Africa, delivered a humorous and well-received talk.

OSSA meeting President Johann Slazus, who was especially visible as the face of the OSSA meeting and liason with the AOI, was emcee for the evening.

XXXIII AOI Meeting Attendees
Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Members
gather for a photograph during the meeting, March 24, 2007

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Academia Elects New Members

Professor Anthony Thomas Moore (Chair VI)
Professor Anthony Thomas Moore was elected to Chair VI in the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis on March 24, 2007. Professor Moore completed his training in ophthalmology at Oxford University Medical School in 1974, and obtained his FRCS in London in 1981. Currently he is the Duke-Elder Professor of Ophthalmology and Head of the Division of Inherited Eye Disease, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College of London, and Honorary Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London. Professor Moore is also the Clinical Director of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Service at Moorefields Eye Hospital and Honorary Professor of Ophthalmology, Institute of Child Health, University College of London. Professor Moore's main research interests are in genetic eye disease.

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Professor Dennis Shun-Chiu Lam (Chair XXXVII)
Professor Dennis Shun-Chiu Lam was elected to Chair XXXVII in the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis on March 24, 2007. He graduated from medical school at Hong Kong University in 1984, and was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in 1998. In 2004 he was named Associate Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was awarded the "De Ocampo Lecture Award," the highest award for academic achievement in the Asia-Pacific Region in 2003 by the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. In addition to being an editorial board member of many renowned international eye journals, he established the Hong Kong Journal of Ophthalmology in 1995. He was the president of the College of Ophthalmologists of Hong Kong (2003-2005) and an ICO Advisory Committee Member and Convener for the ICO subspecialty area of eye genetics (2003-2005). He is the founding and current president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Eye Genetics, currently Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, and the President and Organizing Committee Chairman of the World Ophthalmological Congress, which will be held in Hong Kong in 2008.

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Professor José-Alain Sahel (Chair LX)
Professor José-Alain Sahel was elected to Chair LX in the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis on March 24, 2007. He graduated with his medical degree from the Paris University Medical School in 1980. Professor Sahel was appointed Visiting Lecturer in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in 1987 then became Visiting Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1998 he was appointed Professor of Ophthalmology and became Director of the Strasbourg University Hospital Eye Pathology Laboratory and head of the vitreo-retinal unit. In 2001-2002, he became Professor of Ophthalmology at Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital in Paris. In 2001, Professor Sahel became full Professor and holds the Cumberledge Chair for Biomedical Sciences. He has coordinated two programs with the 5th framework program (a concerted action and a RTD project) and now directs the EVI-Genoret, an integrated project including 19 teams and 4 SMEs. This IP is the largest vision related project ever funded by the European Union. It is entitled: Functional Genomics of the Retina.

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President Watson delivering the obituary for Prof. Trevor-Roper

Oral Obituary for Professor Patrick Trevor-Roper

Professor Peter Watson delivered a warm and informative obituary to remember Professor Patrick Trevor-Roper who was a strong contributor to ophthalmology and to academic medicine. Prof. Trevor-Roper will be remembered as one who was not afraid to speak his mind and to take on the establishment when he thought it was necessary. He has the great respect of his fellow Academicians and of colleagues throughout the world.

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Oral Obituary for Professor M. M. Krasnov

A fitting tribute was given to Professor M. M. Krasnov by Professor Zbigniew Zagorski who provided an admiring and thorough review of the many contributions of Professor Krasnov to world ophthalmology. Professor Krasnov was not one to take a conventional approach to anything. He had an amazing clinical imagination and was able to spread his ideas to others. He was held in the highest regard by his fellow Academicians and will be greatly missed. View the tribute.

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Academia Oration by Professor Peter Zilla

The AOI was honored in having the Academia Oration delivered by Professor Peter Zilla, the Christian Barnard Chair and head of the Christian Barnard Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital at Cape Town University. Professor Zilla obtained his Doctor of Medicine in 1980 at the University of Vienna and, in 1990, his PhD from the University of Cape Town with his thesis on Endothelialization of Vascular Prostheses. He has devoted his career to tissue engineering and founded the Medtronic Institute for research into tissue engineering. He began his Oration by pointing out that while ophthalmology is among the oldest medical specialties, cardiovascular surgery is among the youngest. And while ophthalmologists find angiogenesis to be undesirable, cardiovascular surgeons want to promote it.

Professor Peter Zilla delivering the AOI Oration

The idea of cardiovascular research is that if we don't have human tissue to use to make surgery more effective and safe, then we should try to engineer it. First Teflon was tried in the 60's with the hope that it would avoid clotting. But platelets have been shown to aggregate on Teflon within 3 seconds of contact. Research has shown that the best tissue to use is human coronary artery, next best is vein, and least best is Teflon. While circulating platelets on active endothelial cells work fine, they do not do well on engineered tissue. Prof. Zilla's challenge has been to try to create an endothelium on synthetic tissue. Through a series of experiments, Prof. Zilla and colleagues have found that endothelial qualities in engineered tissue yield a 92% vessel patency rate. He sees that tissue engineering is replacing cell culture to allow smaller hospitals to take advantage of new technology for their patients. Tissue culture facilities cannot be available at all of the hospitals where good quality cardiovascular surgery is being performed, but with engineered tissues, the availability expands greatly. Prof. Zilla pointed out that biosignalling is the ultimate key. He said that growth factors are heparin-binding, but that cells and adhesion types can be matched to allow the desirable cells to stay within the vessels and to keep undesirable cells like macrophages out.

Following his well-received and informative Oration, Prof. Zilla was presented by President Watson with an engraved black lacquer box with silver lid and handle.

Professor Zilla with President Watson and Professor Murray

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AOI Special Scientific Session

Inaugural Lectures were delivered by the three newly inducted Members: Professor Enrique Graue's talk was entitled "Prehispanic Medicine in Mexico with Emphasis in Ophthalmology." View Prof. Graue's lecture (pdf). The second Inaugural Lecture was presented by Professor Tatsuro Ishibashi, entitled "Diabetic Vitreoretinopathy." Professor Marie-José Tassignon delivered the third Inaugural Lecture entitled "New Generation of IOL Proposing Toric Correction, Optimal Centration and PCO Control." View Prof. Tassignon's lecture (pdf). Four Members delivered talks in the Special Scientific Session: Professor Joaquin Barraquer presented "Precision and Safety in Cataract Surgery." Professor William Tasman spoke on "Optical Coherence Tomography in Retinopathy of Prematurity." This was followed by Professor Koichi Shimizu's talk on "Arteriovenous Anastomosis in the Retina." Finally, Professor Ildikó Suveges spoke on "Surgical Possibilities for Treatment of Recurrent Pterygia."

Following the Special Scientific Session, Members were joined by their guests for lunch at the Radisson Hotel as detailed earlier.

Prof. Enrique Graue Prof. Tatsuro Ishibashi
Prof. Enrique Graue Prof. Tatsuro Ishibashi
Prof. Marie- Josť Tassignon Prof. Joaquin Barraquer
Prof. Marie-José Tassignon Prof. Joaquin Barraquer
Prof. William Tasman Prof. Koichi Shimizu
Prof. William Tasman Prof. Koichi Shimizu
Prof. Ildiko Suveges
Prof. Ildikó Suveges

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AOI Symposia

Symposium Panel

The AOI was invited to present a symposium on Imaging in Ophthalmology during the OSSA meeting. The following Academia Members gave talks:

AOI Symposium on Diagnostic Imaging in Ophthalmology
Chairmen: Prof. Hugh R. Taylor, Prof. Gabriel Coscas

Imaging Refractive Errors: Eye Wavefront Measurement & Analysis

Prof. Rafael Barraquer
Imaging in Uveitis
Prof. Rubens Belfort
Imaging in Scleral Diseases
Prof. Peter Watson
Imaging the Anterior Segment of the Eye
Prof. Marie-José Tassignon
Imaging in Diabetic Retinopathy and Maculopathy

Prof. José Cunha-Vaz

Imaging the Macula
Prof. Yasuo Tano
Panel Discussion

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President Watson presenting Professor Murray with an AOI black laquer box with engraved silver lid and handle

Academia Lecture by Professor Anthony Murray

Following the symposium, Academician Anthony Murray was warmly introduced and then delivered a superb Academia Lecture on "Treating Strabismus in Adults: Is it Worth It?" Following his well-illustrated and thoroughly researched Lecture, Professor Murray received from Prof. Watson an engraved memento to recall the Lecture.

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Other Academician talks at the OSSA meeting

In addition to the AOI Symposium, a number of Members participated in the OSSA Scientific Program. View the program (pdf).

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Announcement of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Academia will take place in Hong Kong on Friday, June 27, 2008 in conjunction with the World Congress of Ophthalmology.

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