In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving every year on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a time to count your blessings—to give thanks for all the good fortunes of the preceding year. Maybe I am 8 months too late; or, perhaps, I am simply 4 months early (I am a planner, after all), but I recently felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for the people I work with.
I am a big believer in the notion that, in order to achieve excellence, you must surround yourself with excellence. In late June, I had the pleasure of covering the American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery (AECOS) in Barcelona, Spain. I found myself surrounded by some of the world’s best ophthalmologists. Among them were CRST Europe’s Chief and Associate Chief Medical Editors: Sheraz M. Daya, MD, FACP, FACS, FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth; Erik L. Mertens, MD, FEBOphth; Arthur B. Cummings, MB ChB, FCS(SA), MMed(Ophth), FRCS(Edin); and A. John Kanellopoulos, MD. These four ophthalmologists continue to be an integral component of the success of CRST Europe, and I truly believe that our publication’s excellence is a direct result of their guidance.
Watching Drs. Daya, Mertens, Cummings, and Kanellopoulos present in Barcelona, I was again reminded of how fortunate I am to work with such an amazing group of people. Beyond their skills as ophthalmologists, these men are kind, dedicated, and easily accessible. They are generous with their time to CRST Europe (among their other commitments) and with their knowledge to their peers.
That is why it was no surprise to me that I ended up selecting some of their talks to highlight in this month’s cover focus:Spotlight on AECOS Barcelona. As some of you may already know, AECOS is an expansion of the American Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery organization that was established in 2011. The scientific program in Barcelona marked the first collaboration of the American and European executive committees and included sessions on lens-based, corneal, and glaucoma surgeries. This issue highlights seven of those presentations.
Dr. Cummings provided AECOS attendees with an overview of customized ablation profiles in the modern era. In his corresponding article, he notes that the collective improvements in excimer laser technology over the past 25 years have allowed ophthalmologists to enhance patients’ quality of vision. He also gives nod to the development of presbyopia-correcting ablation profiles, which are in high demand today.
Presbyopia correction was a hot topic in Barcelona, and Drs. Daya; Jorge L. Alió, MD, PhD; and Sunil Shah, MBBS, FRCOphth, FRCS(Ed), FBCLA, all shared their perspectives on various surgical techniques. In his presentation and corresponding article, Dr. Daya describes a varifocal laser corneal ablation technique for presbyopia correction that enhances near focus by creating a small zone of high refractive power in the central cornea. A period of adaptation is required for distance vision, however.
Professor Alió also shares an overview of his talk on accommodating IOLs in this cover focus. He believes that the potential of this technology will grow once researchers determine the best placement of these IOLs.
Dr. Shah’s presentation and article describe a femtosecond–laser-based approach to presbyopia correction. Lens softening can be used to create incision patterns within the hardened crystalline lens in order to restore flexibility that has been lost with age. Early results are promising, he says.
H. Burkard Dick, MD, PhD, also covered developments in femtosecond technology in Barcelona. In his article, he recaps how these lasers can be used with pupil-expanding devices and to perform primary posterior capsulotomy.
Dr. Kanellopoulos shared the basics of the Athens Protocol at AECOS Barcelona, and his article urges ophthalmologists to remember that the goal of topography-guided procedures for keratoconus is to achieve corneal regularity, not emmetropia.
All of these articles share with readers specific surgical strategies and technologies in use today; however, our cover focus begins with an overview of how changing demographics have affected patient care in ophthalmology. Using statistics from Germany, Norbert Pfeiffer, MD, PhD, shows that, even with the aging population and the growing number of patients who require vision-correction procedures, ophthalmologists are succeeding in reducing blindness and low vision worldwide.
Taken from the context of Dr. Pfeiffer’s comments, it seems as if ophthalmology as a whole is succeeding. Perhaps if we all continue to surround ourselves with excellence, our successes will become even more fruitful.