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Advancements and cutting-edge science abound at the XXXV Congress of ESCRS


It will soon be time for the FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal to open its doors to the ophthalmic community for the 35th Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS), taking place between the 7th and 11th October 2017.

It will soon be time for the FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal to open its doors to the ophthalmic community for the 35th Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS), taking place between the 7th and 11th October 2017.


A range of symposia, poster sessions, instructional courses and workshops will provide delegates with this much awaited, once-yearly opportunity to learn about the newest and most exciting developments in the industry, whilst a daily exhibition will showcase examples of the latest technologies in ophthalmology.


And when it’s time to take a break from the meeting, attendees can set their sights on the beautiful and historical coastal city of Lisbon, exploring the plethora of world-class restaurants, perhaps sampling the port, and indulging in the wide-ranging cultural offerings.


In Ophthalmology TimesEurope’s exclusive preview of the ESCRS, we have asked two of our respected Editorial Advisory Board members, Dr Paulo Fazio, head of the refractive surgery service of the Centro Cantanese Medicina e Chirugia in Catania, Italy, and Dr Albert Augustin, professor of ophthalmology and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Klinikum Karlsruhe, Germany, to share their recommendations for the event, to help you make the most of your time there. Read on to find out more!



Saturday 7th October

Clinical Research Symposia


The theme of the first symposium on Saturday will be ‘Continuous Innovation for Better Patient Outcomes’. Chairpersons Dr Jesper Hjortdal of Denmark and Dr Rudy Nuijts from the Netherlands will host talks on new drug-delivery methods, inviting speakers to discuss haematic derivatives in ocular surface diseases; applications of amniotic membrane rings; nanostructured films in glaucoma; and eye drop innovations, among other topics. How to put a drug in the eye might seem like a “trivial issue”, Dr Fazio says, but he points out that “drops are not enough any more…drug delivery to the eye has changed a lot over the past years and continues to do so as techniques evolve”.


After a half-hour break, the next series of talks will focus on the pupil, and in particular, pupil dynamics in cataract and refractive surgery. Dr Damien Gatinel of France and Dr Thomas Kohnen of Germany will chair.


Dr Augustin also “strongly recommends” attending this symposium. “We can expect interesting expert reports on latest developments for the therapy of important diseases of both the ocular surface and the anterior segment, including glaucoma.”


The first afternoon session will focus on what can be learnt from patient-reported outcome measures; this will be chaired by Dr Anders Behndig from Sweden and Dr Nino Hirnschall of Austria. Concluding the sessions will be a series of talks on corneal measurements and how they affect toric IOL power calculations, which will be hosted by Dr Guy Kleinmann of Israel and Dr Thomas Olsen, Denmark. Get there early if you are keen to learn more about calculating toric IOL power in difficult patients, since Dr Fazio predicts this room will be “packed”.


Instructional Courses


A series of free-to-attend instructional courses will be offered throughout ESCRS, beginning on Saturday 7th October; it is not necessary to register for these. Catering for all levels, from basic to intermediate and advanced, the courses aim to inform attendees about all manner of surgical techniques, including advice on dealing with complex cases and complications; new surgical approaches; improving outcomes; and avoiding mistakes. Surgeries discussed will include IOL exchange, keratoplasty and glaucoma procedures among others. “As always, the tips and tricks will be helpful in your clinical practice,” says Dr Augustin.


Exhibition Hall

The exhibition schedule will be open from 9am to 5.30pm on Saturday; however, hours are subject to change.


Poster Sessions


A moderated poster session entitled ‘What is New and Hot by Great Speakers’ will be held from 2pm for one hour on Saturday, while three presented poster sessions will be available from 3pm, entitled: ‘Cataract Complications Management’; ‘Glaucoma’ and ‘Cornea I’.


ESCRS/EuCornea Symposium: The Irregular Cornea


The main symposium on Saturday will take an in-depth look at topics such as ‘The keratoplasty cornea’; ‘Corneal incisions’; ‘Excimer laser’; and ‘Rings’. Dr Friedrich Kruse of Germany and Dr Rudy Nuijts will chair the event, which will be rounded up following the last of three short discussions throughout the symposium.


“The chairs of this symposium are experts in the field,” Dr Augustin observes. “Besides interesting talks, we can expect informative discussions of the latest news in the subspecialty.” Dr Fazio also gives his insights: “In the old days, irregular astigmatism was a synonym of keratoconus. Nowadays, more often, it is the result of an undesirable surgical result. How to fix these patients is very useful knowledge to have”.


Refractive Surgery Didactic Course

8.30 am–5.30 pm

This EBO-accredited, two-part course will address a range of topics and include two case reports, followed by discussion. Part 1 will be moderated by Drs D Epstein of Switzerland and Cynthia Roberts of the USA; Dr V Katsanevaki of Greece and Dr Günther Grabner of Austria will moderate part 2.


Young Ophthalmologists Programme

8.30 am–4 pm

Presenters at the start of their careers will provide their insights on what they have learnt via video cases during this event, so the programme will be useful to young physicians who want to learn from their peers. The session will be introduced with a talk on ‘Preparing for the first operation’, before video authors share their learning points on topics including biometry; incisions; capsulorhexis; hydrodissection; IOLs ‘tricks’; and phacoemulsification. Drs Oliver Findl of Austria, Italy’s Simonetta Morselli and K Vannas of Finland will chair.



Sunday 8th October


Binkhorst Medal Lecture


A special one-off lecture entitled, ‘Cataract Surgery in High-Risk Eyes: Lessons Learned’ will be given by internationally recognised expert in the field of modern ophthalmic surgery, Dr Boris Malyugin, professor of ophthalmology, deputy director general (R&D, Edu) at the S. Fyodorov Eye Microsurgery State Institution. Dr Malyugin pioneered a device for pupil expansion during cataract surgery (the Malyugin Ring), as well as several other technologies. He is well known for his educational activities in Russia and elsewhere, having multiple international awards. Dr Fazio remarks that neither the subject matter nor the speaker is in any way “trivial”. “Boris Malyugin has already made our lives earlier with his pupil expansion device. I am sure he will show us some more tricks.”


Exhibition Hall

The exhibition schedule will be open from 9am until 5.30pm on Sunday; however, hours are subject to change.


Changing Pharmaceutical Treatment Patterns in Cataract Surgery Symposium


Dr Joaquim Murta of Portugal and Dr O Findle will introduce, as chairpersons, the main symposium on Sunday. Topics discussed will be: ‘Sustained drug delivery’; ‘Getting and maintaining a large pupil’; ‘Antibiotics revisited’; and ‘The uveitic eye’. The PREMED Study will also feature in this session, before two final talks on ‘CME prophylaxis’ and ‘The diabetic eye’ conclude the session.


Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Symposium

2.00 pm–4.00 pm

On Sunday afternoon, ‘Controversies in Cataract and Refractive Surgery’ will be the theme of an informative symposium chaired by Dr Thomas Kohnen, the JCRS European Editor and Dr William Dupps of the USA, the US Associate Editor. This is another room Dr Fazio predicts will be busy. Three subject areas will be: ‘Percent tissue altered (PTA) for predicting post-LASIK ectasia risk’; ‘What is the right place for phakic IOLs’; and ‘IOL calculations’. There will be ten-minute discussion periods following each topic.


Workshop on Visual Optics

8.00 am–5.45 pm

This EBO-accredited, three-part programme will offer a comprehensive exploration of ‘Visual Optics’ (Part 1), ‘Visual Behaviour (Visual Function) [Part 2]’, and ‘Imaging the Human Eye’ (Part 3). Part 1, moderated by Dr Ioannis Pallikaris of Greece and Dr Marie-José Tassignon of Belgium, will include a break to allow participants to attend the ESCRS symposium entitled ‘Changing Pharmaceutical Treatment Patterns in Cataract Surgery’ which will take place in the arena, before the workshop resumes following lunch. Moderators for Part 2 are Drs Raymond Applegate of the USA and Pablo Artal of Spain, while Drs Damien Gatinel and A Pallikaris will oversee Part 3.


Poster Sessions

Various times

Moderated and presented poster sessions will be held at various times throughout the day, beginning at 9.30am with presented posters on: ‘Cataract Surgery Outcomes’; ‘Cornea II’ and ‘Glaucoma & Imaging’. From 2pm, a moderated poster session on depth-of-focus technology and presented poster sessions on multifocal IOLs, keratorefractive results and miscellaneous/infections will be available.



Monday 9th October

Exhibition Hall

The exhibition schedule will be open from 9am until 5.30pm on Monday; however, hours are subject to change.


Building a New Eye


Tissue-engineering, regeneration and reconstruction will be the themes running throughout an informative main symposium on Monday, a “controversial yet innovative” session, Dr Fazio believes, whose reigns have rightly been handed to “experienced duo” Dr D Epstein and Dr Boris Malyugin of Russia to chair.


Combined Symposium of Cataract & Refractive Societies

4.15 pm–6.15 pm

Complicated cataract surgery will be examined during this session, which will be chaired by the UK’s Dr David Spalton. The range of complex cases described will include white mature cataracts; pterygium; dense brunescent cataract; and pseudo lens exfoliation. Intrascleral haptic fixation and repairing iris defects in eyes with cataracts will also be among the challenges addressed. Moderators for this programme are Drs Graham Barrett of Australia, William De La Pena of the USA and E Holland, also of the USA. Interspersed throughout will be short discussion breaks. This will be another interesting symposium, according to Dr Fazio, who expects to witness here “the merging of experiences and practice patterns from all over the world”.


Poster Sessions

Various times

Moderated and presented poster sessions will be held at various times throughout the day, beginning at 9.30am with three morning posters on: ‘IOL Power Calculation & Paediatric’; ‘Cornea III’; and ‘Quality of Vision & Miscellaneous’. From 2pm, ‘New and Interesting’ will be the focus of the moderated poster session, while presented posters will cover ‘Complications Management in Cataract Surgery’; ‘Intraocular Refractive Results’; and ‘Posterior Segment’.


Tuesday 10th October

Exhibition Hall

The exhibition schedule will be open between 9am and 5.30pm on Tuesday, with an additional evening session from 6pm until 10pm; however, hours are subject to change.


Intrastromal Lenticule Extraction: To smile or to Cry?


Over the course of Tuesday’s two-hour main symposium, participants will have chance to learn more about the differences between lenticule extraction and LASIK; the impact of intrastromal lenticule extraction on corneal biomechanics; and preliminary results seen in hyperopia and astigmatism, among other subject areas. Chairpersons will be Dr Béatrice Cochener of France and Dr Simonetta Morselli.

Dr Augustin “strongly recommends” this symposium. “Biomechanics are still an important issue, especially in SMILE.”

Dr Fazio regards this session “the star of the day”.

“SMILE has been an earthquake in the relatively quiescent world of laser refractive surgery. After years of ‘cold war’ among PRK and LASIK with no victims and no winners, Zeiss introduced a completely different way of removing tissue from the cornea in order to change its shape. It seems none of the other laser companies want to, or can follow, Zeiss on the same path,” Dr Fazio said. “For surgeons, offering their patients such a procedure means they have to use a completely different laser from the usual one. SMILE has to prove to be head and shoulders taller than LASIK and PRK to convince the surgeons to make such a difficult change.”


Poster Sessions

Various times

Moderated and presented poster sessions will be held at various times throughout the day. At 9.30am, three presented poster sessions will cover ‘FLACS & Others’; ‘Keratorefractive Results II’; and ‘Cornea IV’. One moderated poster session at 2pm will cover news related to the cornea.


Presbyopia Workshop


After lunch on Tuesday, attendees will have chance to visit the ‘Presbyopia Workshop’, which provides an in-depth look at accommodation – whether it can be non-invasively restored and what such non-invasive strategies might be for these patients. The second half of the workshop will focus on the possible treatment options, including contact lens technology. Switzerland-based Dr D Epstein and Dr I Pallikaris of Greece will be the chairpersons.



Wednesday 11th October

Best of the Best Review Session

8.30 am–10.45 am

As a nice way to round up the meeting, a selection of the most interesting presentations given throughout will be reviewed by a panel of physicians, in the ‘Best of the Best’ session first thing on Wednesday. Chairpersons Drs Oliver Findl and Boris Malyugin will introduce two, separate talks: ‘The Best Videos’ and ‘The Best Presentations’, each including two discussants who will run through their favourite slides and discuss some of new ideas that have emerged during the course of the week.


Exhibition Hall

The exhibition schedule will run from 7am until 4pm on Tuesday; however, hours are subject to change.


Six Years On: Is FLACS a Better, Safer Operation than Phaco?

11am – 1pm

Answers to this question will be posed by six speakers during Wednesday’s main symposium, the arguments of whom will be chaired by Dr Antonio Marinho of Portugal and Dr David Spalton. Incisions and capsolutomy will be discussed, as well as the ‘Multicentre Cochraine analysis of FLACS results’. ‘Evidence from the French Femcat Study’ is the title of another presentation. “As with SMILE, jury is still out to decide if it is worthwhile to buy or accede to a femtosecond laser,” Dr Fazio comments. “FLACS is here to remain. The question is whether the technology is, in this phase of development, too immature to deliver real benefits to patients.”


Surgical Skills Training Courses

Surgical skills will be taught in a series of hands-on experiences, where trainees will have the opportunity to practice surgical techniques on porcine eyes in a wet lab. The courses have limited capacity and pre-booking is advised. The cost per course is €100. A wide range of courses is available on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (10th–13th September).

Some of the courses on offer this year are: ‘Basic Phacoemulsication’; ‘Basic Suturing Techniques’; ‘Boston Keratoprosthesis’; ‘Corneal Cross-Linking Therapy; ‘DSEK and DMEK Keratoplasty’; ‘Glaucoma Canaloplasty (Enhanced Visocanalostomy)’; ‘Intraocular and Transcleral Suturing Techniques’; ‘IOL Explantation Wetlab’; and ‘Phaco: Management of Complications’. Dr Augustin often attended these courses at the beginning of his career, so feels it’s worthwhile attending: “You not only become better when you learn from experts in a practical setting, but also you see how your peers manage complications and difficult cases.”

There will also be a Wetlab Practice Room located adjacent to the wetlab rooms to enable participants to further their skills. On a first-come, first-served basis, trainees will have complimentary access to this room. Virtual reality machines will also be available from Sunday until Tuesday, allowing participants to try the basic phacoemulsification procedure in a ‘dry lab’ situation. Again, the machines will be free of charge to use but will operate on a first come, first served basis.  




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