ARVO 2024: A cascade of content in Seattle

Digital EditionOphthalmology Times: June 2024
Volume 49
Issue 6

Presenters from around the world converge on the Pacific Northwest to highlight innovation.

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/underwaterstas)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/underwaterstas)

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) recently concluded its 2024 annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, with content and presentations that demonstrated the level of innovation present on the field of ophthalmology today.

The largest community of ophthalmic and optometric researchers worldwide, ARVO boasts more than 10,000 members from more than 75 countries. Each year, researchers, clinicians, and scientists from around the world attend the meeting to take part in poster presentations, scientific sessions, and invited speaker sessions.

According to Jenniffer Scherhaufer, assistant director of communications for ARVO, this year’s event featured more than 5500 posters and 860 paper sessions. There also were more than 75 on-demand presentations.

“We did have a return to prepandemic levels with attendance numbers just under 12,000,” Scherhaufer said.

SriniVas Sadda, MD, started his term as president of the organization at the conclusion of the meeting. He is the director of artificial intelligence and imaging research at Doheny Eye Institute and a professor of ophthalmology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I’m really looking forward to serving my term as ARVO president,” Sadda told Ophthalmology Times. “It’s a real great honor. The mission of ARVO really is to promote this kind of scientific exchange between vision science researchers from around the world to promote vision science research, ultimately, with the goal of finding cures and treatments for patients.”

A highlight of the meeting was a focus on the impact of innovation, technology, and information on vision research, including the continued rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

The meeting kicked off May 5 with symposia and programs that centered on cross-disciplinary topics of interest to the broader ARVO membership.

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Ed Yong presented the keynote address, drawing from his latest book, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us, which examines animal senses, highlighting the wide range of ways the animal kingdom sees the world.

The National Eye Institute’s Emily Chew, MD, presented the Proctor Medal Lecture.Her presentation was titled “The Epidemic of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Therapeutic Strategies Towards Prevention.”

“We believe prevention is very important,” she said. “If we can do something early, that would be much better than having to get late disease [treatment].”

Daniel Saban, PhD, FARVO, gave the Cogan Award Lecture. The Cogan Award is given to individuals 45 years or younger who show great promise for making an impact on ophthalmology and vision sciences for the future.

Saban discussed the continued need for innovation, which he said has been outstanding in recent years.

“There are retinal degenerative diseases that have been or will be or continue to be treated with gene therapy modalities that are new drugs in the context of geographic atrophy and AMD [age-related macular degeneration],” he said. “But there’s still a massive unmet medical need. And there’s a massive need for innovation.”

Anand Swaroop, PhD, FARVO, presented the Friedenwald Award Lecture, and Martine J. Jager, MD, PhD, FARVO, presented the Weisenfeld Award Lecture.

AI takes center stage

Several studies presented at the meeting focused on the benefits of AI in vision research and global health, demonstrating how it can support scientists, clinicians, and patients.

In one presentation, Tien Y. Wong, MD, PhD, FARVO, along with an international team, focused on their development of DeepDR-LLM, a new deep learning–large language model system designed to assist primary care providers in improving diabetic retinopathy screening and diabetes care.

In another presentation, a chart review showed that diabetic retinopathy (DR) is associated with older age, longer duration of type 1 diabetes, earlier onset of type 1 diabetes, and some modifiable risk factors.

The results, according to first author Konstantina Sampani, MD, indicated that maintaining control of blood pressure (BP) and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) is key to preventing the onset of DR.

Sampani is from the Beetham Eye Institute at Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

The study underscored the significant associations seen with older age, longer disease duration, earlier disease onset, and some modifiable risk factors, and the importance of controlling BP and HbA1C to prevent disease onset.

An international team of researchers presented a study validating AI chatbot ChatGPT as a possible uveitis patient resource.

A team of researchers, led by Saeed Mohammadi, MD, a visiting scholar in the laboratory of Quan Dong Nguyen, MD, MSc, FARVO, FASRS, at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, used 8 uveitis patient educational websites in their research. Those were based on Google’s recommendations. They then tapped data from the National Eye Institute (NEI), National Health Service, Healthline, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Ocular Uveitis and Immunology Foundation, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.1

According to the researchers, they submitted data to ChatGPT 4.0 that was similar to information from the websites as they sought simple responses and standard information. They then asked vitreoretinal specialists to examine the contents and grade it without knowing the source, determining accuracy, personal preference, and comprehensiveness.

Closing keynote address

A closing keynote address was presented on May 9 by Emmy Award–winning scientist and author Sheril Kirshenbaum, who highlighted some of best ways to connect with a diverse audience, counter misinformation, promote evidence-based thinking, and support the decision-making process.

An academic specialist at Michigan State University, Kirshenbaum is focusing her research on senior congressional staffers who make decisions about science and policy.

Looking ahead to 2025, Scherhaufer said the work will begin soon.

The 2025 ARVO Annual Meeting will be held May 4 to 8, 2025, in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a spotlight on the cutting-edge advancements that have allowed ophthalmologists to study the eye on all levels with detail like never before.

“Our Annual Meeting Program Committee has not met yet regarding 2025, but we do not anticipate many content changes to the program,” she said.

The 2025 meeting promises to examine the future of vision science in the emerging era of innovation and artificial intelligence with the theme of “i3”: imaging, innovation, and intelligence in vision science.

  1. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Published May 5, 2024. Accessed May 10, 2024.
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