ARVO meeting to highlight eye diseases of aging

"The Aging Eye" is the focus of this year's Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting here Sunday, May 6, to Thursday, May 10.

"The Aging Eye" is the focus of this year's Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting here Sunday, May 6, to Thursday, May 10.

Because age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma are the leading causes of blindness in the world's aging population, with an enormous impact on the global economy, ARVO wants to highlight new ways to prevent and treat these conditions at the meeting, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 clinical and research-oriented vision experts.

The ARVO/Alcon keynote session will be held Sunday from 5:15 to 7 p.m., covering "Public Health Impact of Eye Disease in the Elderly: What Can Be Done About It."

William Novelli, chief executive officer, AARP, will present the address, discussing the role of individuals, communities, the workplace, and health-care systems in increasing and promoting sight preservation in older adults.

Paul Lee, MD, JD, professor of ophthalmology, Duke University, known for his work in assessing cost-effective approaches to improve the vision and quality of life of those with major blinding eye diseases, will highlight specific areas in which the eye-research community can have an impact.

ARVO will present the following awards during the keynote session:

ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmics Research Awards. The ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmics Translational Research Awards honor excellence in research and fundamental scientific discoveries, concepts, and novel technologies leading to clinical evidence of diagnosis, prevention, or amelioration of the pathologic eye and/or an understanding of the normal vision processes. This award has been established through a grant from Pfizer Ophthalmics.This year's awardees:

  • Lloyd P. Aiello, MD, Beetham Eye Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard University, for his outstanding achievements as a model bench-to-bedside clinician-scientist in demonstrating the importance of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in neovascularization, developing anti-VEGF therapies, and characterizing the involvement of protein kinase C (PKC) and effects of PKC inhibitors based on this finding in diabetic retinopathy.


  • Ashim K. Mitra, PhD, University of Missouri–Kansas City, for his innovative research in ophthalmic drug delivery, including both the identification of functional drug transporters in the cornea and the introduction of new analytic techniques.


  • Kupfer Award. The Kupfer Award is presented for distinguished public service on behalf of eye and vision research. This year's winner is David F. Weeks for his dedication as a champion of vision research for 45 years at Research to Prevent Blindness and for his instrumental role in developing the strategy for the establishment of the National Eye Institute.


  • ARVO Distinguished Service Awards will be given to Larry J. Takemoto, PhD, Kansas State University; Joel M. Miller, PhD, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute; Steven E. Wilson, MD, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute; and Paul L. Kaufman, MD, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Two awards lectures will be given on Monday, from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. The Proctor Medal and Lecture will be given by Nicholas G. Bazan, MD, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, who will discuss "Neuroprotective Signaling at the Crossroads of Neurotrophin Bioactivity in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium." His speech will be followed by the Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology and Lecture, which will be given by David L. Guyton, MD, Kreiger Children's Eye Center, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His topic will be "A New Twist on Screwed-up Eyeballs: Ocular Torsion Reveals the Mechanisms of Cyclovertical Strabismus."

Two more lectures will be given on Tuesday, also starting at 5:30 p.m. First, the Friedenwald Award and Lecture will be given by Irene K. Gipson, PhD, Schepens Eye Research Center, Harvard Medical School, on the topic "The Ocular Surface: The Challenge to Enable and Protect Vision." The Cogan Award and Lecture, given by Wolfgang Drexler, PhD, Cardiff University, will follow. The topic will be "Optical Coherence Tomography: Cellular and Function Retinal Imaging."

Four symposia will be held on Sunday:

  • Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress in the Visual System,
    8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

    Mitochondrial dysfunction is a major characteristic of a wide range of visual and age-related disorders. Mutations in mitochondrial DNA are associated with a host of degenerative diseases. Mitochondria generate reactive oxygen species as a by-product of metabolism, and their function depends on the activity of key oxidative stress protective and repair systems. Considerable work recently has shed light on the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress in the visual system and has provided insight into how rational therapies could be developed to delay the onset of mitochondria-associated diseases. This symposium will explore these topics with particular emphasis on eye diseases.
  • New Technologies for In Vivo Imaging in the Eye,
    8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

    In vivo imaging technology now allows the imaging of individual rods and cones, tracing of collagen meshwork, visualization of the internal structure of the photoreceptor layer, and measurement of blood flow in small retinal vessels at gigabits/second speeds that the modern computer workstation barely can handle. This session will examine these recent advances and describe the new investigations and clinical applications they make possible.
  • Accommodation and its Restoration,
    11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    This session will highlight recent investigations of accommodation and its neural control, including new in vivo imaging and objective measurement techniques. Recent advances holding the promise of restoring accommodation in patients with presbyopia also will be discussed.
  • Living Old, Feeling Young,
    11 a.m. to 1 p.m

    This symposium will highlight differences in pathologic versus physiologic aging. Emphasis will be placed on understanding proper retinal repair in youth and how this process may fail in the aging eye. The potential role of retinal and hematopoietic stem cells in repair of aged tissue will be presented. Animal models of aging, including primate models, will be discussed to understand better the features relevant to maintaining healthy visual function while aging. Modern technologic approaches that may provide keys to ocular aging without disease development will be emphasized.

Also on Sunday, the lecture "Ocular Angiogenesis: Challenges of Current Therapies and New Directions" will be given from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. This event, featuring six speakers and presented from a clinical perspective directed to basic researchers, will address the current challenges of anti-angiogenic therapies and discuss future directions of anti-angiogenesis research.