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By Beth Thomas Hertz
San Francisco - The organizers for Glaucoma 360 here are promising that the fourth installment of this meeting, set for Feb. 5 to 7, will be even better than those held in the past 3 years.
“This meeting has come of age,” said Tom Brunner, president and CEO of the Glaucoma Research Foundation, which is overseeing the meeting. “It is now the most widely known glaucoma meeting of its type and has become the meeting to attend.”
Andrew Iwach, MD, a glaucoma practitioner in the San Francisco area and chairman of the Board of Glaucoma Research Foundation who co-founded and co-chairs the event with Adrienne Graves, PhD, explained that the meeting is called Glaucoma 360 because it is all-encompassing.
“It combines a philanthropic gala, an event about the latest that is going on in industry, and a half-day of CME,” he said. “It really is a one-of-a-kind event.”
The meeting begins Thursday, Feb. 5, with Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala. The annual fundraising benefit supports the Glaucoma Research Foundation’s mission to fund innovative research and provide education and support for glaucoma patients and their caregivers. Individual tickets are $395 for this black-tie-preferred event at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
This is the 9th year the Gala has been held. At the Gala, Dr. Graves will be honored with the Catalyst Award for her many contributions to ophthalmology. Attendees typically include philanthropists, scientists, industry leaders, and others, Brunner said. “Everyone who has an interest in preventing vision loss from glaucoma will be there.”
Dr. Iwach called it a fun, relaxing evening.
“It’s a great opportunity to reflect on the challenges of caring for glaucoma as well as to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to raise money for more research,” he said.
The “New Horizons Forum,” set for Friday, Feb. 6, will be a full day of presentations, panels and discussions featuring CEOs from start-up companies, industry executives, ophthalmic leaders, venture capitalists, and the FDA.
This gathering unites these leaders with the goal of speeding the translation of new ideas to improved therapies for glaucoma patients, said Dr. Iwach.
“It lets ophthalmologists see what is in the pipeline and what new ideas are out there,” he said. “It also exposes people with ideas to companies that need study sites and participants. It can help clinicians get into clinical research.”
Brunner calls this day “the centerpiece of Glaucoma 360.”
“We are so excited that this meeting has become well-enough known that we couldn’t invite all the companies that wanted to present,” he said. “This speaks to the fact that there is a lot going on in this field and the right people are at this meeting.”
Plans for Friday’s event include the Opening Keynote Address, “Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation in Glaucoma,” by Paul P. Lee, MD, JD, director of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan. Many presentations and discussions about new drugs and devices will follow, as well as sessions on IOP monitoring, funding, and regulatory updates
“People like that this meeting is small enough that you can really talk with the experts who are there,” Brunner said. “With several breaks, a luncheon, and a reception, networking is a key part of the event.”
Then on Saturday, Feb. 7, the Glaucoma Symposium CME event will be held. In its 19th year, this symposium for clinicians highlights the latest advances in glaucoma management, medications, and surgical technique. The target audience is practicing ophthalmologists, ophthalmology residents, and fellows.
Dr. Iwach noted that more than 400 ophthalmologists attended this day last year.
“The content is very clinically based and the faculty is truly stellar. We ask all speakers to give the audience clinical pearls that they can put into practice next week in their office, and they deliver,” he said. “We know time is so precious for doctors and we are committed to quickly giving them ideas that are useful.”
Dr. Lee also will be the keynote speaker on Saturday. His topic will be “Improving Patient Outcomes: Combining Science and Art.”
Others topics to be covered include Glaucoma: Managing the Odds; Complexities Encountered with Cataract Surgery in Glaucoma Patients; Glaucoma Neuroprotection; New Surgical Devices and Procedures; and Stem Cells and Glaucoma: Fact or Fiction?
The Glaucoma Symposium CME is complimentary but advance registration is required.
Dr. Iwach said that all three events are worth attending, but encouraged ophthalmologists to come, even if they can’t stay the whole time.
“There is a lot going on, plus it’s a beautiful time to be in San Francisco,” he said. “We have left Saturday afternoon free, so they can go explore the wine country at a time of year when it is not so crowded, or visit any of the other great museums or activities in the Bay Area.
For more information about Glaucoma 360, visit http://www.glaucoma360.org