Physicians' Perspective: Desired Changes Among Retina Specialists


Carl Regillo, MD, of Wills Eye, and Michael Stewart, of the Mayo Clinic, discuss changes they would like to see in their speciality at ASRS 2019.

Often overlooked among headlines that include novel therapies and long-term study results are the conversations that take place in the hallways at annual conferences. 

The 2019 American Society of Retina Specialists Annual Meeting serves as a unique opportunity for leading retina specialists from throughout the world to convene and discuss their work. While many of these conversations concern positive advances in the field, there is often some things retina specialists would like to see change about their specialty. 

Carl Regillo, MD, director of retina service at Wills Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University, presented work from the HAWK and HARRIER trials at ASRS 2019, but also sat down with MD Magazine to discuss topics ranging from electronic medical records to potential clinical advantages of brolucizumab.

Michael Stewart, MD, chair of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, presented work examining the efficacy of a potential oral therapy for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) and, like Regillo, sat down with MD Mag to discuss a number of subjects within the field. One of the questions that was prompted to both physicians was, “If you could change something about your specialty, what would it be?”

MD Mag: If you could change one thing about your specialty, what would that be?

Regillo: I think probably the best way to get the best results from wet AMD is not to react to wet AMD — that is when wet AMD occurs and then we have to try and stay on top of it, but I would like to see us move more and more in the direction of preventing dry to wet transformation. If we could, and it would be akin to the holy grail, if you could prevent wet AMD from ever forming — that's the best way to manage AMD. At least, for patients that are destined to become wet. We still need a treatment for dry AMD that progresses to geographic atrophy which is another way people lose vision. So we definitely need therapeutics to help prevent the advanced stages of AMD and that goes for our other retinal conditions. So, we have a lot of work to do still to get to that point but I'd like to see that sooner rather than later.

Stewart: If we could change one thing, it really is improvement in therapies. We've come a long way in the last 15 years and our field has changed dramatically, but we're only scratching the surface in terms of what we're capable of doing and in terms of where I'd like us to be. I'd like us to be with treatment cures and that's going to require significant improvement in therapies. It's going to require prophylaxis and it's going to require a lot more science and drug development than we have right now. Right now, we have treatment of chronic diseases, what we need is cure of chronic disease and prevention.

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