At the Aspen Retina Detachment Society meeting in March of 2017, Dr. Gregg Kokame was invited to teach the audience of prominent retinal specialists, many of whom are leaders and chairman of ophthalmology departments in the US, about the newest diagnostic tests for PCV, as well as the most recently released treatment trials specific to PCV. Our OCT studies recently published in the Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society have localized PCV to the region between Bruch’s membrane and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Audience testing initially showed that only 35% of attendees knew this, but after the lecture almost 90% understood this important teaching. This information is important to guide and understand diagnostic testing, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), en face OCT, OCT angiography, and indocyanine green angiography.
Besides treatment with Lucentis, Eylea and Avastin, combination treatment with photodynamic treatment (PDT) has been recently shown to be very effective for PCV, especially when there is resistance to the above drugs. A recent study performed in Asia also showed that combined PDT and medication injection may be superior in vision results and in decreasing treatment burden rather than medication injections alone.
Hawaii provides a unique crossroads between Asia and the USA, which has allowed the development of close ties between leading researchers in Asia and the USA. The extensive experience with PCV in Asia has provided important expertise, which has allowed RCH to utilize the unique population in Hawaii to more accurately diagnose and treat this disease. The newest research has identified a higher incidence of PCV in Caucasian patients with wet macular degeneration than previously recognized, which highlights the importance of more careful diagnostic testing to identify this disease, not only in Hawaii, but across the USA. PCV is important to recognize as different therapy may be considered, especially when PCV is resistant to the usual intravitreal injected medications.
The Aspen Retinal Detachment Society has become a highly respected meeting over the past 45 years, having been host to the most respected leaders and speakers in retinal disease. It is an honor for Dr. Kokame to have been invited to speak at this meeting for the third time. There were 120 retina specialists at this meeting, and there was excellent and spirited discussion of lecture topics, which is a hallmark of this meeting. One of the most discussed topics by the audience was the new information Dr. Kokame provided on his research on PCV. For Dr. Kokame, who is an avid skier, the meeting also provides an excellent venue to develop camaraderie among his colleagues throughout the USA on the ski slopes.