One of the surprising developments we’ve experienced collectively in ophthalmology over the last 18 months is the online conference. At this point, we’ve lost count of the number of events the Media MICE team has intended, and of course, we hosted our very own shindig last June which we were really happy about. During the course of the pandemic, we’ve all seen the conferences improve in production values too as more resources are given over to putting on a show.
Now while we definitely think our very own CAKE & PIE Expo (C&PE 2021) was a standout event (and it also included our very own CEO Matt Young dressed in one of his many banana suits), we also had some pretty awesome production values on show, especially in the lobby. It seems that since then other conferences have followed suit, and the All Indian Ophthalmological Society conference (AIOC 2021) on June 24-27 was no exception. Don’t worry, we’re not postulating a conspiracy (or are we) but what is for sure is that the AIOC 2021 had an awesome lobby for the attendees to enjoy, one that would swoop you through the various rooms, exhibits, and halls, as if you were flying.
Naturally, while we were impressed with AIOC’s awesome-looking lobby, our main focus was some of India’s best and brightest. There was a huge amount of exhibits and symposiums to peruse, and also a very interesting and extensive list of posters on display. When we say extensive here, we mean it, one of our writers tried to count because apparently, he’s something of a masochist, but gave up after realizing the weekend was approaching and he was nowhere near finished.
The List of COVID-19 Complications is Getting Seriously Long
One of the first posters to catch the team’s eye was A Rare Case of CRVO: Is it a Thrombo-embolic Manifestation of COVID 19? Presented by lead author Dr. Varsha Behera, a junior resident at Hi-Tech Medical College and Hospital (Bhubaneswar, India), the poster highlighted an unusual case where a 47-year-old male presented with a blurring of vision lasting for one week after testing positive for COVID-19. On undergoing fundus examination, both eyes showed massive retinal hemorrhages involving the macula, the optic disc was hyperemic and edematous, and retinal veins were tortuous and congested, leading to a diagnosis of central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO).
While the patient had not complained of ocular issues in the past he did have diabetes and a history of high blood pressure, all exacerbating factors to COVID-19. Dr. Behera and the rest of her team concluded that while the ocular manifestation of COVID 19 normally includes conjunctivitis followed by tearing and eye pain, CRVO may also manifest due to an increased inflammatory and hyperviscosity response. They concluded by calling for further research on the links between CRVO and COVID-19.
Now if the aforementioned COVID-19 patient wasn’t too traumatized by his CRVO experience then he might have enjoyed the AIOC’s section on diabetic retinopathy and medical retina. Stargardt’s Disease in a Young Female: A Case Report, was presented by Dr. Annesha Sonowal at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (Guwahati, India) and focused on Stargardt’s disease (juvenile macular dystrophy), the most common form of macular dystrophy. The report focused on an 18-year-old woman who complained of painless progressive diminution of eyesight in both eyes over six years.
Remember Guys, Always Quit Smoking
The patient had no history of ocular trauma or pathology, or a family history of macular issues. However, she had pinhole visual acuity of just 6/60 in both eyes. Upon diagnosis, Dr. Sonowal remarked that the patient exhibited a typical history of progression of visual loss in both eyes which rapidly deteriorated from 6/12 in the right eye and 6/18 in the left eye. The patient is still undergoing management focused on counseling and providing the best visual correction with aids, while also encouraging her to maintain good sun protection, avoid a high vitamin A intake, and finally, to stop smoking.
One way to help in the counseling process is to establish a healthy routine, for example, by waking up early in the morning to bask in the glory of the rising sun. What would perhaps be less welcome is Morning Glory syndrome, an uncommon congenital anomaly of the optic disc characterized by a funnel-shaped excavation of the posterior fundus which encloses a large excavated disc with a central area of glial tissue and peripapillary chorioretinal pigmentation. This was the subject of another poster of note, A Rare Presentation of Morning Glory Syndrome.
Led by chief author Dr. Rakendu Puthiyedath of the Kerala Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons (Kerala, India), the researchers involved in the poster studied the case of an eight-year-old boy presenting with retinal detachment in both eyes. The patient had undergone cataract surgery with intraocular lens implantation in both eyes for congenital cataracts as well as surgery for cleft lip and cleft palate. The conclusion was that clinicians should monitor for symptoms including strabismus, retinal detachment, persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous and more, and that while it is not progressive, early diagnosis and monitoring is crucial to patient quality of life.
Editor’s Note. The 79th Annual Conference of the All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOC 2021) was held virtually from 24-27 June. Reporting for this story took place during the event.