Newsletter - 2014

The XL Meeting of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis took place in Tokyo, Japan in conjunction with the WOC2014.

The WOC2014 Congress was held at the Tokyo International Forum and the Imperial Hotel from 2-6 April, 2014 and was cosponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology, the Japanese Ophthalmological Society, and the Asian Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. Members and their guests had ample opportunity to participate in Congress activities as well as enjoy the sights and attractions of Tokyo. The meeting was the largest WOC to date with 20,000 participants. It was beautifully organized under the leadership of its President Oshika.
Social events included the the Presidential Dinner on Tuesday, and the Japan Night on Friday and Speakers Reception on Saturday.
The spectacular opening ceremony in the presence of the Crownprince reflected the heritage of Japan.
We are grateful to JOS and APAO for their hospitality during our visit to Tokyo.

opening ceremony

General Assembly

 55 Voting Members attended the General Assembly.


New president


During the General Assembly the new President G.N Rao was elected and will serve a 4 years term together with the two Vice-Presidents Richard Abbott and Tatsuro Ishibashi, and treasurer Marie-José Tassignon and Secretary General Peter Wiedemann.

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Induction of new members

During the General Assembly six new members were inducted to voting membership and given their medals, pins, and certificates: Prof. Christophe Baudouin (chair XXXII), Prof. Hans Edwin Grossniklaus (chair LXXIII), Prof. Ana Luisa Höfling-Lima (chair LXIX), Prof. Sir Peng Khaw (chair LXVII), Prof. Joan Whitten Miller (chair LXVIII), and Prof. Stefan Seregard (chair LXXI).

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Academia elects new members

Outstanding candidates were nominated for Academia membership and seven new members were elected:
Eduardo C. Alfonso (Chair IV)
J. Fernando Arevalo (Chair XXIX)
Peter J. McDonnell (Chair XXXII)
Jacob Pe’er (Chair XLVII)
Taiji Sakamoto (Chair XL)
Ningli Wang (Chair LXXiV)
Marco A. Zarbin (Chair LXXV)



The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 AM followed by a group photo and morning tea.

First row from left to right: Höfling-Lima, Watson, Jager, Goldberg, N.Rao, Alio, Vassileva, Taylor, Tassignon, Lichter, Wiedemann, Nagpal, Barraquer, Li, Aydin, Süveges, Lorenz, Seregard, Grossniklaus. Second row: Belfort, Tso, Kivela, Zagorski, Lang, Billson, Straatsma, Ritch, Constable, Spivey, Lam, J. Zhao, Pallikaris, McGhee, Kampik, Cunha-Vaz, Dua, Khaw Third row: G. Rao, Graue, Wong, Baudouin, Miyake, K. Zhao, Parke, Miller, Sieving, Sahel, Bandello, Burnier, Maumenee, Abbott, Verdaguer, Contreras, Ishibashi, Moore, Sommer

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The special scientific session was opened after the General Assembly. First an obituary was delivered by Peter Wiedemann for Prof. SJ Ryan, Francesco Bandello for Prof. Giuseppe Scuderi, and Narsing Rao for Prof. Ronald E. Smith.

Special scientific session

During the Special Scientific Session six Inaugural Lectures were delivered by the newly inducted Members;

The first Inaugural Lecture was presented by Prof Christophe Baudouin: “Glaucoma, an ocular surface disease”.

Prof. Hans Edwin Grossniklaus delivered the second lecture entitled: “Progression of Metastatic Ocular Melanoma to the Liver”.

The third lecture was presented by Prof. Ana Luisa Höfling-Lima: “Infectious keratitis”.
Prof. Sir Peng Khaw presented: “Advances in repair and regeneration from the front to the back of the eye”.

Prof. Joan Whitten Miller presented: “The Harvard Angiogenesis story”, and

Prof. Stefan Seregard presented: “Conjunctival melanoma”.

Prof. Christophe Baudouin: Glaucoma, an ocular surface disease
Prof. Hans Edwin Grossniklaus: Progression of Metastatic Ocular Melanoma to the Liver
Prof. Ana Luisa Höfling-Lima: Infectious keratitis
Prof. Peng Khaw: Advances in repair and regeneration from the front to the back of the eye
Prof. Stefan Seregard: Conjunctival melanoma
Prof. Joan Whitten Miller: The Harvard Angiogenesis story

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Member presentations

Three member presentations followed.

Prof. Mark O.M. Tso presented. “Teaching Ophthalmic Pathology to Improve Global Eye Care: The Zimmerman Legacy”

Prof. Robert Ritch presented: “History of angle closure”

Prof. Harminder Singh Dua showed his research by “Lamellar corneal surgery reveals a new lamella: implications for cornea and glaucoma”




Prof. Mark O.M. Tso presented: “Teaching Ophthalmic Pathology to Improve Global Eye Care: The Zimmerman Legacy”
Prof. Robert Ritch presented: “History of angle closure”
Prof. Harminder Singh Dua showed his research by “Lamellar corneal surgery reveals a new lamella: implications for cornea and glaucoma”

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Academia Oration

Prof. Paul Lichter introduced the Academia Oration and the Orator Prof. Takashi Aoi ( who presented the fascinating and highly informative lecture:
"Medical Applications of iPS cells".

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At the conclusion of our Special Scientific Session  the annual Academia Luncheon was held in honour of our AOI Orator, Prof. Takashi Aoi.

AOI symposia at WOC 2014

Congratulations to the organisers on the superb stem cell and gene therapy and diabetes symposium.  It was great and was another example of the Academia's reach and talent.
The other Academia speakers in these symposia deserve our thanks, too, for their work in bringing recognition to the Academia. The full house was also validation of the good efforts.

Stem cell and Gene Therapy

Special thanks to Professor José Sahel and Professor Paul Sieving for organizing and moderating the AOI symposium on stem cell and gene therapy. This session was a fine follow-up to our AOI Oration on iPS cells and their medical application. AOI Session: Stem Cell and Gene Therapy
Thu, 4/3: 13:30 PM - 15:00 PM
April 3, 1.30 PM - 3.00 PM
Imperial Hotel
Room: Botan
Lead clinicians-researchers discussed the current status and critical steps towards developing innovative stem cell and gene therapy approaches to restore vision in currently untreatable eye diseases. The discussions focussed on a range of stem-cell and gene-therapy techniques, exploring ways to improve gene delivery to the target cells and safely reprogram cells, developing models to evaluate and overcome the challenges to successfully translate these technologies to the clinic.

President Prof. Peter Watson turns over the AOI President’s Medal to incoming President Lichter

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Diabetic Retinopathy

Similarly, thank you to Professor Xiaoxin Li for organizing the AOI Symposium on diabetic retinopathy and to her and Professor Tien Wong for moderating the session. At the close of that session, many of our members heard the outstanding AOI Lecture delivered by Prof. Ishibashi. AOI Session: New Trends in Strategies to Prevent Visual Loss in Diabetic Retinopathy in Asia
Fri, 4/4: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
April 4, 10.30 AM - 12.00 PM
Imperial Hotel
Room: Fuji
This session focussed on controversies in prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and discussed the updated outcome of studies.

Academia lecture

Pathogenesis of Vascular Permeability in Diabetic Macular Edema

by Tatsuro Ishibashi MD
(Department of Ophthalmology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan)
The recent development of new therapeutic agents together with refined surgical interventions could drastically improve the prognosis of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Currently, diabetic macular edema (DME) is the major cause of vision loss in DR patients. Therefore, a better understanding of the pathogenesis of DME is needed to develop effective therapeutic strategies.
The breakdown of the inner blood-retinal barrier (BRB) can be considered as a main cause of DME. This results in leakage from hyperpermeable capillaries and microaneurysms. In the inner BRB that regulates the entry of molecules into the inner retina, two vascular permeability pathways have been proposed:  the paracellular pathway involving endothelial cell tight junctions, and the endothelial transcellular pathway mediated by endocytotic vesicles. Vascular endotherial growth factor (VEGF) is a principal mediator of endothelial permeability in DME. The therapeutic use of VEGF inhibitors has revolutionized the treatment of DME, allowing recovery of lost vision. However, a caveat is the need for repeated injections as well as the existence of non-responders. This exemplifies the need for new therapeutic strategies with an outreach “beyond VEGF”.
In this lecture, I will focus on the mechanism of VEGF-induced vascular permeability in DME and summarize the future “beyond VEGF” therapeutic strategies that could help treat the current anti-VEGF resistant DR population.


April 30,2014, Prof. Juan Verdaguer was awarded the National Prize for Medicine in Chile. This prize is awarded every two years to a Medical Doctor by a jury composed by the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of University Faculties of Medicine, the Association of Medical Scientific Societies and the Medical College of Chile, on the basis of contributions to teaching, research, public health, ethics, etc. It was the first time this distinction was awarded to an ophthalmologist; the award usually went to internists, surgeons or pediatricians.

The following prizes were given to Academia members during WOC 2014:

Bradley Straatsma, MD: JD Bernardo Streiff Gold Medal. The Streiff Medal is presented every 4 years "to an ophthalmologist who has contributed most, through history, ethics and education, to the advance of ophthalmology." Medal nominees are proposed by an AOI Awards Committee and the AOI Membership; then, an election by secret ballot determines the recipient of the Medal.

Peter Watson FRCOphth: Jules François Gold Medal

Richard Abbott MD: International Duke Elder Medal

Mark Tso MD, DSc: International Council of Ophthalmology Ophthalmic Pathology Award

Charles Mc Ghee, MD, FRCS, FROphth: Golden Apple Award

Dennis Shun-Chin Lam, MD, FRCS, FRCOphth: Joe Rizal Medal

Abhay Vasavada, MD, FRCS: Susruta Lecture




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