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Australia Prepares to Host 8th World Glaucoma Congress

Following the success of the 7th World Glaucoma Congress in Helsinki in 2017, Australia is proud to host, for the first time on our shores, the 8th World Glaucoma Congress (WGC) in Melbourne, from 27–30 March 2019.

The WGC is the world’s largest glaucoma conference and is organised biennially by the World Glaucoma Association (WGA). The WGA, founded in 2002, has a core purpose to eliminate glaucoma related disability worldwide. It achieves this on a global level by providing education, increasing public awareness and recognition of glaucoma, and promoting scientific progress that translates to clinical advances in glaucoma service delivery. The WGA has a particular focus on supporting glaucoma services and research for developing world nations.

Major WGA projects include its Consensus Statements, the Journal of Glaucoma, its International Glaucoma Review publication, its Africa Project, and the World Glaucoma Week every March.

Over the years, the Association and second-yearly Congress has received strong Australian/New Zealand input. The Australian and New Zealand Glaucoma Society was a founding regional member of the Association, Prof. Ivan Goldberg is a past President (2006–2008) and Assoc/Prof. Paul Healey is the current Treasurer. The current President, Prof. Keith Martin (previously UK), is now calling Melbourne home. Other Australians and New Zealanders serve on several WGA Committees and Boards. The meeting has always welcomed optometrists, with several prominent Australians – A/Prof. Bang Bui, Prof Allison McKendrick, Prof Joanne Wood – on the faculty.

A Meeting of Global Scientific and Clinical Leaders 

The 2019 Congress will be a fantastic gathering of global scientific and clinical leaders in glaucoma discussing the latest advances and trends in the field. There will be the largest and most comprehensive glaucoma surgical wet labs on the globe, with a special emphasis on minimally invasive surgical (MIGS) devices. Additionally, there will be a plethora of high level sessions and courses, with topics including:

  • Optic nerve imaging updates, with a focus on the role of optical coherence tomography angiography in glaucoma,
  • Optic nerve biomechanics,
  • Animal models of glaucoma,
  • Artificial intelligence in glaucoma diagnosis and monitoring,
  • The latest in neuroprotection, including mitochondria in glaucoma,
  • Surgical challenges, such as drainage tube complications, surgical management of hypotony and cataract surgery in glaucoma,
  • New MIGS devices in development, and surgical indications for MIGS,
  • Genetics and big data in glaucoma,
  • Advances in collaborative care service delivery, and
  • Health economics of glaucoma service delivery, with a focus on disadvantaged groups and developing nations.

The 2019 WGC will also include a film festival, highlighting challenging surgical cases, and an amazing array of original research from across the globe presented in a poster display.

Free Public Seminar 

In a unique initiative, Glaucoma Australia (GA) has arranged a public patient seminar, which will be held in conjunction with the Congress. All people with glaucoma, their friends and family are invited to attend this free event, during which expert speakers will outline scientific and clinical advances discussed at the WGC. People with glaucoma will be invited to share their experiences and daily challenges, and the supporting roles of visual disability services and GA will be discussed.

GA will also participate in a 5km Fun Run to promote the message: “Glaucoma runs in families” and an optometry led glaucoma risk screening clinic will be set up in the foyer of the exhibition centre, open to all.

Australian and New Zealand Glaucoma Society 

RANZCO’s sub-specialty Australian and New Zealand Glaucoma Society (ANZGS) will also have a prominent role at the WGC. The organisation will host a major symposium, showcasing pre-eminent glaucoma research from Australian and New Zealand universities. Several prominent ANZGS members, who serve on the conference’s local organising committee, will facilitate social and cultural events for the international delegates, including the opening ceremony, congress dinner, and a half day winery tour of the Yarra Valley.

The 2019 World Glaucoma Congress will be memorable, stimulating, and fun. It will also be a a chance for Australia to shine on the international arena. Come along and be part of it.

Visit: www.worldglaucomacongress.org