By Olga Aprianti Lee, SIECRC

There is a growing body of literature that shows that eye inflammation and its related complications are important causes of visual loss in a wide variety of retinal diseases. Recent research have revealed the critical role of inflammation underlying the pathophysiology of retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, Irvine-Gass syndrome and age-related macular degeneration. Inflammation may contribute to the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier, causing leakage of blood and swelling of the retina, as well as the growth of new and abnormal blood vessels.

Knowledge and understanding of the role of inflammation in these conditions has led to the development and use of anti-inflammatory therapies in the treatment of these retinal diseases. An example of this is a slow-release intravitreal implant containing dexamethasone that can be injected into the eye to treat swelling of the retina caused by retinal vein occlusion, non-infectious inflammation of the uvea affecting the back segment of the eye and diabetic macular oedema.

ARIA (Addressing Retinal InflAmmation) is a medical education programme developed by a panel of experts to review the evolving treatment paradigms for addressing the underlying inflammatory processes contributing to visual loss in retinal diseases.

ARIA IV, the fourth and latest programme, consists of the following modules:

Module I: Macular Oedema – Beyond the Surface

Module II: Novel Imaging in Diabetic Macular Oedema

Module III: All Steroids are “Equal”, but Some are “More Equal” than Others

Module IV: Diabetic Macular Oedema

Module V: Diabetic Macular Oedema Management

Module VI: The Patient and Payer Perspective

Dr Au Eong Kah Guan, Medical Director and Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist from International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, joined a group of retinal specialists from around the region at the ARIA IV Experts Meeting held on 9 June 2017 at the Pan Pacific in Singapore. The meeting was chaired by Professor Anat Lowenstein from Israel. Two other distinguished speakers at the meeting were Professor Usha Chakravarthy from the United Kingdom and Professor Albert Augustin from Germany.

The attendees at the ARIA IV Experts Meeting comprised senior retinal specialists and key opinion leaders from many countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Australia and Singapore. The meeting, supported by an educational grant from Allergan, was an excellent opportunity for the retinal specialists to keep abreast of the latest developments in the management of retinal inflammation as well as to make new friends and renew old ties.