Building Blocks of Ocular Genetics

by Erika Salvame, MD

April 25, marks the worldwide DNA Day. It commemorates the day that paper on DNA Double Helix structure was published by James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin. Since that faithful day in 1953, strides have been made in DNA, genetics and genomics.

Meanwhile, the field of ophthalmology has not failed to delve into genetics. By 2014, the American Association of Ophthalmologists has published Recommendations for Genetic Testing on Inherited Eye Diseases.

Locally, the field of ocular genetics is beginning to catch up. Last February 28, 2017, the Manila Doctors Hospital, kickstarted the year with the symposium entitled Looking Beyond What We See: The Evolving Role of Genomics in Ocular Diseases. More than 100 residents and consultants gathered in Discovery Primea, Ayala Avenue, Makati for the said event.

Dr. Manuel Delfin Jr., vice chairman of the MDH- Department of Ophthalmology, served as the host of the ceremonies and Dr. Cesar G. Espiritu delivered welcoming remarks. The discussion revolved around the application of genomics in everyday ophthalmology practice, the availability of facilities locally for genetic evaluation and the future of ocular genetics.

Speakers included Dr. Edward Ryan Collantes, a graduate of MDH ophthalmology residency  and currently a fellow of Ocular Genomics in Massachussetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School; Ms. Maria Anita Mascarenas-Bautista, current director of the DNA Sequencing Core Facility of the Philippine Genomic Center; Dr. Michelle Lingao, a Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Adult Strabismus and Ocular Genetics Specialist; and Dr. Norman Aquino, Glaucoma specialist, founding member and past president of the Philippine Glaucoma Society.

Ocular genetics is a young subspecialty, one that has an ability to touch and transform every other ophthalmologic subspecialty. It has a potential to unlock and defeat ocular pathologies that we previously deemed untreatable. It is about time that we here in the Philippine look beyond what we see now and evolve our knowledge in ocular genetics.


Official Even Poster

MDH Residency Staff and Junior Consultants.
From Left: Dr. Jesse Lu, Dr. Lester Tan, Dr. Patricia Tacata, Dr. Erika Salvame, Dr. Earl Cruz, Dr. Elizabeth Giller, Dr. Cris Chavez, Dr. Diane Abin, Dr. John Catbagan, Dr. David Pastrana

From left: Dr. Jacinto Dy-Liacco, Dr. Michelle Lingao, Dr. Cesar Espiritu, Dr. Anita- Bautista, Dr. Ryan Collantes, Dr. Norman Aquino, Dr Jennifer Manzano, Dr. Manuel Delfin Jr

MDH Consultant Staff:
From left: Dr. Ryan Torres, Dr. Miko Gemarino, Dr. Paolo delos Santos, Dr. Ezekiel Sy, Dr. Cecil Ver, Dr. Joanna Ver, Dr. Florentina Fajardo-Gomez, Dr. Catherine Reyes-Delifino


About The Author

Dr. Erika Salvame is a 2nd year ophthalmology resident at Manila Doctors Hospital.