Old Problems, New Tricks : A Post-Graduate Course on Age-Related Macular Degeneration

by Patricia Ann Lee, MD, MBA

In the heart of the lush Ortigas skyline, Crowne Plaza held in its halls the 20th post-graduate course of the Department of Ophthalmology of Cardinal Santos Medical Center.  The topic - age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - was oft-understated but increasingly important, as the country continues to grow towards an aging population. In 2016, 6M Filipinos were calculated to be over the age of 60. This number is expected to increase by 50% within the next 5 years.

With over two hundred resident and consultant ophthalmologists in attendance, the course provided an in depth understanding of AMD. Leaders in the field of retina, including Drs. Sherman Valero, Milagros Arroyo, and Narciso Atienza shared their expertise on the condition’s clinical presentation. Dr. Anna Tan from the Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC) provided a special lecture on the intricacies of diagnosing AMD through OCT-Angiography.



To highlight the importance of multi-disciplinary management, Dr. Romulo Aguilar discussed the condition’s epidemiologic and genetic origins; Dr. Jocelyn Sy emphasized the importance of a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables; and Dr. Sheila Santos-Jimenez put low vision rehabilitation on the forefront. Probably closest to the Department’s heart, however, is its final speaker and first year resident, Dr. Aprille Rapista, who has had research experience with Mount Sinai Hospital and Rutgers School of Medicine. She closed the didactic portion of the course with a discussion of her work on retinal transplantation options in AMD.

In another groundbreaking endeavor, the course similarly offered a workshop on intravitreal injections. 60 participants representing institutions all across the nation were taught proper theory and technique by Cardinal’s retina specialists. A demo-and-return-demo was also done on porcine eyes.

Over-all, the first foray into the elaborate world of age-related macular degeneration was a shining success. It recognized the impact of aging on vision and quality of life and served as a reminder to provide holistic, patient-centered, and evidence-based care at all times. One may even argue that the course is proof that today’s ophthalmologist could very well be the ophthalmologist of the future - one that is invested in all aspects of a patient’s visual health and wellbeing.


About The Author

Dr. Patricia Lee is a graduate of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. She is currently a second year resident in Cardinal Santos Medical Center.