Retina doctors in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Department of Ophthalmology at Al Qassimi Hospital and under the patronage of the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the United Arab Emirates and in collaboration with Bayer, successfully concluded the first Gulf Retina Conference under the name iSee GRC (iSee Gulf Retina Conference) for doctors and retina specialists in Arab Gulf countries in Dubai to address the need for a more collaborative approach in advancing retinal care in the region. This initiative is the first of its kind for retina specialists in the Middle East. Dr. Mohammed Al Omari, Chairman of the Conference and the Organizing Committee, Jamal Al-Kandari, Vice-President, and Dr. Ahmed Al Khashab, Chairman of the Scientific Committee, headed the conference.
Experts from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan along with Gulf experts discussed the advances in surgical and medical management approaches to retina care to more than 170 doctors from the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The inaugural event aims to bring together retina specialists in the region to exchange knowledge and experiences as well as provide updates on the latest surgical and medical retinal treatments.
Dr. Fatima Al Amiri, National Coordinator of Eye Health (Prevention of Blindness) MOHAP, said: “The retina is a very delicate part of the eye that is critical in ensuring an individual’s intact vision. Without proper care and treatment, retinal blockage and other disorders can lead to visual impairment. This initiative aims to advance the communication and exchange of knowledge among retina experts as part of the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s programme to deliver quality healthcare. Our ultimate goal is to attain happiness for patients in the UAE and the Gulf region.”
Dr. Al Omari, Chairman of the Conference, said that retinal diseases, especially diabetic retinopathy, are prevalent in the Gulf region. In fact, several Gulf States are among the top 10 nations with the highest case of diabetes, posing a challenge to health authorities to come up with early detection programs and establish effective treatment process and prevention.
Hany Sabry, Gulf Country Head, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, commented: “We thank the Ministry of Health & Prevention for their commitment to bring about collaboration among retina specialists in the region and push for a more defined approach towards better eye care, especially in the UAE and the Gulf countries. Retina care is an important area of concern for many eye patients especially for those with chronic conditions that may cause loss of vision. Retinal diseases affect nearly 16 million people worldwide and we hope this partnership will significantly contribute to a long-term solution for patients in the region.”
Al-Kandari from Kuwait, the Deputy Chairman of the Conference, warned that diabetes leads to eye swelling and loss of vision, thus the need to organize the event to enable stakeholders to discover the latest in treatment methods.
For his part, Dr. Al Khashab, Chairman of the Scientific Committee, presented the latest therapeutic developments which can help improve the vision of individuals suffering from diabetic retinopathy. Injecting the drugs inside the liquid glass is considered a scientific revolution in this area, which previously depends on laser treatment alone. Although it prevents the condition from deteriorating, laser treatment’s outcome is only minimal.
The conference was organized by iSee Gulf Retina committee, a collaborative group of retina specialists which provides a platform for collaboration within the sector. It hopes to further build up the capabilities of healthcare providers, regulators, and doctors in addressing eye care through a series of initiatives such as a support group entity for retina specialists and a science-based group