Complex Made Simple

HMC hosts 3rd Qatar Ophthalmology Conference

Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Ophthalmology Department last week hosted the third Qatar Ophthalmology Conference, which also featured the sixth Uveitis Advanced Course of the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO) in association with the International Ocular Inflammation Society.

The conference aimed to advance the quality of eye care and ophthalmology education and research in the region, through dissemination of latest knowledge by leading experts in the field.

“Through the conference, participants from Qatar and the region had a unique opportunity to learn from regional and international experts during scientific sessions and workshops involving all aspects of ophthalmology,” said Dr. Fatima Al Mansouri, Senior Consultant and Head of HMC’s Ophthalmology Department, and the conference president.

“The conference committee has developed a scientific program that covers cutting-edge developments in the diagnosis and management of uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye) and related conditions. The IOIS is delighted to support the program as this is in line with our primary goal of disseminating recent advances in the field to ophthalmologists all over the globe,” said Professor Narsing Rao, IOIS President, and Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology at University of Sothern California’s Eye Institute in the United States.

“The Advanced Uveitis Course was previously held successfully in different places, but the sixth course is a special event because we collaborated on it with the IOIS for the first time in the Middle East. This collaboration reflects positively on the quality of the course and allows us to open channels for collaboration with and learning from this international society,” said Dr. Hassan Al Dhibi, Senior Academic Consultant and Chief of the Uveitis Division at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

Uveitis is a group of inflammatory diseases that produces swelling and destruction of tissues in the eye, and can lead to severe and permanent loss of vision if left untreated. Uveitis often affects the uvea, the middle layer of the eye which contains much of the eye’s blood vessels, but may also affect other parts of the eye. The condition is caused by inflammatory responses inside the eye to infections, injury or autoimmune disorders.

Dr. Zamzam Al Baker, Uveitis Senior Consultant at HMC’s Ophthalmology Department said that the department had conducted a research study on all uveitis patients seen at HMC’s Uveitis Clinic from March 2007 to February 2011.

“The causes of uveitis were determined in 67 percent of patients, which represents a good figure compared to other studies done worldwide about the same disease,” she said. The main causes found were infectious diseases (tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis and herpes viruses) and systemic diseases.

“This research study is the second comprehensive review of the causes of uveitis in a GCC country, after a study from Saudi Arabia,” said Dr. Al Baker.

She added that ocular trauma and glaucoma are common eye problems in Qatar, and the conference offers workshops that would help doctors to understand the latest advances in patient care in those fields.