By: Jason S. Slakter, MD
The beginning of a new year always brings with it excitement, hope, and
anticipation of what might happen in the coming months. Such is certainly the
case within the retinal community. As Lawrence A. Yannuzzi, MD, so eloquently
discusses in his commentary on the evolution of retina in this month�s issue,
much has changed in our field over the last few decades and the situation
continues to advance at an ever-increasing pace. Other articles in this issue
discuss new treatments for diabetic macular edema and the effects that some of
these new therapies have on the quality of life of our patients. At meetings
that will take place in 2007, we will undoubtedly see open and lively debates
about the value of instrumentation in vitreoretinal surgery for diabetes, the
relative value of laser vs medical treatment for complications of diabetic
edema, and the role of on-label and off-label therapies for both
nonproliferative and proliferative disease. Unquestionably, we will come away
from these discussions with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, but I
truly believe that we should also come away with a sense of appreciation for the
privilege we all share in having these options available to us.
Almost all of the readers of Retinal Physician live and work in the so-called
�industrialized world,� and have the opportunity of being able to obtain and
utilize the newest therapies available. Such is not the case with our colleagues
elsewhere in the world. The less developed nations are still struggling to cope
with regard to both the medical infrastructure and the economics necessary to
gain access and experience in these newer treatment techniques and approaches.
This is eloquently described by Jesse Maki and Kimball Woodward, MD, PhD, FACS,
in this issue, where they relate their personal experience with the treatment of
diabetic retinopathy in a retina clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. As you read their
description of medical care in this town in Africa, you will come away with the
same sense that I did: that we are all very lucky to be where we are today. More
importantly, I believe this article will raise awareness of the limitations in
medical care in these developing nation and the potential role that we can all
play in some way in helping to make the situation better for everyone.
To a New Year
So, as we start the new year, I want to express thanks to the growing readership
of Retinal Physician for their support and interest in the publication, to my
colleagues and friends for their fine work to date, and for the great
accomplishments we expect to see in the near future that will provide new
treatments for our patients. Finally, a special thanks to those such as Dr.
Woodward and others who have devoted the time and energy to bring hope and
opportunity to those less fortunate than us. I hope it will serve to make us all
truly thankful for what we have and to look at what we can accomplish together.
Retinal Physician, Issue: January 2007