European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

ECVO Congress 2019 Antwerp, Belgium May 23-26, 2019 On the topic of Genetic diseases

The 2019 ECVO congress occurred in the small town of Antwerp, a port city on Belgium’s River Scheldt and famous for its diamonds. The conference’s topic was on genetic diseases. On the continuing education day, Drs Gustavo Aguirre, William Beltran, Andras Komaromy, Cathryn Mellersh, and Simon Petersen-Jones held great lectures focused on genetic studies of the lens, glaucoma and retina as well as mutation detection and genetic testing.

During the afternoon, the AGM took place with a special presentation from the ECVO accountant (name), who explained taxation rules for the ECVO. This year the ECVO designed and distributed an eye notepad which was added to the conference bag for all delegates.
This year the ECVO welcomed 8 new diplomates: Richard Mark Everson, Daniel Costa Moya, Kellam David Bayley, Martí Cairó Font, Maria-Christine Fischer, Tobias Revold, Alexandre Guyonnet, Nina Peche and Chantal van Schaik-Verboven.

For the main program, the resident’s session covered Friday morning with high quality presentations. The Hereditary eye disease session was again a success on Friday afternoon with the use of the Kahoot system. This year the session was presented by Dr Marianne Richter, Magda Grauwels and Gilles Chaudieu, in corporation with the Belgian Panel.
More high-quality scientific presentations followed on the Saturday of the scientific program, as well as the state-of-the-art lecture presented by Dr Gustavo Aguirre ‘The dog: an ophthalmologist’s best friend’. Dr Aguirre is Professor of Medical Genetics and Ophthalmology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Poster presentations were shown during the scientific program and delegates were again able to vote for the two best poster presentations.
The Masterclass took place all day Sunday with six speakers who gave additional insights on inherited genetic diseases in animal species, gene augmentation, novel therapies for retinal genetic diseases, cell therapies, therapeutic genome editing and optogenetic and optochemical approaches for restoration of vision: Drs Gustavo Aguirre, William Beltran, Andras Komaromy, Mary E Lassaline, Simon M Peterson-Jones and Knut Stieger.

The welcome reception took place at the DIVA Diamond Museum where delegates were able to visit the museum. The Gala Dinner was held at the Horta and was organized by Goedele Storms. The ‘silent disco’ was a real success amongst delegates.

Genereous prizes were  awarded to:

Best and second best oral resident presentation:
1. Arnold Lavaud: SD-OCT and histologic evaluation of the visual streak in experimental rabbits
2. Lena Strom: Flash electroretinograms (FERGs) and flash visual evoked potentials (FVEPs) in horses with visual impairment: 30 cases

Best oral presentation:
Erin Scott: Evaluation of the bascterial ocular surface microbiome in clinically normal dogs before and after treatment with topical neomycin-polymixin-bacitracin

Best and second best poster:
1. Cristina Casola: corneal cross-linking is a promising treatment option for corneal dystrophy in Fresian horses
2. Jesus Diaz: Evaluation of the quality of life of dogs with glaucoma before and after enucleation – a pilot study

Call for applications for ECVO Research Grants will be announced later in the year.
The president, Anne-Marie Verbruggen, closed the meeting by announcing the 2020 congress to be held in Rhodes Greece.