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SECO 2023: Keeping an eye on geographic atrophy


Mohammed Rafieetary, OD, shares key takeaways from his SECO 2023 presentation, "Advancing the understanding of geographic atrophy."

Mohammed Rafieetary, OD, shares highlights from discussion titled, "Advancig the understanding of geographic atrophy" which he presented during the 2023 SECO meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Hello, everybody, I'm Mohammed Rafieetary, an optometrists at the Charles Retina Institute in Germantown, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis.

Dr. Rishi Singh, from Cleveland Clinic, and I spoke about geographic atrophy, which is a very huge and exciting topic these days. Now we have actual treatments that are approved and treatments in the pipeline for geographic atrophy, which is a very common advanced form of macular degeneration, which up to now there was no medical therapy for.

The key points we'd like the colleagues to take from the session is how to properly and timely diagnose the condition. Based on the patient's demographics, patient's risk factors, and also the amazing imaging technologies we have available to us—fundus photography, fluorescent, you know, fundus autofluorescence, OCT—you know, those are the tools we can use [for] early diagnosis and management of these conditions. And the fact that this is a very common disease, if you see adult patients about 50 years of age, there are patients that you see in your clinic with this condition. So now that there is therapy for it, we need to make sure that the patients are captured in timely fashion, and appropriately referred for treatment.

Geographic atrophy is actually another one of those arenas that would provide optometry and retinal specialists to comanage patients. These patients are going to get monthly, every other month injections, but they still have other needs. They have to have their refractive needs done, some of them have glaucoma, they have cataracts, you know, they have very many other needs, they have dry eyes, you know. So this is again, another one of those avenues that I don't want the colleagues to think that if they yet refer another group of patients, they are going to lose another group of patients. These are patients that ultimately are in the hands of our optometric colleagues to manage long term.

Watch for geographic atrophy. There's a whole lot in the literature right now, there are a lot of webinars, there are a lot of lectures, you know, education is needed. You know, there are some colleagues who are concerned about, you know, am I going to be able to diagnose this, who do I need to send to the retina specialist, all of this stuff are panning out. There are committees forming, there is going to be some form of standard of care for these patients too. So don't worry about it, but keep your eyes open and your ears open to learn more about this condition.

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