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What I Missed At ARVO 2021, and What I Gained

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

Missed are the collegial gatherings and one on one exchanges that lead to creativity in science. However, there is much compensation, like listening to many more talks from the comfort of my chair, sofa, or refrigerator; or being able to rewind for a moment to fill in data missed due to micro-absence attack.

One talk I listened to was the talk on the critical role of PGE2 striate muscle reconstitution, which I found breathtaking. That the pro-inflammatory mediators released through the Arachadoinc acid cascade include an agent that is reparative is astounding to me! The studies and results are all well done. This explains “no pain no gain." I will train harder and consider PGE2 as a future therapy after injury or aging. Undoubtedly, a drug will follow. This is not unlike thoughts from long ago when PGF2alpha produced hypotony, later to become lead glaucoma therapy.

Another mind-altering talk was the pathway of interstitial fluid flow through the brain for removal of byproducts, and the rare macrophage protectively lurking in our cerebrum carrying antigens to lymph nodes for processing. I also was surprised at the many studies elucidating the role of carotenoids. Zeoxanthens, and mesozanthens, and long chain fatty acids, and Lutens in macular function, were all well-presented. I am now a believer. I could go on and on and even discuss my own presentations; but that is for another day.

I was amazed to learn that the outer half of the photoreceptors (rods, cones) is an exotic development from the intracellular organelle microtubule! Bundled together and poking out through cytoplasmic membrane, they function to shuttle visual pigment to outer segment, where they are stacked up like poker chips ready to be altered by a passing photon. Any aberrant protein is identified, bound, and removed immediately or not transported out. This is the same cilia seen in bacteria and tracheal cells, go Darwin!

To keep one alert to study methodology dysfunction and over-reaching conclusions, I noted a retrospective study of 20 atopic dermatitis subjects on the occurrence of eye redness 60% and other non-descriptor ocular findings (Meibomian gland, blepheritis). This was a retrospective review of subjects on an antiatopic disease drug. Without a reliable denominator, an average of 100 days for red eyes to occur, and all but four continuing on the drug without further eye redness. Add to this that there was no seasonal control for ocular allergy in this sensitive group. 20% of all atopic dermatitis have or acquire ocular atopickeratoconjunctivitis. I do believe this study, however, has found the natural occurrence of eye redness in allergy patients to be 60% in 100 days. I find that interesting.

We as scientists must design our own studies and interpret others' with great care. The large number of incredible studies, symposia and key note talks at ARVO 2021 demonstrated the absolute brilliance of our members and the organization’s relentless progress toward improving the human condition.

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