ELZA’s medical director, Prof. Dr. Farhad Hafezi was invited to be the guest lecturer at the Croatian Ophthalmology and Optometric Society’s Contact Lens course, where he presented the latest corneal cross-linking (CXL) research and reviewed current best clinical practice for keratoconus and iatrogenic ectasia treatment. More than a hundred ophthalmologists from Croatia and neighbouring countries gathered at the course, and learned about the influences hormonal changes induced by thyroid dysfunction and pregnancy have on the shape of the cornea.
Prof. Hafezi then went on to show the work that the Light for Sight foundation (www.lightforsight.org) is doing in terms of its research and outreach efforts, in particular, the K-MAP study. K-MAP, is global study of keratoconus prevalence. Prof. Hafezi highlighted a key aspect of K-MAP: its simplicity. To participate, a collaborator’s site need only meet five criteria; to have:
- ethical committee approval in place
- access to a Pentacam for diagnostic measurements
- an on-site anterior segment specialist to conduct measurements
- an appropriate system for obtaining and storing patient signed consent forms, and
- signed the publication policy relating to K-MAP data and study protocol.
He explained how progress to date has been most encouraging; centers in South America and Russia have already confirmed their participation, and the Russians, in particular, are making a very significant contribution to K-MAP data. Other interested countries include the USA, Switzerland, Australia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Mexico, Peru, and Syria. Some of these are just at the point of joining up, while others are already collecting data.
Prof. Hafezi then followed up by detailing the promising pre-clinical and clinical data of the use of Photo-activated Chromophore for Keratitis-corneal cross-linking (PACK-CXL) for the treatment of infectious keratitis (corneal infections), and the global impact this might have in an age of increasing pathogen resistance to antimicrobial drugs.