It is a pleasure to present the winter edition of European Ophthalmic Review, which contains interesting updates in cornea, cataract surgery, glaucoma and reviews in retinal hot topics, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular oedema treatments.
The role of pro-angiogenic signalling and their complex crosstalk in many pathological conditions of the eye has gained interest over the last few years and a great body of research has been focused on the subject. In particular, pathological angiogenesis of the retina observed in proliferative diabetic retinopathy and AMD has been investigated in detail, with the purpose to find a substance or a combination of substances capable of counteracting new vessel development and consequent growth inhibition. Corneal neovascularisation is also an process derived from locally synthetised pro-angiogenic chemokines in response to a variety of damaging insults, yielding to infiltration of vascular cells into the physiologically avascular stroma, which results in the unbalance of corneal immunological characteristics.
The current anti-angiogenic therapies consist of recombinant antibodies against vascular-related growth factor (in particular, antivascular endothelial growth factor [anti-VEGF]) isoforms. However, the considerable economic burden of these approaches on the health system has lead to questions being raised about the cost to benefit ratio: as a consequence, multicentre clinical trials on the safety and the comparative efficacy of the anti-angiogenetic drugs are now increasingly being performed.
Technologically advanced equipment now permits eye structures to be observed, analysed and managed at a level of precision not imaginable even a couple of decades ago. The impact of such a tremendous evolution in the devices available to many eye doctors is particularly focused in laser-assisted surgical procedures. Moreover, microstructural changes are now detected by laser-based orientated images, the specificity of which is invaluable when trying to plot disease follow up.
The main outcomes given at the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE) 2013 Symposium on ocular surface damages exerted by chemical preservatives contained in anti-glaucoma eyedrops have also been included in this issue. This is a surface problem that is common in daily practice, which is reviewed by the experts Professors Christophe Baudouin from Paris and Carlo E Traverso from Genova, with the final recommendation to consider safer preservative-free treatments.
Finally, I believe the articles in the present edition of European Ophthalmic Review will certainly meet the interest of readers as they cover many specific topics concerning practice, science and technology. I would like to thank the contributors for their timely work and efforts and Editorial Board colleagues for their continuing help and expert guidance, which are a fundamental requirements in the success of the journal.