Summary of the Congress

The opening event on Wednesday June 5th was the Retina Youth Council Meeting. Here members of the international youth community met to discuss the progress of research, to share experience on coping with a progressive form of sight loss and to find solutions to improve daily living. The group also had a session on dance and finished the day with a fun trip on Dublin’s River Liffey on the Viking Splash Tour.

Also, on June 5th, I participated in a Patient Advisory Board facilitated by Retina International. Patient representatives from seven countries discussed the impact of Geographic Atrophy on the affected individuals, on those who care for them, and their attitudes on the burden of treatment. The information collected as a result of the discussion will help the Retina International team to develop awareness building tools for all stakeholders that is accessible and educational. The advisory group will continue to meet online to progress discussions.

On Thursday June 6th, the Retina International Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place in the morning. At the meeting Marina Leite from Retina Brazil, was elected to the Board of Directors of the organisation. Marina’s addition means that the Board of Directors represents patients in Australia, South Africa, the United States of America, Europe and South America. Also, at the AGM Foundation Fighting Blindness USA was successful in its bid to host the Retina International World Congress in 2026. I look forward to sharing more details regarding the next congress soon!

Following the AGM the Retina International Continuous Education Programme allowed team members of Retina International to inform the community on their outputs from 2023/24. This was followed by an update on the membership restructure from Caisa Ramshage (Sweden) and David Sanchez (Spain) who are members of the Retina International Board of Directors. Nabin Paudel, head of research and programmes for Retina International, then provided a report regarding Retina International’s current and previous actions on Geographic Atrophy and Andrew Ryan, communications and engagement officer Retina International, spoke about the activities of the Retina Youth Council team. Members of the organisation, including myself from Retina Australia, then provided presentations which were highly informative quick-fire updates on programmes that we have engaged in over the past year. The breadth of activities being conducted throughout the world were inspiring and informative.