Cataract and Refractive, From Chengdu to the World: APACRS 2024 Day 1 Round-Up

The 36th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (APACRS 2024) has officially begun in Chengdu, China, hosted alongside the 24th Annual Meeting of the Chinese Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (CSCRS).

The best and brightest in Asia-Pacific cataract and refractive have descended upon Chengdu, the capital of China’s beautiful Sichuan province. And just like the region’s singular spicy cuisine, the festivities have already taken on a uniquely Chinese flavor. 

As the Annual Meeting’s host and home country of Congress President Prof. Yao Ke, this should come as no surprise. But the connection between the host nation and the Annual Meeting this year feels especially strong.    

As a company, Media MICE has an unusual affinity with China. Over half of the onsite team here, including CEO Matt Young and your correspondent, have spent time plying our assorted trades in the country and speak Mandarin to varying degrees. 

This marks the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that any of us have returned to the country. Having spent some of the headiest years in China’s rapid evolution here, it is hard to imagine how the Middle Kingdom could develop faster than in those days of yore. But somehow, from the abundance of sleek, domestically produced electric vehicles scuttling silently across Chengdu’s pristine highways to the ubiquitous thrum of construction noise, it has. 

The exhibition show floor here at APACRS 2024 has proven to be a microcosm of this fascinating development. The list of some of the world’s most prestigious ophthalmic standard-bearers in attendance is as long as you would expect with the lucre to be found in the Chinese ophthalmic market. 

But perhaps more telling—and emblematic of China’s ascension to hypermodern superpower— is the number of homegrown champions challenging them, especially in the industry’s more technologically advanced ivory towers like anterior segment optical coherence imaging.

This all, of course, makes for fascinating reporting. And over the next few days, we’ll be doing just that, with our daily show coverage from the land of pandas and spicy hot pot. So without much further ado, here’s what we’re covering on Day 1.

Cataract and Refractive, From Chengdu to the World: APACRS 2024 Day 1 Round-Up

Chinese ophthalmology takes the stage 

Opening day was full of Chinese-language symposia, a novelty in today’s English language-dominated scientific discourse. Our first highlight session, Femtosecond Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery, was fittingly opened by Prof. Yao himself, who has championed FLACS since its beginnings. Experts from across the Middle Kingdom went deep extolling the virtues of this contentious technology in their native language, and you can find our writeup (in English for your reading pleasure) here.  

Our sponsored content kicked off shortly thereafter, where I got the chance to sit down with the unparalleled Prof. Dr. med. Gerd U. Auffarth (Germany) at the Hanita (Israel) booth. In between takes, the chatter was as wide-ranging as it was enlightening, from the recent EU approval of bevacizumab to Prof. Auffarth’s work with a potentially revolutionary new IOL material out of, you guessed it, China. We’ll be publishing our reporting on this exciting new development next week, so stay tuned for that. 

After the lunch break, it was time for our second Day 1 highlight symposium, Refractive Errors Demystified. In this session, some of China’s foremost names in the anterior segment walked a packed symposium hall through a series of conundrums, from LASIK to post-cataract surgery refractive error. Our summary of these talks is just a click away, and a bevy of intriguingly unorthodox perspectives on these challenging concepts awaits.

And with that, we’re closing laptop lids and putting down pens here in Chengdu for Day 1. Tomorrow we ramp up our coverage to three sessions, featuring this year’s Lim Lecture, the latest in AI, and more. See you then! 

Editor’s Note: Reporting for this event took place during the 36th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (APACRS 2024), held from May 30 to June 1, 2024 in Chengdu, China. The 36th APACRS annual meeting is jointly organized with the 24th CSCRS (Chinese Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery) annual meeting.

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