Members of the EYE-RISK Project organized a Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), which was held from May 7th – 11th in Baltimore (USA).
ARVO is the largest vision research conference in the world, with more then 12.000 members. The goal of the SIG meeting, entitled “Predictive testing for age-related macular degeneration: are we there yet?” was to discuss whether genetic testing should be offered for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of vision loss in the elderly.
The SIG meeting was organised by EYE-RISK members Anneke den Hollander and Caroline Klaver, and other EYE-RISK members participated in the panel discussion, including Cecile Delcourt, Jordi Mones and Carel Hoyng. In addition, Johanna Seddon (Tufts University, Boston) and Emily Chew (NEI, Bethesda and ARVO president as well as member of EYE-RISK's Scientific Advosory Board) participated in the discussion.
The panellists reviewed the latest developments in the research into AMD, from genetic tests to the use of predictive models for the identification of individuals at high risk of suffering from the disease. During a panel discussion the session’s approximately 300 attendees were given the chance to interact actively with the panellists by responding to propositions put up for discussion.
The overall conclusion of the SIG meeting was that genetic testing for AMD will become important once treatments for AMD are developed, particularly if the genotype would be an important indicator for success of the treatment. Genetic testing could also help to motivate high-risk individuals to change their lifestyle, to reduce their risk for end-stage AMD. However, in general the audience felt that genetic testing might have negative consequences for individuals, particularly if the genetic test is not accurate, or when obtaining a life insurance or mortgage.