Ask John A. Moran Eye Center vitreoretinal surgeon Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD, and she’ll tell you there’s never been a better time to share knowledge in a race to save the eyesight of premature babies.

“We’re seeing more and more viable premature births thanks to medical advances, but the other side of that is many of these children (about 14,000 to 16,000 yearly in the U.S.) are affected by a potentially blinding eye disorder, Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP),” she explains. “ROP is one of a number of pediatric retinal conditions that can cause blindness in infants and children.”

Thanks to Hartnett, pediatric ophthalmologists and retinal specialists from around the world will gather March 24-25 for a unique new opportunity to learn about the latest treatments and surgical techniques from the field’s top experts.

Hartnett is a co-directing the inaugural Advances In Pediatric Retina Course, to be held at Duke University before it is hosted by Moran Eye Center in 2019. Duke Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Leejla Vajzovic, MD, is serving as course director, while the university’s Cindy Toth, MD, is a co-director with Hartnett.

“This is a significant new opportunity in that we are gathering the best in the field to exchange ideas and share the latest scientific and clinical advances that stand to make a significant impact in the treatment of pediatric retinal diseases worldwide,” said Hartnett.

The course will highlight:

• Advances in the diagnosis, management and treatment of pediatric retinal diseases
• How advanced ophthalmic imaging can improve patient outcomes
• Pharmacologic treatment strategies
• Cutting-edge retinal surgery techniques

Hartnett and others will lecture on clinical research and management strategies, present common and challenging patient cases, share intraoperative videos, and hold interactive panel discussions on different surgical approaches.

The meeting also features a Knights Templar Eye Foundation keynote lecture by Michael T. Trese, MD, an expert on vitreoretinal diseases and chief of pediatric and adult vitreoretinal surgery at William Beaumont Hospital. Knights Templar is the only foundation that supports research for pediatric eye diseases, and Hartnett serves on its Scientific Advisory Committee.