Dr Plant announced his intention to form a Special Interest Group in Neuro-Ophthalmology to the Association of British Neurologists in 2005 and to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in 2006. To date ten meetings/courses have taken place.
The first was a breakfast meeting during the ABN Meeting in Torquay in September 2005. Around 20 people attended and the need for a National group was agreed. It was decided that for the time being meetings would be during ABN and RCOphth Conferences but recognising the need to hold larger meetings that would attract both Ophthalmologists and Neurologists.
At a breakfast meeting in April 2007 during the ABN Spring Meeting in Cambridge, Patrick Chinnery presented information concerning Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy and the recruitment criteria for a trial of treatment with Idebenone which is underway in Newcastle.
Around 40 people attended a breakfast meeting during the RCOphth Congress in Birmingham in June 2007. Phil Griffiths talked to us about the Newcastle LHON trial and two case presentations provoked lively discussion.
At the ABN Meeting in London in November 2007 the group staged a 2 hour teaching course on “bedside” Neuro-Ophthalmology, the distinguished faculty included both Ophthalmologists and Neurologists.
A further breakfast meeting was held at on 22nd May 2008 during the RCOphth Congress in Liverpool. Neil Miller presided over a “meet the expert” session. A case of intracranial hypertension associated with anaemia and a case of atypical optic neuritis were presented.
The number of attendees on this occasion was around 200. The considerable interest in the topics was evident following numerous comments and questions from the floor, which were dealt with by the panel to the best of their abilities.
The first all day Meeting was held on Wednesday the 18th March 2009 at Governors’ Hall, St Thomas’ Hospital. The annual Meeting of the Medical Ophthalmology Society took place at the same venue the following day. The morning consisted of an update on investigation techniques in Neuro-Ophthalmology. In the afternoon there was a symposium on the management of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension and papilloedema. Our guests were Francois Boruet and Aki Kawasaki from Lausanne who spoke on papilloedema and pupillomary respectively.
At the College Meeting in Birmingham in 2009 another “Meet the Expert” Breakfast Meeting was held on Wednesday 20th May with Professor Deborah Friedman as our guest. A case of orbital Schwannoma was presented from Darwin, Australia and a case of cognitive impairment with hallucinations from Newcastle. This session was followed by a symposium on Migraine, with contributions from Professor Friedman, Professor Holger Kaub, Niaz Islam, Pari Shams and Gordon Plant. These two sessions each attracted 300+ attendees.
A further contribution was made to open the 2009 ABN Meeting in Liverpool (the first of the new-style annual Meetings). On 22nd June the group provided a 2 hour update session on special techniques in Neuro-Ophthalmology.
The second annual meeting took place on Wednesday March 17th again at St Thomas’ and again the day preceding the MOSUK Meeting. A session on Paediatric Neuro-Ophthalmology was held with contributions from David Taylor, Gordon Dutton, Bill Newman and Creig Hoyt, our Guest. The afternoon was devoted to free communications – both research and case reports. The event was particularly lively owing to the contributions from the Guys’ and St Thomas’ Paediatric Neurology group. There were around 200 attendees with visitors from overseas including Holland, Denmark and the Ukraine. Creig gave a fascinating talk on “Blindness in Literature” in the evening.
In 2010 another “Meet the Expert” Breakfast Meeting was held on Wednesday 26th May with Professor David Zee as our guest. Tim Matthews and Mike Burdon joining David as discussants. Cases were presented of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and a cavernous sinus syndrome misdiagnosed as Duane syndrome. Once again well over 200 delegates attended this breakfast session.
For the future we are planning to set up a number of committees to deal with the planning of the annual meeting and also with the development of research, training and service provision.
It is clear that there is considerable and continuing demand from both Neurologists and Ophthalmologists for a National organisation committed to research and continuing professional development in Neuro-ophthalmology.
Gordon T. Plant
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Moorfields Eye Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, London
16th October 2010