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Medical Chameleons

Credit: Image supplied by Nima Ghadiri

On a crisp morning in Newcastle, UK, medical ophthalmologists and enthusiasts from across the country gathered to mark a significant milestone – the 25th anniversary of the Medical Ophthalmology Society UK (MOSUK) meeting (February 7, 2024). This year’s theme, “Medical Chameleons,” delved into the bewildering realm of diseases that straddle the line between ophthalmology and systemic medicine, their presentations and management often as capricious as the Old World lizards that inspired the theme.

The day began with a deep dive into sarcoidosis, a protean disease that has puzzled physicians for decades – even capturing the imagination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wove its dermatological manifestation into the plot of the Sherlock Holmes tale “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier.” Ian Forrest from The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust set the stage with a comprehensive overview of cardio-pulmonary sarcoidosis, emphasizing the importance of a multidisciplinary approach and collaboration between ophthalmic and systemic physicians.

Credit: Image supplied by Nima Ghadiri

Ailbhe Burke from Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, shed light on the manifestations of neurosarcoidosis, a condition that can present in a plethora of different ways. MOSUK president Greg Heath, peppering his ocular sarcoid synopsis with a series of shape-shifting cases, further underscored the disease's chameleon-like nature.

The annual guest lecture by Nick Jones, founder of the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital Uveitis service, delivered a thought-provoking tour de force on ocular tuberculosis, illuminating the intricate interplay between ophthalmology and systemic medicine in the context of this formidable disease.

The afternoon saw the conference switch to ocular lymphoma, with a multidisciplinary panel, featuring pathologist Sarah Coupland, whose impassioned plea to maintain open communication with pathologists resonated with the audience.

Credit: Images supplied by Nima Ghadiri

The highlight of the day was the fellows and trainees’ free paper prize, drawing the highest number of abstract submissions in the meeting’s history. The submissions demonstrated a remarkable grasp of the “medical chameleons” theme. Winner, David Maskill of York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, captivated the audience with his “Nightfall & Lung’s Call: A Surprising Nyctalopia Diagnosis,” while runner-up Raheej Khan of the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, deftly navigated the intricacies of “A Case of Erdheim-Chester Disease in a Patient with Presumed Atypical Optic Neuritis.”

Attendees left the meeting with a renewed appreciation for the complexities of diseases that lurk at the interface of ophthalmology and systemic medicine. These “chameleons” will continue to captivate and challenge us, inspiring a relentless pursuit of understanding and innovation.

The next MOSUK meeting will be held in London on March 12, 2025. You can register for the event here.

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About the Author
Nima Ghadiri

Medical Ophthalmology Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Liverpool; Honorary Secretary, Medical Ophthalmology Society UK (MOSUK)

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