Newsletter - Spring 2000, Volume 3, Number 1

XIIth European Society of Ophthalmology Congress

Dr. Bo T. Philipson, President of the XIIth European Congress of Ophthalmology
Dr. Bo T. Philipson, President of the XIIth European Congress of Ophthalmology

World ophthalmology convened in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 27 – July 1, 1999, for the XIIth Congress of the European Society of Ophthalmology.  Organized by President Bo T. Philipson, Secretary-General Nils O. Rehn and a dedicated Executive Committee, the Honorary Presidents were Torstein Bertelsen, Norway, Ernst Goldschmidt, Denmark, Ahti Tarkkanen, Finland, and Björn Tengroth, Sweden.  The Congress gained great support from the central involvement of the Societas Ophthalmologica Europaea led by President Luc Missotten and Secretary Z. L. Gregor.

Opening Ceremony
The Congress commenced with a colorful flourish by the Swedish Mounted Band of the Royal Life Guards, an academic procession and Welcome Addresses by President Philipson, President Missotten, the President of the International Council of Ophthalmology, Dr. Gottfried O. H. Naumann, and the President of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma.

Paying respect to Sweden’s Nobel Foundation and the scientific quality of the Congress, Dr. Straatsma noted:

“We wish to suggest a structure….” were the first six words – modest
and unpretentious words – of the single page report in which Watson 
and Crick described the structure of DNA.  With this report in 1953, 
by authors who received the Nobel Prize, the high honor distinctly 
associated with the host nation of Sweden, molecular biology came of 
age.  This 20th century has witnessed Einstein’s extraordinary analysis
of the physical world in the first decades, the crescendo of molecular 
science with the human genome project in recent years, and a 
succession of profound advances in clinical medicine.

Science and medicine advance through a combination of major 
leaps and, just as important, a continuum of observations, clinical 
trials, and technical refinements that hone the judgment and practice 
of the clinician.  The lectures, symposia, and courses of the XIIth 
European Congress of Ophthalmology offer opportunities for every 
registrant to gain valuable information and enhance professional skills. 
In the application of these skills, we are guided by Albert Einstein 
who said, “Concern for man himself must always form the chief interest 
of all technical endeavors.”

(Left to right) ICO Secretary-General Bruce E. Spivey, Bradley R. Straatsma and ICO President Gottfried O. H. Naumann
(Left to right) ICO Secretary-General Bruce E. Spivey, Bradley R. Straatsma and ICO President Gottfried O. H. Naumann
Prof. Bengt Samuelsson, Nobel Laureate, presented the AOI Lecture. With Prof. Samuelsson (4th from left) are Dr. Rosario Brancato, AO President Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma, Congress President Bo T. Philipson, Congress Honorary President Bjorn Tengroth and AOI Secretary-General Dr. Gabriel Coscas.
Prof. Bengt Samuelsson, Nobel Laureate, presented the AOI Lecture. With Prof. Samuelsson (4th from left) are Dr. Rosario Brancato, AO President Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma, Congress President Bo T. Philipson, Congress Honorary President Bjorn Tengroth and AOI Secretary-General Dr. Gabriel Coscas.

AOI Lecture and Symposium

The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture and Symposium were featured within the rich scientific program of the Congress that included more than 60 symposia, 70 instructional courses and 200 free papers from 57 countries.

The AOI Symposium on “Ocular Inflammation and Prostaglandines” was Chaired by Dr. Tarkkanen and Dr. Tengroth.  They introduced the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture by Professor Bengt Samuelsson, Nobel Prize Laureate and Chairman of the Nobel Foundation, on prostaglandines and the arachidonic cascade.  Additional symposium participants were Dr. C. G. Laurell, Sweden, Dr. J. Alio, Spain, and Dr. Kensaku Miyake, Japan.

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Throughout the Congress, AOI members participated in the gracious hospitality of the Congress. Special events included the Societas Ophthalmologica Europaea Council Dinner, reception at the Stockholm City Hall and special meeting at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  Founded in 1739, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has 350 Swedish members in ten classes of sciences and since 1901 has awarded the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry.

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Academia Meetings in Jerusalem

The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI) and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) are convening an International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan meeting in Jerusalem, Israel, on May 20, 2000.  The AOI meeting,  including the Business Meeting and Special Scientific Session, is scheduled in Jerusalem  on May 21.  All arrangements for the AOI are being skillfully coordinated by Dr. Michael Blumenthal.

Meetings in Jerusalem are in conjunction with the VIth Mediterranean Congress of Ophthalmology and the VIth Michaelson Symposium on Ocular Circulation and Neovascularization on May 21 - 26, 2000.  Congress President, Dr. David BenEzra, and Michaelson Club Presidents, Dr. Gabriel J. Coscas and Dr. Stephen J. Ryan, have arranged an extremely fine scientific program that encompasses symposia, roundtable discussions, poster sessions, and instruction courses.

Features of the scientific program are the VIth Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture by Dr. Gabriel J. Coscas and the AOI Symposium organized by Dr. Rosario Brancato and Dr. Michael Blumenthal.

Augmenting the Congress, the culturally rich environment in Jerusalem provides many opportunities for diversified tours and visits to sites of epochal significance.

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XXVth Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Meeting

Coinciding with the Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, the XXVth Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis meeting was held in Orlando, Florida on October 24, 1999. In the Business Meeting, reports by President Bradley R. Straatsma, Vice President Enrique S. Malbran, Vice President Koichi Shimizu, Secretary-General Gabriel J. Coscas, and Treasurer Rosario Brancato provided information regarding AOI scientific meetings and joint AOI - International Council of Ophthalmology actions to develop the International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan. Prof. Robert Machemer, United States, and Prof. Gullapalli N. Rao, India, were formally inducted into the AOI with certificates and emblems of membership.

Extensive consideration of the highly qualified nominees for membership resulted in election of Prof. Yasuo Tano, Japan, Prof. William S. Tasman, United States, and Prof. Juan Verdaguer T., Chile, as new members of the AOI. These colleagues have made major contributions to national and international ophthalmology.

By overwhelming endorsement, members approved amendment by general revision of the AOI Statutes and Bylaws. With this action, arrangements are being made for formal registration of the revised AOI Statutes and Regulations of the AOI in Switzerland.

In the Special Scientific Session for AOI members and guests, memorial tributes were presented. Tributes dedicated to Dr. Pierre M. Amalric were presented by Dr. Gabriel J. Coscas, Dr. Akira Nakajima, Dr. Jean-Jacque C. De Laey, Dr. Gisèle Soubrane, and Dr. Koichi Shimizu. Memorial remarks honoring Dr. Edward E. G. Grom O. were delivered by Dr. Francisco Contreras, Dr. Alvaro Rodriguez, and Dr. Enrique S. Malbran. Distinguishing the memory of Dr. Frank W. Newell, AOI Past President, were tributes by Dr. Paul R. Lichter, Dr. Bruce E. Spivey and Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma. With a minute of silence, all who were present stood in respect for these distinguished colleagues.

Inaugural lectures were presented by Academicians inducted at this meeting. The presentation by Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao considered "Modern Eye Banking in Developing Countries." Dr. Robert Machemer presented "An Update on Macular Translocation."

The Academia Oratio, a major address, was presented by Dr. Benjamin F. Boyd, immediate AOI Past President. Reflecting his major role in the PAAO, Dr. Boyd spoke on "The Pan-American: A Sense of Mission, How It Was Built, Who Built It, and How It Influenced the History of Ophthalmology in the 20th Century." With historical vignettes and photographs not previously presented at a scientific meeting, Dr. Boyd reviewed the origin, development and present stature of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology.

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International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan

The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), Advisory Committee of the International Council of Ophthalmology, consultants from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and major non-governmental organizations, and representative leaders of industry met in Orlando, Florida on October 23, 1999, to advance the International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan. Extending the collegiality and professional cooperation of the Nile Meeting in Egypt on February 24 - 28, 1999, the more than 50 participants reaffirmed the general purpose:

The mission of international ophthalmology is to preserve and restore vision and to eliminate blindness that results from treatable eye disease for people throughout the world. International ophthalmology will work to assure that all people have access to high quality, affordable eye care, and that all ophthalmologists have access to the training and continuing education they need to provide the best possible care.

Opening remarks by ICO President Gottfried O. H. Naumann, AOI President Bradley R. Straatsma, AOI Secretary-General Gabriel J. Coscas, ICO and Secretary-General Bruce E. Spivey, were followed by presentations related to the strategic plan goals and objectives. Plan statements were presented and related discussions were moderated by the leaders of the individual goals and objectives.

I. Ophthalmic Training - Mark O. M. Tso, M.D.

A) Specialist Training - Ronald E. Smith, M.D.

B) Ophthalmic Personnel Rubens Belfort, Jr., M.D.

C) Medical School Curriculum - Gerhard K. Lang, M.D.

II. Continuing Education - H. Dunbar Hoskins, M.D.

A) Developing Countries - Gullapalli N. Rao, M.D.

B) Education Materials - Zbigniew Zagorski, M.D.

III. Preservation & Restoration of Vision - Bruce E. Spivey, M.D.

A) Ophthalmic Awareness - Luc Missotten, M.D.

Significantly adding to the deliberations, three industry leaders, Mr. Hans Grieshaber, President of Grieshaber and Co. AG, Mr. David Pyott, President of Allergan, Inc., and Mr. Tim Sear, President of Alcon Laboratories, Inc., addressed the group. Drawing on their extensive experience with global ophthalmology, they recommended that international ophthalmology develop finite goals and gain specific success in selected areas as means of building credibility and support for the role of ophthalmologists in preventing avoidable blindness.

The meeting continued with the following strategic plan presentations and related discussions:

IV. Advocacy - Gottfried O. H. Naumann, M.D.

A) Alliance/Vision 2020 - Hugh R. Taylor, M.D.

B) Economic Benefit - Akef El Maghraby, M.D.

C) National Statistics and Priorities - Gordon Johnson, M.D.

V. Guidelines - Gabriel J. Coscas, M.D., Peter G. Watson, M.D.

A) Appropriate Eye Care - Peter G. Watson, M.D.

B) Basic and Clinical Assessments - Peter G. Watson, M.D.

VI. Research - Alfred Sommer, M.D.

In open discussion, the participants reached consensus on development of a functional structure to advance the strategic plan, membership through the ICO on the Task Force for Vision 2020, focus on education for ophthalmologists and ophthalmic paraprofessionals, and emphasis on advocacy to increase public awareness of blindness prevention.

To implement recommendations and consensus views, goal-related action plans were developed by the Coordinating Committee. These action plans are designed to demonstrate accomplishment in selected high-priority areas and prepare the International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan for definitive review at the next meeting in Jerusalem, Israel on May 20, 2000.

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1999 AAO-PAAO Joint Meeting

The 1999 Joint Meeting on October 24 - 27, 1999, in Orlando, Florida united the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the XXIInd Congress of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO). This extraordinary confluence of global ophthalmology benefited greatly from the educational strengths of the AAO and leadership by President William S. Tasman, Executive Vice President H. Dunbar Hoskins, Jr. and the organizers of the Secretariat and administration. In equal measure, the meeting derived strength from the breadth of the PAAO and the leadership of President Juan Verdauger T., Executive Director Francisco Martinez Castro as well as the Secretariat and administrators.

Dr. William S. Tasman, President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Dr. William S. Tasman, President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Dr. Juan Verdaguer T., President of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Juan Verdaguer T., President of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Alvaro Rodriguez Gonzalez, Founder of the Fundacion Oftalmologica Nacional, received the Benjamin F. Boyd Humanitarian Medal
Dr. Alvaro Rodriguez Gonzalez, Founder of the Fundacion Oftalmologica Nacional, received the Benjamin F. Boyd Humanitarian Medal

Opening Session

Distinctive events in the Joint Opening Session were the AAO Presidential Address by Dr. Tasman and the PAAO Presidential Address by Dr. Verdauger T. AAO Awards included the 1999 International Blindness Prevention Award conferred on Dr. Francisco Contreras, Peru, for his initiative in establishing successful "Cataract Free Zone" programs in Latin America. The PAAO Benjamin F. Boyd Humanitarian Medal was awarded to Dr. Alvaro Rodriguez González, Colombia, Founder of the Fundación Oftalmológica Nacional that has provided excellent ophthalmic services to thousands of disadvantaged patients. The PAAO Carl Kupfer Award was presented to Dr. Juan F. Batlle, Dominican Republic, founder of the Elias Santana Hospital where first class ophthalmological care is offered to poor patients.

As the scientific highlight of the Opening Session, the Edward Jackson Memorial Lecture was presented by Dr. Alfred Sommer. Providing a broad perspective, Dr. Sommer spoke on "Health, Medicine and Ophthalmology - Facing the Facts and Paying the Piper."

AOI Lecture

The Joint Meeting scientific program encompassed a vast array of symposia, courses, free papers, posters and exhibits that were detailed in the 400 page Final Program for the meeting. Coordinated with the Joint Session on Retinal Vascular Diseases, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture was delivered by Prof. Matthew M. LaVail. In an exciting and forward looking address, Dr. LaVail presented data on "Toward Pharmaceutical and Gene Therapy for Retinal Degenerations."

Special Events

As the largest ophthalmic meeting ever convened, the days in Orlando were filled with scientific events and cordial hospitality. The Gradle Lecture honoring PAAO Founder Harry Gradle, was presented by Dr. Stephen J. Ryan. In a salient presentation on "Gene Therapy: A Possible Future Treatment for Retinal Diseases", Dr. Ryan outlined the pathway to utilization for gene therapy.

Noteworthy in terms of professional interaction were the welcome extended to AOI members at the AAO - PAAO Presidents' Dinner and the gracious opportunities for international communication throughout the Joint Meeting. All participants in the Joint Meeting in Orlando also thoroughly enjoyed the exclusive evening at Disney's Magic Kingdom.

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Professor Juan Verdaguer T. Elected to the AOI

Professor Juan Verdaguer T. was elected to Chair XXI in the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis on October 24, 1999. Born in Santiago, Chile, Dr. Verdaguer received the M.D. degree from the University of Chile School of Medicine. He completed ophthalmology residency at the University of Chile Clinical Hospital, Santiago, followed this with the Ophthalmology Basic Science Course at Harvard University, Boston, United States, and fellowship in ocular oncology and pathology at Columbia University, New York. On returning to Santiago, he advanced to the position of Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Chile. In 1997, he was appointed Honorary Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Chile, and concurrently accepted positions as Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Los Andes and Academic Director, Fundación Oftalmológica Los Andes. Academic publications of Dr. Verdaguer exceed 150 books and articles concerned primarily with retinal diseases and ophthalmic pathology. Dr. Verdaguer is an elected member of the Academia de Medicina del Instituto de Chile, and has served as President, Chilean Society of Ophthalmology. A major leader of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, Dr. Verdaguer served as Secretary-Treasurer and Executive Director prior to his election as President (1997 - 1999) of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology. He has organized and directed Cataract Free Zone projects throughout Latin America, served on the Executive Committee for the Club Jules Gonin and as a Member, International Council of Ophthalmology. Honors include recognitions for teaching and blindness prevention from the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, University of Cordoba, and University of Chile, as well as Honorary Doctoral degree from the University of San Simón, Bolivia.

Dr. Verdaguer and his wife, Martina Verdaguer, bring honor and distinction to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.

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Professor Yasuo Tano Elected to the AOI

Professor Yasuo Tano was elected to Chair V in the AOI on October 24, 1999. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, Osaka University Medical School, Dr. Tano was born in Hyogo, Japan, received the M.D. degree from Osaka University Medical School, and completed ophthalmology residency at Osaka University Hospital and Matsuyama Red Cross Hospital in Japan. Thereafter, he had successive fellowships in the United States at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, and Duke University Eye Center. Returning to Japan, he received the D.Sc. degree from Osaka University, joined the faculty and advanced to Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology in 1991. Concurrently, he holds appointment as Visiting Professor of Ophthalmology at Nara Medical College, University of Kobe School of Medicine and Yamaguchi University School of Medicine. Exceptionally active in scientific publications, Dr. Tano is author or more than 200 books and publications. For peer-reviewed Japanese journals, he is past Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Japanese Ophthalmological Society (Nippon-Ganka-Gakkai-Zasshi) and current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Japanese Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons, Folia Ophthalmologica Japonica and Journal of Japan Contact Lens Society. For peer-reviewed English journals, current appointments include Executive Editor, Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology, and Editorial Board appointments to the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Graefe's Archive Ophthalmology, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, and Survey of Ophthalmology. Dr. Tano holds numerous appointments of distinction to organizations worldwide and is a member of the International Council of Ophthalmology Advisory Committee.

Dr. Tano and his wife, Ryoko Tano, bring honor and distinction to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.

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Prof. William S. Tasman Elected to the AOI

Professor William S. Tasman was elected to Chair XV of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis on October 24, 1999. Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Wills Eye Hospital and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Dr. Tasman was born in Pennsylvania, United States. He received the M.D. degree from Temple University, and completed residency in ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia. Fellowship in retina-vitreous at Harvard's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary was followed by appointment to the staff of Wills Eye Hospital and advancement to leadership as Ophthalmologist-in-Chief. Author of more than 200 books and scientific publications on retinopathy of prematurity, retinal disease and other topics, Dr. Tasman served as Editor, Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society and held appointment to the Editorial Board of the Archives of Ophthalmology and the Survey of Ophthalmology. Currently, he is Editor of Duane's Clinical Ophthalmology and Duane's Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology. In ophthalmic organizations, Dr. Tasman's positions have included Chairman, American Board of Ophthalmology; Annual Meeting Secretary, American Academy of Ophthalmology; and Council Member, American Ophthalmological Society. In 1999, Dr. Tasman was elected President, American Ophthalmological Society and President, American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Tasman and his wife, Alice Lea Tasman, bring honor and distinction to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.

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