Newsletter - Spring 2001, Volume 4, Number 1

VIth Mediterranean Ophthalmological Society Congress and VIth Michaelson Symposium

In Jerusalem, Israel, on May 21-26, 2000, the VIth Mediterranean Ophthalmological Society Congress and VIth Michaelson Symposium provided an advanced scientific program and an exceptionally cordial cultural experience. Organized by Congress President David BenEzra, Israel, and Honorary Presidents Rosario Brancato, Italy, Gabriel J. Coscas, France, and Bruno Lumbroso, Italy, the international meeting united the Mediterranean Ophthalmological Society led by President S. Ayed, Tunisia, and The Michaelson Club directed by Presidents Gabriel J. Coscas, France, and Masanobu Uyama, Japan. The Congress, under auspices of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, was conducted with participation of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis and the International Congress of Ophthalmology.

Opening Ceremony

The Congress commenced with an academic procession, comments by President David BenEzra and a welcome by Mr. S. Peres, Israel Minister for Regional Cooperation. Welcome Addresses were presented by Dr. Arnall Patz, Honorary President of The Michaelson Club, United States, Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma, President of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, United States, Dr. Gottfried O. H. Naumann, President of the International Council of Ophthalmology, Germany, Professor S. Ayed, President of the Mediterranean Ophthalmological Society, Tunisia, and Dr. Gabriel J. Coscas, President of The Michaelson Club, France. In tribute to the cultural millennia of the Middle East and the emerging role of technology, Dr. Straatsma noted:

"In this historic center of culture and discovery, we should recall that written language, perhaps man's most important technology, first appeared at Mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago as cuneiform markings on clay tablets. Writing evolved through the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Semitic consonants and the Greek vowels to the alpha beta of modern alphabets. With the discovery of paper, the printing press and computers, today's electronic language encompasses the details of molecular biology and the instantaneous reach of the Internet. A vast explosion of biomedical information and technological progress is transforming the science and practice of ophthalmology. Organizers of this Congress are to be congratulated for arranging an outstanding scientific program that features an array of topics and interactions with the world's leading experts. With a meeting such as this, ophthalmologists have an opportunity to learn the recent advances and evaluate the latest technology. Competence in the practice of ophthalmology requires up-to-date knowledge and mastery of technological paradigms. Succinctly stated by Carver Mead, a towering sage of technology, 'The prime rule is: listen to technology, find out what it is telling you. Individuals and professions that observe this rule will be successful.'"

Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Symposium

Immediately after the Opening Ceremony, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Symposium entitled "Retina Update for the 3rd Millennium" was chaired by Academicians Rosario Brancato, Italy, and Michael Blumenthal, Israel. This international symposium featured the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture by Academician Gabriel J. Coscas, France, and presentations by Academicians Juan Verdaguer T., Chile, William S. Tasman, United States, Yasuo Tano, Japan, Jean-Jacques C. De Laey, Belgium, and Koichi Shimizu, Japan.

Scientific Program

Overall, the Congress encompassed 33 scientific sessions, eight mini-symposia and 22 courses. Ophthalmologists from 41 countries, including the neighboring Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority, participated in the Congress.

Historical Enrichment

Personal interactions among the Congress participants were enhanced by the extraordinary historic ambience of the President's Reception at the Jaffa Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem, the Michaelson Dinner at the footsteps of Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Archeological Tour of the Dead Sea area. The Congress enabled advances in the science of ophthalmology to flourish alongside the collegiality that fosters increased understanding. This is the tradition of international ophthalmology.

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Academia Meetings in Buenos Aires

The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis and the International Council of Ophthalmology are meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in collaboration with the XXIII Congress of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology on July 21-26, 2001. Even before the Congress begins, the AOI and ICO will convene on July 20 to advance the International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan to Preserve and Restore Vision - Vision for the Future. Discussion will focus on implementation of Vision for the Future in areas of ophthalmic education, ophthalmology continuing education, eye care guidelines and recommendations, advocacy for blindness prevention, and vision science research.

On July 21, the AOI Meeting will include the Business Meeting and a Special Scientific Session for AOI members and guests. Highlights of the Special Session will be the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Oration by Dr. Enrique S. Malbran and Inaugural Lectures by Dr. Balder R. P. Gloor and Dr. Anthony D. N. Murray.

AOI participation in the XXIII Pan-American Congress will be headlined by Dr. Joaquín Barraquer's Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture on July 22. On the following day, July 23, the AOI Symposium, presented in cooperation with the Zimmerman Pathology Society, is scheduled. The Symposium co-chairmen, Dr. Enrique S. Malbran and Dr. Ramon L. Font, have arranged an excellent program on corneal dystrophy and disease. All arrangements for AOI Activities in Buenos Aires are being organized by Dr. Enrique S. Malbran.

Throughout the XXIII Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology, Congress President Gustavo Piantoni and the Organizing Committee have planned an exceptionally fine scientific program that encompasses symposia, round table discussions, free papers, poster sessions and instruction courses.

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XXVIth Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Meeting

Associated with the VIth Mediterranean Ophthalmological Society Congress and VIth Michaelson Symposium, the XXVIth Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Meeting convened in Jerusalem, Israel on May 21, 2000. During the Business Meeting, Dr. Juan Verdaguer T., Chile, Dr. Yasuo Tano, Japan, and Dr. William S. Tasman, United States, were formally inducted into the AOI with certificates and emblems of membership.

Responding to the number of distinguished ophthalmologists nominated for membership in the AOI and the intent of providing appropriate global participation, AOI members approved an increase in the number of AOI members. By unanimous action, the AOI Regulations were amended to increase the AOI members from 50 plus emeritus members to 60 members plus emeritus members. This represented the first increase since the AOI was established in 1975.

In subsequent action, extensive consideration of highly qualified nominees resulted in election of Dr. Balder R. P. Gloor, Switzerland, and Dr. Anthony D. N. Murray, South Africa, as new members of the AOI. Each of these colleagues has made substantial contributions to national and international ophthalmology.

The Special Scientific Session, attended by AOI members and guests, featured the Academia Oration presented by Dr. Michael Blumenthal, Israel, on "Cataract Surgery: Training, Quality and Innovation." In a guest presentation, Dr. Saul C. Merin, Israel, described "Ophthalmology in Jerusalem in the Last Century." Presentations by Academicians Noel S.C. Rice, England, Joaquín Barraquer, Spain, Enrique Malbran, Argentina, Irene Maumenee, United States, and Hanns-Jürgen Merté, Germany, provided the perspective of history and the knowledge of recent scientific advances.

AOI meeting arrangements in Jerusalem were coordinated by Dr. Michael Blumenthal. From the cordial hospitality of Dr. and Mrs. Michael Blumenthal at their home in Tel Aviv on May 21 through the conclusion of the Mediterranean Congress on May 26, AOI members benefited from the planning of Dr. Blumenthal and the courtesy of the Mediterranean Ophthalmological Congress Organizing Committee.

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AOI Participation in the XVIII Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress and the XIII Congress of the European Society of Ophthalmology in 2001

During the XVIII Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress in Taipei, Taiwan, on March 10-14, 2001, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis is privileged to present the AOI Symposium and Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture. The AOI Symposium on March 13, 2001, entitled "Applications of Molecular Biology to Clinical Ophthalmology" will be co-chaired by Dr. Koichi Shimizu, Japan, and Dr. Yasuo Tano, Japan. During this Symposium, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture by Dr. Mark O. M. Tso, United States, will be accompanied by ophthalmologic presentations from Australia, Japan and Singapore. The XVIII Congress of the Asia-Pacific Ophthalmology Society is being organized by the Congress President, Dr. Por T. Hung, and the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology President, Dr. Mohammad D. Khan, to ensure a broad exchange of scientific information and appealing personal experiences.

The AOI is also honored by participation in the XIII Congress of the European Society of Ophthalmology in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 3-7, 2001. The AOI Symposium on "Optical Coherence Tomography" will be co-chaired by Dr. Rosario Brancato, Italy, and Dr. Gabriel J. Coscas, France. This Symposium will feature the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis Lecture by Dr. Rosario Brancato and include presentations from several nations. The tradition of major biennial S.O.E. Congresses is being sustained by the Congress President, Dr. Demir Basar, and European Society of Ophthalmology President, Dr. Luc Missotten.

Combined with the AOI participation in the XXIII Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology in Buenos Aires, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis will participate in major multinational meetings in Asia, Europe and South America during 2001.

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Professor Balder R. P. Gloor Elected to the AOI

Professor Balder R. P. Gloor was elected to Chair LI in the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis on May 21, 2000. A citizen of Switzerland, Dr. Gloor received the M.D. degree following medical studies at the Universities of Bern and Paris. He completed residency in internal medicine, residency in ophthalmology, and research fellowship in Switzerland in addition to research fellowship in the United States before appointment as Head of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmopathology at the University of Bern in 1973. The following year, he accepted appointment as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Basel and served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Basel. In 1985, Dr. Gloor was appointed Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Zurich. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zurich and maintained his position as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology until assuming Emeritus Appointment.

Extensive academic publications of articles, chapters and texts in ophthalmology were associated with his appointment to the Editorial Board of Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde and his role as Editor of Bücherei des Augenarztes.

Dr. Gloor's additional positions have included service as Member of the Senate of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, President of the Swiss Ophthalmological Society, and since 1994, Treasurer of the International Council of Ophthalmology.

With particular expertise in retinal diseases and glaucoma, Dr. Gloor has participated in and organized numerous regional, national and international congresses, research programs and teaching seminars.

Dr. Gloor and his wife, Dr. Marie-Louise Gloor, bring honor and distinction to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.

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Dr. Carl Kupfer Honored as Founding Director of the National Eye Institute

With a distinguished record of achievements, Dr. Carl Kupfer, AOI member and the first Director of the National Eye Institute, stepped down as NEI Director on July 15, 2000. Shortly after the United States Congress established the National Eye Institute in 1968, Dr. Kupfer was appointed as the first Director in 1970. He led the NEI to formulate a series of 5-year plans for vision research, encouraged high-quality basic science investigation, vigorously promoted randomized clinical trials, established the importance of ophthalmic biometry and epidemiology, and commenced the National Eye Health Education Program. Representative of Dr. Kupfer's leadership, during 2000 the NEI supported vision research grants and training programs involving more than 1600 investigators at universities, medical centers, and other institutions.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Dr. Kupfer has received many prestigious awards including the American Academy of Ophthalmology Public Service Award (1977), the World Health Organization Health For All Award (1988) and the Prevent Blindness America Person of Vision Award (1995). Indicative of his stature in ophthalmology and vision science, Dr. Kupfer served as President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the annual Carl Kupfer Award has been established in his honor by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Dr. Kupfer will be honored by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2001. As further recognition, he will be the honored guest at the Randomized Clinical Trials Symposium sponsored by Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, on April 2, 2001. Following these and other celebrations, Dr. Kupfer will continue his career in support of vision science at the NEI and throughout international ophthalmology.

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Dr. Frank Billson Awarded the College Medal

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists awarded the College Medal to Dr. Frank Billson. This eminent recognition was extended to Dr. Billson, at the Opening Ceremony of the RANZCO Congress on November 19, 2000.

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Dr. Joaquin Barraquer Honored

Dr. Joaquín Barraquer, Honorary Member of the Institute Médicofarmacèutico de Catalunya and AOI member, was honored by the Institut Medicofarmacèutic during a special ceremony at the Casal del Médico, Barcelona, Spain, on June 26, 2000. Following Dr. Barraquer's lecture on "Precision and Security in Surgery of Cataract and Myopia," honors were presented by Institute President, Dr. Anna M. Carmona, the Honorable Sr. Eduard Rius and other dignitaries.

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Dr. Arthur S. M. Lim, International Ophthalmologist, Artist and Playwright

At the 51st Anniversary National Day celebrations of the People's Republic of China in Beijing, Dr. Arthur S. M. Lim, participated as a Special Guest of the Central Government of China. As a further distinction, Dr. Lim, President of the World Eye Surgeons Society and AOI member, presented the Winifred Mao Memorial Lecture at the celebration of the founding of the Republic of China by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in Guangzhou, China.

The Asia Pacific Intraocular Implant Association with members from 29 countries, honored Dr. Lim, Founding President of the APIIA, with the 10th Lim Lecture, presented by Dr. Stephen Obstbaum, United States, at the 2000 Annual Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Adding to these scientific and educational recognitions, Dr. Lim, an acclaimed artist, celebrated performance of his play, "To Freedom with Love," to a full house audience of 1,600 at the Singapore University Cultural Center, Singapore, on October 7 and 8, 2000.

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Emperor Honors Dr. Akira Nakajima

Dr. Akira Nakajima, Past President of the AOI and Past President of the International Council of Ophthalmology, was awarded the Third Order Middle Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan on November 3, 2000. His Majesty bestowed this prestigious honor on Dr. Nakajima in recognition of his contributions to medical education and blindness prevention.

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Fight for Sight Award to Dr. Stephen J. Ryan

The Fight for Sight/Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Vision Research was awarded to Dr. Stephen J. Ryan, Dean of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and AOI member. As Founding President of the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, Dr. Ryan received this recognition from friends and colleagues during a special reception in Dallas, Texas, on October 24, 2000.

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Eugene Chan Lecture Presented by Dr. Bruce E. Spivey

During the 12th Afro-Asian Congress of Ophthalmology in Guangzhou, China, on November 12, 2000, Dr. Bruce E. Spivey, Secretary-General of the International Council of Ophthalmology and AOI member, presented the Eugene Chan Lecture. This international lectureship honors the memory of Dr. Eugene Chan for his achievements on behalf of ophthalmology in China.

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University of California Establishes the Bradley R. Straatsma Professorship

The University of California established the Bradley R. Straatsma Professorship as the Executive Chair of the Jules Stein Eye Institute and the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles. Honoring Dr. Straatsma, Founding Director of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, Founding Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and AOI member, this Executive Chair will be held by all future Directors of the Jules Stein Eye Institute and Chairs of the Department of Ophthalmology. The position was inaugurated by award of this multimillion dollar endowed professorship to Dr. Bartly J. Mondino, the distinguished Director of the Jules Stein Eye Institute and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA in July 2000.

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Vision for the Future

Worldwide, about 45 million persons are blind and 135 million persons are severely visually impaired. Much of this visual loss is avoidable with current knowledge and technology. The International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan to Preserve and Restore Vision - Vision for the Future is designed to encourage and coordinate activities of the approximately 150,000 ophthalmologists and the many additional thousands of others in a sustained program to decrease the toll of blindness and visual impairment throughout the world.

Vision for the Future stems from planning sessions organized by the International Council of Ophthalmology and the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis in 1999 and 2000. The multiyear strategic plan focuses on Ophthalmic Education and Training, Ophthalmology Continuing Education, Eye Care Guidelines and Recommendations, Advocacy for the Preservation and Restoration of Vision, and Research in Ophthalmology and Vision. The next meeting of the ICO, AOI and consultants is in conjunction with the XXIII Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology in Buenos Aires on July 20, 2001. This meeting will address the worldwide implementation of Vision for the Future.

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