All eyes on Amsterdam

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"Recognising the trend amongst European ophthalmologists to sub-specialise has been a high priority for the European Society of Ophthalmology," its president Gabriel van Rij told Ophthalmology Times Europe.

"Recognising the trend amongst European ophthalmologists to sub-specialise has been a high priority for the European Society of Ophthalmology," its president Gabriel van Rij told Ophthalmology Times Europe. With over different 72 sessions during its 17th congress in June this year the Societas Ophthalmologica Europaea (SOE) potentially has something to offer every European doctor.

The SOE, which was established in 1956, invites all the major sub-speciality societies to take part in the preparation of its Congress, which, in turn, provides delegates with an event where they can meet and learn from leaders in each branch of ophthalmology.

"Our overall mission," explains Dr van Rij, "is of course to promote ophthalmology in Europe and to stimulate co-operation between European ophthalmologists and their National Societies. However, the world has changed since 1956 and so have we - fostering collaboration with all sub-speciality societies and supranational organisations with Europe and even beyond is now key."

The scientific programme of course includes cataract & refractive, retina, glaucoma and cornea but delegates interested in oncology & pathology, oculoplastics, paediatrics and strabismus, education, women in ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, uveitis, electrophysiology or ocular trauma will not miss out. To see the symposia programme in full detail click here.

The congress is English speaking and takes place every two years. This year's event is in Amsterdam. "We are conscious of the variation in resources available across Europe, especially in today's economic climate," continued van Rij. "Subsequently, we provide reduced congress registration fees for most Eastern European delegates and each year we offer 70 educational travel grants for east-European ophthalmologists-in-training. These help young doctors not just financially but open doors to sub-specialist departments in all the major European centres."

"Another SOE innovation last year was the Young Ophthalmologist Programme open to residents and young specialists up to five years after board certification. The programme consists of an open forum for exchange of ideas and information about training, advice on observerships, fellowships and career building. Led sessions will be organised at major conferences and social events."

Getting a level playing field in education across Europe is a key challenge according to Dr van Rij: "There are countries where you can be an ophthalmologist in one year and countries where you need at least five years training. That presents many issues and challenges."

For more details go to www.soe2009.org

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