EVER traces back its roots to the late 1980s when, following a decision made during the Association for Eye Research (AER) meeting in Granada, Spain, the AER and the European Community Ophthalmic Research Association (ECORA) joined forces to create JERMOV (Joint Meetings in Ophthalmology and Vision), headquartered in Montpelier, France. The idea behind the amalgamation was to unite societies with a common interest and to create a larger, stronger, European society, dedicated to innovation in vision and eye research. By 1997, JERMOV had evolved, the society was reformed, its headquarters moved to Belgium and the name EVER was born to better reflect the society's mission ? to advocate and support research, development and innovation in vision and eye research. The society's offices are, today, housed alongside those of the Belgian Ophthalmological Society in Leuven.

The format of the society is such that members are allocated to a specific section according to their specialist field. With 11 sections in total, ranging from glaucoma to physiology/biochemistry/pharmacology, each section has its own elected chairperson who is seated on the board of management.

The first meeting of EVER was held in Palma on the island of Majorca. Subsequent meetings have been held during the month of October in Alicante, Spain and more recently in Vilamoura, Portugal, with future plans of holding upcoming meetings in Slovenia. The annual events are specifically designed to attract researchers, ophthalmologists and those in related disciplines with the aim of allowing mixed discussions between basic scientists and clinicians.

As well as hosting informative and educational sessions during the gathering, the society also encourages the running of educational courses as part of its effort to support expanding European boundaries. During last year's meeting, courses were conducted on the electrophysiology of inherited disease and the use of new imaging methods in the appraisal of inflammatory disease.

The Board of EVER is very aware of the value of forging links with other societies. Testament to this was the joint session, conducted in collaboration with the ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) and a special session for ISCEV (International Society for the Electrophysiology of Vision). The majority of keynote lecturers were from outside Europe and included Paul Kaufman (Madison, Wisconsin), Ian Bailey (Berkeley, California), David Beebe (St Louis, Missouri) and Shigeru Kinoshita (Kyoto, Japan). John Forrester from Aberdeen, Scotland gave the Ophthalmic Research lecture and, on the first day of the meeting, there were special lectures given by Per Soderberg (Stockholm) and Joaquin Barraquer (Barcelona).

What's in store for this year?

An important development for the society this year will be the introduction of an electronic journal, which will be associated with the prestigious European journal Acta Ophthalmologica.

This year, EVER's annual meeting will take place from 4 - 7 October in the Tivoli Marinotel Congress Centre in Vilamoura, Portugal. Although a European meeting, the society is also actively encouraging the participation of visitors from outside Europe. The closing date for submission of abstracts is 1 June, with a record number of applications already having been received.

For further information, please visit http://www.ever.be/.

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