Saturday, May 24, 2008

EURETINA gets ready for Nice

The success of the 8th EURETINA Congress in Vienna will inspire the organisers of next year's conference in Nice, France, to host an even bigger and better conference.

That is the view of EURETINA president Dr Jose Cunha Vaz. "The challenge is always to produce a better conference next year," Dr Cunha Vaz told EuroTimes. "One of the most notable aspects of this year's conference has been the attendance of a large number of younger retina specialists and I am very encouraged by that," he said.

The 9th EURETINA Congress will be held in the Nice Acropolis Centre from 14 May to 17May 2009.

EuroTimes will be providing regular updates on EURETINA in the future so watch this space.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Austrian ophthalmologists honoured to host EURETINA Congress in Vienna

By Dermot McGrath

As the celebrated crossroads of Europe, Vienna provides the perfect backdrop for this year's gathering of clinicians and researchers interested in the research and treatment of retinal and macular diseases.

Speaking on behalf of the Austrian Ophthalmological Society (ÖOG) at the opening ceremony, Susanne Binder MD, the current president of AOS, said that her organisation was honoured that the EURETINA Congress was taking place in Vienna. She noted that attendance at the annual congress is increasing each year with over 1,500 delegates from 74 countries attending this year's event.

Dr Binder noted that the ÖOG has a long and rich history and some of the most famous names in ophthalmology have been counted among its ranks. The society was officially founded in 1954, with Prof Dr Anton Pillat, head of the First University Eye Clinic in Vienna, serving as its first president.

Among some of the pioneers in retinal research who have close associations with Vienna, Dr Binder cited Georg Joseph Beer who gave the first clinical description of a detached retina in 1817, Karl Lindner who helped to popularise scleral resections in the 1930s after Muller had introduced it in 1903, and Karl Hruby who made great advances in retinal detachment surgery.

More recently, Dr Binder said that people such as Heinz Freyler, Hans Gottinger, Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, Andreas Wedrich and Nikolaos Bechrakis, were continuing Austria's proud tradition in the field of retinal research.

Turning to the aims of the ÖOG, Dr Binder said that the organisation has continued to evolve since its foundation in 1954 and is continually seeking to better serve the needs of its members.

“Our organisation provides information and exchange about the latest research and state-of-the-art treatments, organises continuing education, licenses examinations, sets guidelines for therapies and defends the interests of its 930 members. We are also building greater links with other ophthalmological organisations and have recently joined the European Board of Ophthalmology, and the Vision 20/20 programme in order to improve our international education and training,” she said.

The ÖOG holds its own three-day meeting every year, usually in May or June, which is designed to showcase state-of-the-art treatments as well as the latest developments in research and clinical practice. The organisation also has its own scientific journal Spektrum für Augenheilkunde, which publishes a wide range of articles on all aspects of ophthalmology as well as reports of the society's meetings.
In her concluding remarks, Dr Binder thanked the ophthalmic industry for its ongoing support of the EURETINA Congress and said she looked forward to seeing even more delegates at next year's gathering in Nice, France.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

1,500 retina specialists attend 8th EURETINA Congress in Vienna, Austria

More than 1,500 delegates have registered to attend the 8th EURETINA Congress in Vienna.

Over the past years EURETINA has grown and expanded its activities. Attendance at the annual congress is increasing each year with 973 delegates from 63 countries attending the 2007 EURETINA Congress in Monte Carlo.

The increase in the number of delegates at the 2008 Congress reflects the growing importance of EURETINA as an organisation but also the strength of the scientific programme at the Congress.

The European Society of Retina Specialists (EURETINA) is an organisation comprising clinicians, scientists and researchers interested in treating macular and vitreoretinal diseases. It was founded as a non-profit organisation in 2000.

Over the next few days, the EuroTimes weblog will feature some of the highlights from the programme and some of the messages from the key speakers attending the congress.

We welcome the views and opinions of EuroTimes readers and delegates attending this year's congress, so please feel free to comment on any matter of interest to you.

Jose Cunha-Vaz

EURETINA president

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

EURETINA goes from strength to strength

EURETINA is celebrating its eighth year in existence with the Vienna meeting. There is a lot to be proud of and this organisation is going from strength to strength.

From what started as a small special-interest group a few years back, EURETINA has evolved into a truly international organisation.

There is no room for complacency and there are always ways in which things can be improved, so we’ll certainly be looking to build on this foundation in the years ahead.

There are several reasons for the growing success of the organisation. Firstly, there is the high quality of the congress itself, which has improved tremendously over the past three years. We are continually looking for new ways to make the experience even better for the delegates. For instance, the introduction of surgical-skills courses is attracting great interest. Furthermore, the scientific programme is of a very high standard and there is a broad range of topics to reflect the latest developments in the field.

It is also vital to stress that while we have excellent participation from the ophthalmic industry, with a first-rate exhibition and many sponsored symposia and so forth, the meeting is not industry-driven and has maintained its reputation for scientific credibility and independence. Another factor is that it is not only retinal specialists who are attending the meeting. Intravitreal injection has opened the door to a lot of new therapies and even general ophthalmologists are beginning to get very interested in the possibilities of these treatments. All of these factors together are helping to increase interest and helping the organisation to expand rapidly.

EURETINA has helped to fill an obvious gap in Europe by bringing retinal clinicians together in the region. After all, Europe is expanding at a rapid rate and it is particularly encouraging to see so many new colleagues joining from eastern Europe, now that the door has been opened to them to attend this kind of meeting. There is also a great thirst for knowledge and innovation in many of the new European Member States and I think that is helping to drive the interest in EURETINA as well.

* Jose Cunha-Vaz, president of EURETINA,in an interview with Dermot McGrath. The full interview will be published in the special EUROTIMES EURETINA Daily supplement which will be published on Saturday May 24th

EuroTimes to post daily EURETINA weblogs

I will be in Vienna with EuroTimes' contributing editor Dermot McGrath posting daily weblogs from the 8th EURETINA Congress. If you wish to comment or leave suggestions for articles, please feel free to do so.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dr James MacCallum: Canadian ophthalmologist and friend of the Group of Seven

The XXVI Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons will be held in Berlin from September 13 to September 17.

In recent issues of EuroTimes, we have looked forward to the Berlin congress by profiling some of the great German philosophers who have shaped the future of ophthalmology including Goethe and Helmholtz.

Dr James MacCallum (1860-1943 does not fit automatically into this category but his influence on the arts merits a closer look at his life and career.

MacMCallum is indelibly linked to the work of The Group of Seven, a group of Canadian landscape painters in the 1920s, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A Y Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J E H MacDonald, and Frederick Varley.

Tom Thomson (who died in 1917) and Emily Carr were also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though neither were ever official members. The Group of Seven is most famous for its paintings of the Canadian landscape. It was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1930s.

I was lucky to see some of the Group of Seven’s work when I recently visited The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, an idyllic rural setting, approximately 30 kilometres northwest of downtown Toronto.

Of 10 artists who were members of the Group of Seven, six are buried in a small cemetery on the McMichael grounds: Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Lawren Harris, Frank Johnston, AJ Casson and A Y Jackson.

MacCallum was friend, patron and mentor to the Group of Seven and without his financial support, they would not have enjoyed the influence they do today. He was particularly close to Lawren Harris who studied in Berlin from 1904 to 1907.
His time in Berlin may have helped Harris learn his craft as an artist but it also may have reinforced his deep love of the Canadian landscape which was reflected in his subsequent work on his return to Canada.

Harris shared his love of the Canadian wilderness with MacCallum who promoted the Group of Seven by buying their work and also by encouraging others to do so.

In an essay in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) “Dr James MacCallum: patron and friend of Canada’s Group of Seven” (Can Med Assoc J 1996;155: 1333-5) Roger Burford Mason, notes that MacCallum’s keen delight in painting and in helping artists, expanded the borders of Canadian art.

MacCallum received a BA from the University of Toronto in 1881 and also spent two years studying in Moorefield’s Hospital in London, England before returning to Toronto in 1888 where he spent the next 50 years as one of Toronto’s most respected ophthalmologists.

In a letter to the CMAJ, Dr Graham E Trope, MB professor and head of the University of Toronto and ophthalmologist-in-chief of The Toronto Hospital points out that while he has been rightly honoured for his contribution to the development of Canadian art, in his time, MacCallum was also considered the most outstanding ophthalmologist in Ontario.

He was professor of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto from 1914 to 1929, published widely on ophthalmologic conditions and represented the university on the council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

And that is where it ends for now, but I'd be glad to hear from any readers of this weblog who have more information on James MacCallum.


Thanks to Mike Keenan whose website has excellent information on Kleinburg.

The information on Dr James MacCallum is sourced from the website of the Canadian Medical Arts Journal at:, and from Roger Burford Mason’s article: “Dr James MacCallum: patron and friend of Canada’s Group of Seven” (Can Med Assoc J 1996;155:

EuroTimes in Toronto

I'm just back from a week's holiday in the beautiful city of Toronto.

For any doctors or ophthalmologists who are interested in intelligent radio programmes about medicine, check out an excellent series on Canadian radio called White Coat, Black Arts.

The link is