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.

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