Sunday, June 6, 2010

Berlin celebrates WOC ® 2010 in spectacular style

DRAWING inspiration from the past, present and future of ophthalmology, delegates from all over the world gathered yesterday for the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC®) 2010.

Over the course of five days, Berlin, the celebrated capital of Germany, is set to provide the perfect backdrop for the WOC 2010, sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and organised in conjunction with the German Society of Ophthalmology (DOG) and the German Academy of Ophthalmology (AAD).

Welcoming delegates in his role as WOC® 2010 president, Prof Gerhard K Lang said that he was honoured and delighted that the prestigious WOC® 2010 was taking place in Berlin.

“It is wonderful and rewarding to see so many ophthalmologists from all over the world make their way to Berlin for WOC® 2010. May I take this as an expression of your sympathy to share the different challenges we are all facing as ophthalmolgists. For instance, in some countries, one single ophthalmologist covers the eye care of a million or more people with more or less adequate equipment,” he said.

Dr Lang said that whatever the difficulties faced by the ophthalmological profession in the future, those involved in eye care should never forget that a major source of strength and inspiration lies in the common bond that united all ophthalmologists.

“Among the eye doctors present at this meeting and coming from over 140 countries, there are many of us practising with different methods, on different levels with different equipment and with different training. However, although there may be many challenges in the life and work of ophthalmologists around the world, there is one thing that we should always keep in mind and that is the wonderful profession of ophthalmology and its community which always brings us together,” he said.

Bruce E Spivey MD, current president of the ICO, also welcomed delegates to Berlin for what he said should prove to be the most stimulating and rewarding WOC Congress to date.

“It is an honour to be here with you in Berlin, a truly international city of history, sophistication, beauty and charm. Berlin provides all the scientific and social sustenance to this 32nd International Congress of Ophthalmology meeting, the World Ophthalmology Congress® of 2010. This congress promises to be a marvellous experience for us all,” he said.

Dr Spivey paid special tribute to the individuals who had put together a first-class Scientific Program for the WOC® 2010.

“The world is shrinking and ophthalmology is an international family that brings us together closer than ever before. On behalf of the over 150,000 ophthalmologists in the world, I want to congratulate Dr Stephen Ryan and Dr Gabriele E. Lang on the excellent Scientific Program they have developed for this meeting. We owe them both a debt of gratitude for their work,” he said.

Dr Spivey also reminded delegates of the ophthalmologists’ noble goal to reduce the burden of blindness worldwide and called for greater solidarity in delivering eye care to those areas in the world where it was needed most.

During the Opening Ceremony, several prestigious international awards, including the International Duke Elder Medal, Gonin Medal, Jules Francois Golden Medal, Bernardo Streiff Gold Medal and the Naumann Award were presented to Mohammad Daud Khan MD, Alan Bird MD, Gisele Soubrane MD, Gullapalli N Rao MD and Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt MD respectively for their services to ophthalmology.

Delegates were also treated to some stunning high-definition video sequences of the eye compiled by Karl Brasse MD and the team at Eyeland Design. A fulsome tribute was also paid to Albrecht von Graefe, pioneer of the ophthalmoscope and perhaps the most celebrated German ophthalmologist of the 19th century.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Award winning film director premieres Going Blind in Berlin

GOING BLIND is a  new documentary by New York based Peabody Award-winning director and vision advocate Joseph Lovett. Joseph Lovett has lost considerable vision from glaucoma. and he has decided to  premiere  his film at WOC®2010 .

Filmmaker Joe Lovett and producer Logan Schmid will be present at the screening, which is being held at 4pm  on Tuesday, June 8 in the Stockholm Room.

GOING BLIND is paving the way for an international national grass roots campaign aimed at preventing blindness by treating eye diseases effectively, educating the general public on how to learn to adapt to various forms of vision loss and illustrating the effectiveness of low vision therapy. The World Ophthalmology Congress is the longest continuous international medical meeting, which consists of the top speakers and experts in the field of eye-care.

The film follows Joe through five years of struggle to save his remaining vision. During that time he seeks out people who have already lost their vision from diseases like art teacher Jessica Jones (Diabetic Retinopathy), architect Peter D’Elia (Age-related Macular Degeneration), Seeing Eye Outreach Coordinator Ray Kornman (Retinitis Pigmentosa), Veterans Administration worker Patricia Williams (Glaucoma and Traumatic Injury), 11 year old Emmet Teran (Strabismus) and Iraq War Veteran Steve Baskis (Road-side bomb attack).
“GOING BLIND is an essential first step in taking action to preserve the gift of sight and address one of the prevailing health issues affecting millions of people worldwide,“ said Lovett. “We are pleased by all of the interest the film has received thus far, particularly by our inclusion in The World Ophthalmology Congress,” he added.

The World Premiere in Berlin will be followed later this month by an exclusive screening at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Vision Rehabilitation Center in Boston, Massachusetts, with leading eye-care professionals. GOING BLIND will then platform into additional local communities across the United States with the support of various vision advocacy leaders and organizations, culminating in the celebration of World Sight Day on October 14.

GOING BLIND draws attention to the importance of sight loss and low vision therapy issues by seeking to raise awareness through several platforms, including the development of an online education tool kit, sponsored panels hosted by prominent vision leaders, and much more.

Major supporters of the film to date include: The National Eye Institute (USA), Readers Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, Pfizer Ophthalmics, The Allergan Foundation, Allene Reuss Memorial Trust, and The Gibney Family Foundation.

For more information or interviews, visit:

Art Auction at WOC® 2010

Delegates attending WOC® 2010 have the opportunity to purchase modern works centered on the theme of “Art in the Art of Healing”. In the works of art donated by Georg Thieme Verlag, renowned contemporary artists have dealt with the fascination of the human body, and also its fragility and limitations. This has resulted in the creation of impressive works of art, which are available for purchase as hand-signed, numbered serigraphs (limited edition of 250).

Founded in 2008 by the German Society of Ophthalmology (DOG), Stiftung Auge is dedicated to fighting avoidable blindness and serious visual impairment. Its commitment is to raising awareness, training and the promotion of research to preserve vision. If you would like to support the work of Stiftung Auge, join the bidding and see what delights your eye.

The artists featured in the auction are Peter Halley, New York,Rosemarie Trockel, Cologne (whose picture is featured above), Marc Francis, London,Laurence Weiner, New York and Matt Mullican, New York

Their work will be on exhibition in the main foyer of the ICC next to the Stiftung Auge stand. The value of each work is estimated at at least 1,300 Euro. Delegats can join the auction by making an opening bid of 300 Euro.

Should you wish to bid in the auction, you can have your name entered on a list of bidders at the Stiftung Auge stand.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WOC 2010 offers something for everybody

The World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC) 2010 promises to offer something for every one of the expected 10,000 international delegates coming to Berlin from all corners of the globe.

WOC president Prof Gerhard K Lang, Ulm University Clinic, Ulm Germany, in an interview with ET Today, the official newsletter of the Congress, said the diversity of the meeting makes it so special.

"Every country has its own set of problems and challenges in ophthalmology. What unites us all, however, regardless of where we come from and which challenges face us, is the conviction that we share the most interesting, aesthetic, and elegant specialty, ophthalmology,” Prof Lang said.

Prof Lang believes that eye doctors who travel from far away to attend the WOC have a right to expect a sterling scientific program. Also, colleagues should be able to discuss topics of interest and hear different viewpoints. Exchanging experiences is highly beneficial and makes the world congress a unique setting for learning and meeting new challenges, he said.

“The challenges met by the pioneering German ophthalmologist Albrecht von Gräfe involved separating ophthalmology from surgery, as its own area of specialisation. Those were very exciting times. Today our challenges are new and different. Today, the ophthalmic industry is so vast and progressive that we have to find ways to pay for the high level of refinement we have achieved. We have worked beyond excimer laser surgery and have now reached the frontiers of macular degeneration and presbyopia. There is hardly another specialty that can keep up with the advancements seen in ophthalmology. We too are living in very interesting times,” he noted.

For the full interview get your copy of ET Today which will be distributed free to delegates on Saturday June 5 in the Congress Centre.