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 Schl├Âtzer-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.

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