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  • 2nd Global YO Summit in Singapore

    YOs enjoy a cruise at the YO Global-Summit in Singapore

    Singapore hosted the 2nd Global Young Ophthalmologist Summit on Jan. 19 in conjunction with the 37th Singapore-Malaysia Joint Ophthalmic Conference. 

    See a slide show of YOs in action at the summit.

    The full-day summit was a huge success. We welcomed around 700 delegates from 40 countries across Asia (Northeast Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia), U.S., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Of the participants, almost 200 were either residents or fellows. 

    The summit showed us that there is an eager and growing YO community across the world. We have seen the formation of many new YO societies in recent years, such as in South Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, and Thailand, who were able to participate in the Global YO summit for the first time this year. 

    One YO mentioned that the meeting felt like the “United Nation of Oophthalmologists.” I can’t find a description better than this. Despite our different training, subspecialities, countries, language, culture, governments, we were all united through ophthalmology and our purpose of growing and sustaining the global YO movement. 

    Packed Sessions, Heated Debates

    The program was jam-packed with sessions for YOs, including interactive scientific debates in nine subspecialties: cornea, cataract, refractive, glaucoma, surgical retina, medical retina, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, pediatric ophthalmology, and strabismus. 

    Debates centered on hot topics such as “Endothelial Keratoplasty: Is DMEK Superior to Ultra-thin DSAEK?”; “What is the Future of Cataracts surgery — Is There a Role for Robotic Phacoemulsification?”; “Geographic Atrophy — IVT or Let it be?” and “To SMILE or not to SMILE?”

    Each session had speakers discussing treatment options in a pro/con format.. We used QR codes for audience polling prior to and again after the lively discussions between the panelists and session chairs. Debates were engaging, and we witnessed swings in the audience’s opinion in some sessions. 

    For instance, in the medical retina session before the discussion, there was almost a 50-50 split in the audience on using intravitreals (IVTs) for geographic atrophy. By the end of the session, a large majority of the audience voted against using IVTs for geographic atrophy.

    During the afternoon, we saw nonscientific fireside-style discussions on matters important to YOs, such as surgical training, fellowships, global ophthalmology, social media and women in ophthalmology, and a feature on YO societies. 

    Session chairs engaged in more relaxed discussion with panelists and the audience. Audience members could also ask questions through an anonymous link. It was very insightful to learn about barriers different YOs face in their respective countries and to juxtapose the differences and challenges between training and working in low, middle, and high-income settings. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on finding mentors, how to develop a relationship and the importance of finding different mentors (e.g., surgical, academic, personal). 

    The afternoon culminated with a special YO feature, where we invited a few YO societies to share their views. 

    Participants had ample opportunity to relax and mingle in the YO lounge, where we offered free barista coffee, a photobooth, and blind massage by people who are visually handicapped. 

    After this, we adjourned to the main foyer of the Singapore National Eye Centre for the welcome reception, where we were treated to a lion dance to celebrate the Lunar New Year and a traditional Malay culture performance. 

    Events culminated with an exciting YO social night at the Stay Gold Flamingo, which has been voted as one of the Top 50 bars in Asia. 

    Global YO Initiatives

    The next day, a separate Global YO leaders meeting was held, gathering more than 16 representatives from different countries. We discussed YO goals and how we can continue to sustain the YO movement. We also brainstormed on common initiatives to pursue together, including sustainability, mentorship, gender in ophthalmology, and community initiatives.

    Following this, we embarked on a YO cruise along the Singapore river and were able to take in the beautiful evening views of the Marina Bay, followed by faculty dinner at a rooftop restaurant, SKAI.

    It was an honor to organise the summit together with Marcus Ang, MBBS, the Singapore Society of Ophthalmology president. We were extremely fortunate to receive overwhelming support from the local, regional, and global YO communities and to get to know national YO representatives from so many countries. This summit was a success because of everyone’s support. 

    Looking forward, we hope to continue to draw outward-looking, motivated and inspirational YOs and YO leaders globally to support each other and collaborate on initiatives important to YOs around the world!

    Headshot of Claire Lixian Peterson, MBBS About the author: L. Claire Peterson, MBBS, MMed, FRCOphth, is the Young Ophthalmologist chair of the Singapore Society of Ophthalmology and a registrar at the Singapore National Eye Centre, where she is pursuing a fellowship in glaucoma. Dr. Peterson joined the Academy’s YO Info Editorial Board in 2024.

    Global YO Summit