• 7 Ways YOs Advance Ophthalmology in Europe

    Ophthalmologists from around the world learned the latest clinical innovations, networked with colleagues from different communities and shared their own unique experiences at SOE 2017 in Barcelona last month. Here are seven highlights from the European Society of Ophthalmology YO Committee’s programming for young ophthalmologists. 

    1. Exchanging Experience

    Training programs vary more across Europe than the United States. In light of this, international observerships and fellowships, as well as instructional courses and wet-lab experience are major sources of education and training.

    Simon Fung, MA (Oxon) FRCOphth 
    SOE YO Committee newsletter editor

    The SOE YO Committee has established an innovative exchange project in which a YO partners with another YO from a different country. They then host one another and learn about the variations in their respective training and practice. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could implement our own exchange in the United States? What new ideas could I adopt from visiting Dr. Patel at Emory University?

    Grace Sun, MD
    Chair, Academy YO International Subcommittee
    Academy representative to SOE YO Committee

    2. Working Toward a Common Goal

    The energy and passion that European YOs have for building a strong community of ophthalmologists was very apparent. They have created a platform that empowers YOs across Europe to come together for the ambitious goals of standardizing European ophthalmology training programs, supporting collaborative training among YOs, and establishing new training opportunities across Europe.  

    Purnima S. Patel, MD
    Chair, Academy YO Committee

    3. Uniting YOs Across Europe

    Our YO counterparts in the SOE are united by their quest to make the most of their training opportunities and encourage dialogue and collaboration between all members. With 63 national representatives, they are well on their way to creating individual YO groups for all 44 European national societies that make up the organization.

    Dr. Sun

    4. Providing Innovative Education

    During the SOE congress, the SOE YO Committee launched an innovative “dry lab” program devised by the renowned surgical educator John Ferris, FRCOphth, from the United Kingdom. The program included didactic teaching and supervised, hands-on surgical opportunities to practice basic cataract surgery maneuvers and corneal suturing skills, all done in the YO Lounge area. Such wet labs and simulated surgery (such as the EyeSi simulator) could lead to improved patient safety, enhanced access to training opportunities, and more effective surgical training for young ophthalmologists.

    Dr. Patel and Dr. Fung

    5. Protecting Patients

    At the patient safety symposium, I was shocked to learn that ophthalmology has the highest number of incorrect surgical procedures of any medical specialty. In fact, in the United States, 2009 data from the Veteran Health Administration showed wrong implant as the most common adverse event, followed by wrong side and wrong patient. However, I am reassured that recent follow-up data show a significant improvement in our specialty. Our strong global relationships in ophthalmology are building a culture of patient safety and eliminating these “never events” worldwide!

    Dr. Sun

    6. Equipping Subspecialists

    In Europe, most residents become general ophthalmologists or hospital staff specialists and do not get subspecialty fellowship experience. One of the key objectives formulated during the YO symposium is to define a curriculum for these post-graduate positions. YOs and senior clinicians in the unit can use the freely available, online, ICO subspecialty training curriculum as the basis of discussion. Using this curriculum as a reference before starting in new positions or during regular appraisals can help increase the standards and the training potential.

    Marie Louise Roed Rasmussen, MD, PhD
    Chair of SOE YO Committee

    7. Identifying and Solving Weaknesses

    One of the main weaknesses identified by SOE YO in European training programmes is lack of surgical training opportunities for European ophthalmology residents. SOE YO has embarked on a program to address this weakness by ensuring that future SOE Congress events target this need. Ideas include dry labs for enhancing surgical skills outside the operating theatre; interactive surgical video sessions on basic operations; symposia promoting fellowship and training opportunities worldwide; and a fellowship directory of European training opportunities.

    Andrew Scott, MD, FRCOphth, PhD
    Outgoing chair of SOE YO
    Member, AAO YO International Subcommittee