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  • Celebrating Everything YO at 2023 APAO Congress in Malaysia

    APAO Congress

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will host young ophthalmologists from more than 20 countries, including  the United States —  as they gather Feb. 23-26 for the 2023 Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Congress.

    Here’s a preview of what’s in store, what the city has to offer and what it’s like to practice ophthalmology in this country.

    The Main Event

    Some Asian countries’ ophthalmology societies don’t have YO committees, so the meeting is one of the primary events where YOs in Asia can network, find mentors and cross-border training opportunities and learn tips on how to advance their careers. The congress offers hands-on training, such as wet labs, as well as social events where YOs can meet and share their goals.

    The congress kickstarts with the YO Rising Star Program, where 20 outstanding young ophthalmologists join in a one-day workshop to discuss public speaking and challenges they encounter in their practices. 

    It is followed by an evening social event, an interactive networking session, where participants can enjoy local delicacies while experts dish out social media tips.

    The YO Symposium on the second day features some of our brightest YO speakers (name, location, specialty, link to their social media). The panel will also present awards for best YO presentation and honor the best YO mentor, top YO Influencers and the best surgical video. In addition, we will be presenting travel grants to five lucky YOs. The following YO night brings together all of our delegates from across the Asia-Pacific region. 

    Attendees will also benefit from the YO Lounge, a dedicated space for networking and learning throughout the meeting. The lounge features scientific and academic posters and newsletters from 12 different YO establishments in the region to further inspire our YO delegates.

    Practicing Ophthalmology in Malaysia

    With one of the most accessible public health care systems in the world, Malaysia offers excellent patient access to specialist care. Ophthalmologists in Malaysia seek hands-on experience due to their high patient load and the complexity of cases. 

    However, one main challenge in Malaysia is the considerable time it takes to become a consultant. There are limited ophthalmology openings and compulsory government service that must be completed pursuing specialty training. Malaysian ophthalmologists are required to complete four years of specialist training, followed by one to three years of a clinical fellowship. 

    That’s why the APAO congress is an amazing opportunity. With the challenges posed by COVID-19, the opportunity to meet is a boon to YOs in the region.

    What Kuala Lumpur Offers

    The city is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, thanks to its historically strategic location at the confluence of trade between India, China and the Malay Archipelago. 

    Today, it is a bustling metropolitan city that is best known for its skyscrapers and tantalizing cuisine. However, the best thing about the city is the warmth of its people, who will make you feel instantly at home. No trip to Kuala Lumpur is complete without visiting the iconic Twin Towers or going on a local food hunt and exploring one of the many famous heritage sites, such as the Batu Caves. It is worth the trip.

    Sudhashini Chandrasekaran, MD About the author: Sudhashini Chandrasekaran, MD, is a consultant ophthalmologist at Columbia Asia Hospital, Puchong, Malaysia. She is the founder and president of the Malaysian Young Ophthalmologists Group. She obtained her medical degree from the National University of Ireland and master of ophthalmology and a glaucoma fellowship from the University of Malaya, Malaysia.

    If you or your colleagues are headed to APAO this month, tag the Academy when you post your pics. Post your photos using the #aaoyo hashtag and tag us on the Academy’s Instagram (aaoeye), Twitter (@aao_ophth) or Facebook accounts.