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  • SOE Congress 2023 in Prague Unites Young Ophthalmologists

    It’s been a four-year wait, but the European Society of Ophthalmology biennial congress in Prague in June finally united young ophthalmologists from Europe and beyond.

    The meeting was one of the few events in recent years where YOs could network and learn from experts in research, fellowships and trauma, particularly because COVID-19 meant it hasn’t met since 2019.

    The multispecialty event featured a world-class scientific program and symposia on subspecialties moderated by national and/or international ophthalmology societies. YOs discussed education, artificial intelligence and global health, reflecting on how vast and exciting the field of ophthalmology is. 


    The congress offered clinical case presentations by the European Board of Ophthalmology and the European Union of Professors of Ophthalmology, live and recorded surgery video sessions, mystery cases and debates. 

    Rapid fire rounds were held daily featuring oral presentations selected from abstract submissions, and the exhibition hall had industry booths with representatives showcasing their latest innovations. Dry labs for YOs also provided a hands-on experience for attendees to sharpen their skills and knowledge through interactive sessions.

    YOs Take Center Stage

    Importantly, SOE Congress 2023 also had a lot to offer YOs. The SOE-YO General Assembly attracted representatives from SOE countries, while the newly appointed committee members presented their focal points and innovative ideas for the future. YO roundtable sessions offered valuable exchange and discussions with experts in research, fellowships and trauma. 

    The YO lounge provided great options for social engagement with colleagues from different countries, including the joint YO/EuLDP (European Leadership Development Programme) reception with local canapés and bubbly. It was a memorable, fun night in the old center of beautiful Prague. 

    Knowledge Sharing

    International collaborations were also a focal point of the Congress:

    • A highlight was the mini-exchange, in which YOs arranged stays in each other’s homes and followed each other around at work for three days. At the conference they were paired in twos to share their cross-border knowledge and experiences on the three-day observerships. 
    • The SOE-YO Committee met with the Academy to discuss subjects such as educational channels for YOs, the role of optometrists in our field and how YOs in Europe can use the abundant educational materials the Academy has to offer. 
    • We were also intrigued to learn about their Singapore Society of Ophthalmology’s mentorship programs and a newly conducted survey on women in ophthalmology. There was mutual interest in conducting an international survey on YO education across the globe. 
    • The SOE YO Committee was happy to present its work on comparing resident training programs across Europe as well as work on a surgical minimal education program, which got positive feedback especially from the International Council of Ophthalmology. 

    The congress gave us the impetus to put our new knowledge, ideas and energy to use, not to mention gave us new friends. We’re now looking forward to SOE 2025 in Lisbon!

    Kirstine-Boysen-MDAbout the authors: Kirstine Bolette Boysen, MD, is a first-year resident and PhD student at the University Hospital Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, in Denmark. She has been a member of the SOE-YO Committee (International Relations and National Representatives Subcommittee) since 2023, and since 2021 the SOE-YO national representative for Denmark. Her interests are pediatric ophthalmology and a vitreoretinal subspecialty. She is working on a PhD project focusing on Stickler syndrome. 

    Jelena PoticJelena Potic, MD, PhD, FEBO, is the current chair of SOE-YO (European Society of Ophthalmology-Young Ophthalmologists). She is a vitreoretinal surgeon at the Clinic for Eye Diseases, Clinical Center of Serbia, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and at the Jules-Gonin Eye Hospital, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Potic is also an assistant professor at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Dr. Potic also received many awards such as the Junior Clinical Scientist award from Fondation Leenaards and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. She was a participant in the Academy’s Leadership Development Program XXII, Class of 2020.