International Council of Opthalmology
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October 2017
Ico Insight : News, Resources, and Events fort he World’s Ophthalmologists

Critical New Data on Vision Impairment

Data for causes of vision impairment and blindness form an important basis of recommendations in public health policies. While the prevalence of blindness has decreased globally, and vision for millions of people has been saved, there is still much to do.

The Vision Loss Expert Group published two articles in The Lancet in conjunction with World Sight Day that offer both valuable statistics and concerning analysis: 

  • The global level of blindness caused by cataracts in adults over age 50 has remained almost unchanged, declining from 36.7 percent in 1990 to 35.1 percent in 2015, with a further decline to 34.7 percent predicted by 2020. 
  • As the population aged 50-plus is set to rise dramatically, stalled progress on cataracts and other causes of blindness—and the progressive nature of those diseases—means the number of blind individuals is expected to triple by the year 2050. 
  • A lack of access to eye health care in low- and middle-income countries has slowed progress.

The articles––“Global Causes of Blindness and Distance Vision Impairment 1990–2020: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” and “Global Causes of Vision Loss in 2015”––follow the Vision Loss Expert Group’s earlier projections on global blindness and low vision published in the September 2017 issue of The Lancet.

On World Sight Day 2017, the IAPB Vision Atlas was published, which presents this complex data through maps and infographics along with context and expert commentary. The Atlas is an effective new tool for understanding these trends and for advocating an increased commitment to eye health. 

ICO Global Call to Action: Corneal Tissue for Ocular Transplant

The newly released ICO Position Statement on Corneal Tissue for Ocular Transplant actively promotes national sustainable self-sufficient practice and policy in relation to quality and safety, procedure, procurement, processing, and equitable distribution of human corneal tissue.

The ICO, Cornea Society, and Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations encourage ophthalmologists, eye banks, Ministries of Health, clinical service providers, and non-governmental advocacy groups to support this call to action by sharing the ICO Position Statement on Corneal Tissue for Ocular Transplant through your website, social media outlets, newsletters, or any other means to raise awareness of this important issue.

Together, we can further advocate, influence, and have a strong positive impact on eye health both locally and globally.

WOC2018: Abstract Submission Deadline: Friday, 1 December 2017

The Scientific Program Committee is accepting online submission of abstracts at for presentation at the 2018 World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC) of the International Council of Ophthalmology, 16–19 June 2018, in Barcelona, Spain.

The WOC Submitted Program will consist of Free Papers, E-Posters, E-Videos, Instruction Courses, and Poster Pods in 20 subspecialty areas. There will be 48 Free Paper sessions, 60 submitted instruction Courses, and an E-Poster and E-Video viewing area scheduled all 4 days of the Congress.

Abstracts may be submitted in English or Spanish, and the deadline for submission is 1 December 2017. Primary authors will be notified if their abstracts have been accepted by late February 2018. Submit your WOC2018 abstract now.

Invited speakers are also reminded to register for WOC2018 by 1 November 2017. Visit for more details and to take advantage of early-bird rates.

New ICO-Allergan 1-Year Research Fellowship

The ICO-Allergan Research Fellowship allows the best young ophthalmologists (basic or clinical) from both high and low-resource countries to continue research in one of eight subspecialties at the university of his or her choice, preferably in another country. 

  • The fellowship covers one year of research in cornea, dry eye, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatric ophthalmology, retina, tumors, and uveitis. 
  • One fellowship is awarded per year, with a US$50,000 stipend. 
  • The deadline to apply is 15 January 2018. The ICO-Allergan Research Fellow will be chosen and notified at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting 29 April–3 May 2018, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and will be officially announced at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 16–19 June 2018.

This new opportunity comes on the heels of the World Sight Day milestone announcement that the ICO and valued partners have provided more than 1,000 fellowships to ophthalmologists from 84 low-resource countries. Learn more about the ICO-Allergan Research Fellowship and other ICO Fellowships opportunities.

ICO Medical Education for Ophthalmology Training

The July 2017 edition of Annals of Eye Science focuses on medical education for ophthalmology training, and addresses medical educational principles and changes that have occurred over the past two decades.

ICO Director of Education, Dr. Karl Golnik, was an invited editor for the special issue. Articles include: “Presenting with Credibility” by Dr. Ana Gabriela Palis, “The Fallacy of the Traditional Classroom” by Dr. Eduardo Mayorga, “Workplace-Based Assessments” and “Program Accreditation” by Dr. Golnik, and “Continuing Professional Development: Progress Beyond Continuing Medical Education” by Dr. Helena Felipe, Dr. Heather Mack, and Dr. Golnik.

Read the issue at:

World Diabetes Day: 14 November 2017

The impact of diabetes on women is substantial and, in recognition, “Women and Diabetes––Our Right to a Healthy Future” is the theme of World Diabetes Day (WDD) on 14 November 2017.

Learn more about WDD, access resources, and find out what you can do about this escalating health threat by going to: An additional resource for ophthalmologists and eye care providers in low- and high-resource areas is the ICO Guidelines for Diabetic Eye Care, which was updated this year.

The International Diabetes Federation––the organization behind WDD––will be holding their annual congress in Abu Dhabi 4–8 December 2017, and representatives of the ICO will be in attendance. Find information and register, at:

MICEI Celebrates World Sight Day in Cameroon

Dr. Henry Nkumbe, Medical Director of MICEI, addresses the press on World Sight Day 2017. Dr. Henry Nkumbe, Medical Director of MICEI, addresses the press on World Sight Day 2017.

The Magrabi–ICO Cameroon Eye Institute (MICEI) in Yaoundé, Cameroon––the only regional subspecialty training center in Francophone Africa––hosted World Sight Day festivities on 12 October 2017, with more than 150 guests in attendance.

The celebratory event––presided over by the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Health––included: 

  • Presentation of a World Sight Day awareness song, written and performed by MICEI staff member, Ms. Nassang Mimba. 
  • Donation of a children’s book to Yaoundé orphans that addresses preventive eye care, given by the book’s author, Dr. Kenneth Youngstein, founder and chief executive officer of Biocom, an Orbis partner. 
  • Donation of five laptop computers with the “Active Communication Training Simulator” to improve MICEI staff communication with patient families, Institute partners, and government officials, donated by simulator developer, Dr. Kenneth Youngstein. 
  • An Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Training of Trainers course for the wet lab and training of orthoptists. Trainees included three MICEI staff members, professors from two of Cameroon’s Universities, and eye care providers from public hospitals.

Learn more about the MICEI at:

ICO Member Society Spotlight: Malaysian Ophthalmology Society

The Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology (MSO) represents nearly 700 ophthalmologists in Malaysia. Active and expanding, MSO efforts to improve eye health include: 

Learn more about the MSO at:

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