International Council of Opthalmology
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October 2018
Ico Insight : News, Resources, and Events fort he World’s Ophthalmologists

Inside the ICO


International Search - ICO Chief Executive Officer

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) is conducting an international search to fill a vacancy for the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is now accepting applications.

The ICO is looking for a creative, strategic thinker, with strong analytical and organizational skills. The individual should be committed to strengthening the ICO and its contribution to attaining the highest level of eye health worldwide. The applicant should be ophthalmology trained and internationally respected with a track record of leadership resulting in significant collective accomplishments in eye care. S/he should have strong knowledge of eye care education and health delivery, ideally on an international scale, and experience with public health initiatives and projects related to improving eye care.

The applicant should have excellent communication skills with proven ability to work collaboratively in multicultural environments. An advanced degree in public health, education, international relations and/or management will be considered a strong asset. S/he will be expected to work closely with our member societies to support and enhance efforts to reduce vision loss worldwide. The individual should be available to travel internationally as much as 40 to 50 percent of the year as required. This is a full-time position and salary will be commensurate with experience.

Applicants should send a cover letter and CV by 15 November 2018 to:

Neeru Gupta MD PhD MBA
Chair, Nominations Committee
Vice President, International Council of Ophthalmology cc to

If you know of any outstanding individuals who might serve the ICO well in the capacity of CEO, please encourage them to apply. The Nominations Committee will review all applications and recommend candidates for interview by the Officers.

International Eye Care


Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Special Theme: The Future of Eye Care in a Changing World

The October issue of the WHO Bulletin is devoted to Eye Care. Topics include eye care in national health strategies, diabetic retinopathy referral network in Peru, improving school-based eye-care services, rapid assessment of avoidable blindness, creation of a national eye-care service, interventions needed to eliminate trachoma, and eye-care needs of Australia’s Indigenous people.

A summary of the special issue can be found at

In Year 5 of ICO-WHO Collaboration - Patient Safety High on the Agenda

High-quality service is a key message of the WHO Global eye health action plan and the ICO has been collaborating with the WHO to bring patient safety to the agenda of the ophthalmologists around the world. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has taken a leadership role in creating awareness of this issue. The global movement is focused on empowering eye care professionals to identify and address risks to patient safety and treatment outcomes. How to reduce the risk of wrong patient and wrong eye treatment, eliminate medication and procedure errors, and improve overall patient safety while receiving eye care are some examples.

The WHO held its inaugural international workshop organized by Dr. Ivo Kocur, Medical Officer, WHO Prevention of Blindness, with WHO Collaborating Center at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, on 13 September 2018. This was followed by a dedicated WHO patient safety session at the IAPB annual meeting. The WHO will continue working with the ICO to strengthen this global agenda and to develop resources to support high-quality care in all regions of the world.

Resources to improve eye care and to identify and address risks to patient safety and treatment outcomes can be found below.

2018 Eye Health Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

The 2018 China-Africa Eye Health Cooperation Forum was hosted by the National Health Commission of P.R. China and co-organized by the ICO, Orbis International, the African Ophthalmology Council (AOC), He Eye Specialists Hospital (HESH) and the China National Training Base for Prevention and Treatment. The forum was held at the China National Convention Center (CNCC) on 18 August 2018.

Nearly 100 ophthalmological experts participated in the forum including ICO Vice President and WOC2020 President Dr. Eddi Legodi and representatives from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), ICO, various NGOs, and leaders from African societies.

For more information, see the summary report.

World Sight Day 2018 - Thank You for Participating!

On 11 October, ICO Member societies and partners hosted World Sight Day events as we joined together around the world to raise awareness about eye health. Thank you to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) for organizing this important day and to everyone who participated. Please take a moment to let IAPB know how you took part in the day by filling out this form on their website and they’ll include your event in their World Sight Day 2018 Activities Report.

Societies and Leaders


The Chinese Ophthalmological Society Held its 23rd Congress

The 23rd Congress of the Chinese Ophthalmological Society (CCOS) took place 12–16 September in Hangzhou, China under the leadership of COS President, Professor Ke Yao, and ICO Board member. Founded in 1937, the COS organized its first Congress in 1965, which has taken place annually since 2005. It has over 22,000 members and 11 subspecialties including corneal diseases, glaucoma, cataract, optometry, strabismus and pediatric ophthalmology, vitreoretinal diseases, ocular trauma, plastic and orbital diseases, ocular immunology, ocular pathology, visual physiology, and prevention of blindness.

The mission of COS is to promote the progress of the science of ophthalmology in China, the internationalization of Chinese ophthalmology and the availability of quality eye care to patients. To achieve these goals, COS actively works with the ICO, and with IAPB on the VISION 2020 global initiative.

“On behalf of the ICO and its Officers, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the 23rd Congress of the Chinese Ophthalmological Society. It was an honor to speak during the Opening Ceremony and Presidential Dinner,” noted ICO President Prof. Peter Wiedemann. Together, we are actively working to advance eye health in China and around the world.

Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria Approves 2018–2022 Strategic Plan

The Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) recently launched a new, comprehensive strategic plan for 2018–2022. The three main objectives of the plan focus on creating effective governance, enhancing education, and improving quality eye care in Nigeria.

Founded in 1969, the OSN was created as an evolving organization to set ethical as well as scientific standards at a time when the study of diseases of the eye in Nigeria was in dire need of improvement. These standards are being improved upon as the organization grows in membership and expertise. Membership within OSN is spread throughout Nigeria with less than 550 ophthalmologists serving a population of almost 200 million.

The next OSN general meeting and scientific conference will be held 4–7 September 2019 in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, on the coast in Nigeria. For more information about OSN and their next meeting, please write to

Supporting the Next Generation of Leaders in Africa

In 2017, the ICO helped to graduate the first African Council of Ophthalmology (AOC) Leadership Development Program (LDP) class from Anglophone-speaking African countries. This August, we are pleased to share that the second group of LDP candidates came together from a wide range of African countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The ICO is supporting LDPs in Anglophone and Francophone Africa with a focus on meeting the needs of future leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa. With a strong and invested faculty, the LDP courses follow a model set by the AAO and cover a broad spectrum of subjects, including advocacy, engagement, society strengthening, navigating challenges, and building coalitions.

Sidney Gicheru, MD (USA) serves as Program Director for the joint Anglophone and Lusophone Program. “This was our best meeting yet. Some of our recent graduates are now serving as faculty and will surely be future leaders of the AOC,” said Dr. Gicheru. “We would not be able to run this course without the help of ICO doctors, who have volunteered as faculty. Kudos to Drs. Ciku Mathenge, Hannah Faal, Eddie Legodi, Clare Davey, Ibrahim Matende, Dan Kiage, Kunle Hassan, Sundaram Natarajan, and Neeru Gupta. AAO volunteers have included Drs. Geoff Cooper, Anthony Viti, Jeff Pettey, Grace Sun, RV Paul Chan, Geoff Tabin, and Alan Kimura.”

Francophone Africa’s first LDP class will graduate in conjunction with the Société Africaine Francophone d'Ophtalmologie (SAFO) Congress on 3 December 2018 in Togo. ICO Vice President Neeru Gupta, MD, PhD, MBA, and Mike Brennan MD (USA) have served on the faculty with Komi Balo MD, Program Director.

Learn more about the AOC’s LDP Program by visiting



The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Adopts International Council of Ophthalmology Exams

The ICO Examinations are known for setting the global standard for ophthalmologists, universities, and nations, to measure ophthalmic education and knowledge. To date, more than 53,000 ICO Exams have been taken at 130 testing centers in over 80 countries around the world.

This month, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh announced that it has adopted the ICO Examinations to replace their written examinations and will offer membership to ophthalmologists who have passed the necessary ICO exams.

Below are the details for candidates who would like to become a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSEd):

  • Beginning in April 2019, candidates will be required to pass the ICO’s Visual Science Exam; Optics, Refraction, and Instruments Exam; and the Clinical Ophthalmology Exam to be eligible to apply for membership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
  • Candidates who have previously taken the ICO’s Basic Science Exam; Optics and Refraction Exam; and Clinical Sciences Exam or FRCSEd Ophth Part A, or are in the middle of taking the full set of these examinations, will be required to pass the ICO’s Advanced Exam to qualify for membership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The ICO is currently working with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to increase access to OSCE/VIVA examinations which will then allow candidates the opportunity to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (FRCSEd).

Learn more about ICO Examinations by visiting and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh at

2018 Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

We look forward to seeing everyone who will be joining the ICO in Chicago next week for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) which is being held in conjunction with the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO), 27–30 October.

The official theme for this year’s meeting is “Art + Science” which was selected because it connects to both Chicago’s strong support for the arts and sciences and also to ophthalmology. The academy also plans to include a number of art-related sessions, including the Michael F. Marmor Lecture in Ophthalmology and the Arts, which will be Monday from 12:45 to 13:45 and feature Howard Schatz, MD, whose talk is entitled “In Search of Wonder.”

This year AAO notes that there will be increased Saturday programming which will include the ICO’s Conference for Ophthalmic Educators, sessions on coding, American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives (AAOE) practice management master classes, and Academy Café sessions on neuro-ophthalmology and cataract. A new addition this year will be the AAOE Practice Management Program on Friday.

Learn more about the AAO Meeting by visiting and the ICO’s Conference for Ophthalmic Educators at

Please come by and visit the ICO at booth #1100 in the Exhibition Hall.

Apply Now - ICO Fellowships Application Period is Now Open

As of 1 October, the ICO is now accepting applications for the next round of ICO Fellowship opportunities. Our Fellowships program has provided more than 1,100 fellowships to promising young ophthalmologists to improve practical skills and broaden their perspectives of ophthalmology. Offered primarily to candidates from low-resource countries, Fellows are expected to bring their acquired knowledge and skills back to their home countries and take part in programs to preserve vision and prevent blindness.

Below is information and relevant deadlines for each of our Fellowship opportunities:

  • ICO-Allergan Advanced Research Fellowship: The fellowships program is especially eager to hear from young ophthalmologists with an interest in research for the ICO-Allergan Advanced Research Fellowship. This fellowship allows one young ophthalmologist (from any country) to continue basic or clinical research at a chosen university, preferably in a foreign country to where they live. The application deadline for ICO-Allergan Advanced Research Fellowship is 15 January 2019. Applicants should allow themselves 8 weeks to prepare their application.
  • 3-Month, 6-Month and 1-Year ICO Fellowship Opportunities: The ICO Fellowships Program offers 3-month, 6-month (retinoblastoma), and 1-year subspecialty fellowships. The application deadline for the 3-month and 6-month opportunities is 31 March 2019, and 30 September 2019 for the 1-year subspecialty fellowship.

ICO Fellowships are made possible by the generosity of our supporters. If you are interested in supporting the ICO Fellowship program or creating a named Fellowship as a legacy or memorial gift, we welcome you to please contact our Fellowships Team at

Learn more about ICO Fellowship opportunities.

World Ophthalmology Congress


WOC2020 in Africa!

Join us 26–29 June 2020, in Cape Town, South Africa, for the 37th World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC2020), the premier and largest international ophthalmic congress, with over 10,000 delegates expected to attend from over 110 countries.

The WOC will be held in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in 2020. The congress is held every two years in a different region and provides an international audience of ophthalmologists with a world-class scientific program addressing all subspecialties and related interests in ophthalmology, the opportunity to network with recognized international leaders and professionals and an exhibition featuring the latest products and services in the field. Revenues from the WOC support ICO programs including ophthalmic education, eye care delivery, leadership and society development and the ICO’s commitment to “Building a World Alliance for Sight.”

Join us in Cape Town! The Congress will take place in the beautiful and historic city of Cape Town, South Africa. We can tell that the ICO community is excited because WOC2020 already has more delegates registered this far in advance than ever before.

Learn more about Cape Town by Reading our 6 Interesting Cape Town Facts article.

WOC2020 Registration is Now Open, Register Today.

Please also save the date for WOC2022 which will take place 25–28 February 2022 in Melbourne Australia.

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