International Council of Opthalmology
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January 2019
Ico Insight : News, Resources, and Events fort he World’s Ophthalmologists

Inside the ICO


Dr. Neeru Gupta Appointed Interim CEO of the ICO

Neeru Gupta, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice-President of the ICO, has been appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer of the ICO. She is an internationally respected surgeon-scientist, and educator at the University of Toronto, who is dedicated to promoting eye health worldwide.

Neeru has served in numerous leadership roles as a member of the ICO Board of Trustees, including past Chair of the ICO Advisory Committee. In 2018, she was appointed Chair of ICO Society Relations and Leadership Development. “It’s a very exciting time for the ICO. We have a strong commitment from the largest membership we have had in ICO history. With that comes many new opportunities to work together to improve eye care around the world,” Gupta said.

Peter Wiedemann, MD, ICO President said, “I am extremely pleased that Neeru has agreed to step into the role of interim CEO while we continue to engage in the recruitment process for a new permanent CEO. She is a well-regarded and highly experienced leader with the skills needed to oversee the ongoing implementation of the ICO strategy.”

Celebrating Another Year of ICO Achievements

In 2018, through tireless efforts, our ICO Member societies, partners, volunteers, and donors made possible many accomplishments to expand high-quality eye care around the world. We are grateful for their support and proud of our collective achievements. Please download and share ICO milestones with colleagues.

Download the 2018 ICO Program Update.

New Chair, WOC2020 Scientific Program Committee
Marie-José Tassignon, MD, PhD, FEBO

We are pleased to announce that Prof. Tassignon will lead the scientific program for WOC2020 in Cape Town, South Africa, 26–29 June 2020. Prof. Tassignon is a member of the International Council of Ophthalmology Board and President of the Academia Ophthalmologia Internationalis. She is a past President of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) and the European Board of Ophthalmology (EBO). Prof. Tassignon is the author of 288 publications and of 24 chapters of 22 books. She has served as Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Antwerp University Hospital, Chair of Antwerp’s Department of Ophthalmology, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Medical Director of the Antwerp University Hospital. She has also been a guest professor at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center and at Harvard Massachusetts Eye and Ear. She is chair of the European Board of Ophthalmology organized subspecialty examination on Cataract and Refractive Surgery (FEBOS-CR) run with the participation of the ESCRS. Prof. Tassignon is a member of 18 international ophthalmological societies and has served as a board member in 5 out of them. Prof. Tassignon has received numerous awards including the Kritzinguer Award, Binkhorst Medal, Norman Galloway Award, the Peter Eustace Medal, the Tadeusz Krwawicz Award, the Moroccan Ophthalmological Award and has delivered the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis lecture and the Montgomery lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons.

New Chair, ICO Examinations
Clare Davey, BSc, FRCOphth, FRCS, MBBS, RCOPhth

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Clare Davey has taken the lead for ICO Examinations. Dr. Davey is a member of the International Council of Ophthalmology Board and past Deputy Director of ICO Examinations. She is a medical retinal specialist and has served as both Chair and Deputy Director of the postgraduate education program at London’s Royal Free Hospital and also as Clinical Lead for their Eye Department and as a consultant ophthalmologist. She is a member of the DR-NET program to improve screening and diabetic retinopathy treatment in sub-Saharan Africa and a lead for the VISION 2020 Links program, outreach programs, and the Lead Forward leadership programs throughout Africa. Dr. Davey also teaches in Anglophone Africa as part of the Leadership Development Program run by the ICO, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and African Ophthalmology Council (AOC).

International Eye Health


Global Diabetic Retinopathy Advocacy Initiative

The ICO joins forces with leading non-governmental agencies in the diabetes and eye health sectors to promote Integrated Care for Diabetes and Eye Health. The Global Compendium of Good Practice is a collaboration of Fred Hollows Foundation, Helen Keller International, IAPB, ICO, International Diabetes Federation, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Orbis International, Sightsavers International, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, World Council of Optometry, in association with the World Health Organization.

The Compendium documents real-world case studies from 17 countries to address health promotion, prevention, early intervention and treatment initiatives. Models, lessons learned, and key recommendations on how to effectively implement integrated care provide guidance to policymakers, medical organizations, service providers and social investors.

Download the Compendium.

For more information, please contact The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Global Ban of Consumer Fireworks - Advocacy and Progress

Serious eye injuries from fireworks are a recurring problem, particularly around New Year and other celebrations. Significant efforts by member societies around the world continue to press governments to ban consumer fireworks. In 2016, to assist these efforts, the ICO endorsed a Global Ban of Consumer Fireworks. The collection of worldwide data on firework eye injuries is critical to help influence policy makers around the world.

We have inspiring news from ICO Emeritus Group member, Dr. Tero Kivelä, who has worked hard to collect data and to advocate in support of recently proposed legislation to ban sales of dangerous consumer fireworks. The Finnish Ophthalmological Society and the National Safety Authority showed 520 fireworks-related ocular injuries recorded in Finland since 2000, half of them to spectators. In December 2018, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Kivelä, there was a proposed legislation to ban the sales of fireworks to consumers. This proposal gained the necessary 50,000 signatures and if all goes as planned, Finland may pass and implement this legislation in 2020/2021 helping to put an end to firework-related ocular injuries!

The European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE), with SOE President, Dr. Jan Tjeerd de Faber, continue longstanding advocacy efforts against consumer fireworks and request data on injuries sustained by fireworks at The survey will remain open until 31 January 2019. Please share the link with your colleagues. 

If you have success stories to share with us, please send them to Jennifer Hanes, ICO Membership and Society Relations Manager.

Final Call for Nominations - Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research 2020

The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education is accepting nominations for the 2020 Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research, presented in partnership with BrightFocus Foundation. Established in 1994, the Helen Keller Prize is one of the most prestigious and coveted awards presented in the field of vision research.

Nominations should recognize research excellence demonstrated by significant contributions to vision science during the course of a career or for a single contribution of exceptional importance to vision science.

Learn more about the Helen Keller Prize by visiting and by downloading the official call for nominations.

Nominations should be sent electronically to, no later than 31 January 2019.

Societies and Leaders


The ICO Embraces 15 New Ophthalmology Society Members

ICO Member societies make up a strong community connecting the world’s ophthalmologists. Composed of 118 National Societies, 8 Regional Societies, and 42 International Subspecialty Member Societies, our global network is working hard to share knowledge and increase access to high-quality eye care. In 2018, the ICO welcomed the membership of 15 new ophthalmologic societies:

  • Benin Society of Ophthalmology, President - Dr. Gabin Aina
  • Burkina Faso Society of Ophthalmology, President - Dr. Ahgbatouhabeba Ahnoux-Zabsonre
  • Gabon Society of Ophthalmology, President - Prof. Emmanuel Mve Mengome
  • Ivory Coast Society of Ophthalmology, President - Prof. Adama Fanny
  • Mali Society of Ophthalmology, President - Dr. Jeannette Traore
  • Malawi Ophthalmological Society, President - Dr. Gerald Msukwa
  • Mozambique College of Ophthalmology, President - Prof. Amelia Buque
  • Nigerian Society of Ophthalmology, President - Dr. Abdou Amza
  • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Academy of Ophthalmology, President - Prof. Nadeem Hafeez Butt
  • Senegalese Society of Ophthalmology, President - Prof. Papa Amadou Ndiaye
  • Société Africaine Francophone d’Ophtalmologie (SAFO), Secretary General - Prof. Adama Fanny
  • Ophthalmological Association of South Sudan, President - Dr. Wani Mena
  • Tanzania Ophthalmology Society, President - Dr. Frank Sandi
  • Togo Society of Ophthalmology, President - Dr. Patrice Komi Balo
  • Uganda Ophthalmology Society, President - Dr. Grace Ssali

To see the complete list of ICO Member societies, please visit

ICO Partners with the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO) for 2019 International Congress in Dead Sea-Jordan

The ICO is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the 2019 MEACO Congress taking place at the King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Center in Dead Sea-Jordan, 5–8 September 2019. Together, our goal is to stimulate the enhancement of ophthalmic education and eye care in the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. The MEACO Congress will disseminate the latest advancements in ophthalmology from around the world and help ophthalmologists and allied ophthalmic personnel to translate those advances into practice as they work to provide the best possible eye care to the public.

Please note the following:

  • 1 February 2019 – Abstract Submission Opens
  • 1 May 2019 – Abstract Submission Deadline

Registration is now open, please visit for more info.

Congratulations to the First Francophone Africa Leadership Development Program Graduates

The ICO supports Leadership Development Programs (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.

We are pleased to share that Francophone Africa’s first LDP class officially graduated at the opening ceremonies of the Société Africaine Francophone d'Ophtalmologie (SAFO) Congress on 3 December 2018 in Togo, where the meeting was hosted by the Togolese Ophthalmology Society. Serving on the faculty were Drs. Neeru Gupta, ICO Vice-President, Michael Brennan, with the ICO Society and Leadership Development Committee and the AAO, and Annick Mwilambwe, from the Canadian Ophthalmology Society with Komi Balo MD, Program Director, and Professor Fanny, SAFO President.

View the full list of graduates.

World Glaucoma Association Announces Official Journal and New Online Educational Portal

The World Glaucoma Association (WGA) represents over 11,000 members from 90 Glaucoma Societies from around the world.

The Journal of Glaucoma is now the official publication of the WGA. Online access to the Journal of Glaucoma is free to all individual members of their affiliated Glaucoma Societies, including all ophthalmologists from sub-Saharan countries and glaucoma Fellows worldwide.

The WGA offers a free online Basic Course in Glaucoma and certificates for download. Visit the WGA free Educational Portal with recorded sessions from past World Glaucoma Congresses. Don’t miss the next World Glaucoma Congress (WGC) 27–30 March 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, where a globally diverse faculty of experts in glaucoma research and clinical practice will come together to share their knowledge and insight.

A new easy to use website for patients has been launched with unbiased information about glaucoma, using easily accessible language in a user-friendly platform. This site will also be a great resource to share during World Glaucoma Week (a joint initiative of the WGA and World Glaucoma Patient Association) to encourage creating greater glaucoma awareness worldwide. Access the site by visiting

World Guide to Ophthalmology Museums

The ICO Emeritus Group is undertaking an initiative to create a virtual catalogue of ophthalmic history museums throughout the world. To accomplish this, the ICO Emeritus Group is requesting your help and collaboration. They request that at least one ophthalmologist from each National Society please share with them information about any ophthalmology museum or history of ophthalmology exposition in your country.

The ICO Emeritus Group will compile this data and prepare a web-based World Guide to Ophthalmology Museums. Please share any information about ophthalmology museums or history of ophthalmology expositions with Andrzej Grzybowski, Project Leader.



Don’t Miss ICO Fellowship & Application Deadlines

The ICO Fellowships Program provides important opportunities for promising young ophthalmologists, primarily from low-resource countries, to improve their practical skills and broaden their perspectives of ophthalmology. Fellows bring this acquired knowledge and skills back to their home countries and take part in vital programs that preserve vision and prevent blindness.

To date, more than 1,100 ophthalmologists from 84 low-resource countries have been granted ICO Fellowships. Our network of host institutions includes 135 hospitals and universities across 33 countries. Below are the upcoming application deadlines for those interested in applying for an ICO Fellowship:

The ICO is grateful to fellowship host institutions and to our donors for their generous contributions that make these opportunities possible. More information on ICO Fellowships can be found at

We invite you to support the ICO Fellowship Program by making a donation to the ICOFoundation at

ICO-World Glaucoma Association Three-Month Fellowship for Sub-Saharan Africa

The World Glaucoma Association has partnered with ICO to organize a Fellowship Program to match international ophthalmologists from sub-Saharan Africa with top academic programs in glaucoma. All fellowship recipients also receive complimentary registration to the World Glaucoma Congress, this year in Melbourne, Australia, followed by 3 months of training at local institutes. We are proud to introduce the 2019 Fellows and their host institutes. Please keep an eye on the ICO and WGA websites for the 2021 application announcement.

ICO Examinations Promote Excellence Worldwide

The ICO promotes excellence in eye care by encouraging ophthalmologists worldwide to acquire and maintain the highest standard of knowledge. The ICO Examinations in Visual Sciences; Optics, Refraction and Instruments; Clinical Ophthalmology; and an Advanced Examination leading to the postnominal FICO are an important part of this initiative.

More than 32,000 ophthalmologists in 81 countries have taken ICO Examinations at one of our 131 testing centers around the world to evaluate their knowledge or to meet requirements in their countries to practice ophthalmology.

This past year, 6,100 candidates took an ICO Examination, and for the first time, our examinations are now offered in Austria, Haiti, and Uganda. After a successful pilot program, the ICO is pleased to have begun offering subspecialty examinations in:

  • Cornea and External Eye Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology
  • Oculoplastic
  • Pediatrics & Strabismus
  • Retina
  • Uveitis

The ICO’s Foundation Assessment tool is also available online free of charge for standard examination candidates whose national society is a member of the ICO or for a small fee for others.

ICO Examinations has a reciprocity program in place with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has also recently adopted the ICO Examinations to replace their written examinations and will offer membership to ophthalmologists who have passed the necessary ICO Examinations.

The deadline to submit applications for the ICO’s Standard and Advanced Examinations is 24 January 2019. To learn more about taking an ICO Examination or how they may benefit your local exams system, please visit

World Ophthalmology Congress


WOC2020 in Beautiful and Historic Cape Town

<em>“WOC2020 will be a historic and milestone meeting and we look forward to welcoming you to Cape Town.”</em> - WOC2020 President, Kgao “WOC2020 will be a historic and milestone meeting and we look forward to welcoming you to Cape Town.” - WOC2020 President, Kgao "Eddie" Legodi, MD

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

The World Ophthalmology Congress® is held every two years in a different region and offers a world-class scientific program addressing all subspecialties and related interests in ophthalmology, the opportunity to network with international leaders, and an exhibition featuring the latest products and services.

Revenues from the program support important ICO programs that focus on ophthalmic education, eye care delivery, leadership and society development, and the ICO’s commitment to “Building a World Alliance for Sight.”

Join us in the beautiful and historic city of Cape Town, South Africa.

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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