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

Inside the ICO


World Ophthalmology Congress 2020 Key Dates

The ICO will hold its 37th World Ophthalmology Congress® in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa 26–29 June 2020. Delegates from over 110 countries will indulge in over 300 scientific sessions. While there, you may enjoy leisure activities that include safaris, wine tasting, mountain hikes, and the historical and cultural attractions that make this destination unique.

Take advantage of early bird registration now.

Abstract submission opens 1 August 2019
Abstract submission deadline - 2 December 2019
Abstract notification - 27 January 2020

Take part in this global congress in beautiful Cape Town. Register now and benefit from the Early Bird Fee at WOC2020.

WOC2022 will be held in Melbourne 22–25 February 2022.

WOC2024 will be held in the Americas. ICO member societies interested in hosting the next Congress should submit expressions of interest
by completing the following online form.

International Partners and Program News


WHO Issues First Guidelines on Digital Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its first guideline on digital health interventions on 17 April 2019. Following an extensive review of the evidence on digital technologies and consultations with experts from around the world, recommendations cover ways for such tools to improve health systems and people’s health, accessible via mobile phones, tablets and computers. (Photo shows smartphone by Peek to screen for eye disease in Kenya).

“Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving universal health coverage,” according to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Eye care development in countries is supported by the World Health Assembly resolution on the Global Eye Health Action Plan and guides ministries of health towards universal eye care coverage. The ICO continues to work very closely with the WHO on supporting global efforts to improve eye health.

To learn more, visit WHO Releases Digital Health Guideline.

ICO and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Working Together

Established in 1975, the IAPB is a global alliance of civil society organizations, corporates and professional bodies promoting eye health through advocacy, knowledge and partnerships. Founding members of the IAPB were the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and the World Blind Union (WBU) with a shared goal to elevate standards of eye health and to prevent vision loss. Peter Holland is IAPB Chief Executive Officer (shown in photo).

Working together, the ICO and IAPB promote eye health around the world. The ICO sits on IAPB’s Board of Trustees representing the world's ophthalmologists and plays a key role in IAPB’s strategic priorities. The ICO and IAPB have contributed to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global Action Plan 2014-19, and the upcoming World Report on Vision from the WHO.

The annual IAPB Council of Members 2019 meeting will be held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 7–8 October 2019, preceded by the IAPB Work Groups, Committees, and Board meetings on 5–6 October. Find out more at

ICO and CBM Join Hands to Develop Safe Surgeon Phaco Training Curriculum

CBM has partnered with the ICO to develop a Safe Phaco Surgeon Training Curriculum that plays an important role in preparing MSICS Surgeons for Phaco Surgery. The CBM Technical Leadership Team, international ophthalmic educators and cataract experts have played important roles in its development in collaboration with the ICO.

“Eye health has always been a key area of CBM’s work and in this tradition, we are pleased to be working with the ICO to make a significant commitment towards the reduction of blindness and visual impairment around the world”, says Dr. Babar Qureshi, Director Inclusive Eye Health CMB International, and Chair, ICO Training the Teams Committee (photo).

Stay tuned for the curriculum launch for use by phaco centres for training new phaco surgeons globally.

To learn more about CBM, visit

National Eye Institute (NEI) Partners with the ICO in Support of Genetics Research

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has partnered with the ICO to offer a fellowship in ophthalmic genetics research. This first such collaboration will train an early-career clinician from a country designated by the World Bank as lower- or middle-income. Paul Sieving MD, PhD, NEI Director (photo, left) and Peter Wiedemann MD, ICO President (photo, right) are seen during the signing ceremony held at ARVO in Vancouver, 29 April 2019.

The fellow will spend a year working in the Ophthalmic Genetics and Visual Function Branch of the NEI Clinical Research Program under the mentorship of NEI Clinical Director Brian Brooks, MD, PhD.

“Fellows will gain a unique experience and will become opinion leaders in their home countries. And the ultimate benefit will be to the patient population around the world”, according to John Prakash, Associate Director for NEI international programs (lower photo, standing behind Peter Wiedemann).

The partnership was supported by leaders from the NEI and ICO including Berthold Seitz MD, Chair of ICO Fellowships Program (front row, left) and Neeru Gupta MD PhD MBA, ICO Vice-President and Interim CEO (front row).

ICO-Light for the World Collaboration Tackles Glaucoma in Sub Saharan Africa

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and Light for the World have partnered to strengthen human resource development for eye health in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. Light for the World is a global disability & development organization that enables crucial eye health services and empower people with disabilities in some of the poorest regions of the world. Rupert Roniger, is Light for the World's Chief Executive Officer (top photo).

Based on the ICO Glaucoma Guidelines, the organizations have been collaborating to develop the first Glaucoma Toolkit for Sub-Saharan Africa. Meant as a guide for African ophthalmologists, teams, and program planners, the toolkit will offer practical steps towards diagnosis of glaucoma, risk assessment for progression and management decisions, and referral to key resources.

The first workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and hosted by the Ophthalmological Society of Ethiopia on 11–12 February 2019. This ICO-Light for the World effort was organized by Fatima Kyari, sub-regional IAPB co-chair for Anglophone West Africa, with support from Dan Kiage, past ICO Board Member, and participants representing Sub Saharan African regions as well as IAPB, the College of Ophthalmology for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COECSA), the Francophone African Ophthalmic Society SAFO, the West African College of Surgeons WACS, the African Glaucoma Consortium, and Nigerian and South African Glaucoma Societies (lower photo).

To learn more about Light for the World, please visit

The Retina Society Supports ICO Retinal Fellowship Training

The Retina Society has signed with the ICO to support fellowship training for a promising young ophthalmologist from a low-resource country in the subspecialty of Retina.

Incorporated in 1968, the mission of the Retina Society is to reduce worldwide visual disability and blindness by promoting the education and professional interaction of vitreoretinal specialists, providing optimal care for patients, and encouraging through clinical and basic research the discovery and development of new means to further patient care.

Bernard Doft MD, President and Allen Ho, MD Vice-President are seen in the photo, (front row, left, right), with leadership team members, Jeffrey Heier MD, Glenn Zacks MD, Jennifer Lim MD, Mark Johnson MD, and Glenn Jaffe, MD.(second row, left to right).

“We are so pleased that the Retina Society has joined forces with the ICO to support high quality retinal training. This program will improve the care that fellows can provide to their patients when they return home.”, says Berthold Seitz MD, ICO Board member and Chair, ICO Fellowships Program.

More information on ICO Fellowships can be found at

First Woman President of Japan Ophthalmology Society (JOS) in 120 Years

On 17 April this year, Professor Hiroko Terasaki (shown in top photo) of the Department of Ophthalmology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine made history and assumed the post of President of the JOS - the first woman to be appointed to this role after 120 years. She has served the JOS Board for 10 years, and as Executive Director for 8 years. She follows predecessor Professor Tetsuro Oshika, former WOC2014 President and ICO Board Member.

The JOS is among the largest ophthalmology societies in the world with over 15,000 members. The first Congress of the JOS was held in Tokyo in 1897 (lower photo).

Dr. Terasaki is a vitreo-retinal surgeon who performs hundreds of surgeries, including treatments for retinopathy of prematurity. Actively involved in both research and clinical work, she was also the first woman Chair of Nagoya University School of Medicine since its establishment over 100 years ago. She has published more than 300 English peer-reviewed articles and due to her outstanding work to advance ophthalmology, she received a JOS Award and JRVS Mori Award. She is a member of the Club Jules Gonin, a fellow of the Academy of Asia-Pacific Professors of Ophthalmology and member of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.

For more information and future plans for the JOS, please visit Message from New JOS President.

Meet the 2019 ICO-World Glaucoma Association (WGA) Fellows from Sub-Saharan Africa

The World Glaucoma Association continues to work with the ICO to advance glaucoma training among African ophthalmologists. At the opening ceremony of the World Glaucoma Congress in Melbourne on 27 March, five 3-month ICO-World Glaucoma Fellowships were awarded to outstanding ophthalmologists from Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Burundi.

WGA President Keith Martin says, ”The WGA is committed to improving glaucoma care in Africa and to continuing to support this important program”.

Award recipients were Drs. Mohamed Elamin Abdelmoneim, Faith Vata Masila, Omodele Oluwayemisi Jagun, Lemlem Tigabu, and Bigirimana Deus (holding certificates from left to right, photo). Awards were presented by ICO Vice President, WGA Officer of External Affairs and President-Elect, Neeru Gupta MD, PhD, MBA (photo, 3rd right). For more information, please visit 2019 ICO-World Glaucoma Association Fellows.

The ICO-World Glaucoma Association Fellowship was established in 2017 to help promising young ophthalmologists from Sub-Saharan countries improve their practical skills and broaden their perspectives of ophthalmology. Fellows are expected to bring the acquired knowledge and skills back to their home countries and take part in programs to preserve vision and prevent blindness. Future awards will be announced at WGC in Kyoto, Japan 24–27 March 2021.

Join the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology International Congress (MEACO 2019), 5–8 September 2019 - Dead Sea, Jordan

The ICO is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the 2019 MEACO Congress taking place at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center in Dead Sea, Jordan, 5–8 September 2019 (top photo). This meeting will be held in conjunction with the 14th Jordanian Ophthalmology Conference,

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.

Join over 4,000 regional and international participants and distinguished speakers from the ICO, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, among others.

Don’t miss the early bird registration deadline of 31 May 31 2019. Please visit for more information.

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