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Date ICO Member Headline Topic Subspecialty Region
October 6, 2020 World Sight Day on 8 October!


World Sight Day, held on the second Thursday of October each year marks an important day to bring together colleagues from around the world to promote and advocate for eye health preservation.

The International Council of Ophthalmology is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) in support of our ophthalmology member societies and colleagues around the world.

Please see important resources below to engage and communicate around World Sight Day on 8 October 2020.

  • WHO Eye Health Resources for the latest global eye health facts and statistics.
  • World Report on Vision aims to address challenges in eye care and to galvanize action to reduce the burden of eye conditions and vision loss.
  • IAPB advocates for World Sight Day.

"High-quality eye care accessible to all is essential for accomplishing universal health coverage. The World Report on Vision provides guidance and inspiration on how to advance integrated people-centered eye care and raise awareness in order to help protect sight for all ages. There are many ways ICO member societies and ophthalmologists worldwide can contribute to this mission." Dr. Ivo Kocur, Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Ophthalmology and contributor to the World Report on Vision



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July 1, 2020 ICO Makes History with WOC2020 Virtual® Bringing Together Over 7,000 Ophthalmologists from 157 Countries

The World Ophthalmology Congress® organized by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) has made history with an entirely virtual global meeting of over 7,000 ophthalmologists from 157 countries.

The ICO, representing almost 230,000 ophthalmologists worldwide, shared the latest advances, innovations, and best practices in eye care at WOC2020 Virtual®. Filled with many live sessions, this groundbreaking virtual scientific meeting included more than 2,000 talks from internationally acclaimed speakers. First held in 1857, the World Ophthalmology Congress is the longest continuous international medical meeting.

“Shifting from a physical to a virtual gathering was essential to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. The ICO says thank you to our 182 member societies and our international faculty for our rich scientific program and commitment to better eye care everywhere. The virtual Congress has been a huge success and we are thrilled to have been able to bring colleagues from around the world together to share knowledge and collaborate despite the obstacles. WOC2020 Virtual® has brought us together as never before and will be remembered as a major milestone in our history,” said ICO Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ivo Kocur.

Numerous sessions during the conference focused on the COVID-19 pandemic that presents significant risks for ophthalmologists. The International Council of Ophthalmology will continue to share important information and resources relevant to the world’s ophthalmologists via the ICO Global COVID-19 Resource Center.

WOC2020 Virtual® is being celebrated as the most accessible ophthalmology conference ever offered, having provided ophthalmologists from around the world with opportunities to learn and collaborate without the obstacles of travel-related expenses and visa approval processes. This incredible undertaking created an important virtual space for ophthalmologists to safely meet and learn despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Learn more by viewing our WOC2020 Virtual® Post-Congress Video:


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April 2, 2020 The David and Molly Pyott Foundation Scholarships in Ophthalmology – Application Deadline 1 June 2020

The University of Edinburgh will award 12 scholarships for successful applicants to their Master of Surgery (ChM) in Clinical Ophthalmology programme, thanks to the very generous support of The David and Molly Pyott Foundation.

Trainees/residents/registrars in Ophthalmology and qualified ophthalmologists (generalists and specialists) from Africa, Central and South Asia, Caribbean Islands, Pacific Islands, Central and Latin America who are accepted for admission to the online ChM programme commencing in September 2020 are eligible to apply for the scholarship award which will cover all tuition fees as well as internet access and a laptop. Scholarship applications close on 1st June 2020. Full online application instructions can be found here.

The part-time, online 2-year ChM programme is offered by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Further course information is available online, along with an introductory video by Professor Baljean Dhillon, Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the University of Edinburgh, and video testimonials by ChM graduates. The ChM is one of a number of Edinburgh Surgery Online Masters programmes in the surgical specialities at the University.

The ChM is designed to support ophthalmology trainees in the United Kingdom and internationally by providing advanced training for those preparing for the fellowship examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), International Council of Ophthalmology and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and those approaching consultancy.

The David and Molly Pyott Foundation has been funding this highly successful programme of scholarships in partnership with the University since 2016 which has seen trainee and qualified ophthalmologists (generalists and specialists) from a range of Low and Middle Income countries being educated and trained at Masters level, online, as part of their journey to becoming consultant/specialist ophthalmologists. The online, part time nature of the ChM means that students can study in their home countries without having to take time out of practice or training, whilst continuing to deliver critical care in regions with ophthalmic workforce capacity issues.

Thanks to a very generous additional donation by the Foundation recently, the number of scholarships available in 2020 has doubled. The purpose of the six new scholarships is to support trainees/residents/registrars in ophthalmology and qualified ophthalmologists with leadership potential who are nationals of and resident/working in member countries* of the College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (*as defined on COECSA website as of 1st March 2020). The aim is to fund 30 trainee ophthalmologists over the next 5 five years to undertake the ChM to increase the provision of quality eye care and facilitate the further growth of Ophthalmology services in the region. The University of Edinburgh is working in partnership with the Foundation and COECSA colleagues to facilitate education and training opportunities for the next generation of leaders in ophthalmology.


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March 30, 2020 ICO Insight: Global Efforts to Tackle COVID-19
View the ICO's special COVID-19 issue of our ICO Insight Newsletter.
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March 27, 2020 ICO Global COVID-19 Resource Centre

Welcome to the ICO Global COVID-19 Resource Centre. Here you will find COVID-19 related guidelines, resources, and information provided by ICO Member societies from around the world.

We are facing extraordinarily challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the world is asked to stay home with social distancing recommendations, ophthalmology colleagues and their teams continue to provide urgent care to our patients. Ophthalmologists and eye health teams work in close proximity to their patients as part of the eye examinations and treatment, and they are at particularly high risk of being exposed to the virus and contracting COVID-19. Their protection and that of patients is critical due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. The ICO stands with the recommendations regarding public health safety related to COVID-19 issued by the World Health Organization.

To help protect eye health providers and in response to the growing needs of our global eye health community for information, we have launched this ICO Global COVID-19 Resource Centre. Thank you to all those who have already submitted resources to share. Please email your society guidelines, statements, and recommendations to COVID19resources@icoph.org.

We know all of you are working tirelessly and showing selfless courage in the face of risk. We acknowledge with gratitude the courage and the efforts of all those providing eye care on the front lines during these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 Resources, Guidelines, and Information from ICO Member Societies:

All India Ophthalmological Society
AIOS has published COVID-19 operational guidelines and direction for the provision of emergency eye care services. AIOS COVID-19 Guidelines
American Association of Ophthalmic Oncologists and Pathologists
The AAOOP has pubslished COVID-19 guidelines on the management and triage of ocular oncology patients and pathology specimins. AAOOP COVID-19 Guidelines
Argentine Council of Ophthalmology
The Argentine Council of Ophthalmology has published recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and implications in this medical specialty. Argentine Council of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Recommendations
Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology
The Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology has developed and published COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines for Ophthalmic Practices. Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Guidelines
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society in collaboration with the Association of Canadian University Professors of Ophthalmology has produced guidelines for ophthalmic care during COVID-19. Canadian Ophthalmological Society COVID-19 Guidelines
Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, Society of Public Health Ophthalmology, Beijing Ophthalmological Society
Collaboratively produced, these recommendations focus on eye protection during the COVID-19 epidemic. Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, Society of Public Health Ophthalmology, Beijing Ophthalmological Society COVID-19 Recommendations in English and Chinese
Colombian Society of Ophthalmology
The Colombian Society of Ophthalmology offers a variety of COVID-19 recommendations for eye health providers. Colombian Society of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Recommendations
European Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
ESOPRS has published COVID-19 recommendations for oculoplastic surgeons. ESOPRS COVID-19 Recommendations
French Society of Ophthalmology
The French Society of Ophthalmology shares information specific to caring for patients in relation to COVID-19. French Society of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Information and Recommendations
Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology
The Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology has published recommendations regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and implications on Ophthalmology services. Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Recommendations
Mexican Society of Ophthalmology
The Mexican Society of Ophthalmology has published COVID-19 recommendations on prevention measures to decrease the rate of transmission of the disease. Mexican Society of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Recommendations
Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology
The Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology provides instructions for serving patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. MEACO COVID-19 Recommendations
Nepal Ophthalmic Society
The Nepal Ophthalmic Society provides COVID-19 Ophthalmology Practice Guidelines. Nepal Ophthalmic Society COVID-19 Practice Guidelines
Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria
The Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria has published a COVID-19 Advisory for ophthalmologists. Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria COVID-19 Advisory
Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology
The Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology has produced eye-related guidelines for ophthalmologists and the public. Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Information and COVID-19 Public Advisory Documents
Retina International
Retina International has released a statement on COVID-19, Anti-VEGF treatment for Neovascular Age-related Macular Degeneration (nAMD), and Diabetes-related Macular Edema (DME). Retina International COVID-19 Statement
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
RANZCO has published COVID-19 guidelines and other useful information. RANZCO COVID-19 Guidelines, Position Statement, and Triage Guidelines.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has produced COVID-19 clinical guidance, disease management for retina and glaucoma patients, and resources for PPE. Royal College of Ophthalmologists COVID-19 Guidelines.
Turkish Ophthalmological Society
The Turkish Ophthalmological Society is sharing COVID-19 related news which can be found at the following link. TOS COVID-19 Information

Please submit your society guidelines, statements, and resources to COVID19resources@icoph.org so that we can continue to add them here for sharing with our global community.


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March 20, 2020 COVID-19 Alert
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a major challenge to health care providers around the globe. While the world is asked to stay home with social distancing recommendations, our ophthalmology colleagues continue to provide urgent care to patients to prevent vision loss.

The close proximity as part of eye examinations and treatment puts the ophthalmologist and their entire team at particularly high risk of contracting COVID-19.

The virus may cause conjunctivitis, so it is possible that it is transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva. The protection of health care providers and patients is critical due to the rapid spread of coronavirus.

The ICO stands with the recommendations regarding public health safety related to COVID-19 issued by the World Health Organization. Additional resources are available from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, and the French Ophthalmology Society.

As our colleagues work tirelessly in the days and weeks ahead, we acknowledge their courage and the efforts of all those providing eye care on the front lines during these unprecedented times.


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March 6, 2020 Help Create Greater Glaucoma Awareness, World Glaucoma Week, 8–14 March 2020

World Glaucoma Week, taking place 8–14 March, is a joint initiative between the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association. More details about World Glaucoma Week and many examples of glaucoma awareness activities around the world can be found on the World Glaucoma Week website, www.worldglaucomaweek.org and www.wga.one.

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February 29, 2020 WOC2020 Now Accepting Late-Breaking Abstracts


The World Ophthalmology Congress® is the largest global meeting in ophthalmology covering all subspecialties. Learn from, network, and collaborate with thousands of delegates from more than 120 countries around the world. WOC2020 will take place 26–29 June 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa.

We are now accepting late-breaking abstracts. Please view the submission guidelines for further information and remember to submit your research before 16 March 2020.

The WOC2020 early bird registration deadline is 2 March 2020. You can still save up to $200 with early bird registration.

Register Now >

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February 29, 2020 Coronavirus Information for Ophthalmologists


It is critical that eye health professionals understand the risks associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The virus appears to be spread via respiratory droplets. Patients may be infectious to others even before they experience symptoms of infection. Reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis, so it is possible that it is transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva. It is recommended that you protect your mouth, nose (e.g., an N-95 mask), or eyes (e.g., goggles or shield).

Affected patients frequently present to eye clinics or emergency departments. This increases the likelihood ophthalmologists may be the first providers to evaluate patients possibly infected with COVID-19. For more information, please visit the Coronavirus pages on the following sites:


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February 27, 2020 European Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) Joins ICO Global Member Network
[Photo: Left to Right, ESCRS President Prof. Rudy Nuijts and Past-President Prof. Béatrice Cochener-Lamard]

The ICO is excited to welcome the European Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) to our global Member network. ESCRS was founded in 1991 to promote education in the field of implant and refractive surgery and to advance and promote the study and practice of ophthalmology. The organization seeks to promote and support research in the field of intraocular lens implantation and refractive surgery, and the dissemination of the results thereof. ESCRS has over 8,000 members from 130 countries. The 38th Annual Congress will take place in 3–7 October 2020 at RAI Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

For more information please visit www.escrs.org.

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September 30, 2019 New CEO Ivo Kocur to Drive ICO Future
The ICO Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Ivo Kocur MD MSc MA MBA— a high profile, results-oriented leader — will drive the future of the ICO as our next Chief Executive Officer. An accomplished senior Medical Officer with the World Health Organization responsible for the global eye health agenda, Ivo carries with him more than 20 years of experience in public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Ivo brings to the ICO a proven track record of success, change and collaborations worldwide toward the prevention of vision impairment and enhancement of eye care.

Ivo holds a medical degree and began his career as an eye surgeon and teacher at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, his native country. His passion to promote education led to his efforts to spearhead the establishment of the Lions Ophthalmology Education Center in Prague, now attended by over 3000 ophthalmologists from many countries. He holds a Master of Science in Community Eye Health from the University College London, a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from the Diplomatic Academy of London, and a Master of Business Administration from the European University in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 2002, Ivo was appointed by the World Health Organization as WHO Global Coordinator of VISION 2020 and fostered international collaborations of key stakeholders in order to shape the global public eye health agenda. Since then he has facilitated the development of four eye health resolutions and two global action plans endorsed by the World Health Assembly. During his career with the WHO, Ivo has been instrumental in working with ministries of health to assess and develop national eye care plans.

ICO President Peter Wiedemann MD says, “We are particularly impressed by Ivo’s energy and focus on society members. He clearly understands the need to ensure the ICO represents our member needs to its fullest.”

Ivo is well versed in eye care delivery and health system issues with a career that has included roles in fundraising, government relations, and public affairs in the eye care sector. “I am honored to join the ICO and excited to build on its outstanding legacy and dedication to improve eye care around the world,” said Ivo.

The Board thanks Neeru Gupta MD PhD MBA for her exemplary leadership and commitment to the organization as past Interim CEO. Neeru has played an integral role in advancing the ICO mission and continues to serve as ICO Vice-President.
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September 30, 2019 New Published Data on the Number of Ophthalmologists Worldwide: Will We Meet the Needs?
The ICO surveyed national societies of ophthalmology and representatives from the Ministry of Health from 194 countries to gather the total number and density of ophthalmologists at the national and global level, including growth trends. The authors reported over 230,000 ophthalmologists in 194 countries. A significant shortfall of ophthalmologists in many countries was noted, and the ageing population has been growing faster than the profession.

The authors concluded that although the estimated global ophthalmologist workforce appears to be growing, the appropriate distribution of the eye care workforce and the development of comprehensive eye care delivery systems are needed to ensure that eye care needs are universally met.

The article is published by the British Journal of Ophthalmology and is available online at: http://bjo.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bjophthalmol-2019-314336
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September 30, 2019 Submit your Abstract and Apply for Travel Grants to WOC2020
Abstract Submission is Open
Submit your abstract today for a chance to take an active part at the 37th World Ophthalmology Congress, taking place 26–29 June 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Find out more about the different presentation categories and 26 topics. Please note that only abstracts submitted via the dedicated submission platform will be considered. Abstract submission closes on 02 December 2019.

Travel Grants
The ICO offers grants to support eye care professionals around the world to accepted abstract submitters. Grants are awarded based on the quality of abstracts and need. Priority will be given to participants from middle and low-income countries. The grant consists of an amount of USD 1,000 and waived registration fee. Please indicate while submitting your abstract that you wish to apply for a Travel Grant. Get more information regarding WOC2020 Travel Grants.
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September 1, 2019 India’s Young Ophthalmologists Times Highlights ICO Fellowships

The Young Ophthalmologists Society of India has released the latest issue of their official publication the Young Ophthalmologists Times (YO Times).

The issue focuses on vitreo-retina training and provides an in-depth look into vitreo-retina as a career option. Articles provide useful information on retina-focused ICO Fellowships, the Indian institutes that host ICO Fellowships, and tips on succeeding as retina fellow and beyond.

Download the current issue of YO Times.


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July 24, 2019 Professor Harminder Dua Recognized by Queen Elizabeth II

ICO Board Member, Professor Harminder Dua, has been appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). He received the honor in recognition of his service to eye health, education, and for his achievements in the field of ophthalmology.

Professor Dua is Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the Division of Clinical Neuroscience at the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham. He serves as head of the city of Nottingham’s Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and as Editor-in-Chief of J.EuCornea. Professor Dua was co-Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Ophthalmology and is a past president of both EuCornea and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in September 2018.

 

Operating out of the Queen's Medical Centre for the past 25 years, Professor Dua has helped thousands of patients and is a leading authority on corneas. He won international recognition when his research group discovered a previously undetected layer of the human cornea in 2013. The Pre-Descemet Layer is popularly known as Dua’s Layer. His work to develop our understanding of this Pre-Descemet Layer has informed three new surgical techniques and made lamellar corneal transplantation safer.

 

“I am humbled by this great national honor, which reflects the glory of the whole team and individuals and institutions that have influenced my career…,” said Professor Dua.


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October 8, 2018 ICO Position Papers

The International Council of Ophthalmology is pleased to offer these position papers as advocacy tools for members of our community who are working to make advancements on these important topics.

 

 


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September 7, 2018 The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Adopts International Council of Ophthalmology Exams

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) Examinations is 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.

 

We are pleased to announce that the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has adopted the ICO Examinations to replace their written examinations and will offer membership to ophthalmologists who have passed the necessary ICO exams.


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August 30, 2018 Peter Wiedemann New ICO President

Peter Wiedemann succeeded Hugh Taylor as President of the ICO. The transition of power took place at the end of the World Ophthalmology Congress in Barcelona, on 19 June 2018.

Professor Wiedemann is committed to leading the ICO into an exciting future with ICO Member societies to reduce the burden of eye disease worldwide. He is internationally recognized for his work in macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy and has held numerous leadership positions including past President of the German Society of Ophthalmology, and Secretary General of the Academia Ophthalmological Internationalis. He is Director of the Leipzig University Eye Hospital in Germany. His well-respected breadth of work includes more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and eight books, including Ryan’s Retina.

As ICO President, Prof. Wiedemann has identified collaboration and education as key priority areas. “It is important for the ICO to collaborate with our member ophthalmologic societies and leaders to support ophthalmologists and to advocate for access to high-quality eye care,” said Prof. Wiedemann. “I am proud to have the opportunity to serve with the ICO as we work toward our vision of a world in which no one has avoidable vision loss.”

Prof. Wiedemann has served the ICO in numerous roles including Treasurer from 2014–2018 and as Program Chair for both the World Ophthalmology Congresses WOC2012 in Abu Dhabi and WOC2014 in Tokyo.


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August 28, 2018 Please join the ICO in wishing Bill Felch a joyful retirement

This August, William C. Felch Jr. retired from his longtime role as CEO of the International Council of Ophthalmology. We invite the ICO global network to join our Board and staff in thanking Mr. Felch for his tireless work ethic, keen eye for details, and commitment to building a world alliance for sight.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Felch has been a pillar of the organization serving in a variety of roles, first as a consultant and then Executive Director and CEO. His significant contributions to leadership development, ICO education and advocacy programs, and to ICO strategic planning, have been important to the advancement of the global eye health movement. Under his leadership as CEO, the organization expanded its programs and initiatives around the world and added over 100 ophthalmologic societies to the ICO’s global network. Without his dedication to eye health, the ICO would not be where it is today.

“I know you all join me in feeling a deep sense of gratitude for Mr. Felch’s longstanding service and his dedication to the ICO. We wish him well in his retirement,” said ICO President, Dr. Peter Wiedemann.

Before coming to the ICO, Mr. Felch served as Director of Communications for the American Society of Internal Medicine and spent 16 years in key positions at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, including as Vice President for Planning and Research. Mr. Felch subsequently worked for 12 years as an organizational development and communications consultant. He has facilitated strategic planning for more than 40 international, national, and local eye care and health care organizations, including the ICO.

In 1993, Mr. Felch facilitated the first ICO Strategic Plan and later joined the staff as Executive Director in 2007 and as CEO in 2012.

“The ICO has held a huge place in my heart and life,” noted Mr. Felch. “The greatest pleasure in my career has been working with incredibly dedicated ophthalmologists and staff who are committed to helping expand access to high-quality eye care around the world. I consider many of you my closest friends and very much look forward to staying in touch and crossing paths in the future. I would like to thank each of you for your support, your friendship, and your commitment to the ICO.”

“All of us on staff have been grateful to have Mr. Felch a valuable mentor,” says ICO COO, Lindsey Washburn. “We will miss his guidance, encouragement, and thoughtful leadership. His shoes will be hard for the organization to fill, but we wish him the very best in his retirement.”

The transition is being managed by ICO President, Dr. Peter Wiedemann, and the Board Officers. We look forward to updating the ICO community in the coming months as that process progresses.

The ICO is currently working on a retirement gift for Mr. Felch. If you would like to have your personal message included, we invite you to take a moment to add your message here.

If you'd like to contact Bill directly, he can be reached at wfelch@gmail.com.


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About the ICO

July 11, 2018 ICO Member 146 Countries Work to Advance Eye Health at WOC2018

The International Council of Ophthalmology would like to thank everyone who traveled to Barcelona, Spain to take part in our World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC2018).

We welcomed 8,000 ophthalmologists from 146 countries who participated in more than 350 educational sessions, covering all subspecialties and related interests in ophthalmology. The scientific program was organized by Scientific Program Chair Dr. Clement C.Y. Tham and made possible through the invaluable contributions of the Scientific Program Committee and Coordinators, Chairs, and speakers.

Thank you to the Spanish Society of Ophthalmology for hosting WOC2018, and the European Society of Ophthalmology and Spanish Society of Implant-Refractive Ocular Surgery for co-hosting the Congress in partnership with the Catalan Society of Ophthalmology and the Barraquer Institute.

View photos from WOC2018.


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